Lake County, IL

Reconnect with the ones you love amidst the beauty of Lake County as your backdrop. It’s the perfect destination for kids and adults alike.

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A family-friendly destination, Lake County, Illinois offers a host of activities year-round, from amusement and adventure parks to forest preserves and gardens

Lake County, Illinois boasts some of the best of what the Midwest region has to offer. In proximity to the city of Chicago, it is a treasure trove of attractions and experiences. With outdoor recreational activities year-round, from nature preserves and the Lake Michigan shoreline to indoor water parks and iconic restaurants, this family-friendly destination promises enjoyment for everyone. The whole family can get their thrills at Six Flags Great America. At this iconic theme park, take a wild ride on roller coasters like the Goliath and Demon. Enjoy family-friendly rides like the Big Easy Balloons, Columbia Carousel and Roaring Rapids. Hop aboard the Scenic Railway, watch live shows, shop for souvenirs and grab a meal at the many eateries. 

The Chicago Botanic Garden makes for a relaxing day amidst nature’s best. With 27 gardens and four natural areas spanning 385 acres on and around nine islands and six miles of lake shoreline, the garden is a horticultural wonderland. Not-to-be-missed attractions include the Bonsai Collection, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden and Sensory Garden, among others. Another gem in Lake County is the Volo Museum. In addition to classic cars, expect to see TV/movie cars, exhibits like Music Machines, Vintage Campers and a brand new attraction — Jurassic Gardens: a thrilling experience 65 million years in the making! The gift shop has some great souvenirs to take back home.  

For adventure seekers of all skill levels, zip through Boundless Adventures, an aerial adventure park with 19 ziplines, 100 rope bridges and three leaps of faith. Choose your skill level and set off on
your adventure. 
WhirlyBall is the most fun you can have going 4 miles per hour! WhirlyBall combines lacrosse, hockey, basketball, and bumper cars in a game of skill coupled with a touch of chance. Or play games like giant Jenga, cornhole and pingpong!

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Exploring Scenic Nature Trails 

Families can spend the day outdoors at Independence Grove Forest Preserve  with its miles of hiking and biking trails. The main attraction is a 115-acre lake surrounded by prairie and woodlands. Concerts are hosted there in the summer; in winter, families can ice skate and cross-country ski. Plus, there are beautiful picnic areas offering panoramic views of the lake and preserve. 

Admire nature along the picturesque Lake Michigan shoreline at Illinois Beach State Park. Spanning 4,160 acres divided into the North Unit and South Unit, the park provides ample opportunities for swimming, boating, picnicking, hiking, camping and fishing. No matter what you enjoy, you will find an unforgettable reunion just north of Chicago in Lake County, Illinois.

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“All of our family said it was the BEST family reunion we have ever had. I don’t think they realize all the hard work that went into the planning, and that Kimberly really started the ball rolling on what became the BEST family reunion ever!”

– Ann Hall-Jones, Jones-Ellis-Sykes Family Reunion

Browse below for some family-friendly additions to your itinerary

Why Reunite in the Lake County Area, IL

Highlights

  • 60 group-friendly hotels plus 3 resorts, including Illinois Beach Resort: the only resort in the state that is nestled into the shimmering beaches of Lake Michigan – offering its guests a unique experience
  • Great Wolf Lodge Illinois boasts 414 suites and an 80,000-square-foot indoor water park
  • Beautiful venues to enjoy picnic spaces, boat and bike rentals, swimming, shoreline fishing
    and hiking
  • Six Flags Great America, one of the country’s premier theme parks, features 17 roller coasters and Hurricane Harbor Chicago waterpark
  • 27 dazzling gardens in the world-famous Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Gurnee Mills, Illinois’ largest indoor shopping and dining destination, also includes a theater, ice skating rink and plenty of interactive games

Family-Friendly Dining Experiences in the Lake County Area

Lindy’s Landing

A Wauconda staple for over 56 years, a modern and historic dining destination. Lakefront dining and event space on Bangs Lake in Wauconda. Full-service restaurant with indoor and outdoor venues. Outdoor venues include beach club, beach bar and two dining decks. Indoor dining and banquet venue can accommodate up to 150 people with a private bar.

Website: https://lindyslanding.com/

The Port of Blarney

Located in Antioch, the Port of Blarney has been a Chain O’Lakes tradition for over 30 years. Known for its festive ambiance, it welcomes all guests with a genuine hospitality seldom experience in today’s hustle and bustle world. Port of Blarney offers great pizza, cold beers and cocktails. Live entertainment, daily drink specials, bags tournaments and more.

Website: https://www.portofblarney.com/

Chessie’s Restaurant

Chessie’s was built around Barrington’s former train station and features a unique dining experience in a vintage Illinois Central railroad dining car. The menu ranges from appetizers to salads, sandwiches, pasta, fresh fish and USDA-choice steaks.

Website: https://chessies-restaurant.com/

Giordano’s

Giordano’s, the pioneer of the famous stuffed and equally-renowned thin-crust pizza. Their menu has great pastas, sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts in over 40 Chicagoland locations.

Website: https://giordanos.com/locations/gurnee/

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Main Street Social

Offering made-from-scratch riffs on classic Italian and Mediterranean fare in a fun and classically Chicago setting. Outstanding wines from California, Italy and elsewhere including Main Street Social’s owner’s critically-acclaimed Bright Angel Wines and Main Street Social proprietary wines.

