Save the date: February 27th - March 2nd, 2025

Illinois Boat Show Financing 2024

Boat Buyers Guide By Boat Type

The Northern Illinois Boat Show is coming to Grayslake at the New Lake County Fairgrounds in 2025! Parking is free for you to view over 200 new and used boats. Featuring 30+ vendors and 60 boat brands on display with on-site, long-term, low-rate financing available! Get Pre-Season pricing, show special pricing, and in-stock availability on the following items.

Check out this quick boat buyers guide so you are educated a little bit before you come to the show.

Bow Riders

Designed for day cruising and recreation, bowriders are typically between 17’-35’ long and allow access to the bow for sunbathing, relaxing, and general seating. Bowriders are agile and versatile, they can be purchased standard or with high-end finishes customized for your liking, making them a top choice in this guide for boat buyers who anticipate up to 8-10 passengers.

Ski Boats

A top choice for waterskiing buyers, this type of boat is typically made of light fiberglass and has an inboard engine so propellers are far away from the edge of the boat, tucked into the bottom of the boat. These boats typically place the engine in the middle of the boat, and they host a control tower where various accessories can be attached, along with in-floor ski lockers and safe attachment areas for tow ropes. Ski boats run with strong acceleration and minimum wake sizes producing a level ride for smooth skiing.

Wakeboard Boats

To get wakes as big as possible a wakeboard boat functions with listed guide features like a deeper-v shaped hull and the engine at the back of the boat. The boat’s running attitude changes with extra weight, also called “ballast”, or specially crafted tabs or hydrofoils, in order to pump up and shape the wakes to create the perfect launch ramp for wakeboarders to achieve their biggest air. Propellers are tucked well under the bottom of the boat for safety and performance; steering is accomplished via a pivoting rudder.

Cabin Cruiser

Listed in this guide as recreational by nature, cabin cruiser boats are generally equipped with cooking, sleeping, and bathroom facilities and are ideal for buyers who want to feel the sun above and the ocean below. Typically in the 25′ – 45’ range, these vessels offer all the essentials of a home, including air conditioning, hot water, a galley (kitchen), a head (toilet), and multiple berths (sleeping accommodations).

Cuddy Cabins

Cuddy cabins are ideal for day cruising, watersports, and other on-the-water activities such as fishing and swimming. Our boat guide lists this as a buyer’s favorite. Cuddy’s swap the open-front seating area in the traditional bowrider for a small, enclosed cabin where a v-shaped bed and possibly a small head, galley, and freshwater sink.

Deck Boats

A great choice for boat buyers. Deck boats have a wide front deck to carry more passengers with a look and performance more like runabouts. Deck boats maintain their width farther forward than a bowrider or runabout, with a square bow vs. the v-shape of other boats, adding more forward seating. It made this guide for these specific reasons.

Jet Boats

Jet boats offer buyers a high-performance powerful ride leaping onto the plane with little hesitation, boasting thrilling speeds and handling with unparalleled agility even in shallow waters. Jet power uses an easy-to-maintain propulsion system enclosed in the hull so no propellers get in the way of streamlining their raw power. A guide favorite.

Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats are designed to float on large pontoons and are the number one growing boating segment in this guide due to their stylish interiors, stand-up bars, sun pads, and entertainment options. Since pontoon boats offer more space and more carrying capacity than any other boating type, they are the popular choice for buyers wanting to relax on the water with family and friends. When equipped with larger engines they can reach 60 mph.

Fishing Boats

Built for versatility, fishing boats are often used for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. All-purpose fishing boats are a perfect choice for buyers due to their versatility and capability of a wide variety of tasks. All-purpose models typically feature a deeper-V boat bottom, or “hull”, and have higher sides for protection.

The large selection of boats at the 2025 Northern Illinois Boat Show and Sale will be spectacular! To view a variety of boats, parts, and accessories, come check us out this February 27th – March 2nd. Summer is right around the corner, and a summer out on the water is always a better one!

On-Site Financing! Long Term & Low Rates!

Save on Admission

$2 Off Admission

(limit 4 per household)

Hours & Info

  • February 27th (Thu): 12pm - 8pm
  • February 28th (Fri): 12pm - 8pm
  • March 1st (Sat): 10am - 8pm
  • March 2nd (Sun): 10am - 5pm
  • Adults: $9
  • Children (under 12): FREE
  • Seniors: $7
  • Veterans: $7
  • FREE Parking