Website: https://www.mainstreetsoc.com/

Family-Friendly Attractions in the Lake County Area

Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America offers endless adventures for the entire family with 17 heart-pounding coasters, a 20-acre water park, spectacular shows, a nighttime parade and three children’s areas. Try Tsunami Surge will be the tallest water coaster in the world at a height of 86 feet.

Website: https://www.sixflags.com/greatamerica

Chicago Botanic Garden

With its world-renowned plant collection and displays, this is one of the country’s most-visited public gardens and is a preeminent center for learning and scientific research. The 385-acre garden features 27 gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on nine islands surrounded by lakes. Climb up a waterfall garden, chug over the Model Railroad Garden and enjoy exciting events with outdoor dining.

Website: https://www.chicagobotanic.org

Volo Auto Museum

These 36 acres of family fun are where you can see over 300 classic, antique and muscle cars, including the country’s largest display of Hollywood TV and movie cars. The Kids Exhibit features Disney and Looney Toons characters and kiddie rides. Experience the Military Combat Zone, a life-like Battle Scene with rare military vehicles and weapons.

Website: https://www.volocars.com/

Boundless Adventures

Boundless Adventures is family-owned business empowering and inspiring people to challenge themselves both mentally and physically. With challenge comes greater self-confidence and achievement. For ages 7+, there are 4 different types of courses in varying degrees of difficulty, and 9 courses in total.

Website: https://boundlessadventures.net/wi-park/

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Lambs Farm

Lambs Farm includes a farmyard which is fun for the whole family and features a petting area with sheep and goats and a variety of attractions like mini-golf, a mini-train ride, cow bounce house and an Old World carousel.

Website: https://lambsfarm.org/

Family-Friendly Accommodations in the Lake County Area

Lincolnshire Marriott Resort

Thirty minutes from downtown Chicago and O’Hare International Airports, the resort brings the best activities of the region. Newly redesigned guest rooms and suites showcase the latest amenities, modernized bathrooms and ergonomic work areas. Indulge in abundant recreation, including a PGA golf course, tennis center, two pools, spa and highly acclaimed musical theatre.

Website: https://www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/chiln-lincolnshire-marriott-resort/overview/

Great Wolf Lodge

Your family adventure begins in an enormous 80,000-square-foot indoor water park with thrilling waterslides, a giant tipping bucket and zero-depth entry water play areas for pre-swimmers. The 400 well-appointed suites come in several styles, accommodating families of every size and life stage.

Website: https://www.greatwolf.com/illinois

Hyatt Regency Deerfield

In the heart of Chicago’s prestigious North Shore, Hyatt offers suite-sized guest rooms, state-of-the-art StayFit health club, indoor lap pool, hot tub, high-speed Wi-Fi and more. Fully-renovated meeting and venue space awaits for all of your events.

Website: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/illinois/hyatt-regency-deerfield/

Embassy Suites Deerfield

The Embassy Suites Chicago Northshore-Deerfield is an all-suite hotel ideally located for travelers wanting first-class room accommodations and guest services. Take advantage of the sleek meeting and banquet facilities by throwing boisterous bash in our Lincolnshore & Deerbrook Ballrooms with 2,000 square feet of combined space.

Website: https://www.hilton.com/en/locations/usa/illinois/deerfield/embassy/

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Holiday Inn Gurnee

The convention center features 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. Located just off the lobby, this private area is ideal for weddings, corporate meetings, events and social gatherings.

Website: https://www.ihg.com/holidayinn/hotels/us/en/gurnee/

Family-Friendly Venues in the Lake County Area

Independence Grove/ Lake County Forest Preserves

This scenic 1,151-acre forest preserve offers a wide range of outdoor recreation and education opportunities centered around a 115-acre lake reclaimed from a gravel quarry. Visitors can enjoy 7.5 miles of trails, fishing and boating, a marina with boat and bike rentals, a native garden and the Beer Garden at Independence Grove.

Website: https://www.lcfpd.org/IG/

WhirlyBall

WhirlyBall combines basketball, hockey, lacrosse and bumper cars all rolled into one exciting sport! The most complete venue in Lake County offers a variety of entertainment options including WhirlyBall, two-level laser tag, video games, pool tables, complete food & beverage menus, fully-loaded sports bar and flexible event facility that accommodates 400 guests.

Website: https://www.whirlyball.com/vernon-hills

Illinois Beach State Park

Illinois Beach State Park is located along the shores of Lake Michigan from Waukegan to the Wisconsin state line. The park offers a campground, full-service resort, camp store, picnic areas, hiking and biking trails and a visitors center open intermittently throughout the year. There is swimming along the six miles of beaches.

Website: https://stateparks.com/illinois_beach_state_park_in_illinois.html

Lake County Fairgrounds

This is a multi-purpose exposition, conference, festival and sports venue. A 160-acre campus and 65,000-square-foot Expo Hall hosts year-round family events like RV shows, boat shows, dog shows, antique shows, fun runs, Motocross, corporate and funding functions.

Website: https://www.lcfairgrounds.com/home

Ready to find out more about how Lake County can help plan your family trip or reunion?

 

North Point Marina

Quiet, serene and safe, North Point Marina offers the relaxation you expect and the nurturing you need in a natural and lush recreational setting. The signature “One Price” slip rental includes electricity, water, TV  hookup, Free Wi-Fi, sanitary pump-outs, dock lockers, showers and restrooms, restricted parking and security.

Website: https://npmarina.com/

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Kimberly Ghys

Kimberly Ghys

Senior Account Executive

Email: kimberly@lakecounty.org
Phone: 847-662-2700

Website: www.visitlakecounty.org