Summer Fun Guide For Kids in Lake County 2021

After a year and change of quarantining, remote learning, in-person school and siblings nearly at each other’s throats, as summer is officially in session.

There are plenty of summer fun activities for your youngsters as we stroll into a more normal season with the land of lakes open for business across the board.

Explore the land of lakes nature settings, bask in the sun along the shore, discovering historical nuggets, filling your belly with world-class eats and playing with a few creatures just scratches the surface of what summer fun your kiddies can get into.

Lake County’s natural beauty and diverse attractions make it the perfect place for an extended vacation. So let the ride take you to the land of lakes and take advantage of summer fun the land of lakes has to offer. Continue scrolling for your summer fun guide for kids in Lake County.

Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor Chicago in Gurnee

Great news for the thrill-seekers, young and old, Six Flags Great America has reopened its doors. The Gurnee theme park is home to 17 coasters, with three of the rides making history in the “Guinness Book of World Records.” Glide down the globe’s longest wooden coaster drop, Goliath, blast through the park with Maxx Force’s record-breaking launch, sprinting from 0-78 mph in under two seconds, take a spin on the world’s largest looping ride, Mardi Gras Hangover. Joining the ranks at Hurricane Harbor Chicago is Tsunami Surge, the soon-to-be world’s tallest water coaster. So take a dip in the drink, and experience all the thrills at Hurricane Harbor Chicago. The H2O haven is equipped with numerous waterslides; the main swimming area is Monsoon Lagoon, a kid zone play area that utterly soaks attendees, an interactive surf area and so much more.  Hurricane Harbor Chicago is open through Labor Day. Summer fun is always on the horizon at the Looney Tunes and D.C. Comics amusement park.

Ravinia Festival in Highland Park


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When the summer breezes roll in, there’s no better way to spend a night than under the stars, on a blanket, listening to live music at the oldest outdoor concert series in North America. This Highland Park fest is a pure celebration of summer in Lake County and an awesome opportunity to expose your youngsters to live entertainment. Easily accessible by the Metra Train Union Pacific North Line, it’s just a few stops north of Chicago. While music is what brings everyone together at Ravinia, the real magic is in the unique ambiance. Don’t hesitate to turn a little spot of lawn into your own outdoor living room.

Beaches in Lake County

The land of lakes is home to over 200 lakes and miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, which means the beaches are abundant. Searching for an adventure in one of the Great Lakes? Illinois Beach State Park in Zion or Waukegan Municipal Beach is your destination. Taking your little guppies for a more youngster-friendly environment? Lake Zurich’s Paulus Park Beach has lifeguards and a water playground. So take a dip and cool yourself off this summer along one of Lake County’s relaxing shores. So kick back and relax, and remember, life’s a beach!

Great Wolf Lodge Illinois in Gurnee


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Ahhhwooooo! The wolf has risen. Your little slip and sliders can have some summer fun in the Northwoods-themed park and accommodation. Whatever the temperature may be outside, it’s always a comfortable 84 degrees in the Gurnee resort. Your woodsy adventure starts and ends with the 80,000 square foot facility with water slides, a river to be lazy on, a wave pool, a kiddie area and so much more. Great Wolf Lodge is also highlighted by mini-golf, an arcade, a bowling alley, fun and games with Wolf characters and so much more. Venture to the Gurnee facility for a fam glamping experience. Mosquitos aren’t invited.

The Great Outdoors in Lake County


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There are numerous outdoor venues to explore nature in Lake County! With 170 lakes and rivers, enjoy Illinois Beach State Park in Zion off the shores of Lake Michigan and Chain O’ Lakes State Park in Spring Grove. Plus, with nearly 31,000 acres of land to explore at the Lake County Forest Preserves, Lake County offers outdoor beauty and trails for hikingboatingfishingbird watchinggolf and many other activities.

Bristol Renaissance Faire Just North of Lake County

Turn back time and travel just north of Lake County to the 16th-century at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. The festival’s opening weekend is highlighted by delectable food, a marketplace with unique handcrafted wares, an interactive theatrical gaming experience and a slew of other 1500s festivities. There is plenty of excitement for youngsters as the Bristol Renaissance Faire has been voted as the top 10 family-friendly festivals for nearly a decade. However, adult shenanigans can commence if you’re visiting without kiddies, as adults 21 and older can take a tour of the Kenosha, WI facility that hosts their legendary pub crawl. Attendees are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Renaissance-era attire while enjoying the sights and sounds of Medieval Europe. The Olde English fest will run on Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day weekend.

Lake County Road Trips

Lake County Road Trips showcases five different experiences via car, bike or hoofing to create an adventure on Illinois arterial highways Illinois Route 21, U.S. Route 45, Illinois Route 83, Illinois Route 41 and U.S. Route 12. Sure, your kiddies maybe aren’t licensed to drive yet, but these road trips will produce memories with the fam and them. Take in the scenery on a new road and see where it leads. The places you’ll discover will leave lasting memories you’ll want to experience again. But first, choose your ride. A car ride on a summer’s day. A bike on a fragrant forest path. Kayaking on a serene river. Boating, then docking at a lakeside restaurant. Or strolling down a quaint, boutique-lined main street. This summer, don’t just take a road trip. Let the Ride Take You to the beauty, history, nature and discovery of Lake County, Illinois, as children will have a fond memory of this experience.

Museums in Lake County 


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From nuggets about the Greentown griot, learn the history of Grayslake, the men and women who sing anchors aweigh to the critters that inhabit Lake County, and the roadsters in our favorite Hollywood flicks and more. Get some education and culture into your youngsters while they are on summer break.

  • Waukegan History Museum INFO»
  • Volo Museum INFO»
  • Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County in Libertyville INFO»
  • Grayslake Heritage Museum & Center INFO»
  • Ray Bradbury Experience Museum in Waukegan (Open Periodically. Call for hours). INFO»
  • National Museum of the American Sailor at Naval Station Great Lakes  INFO»
  • Brushwood Center at Ryerson Conservation INFO»

Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

One of the most beautiful destinations in Illinois is none other than the Chicago Botanic Garden. Just south of Lake County (literally, you just have to cross Lake Cook Road from where Ravinia is located and you’re there), this 385-acre sanctuary features 27 gardens and four natural areas situated on nine islands and surrounded by tranquil lakes. There’s so much more natural splendor, but you have to see it with your own eyes to believe it. Your youngsters will be ecstatic to visit the Butterflies & Blooms and the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America exhibits.

Miller’s Dog N Suds in Ingleside

Miller’s Dog N Suds is the home of the Coney dog and their famous creamy root beer. The Ingleside drive-thru-styled eatery is a four-generation, family-owned business that recently celebrated its 50th birthday in 2017. A little touch of the past is still relevant today because you can’t pass up a delicious hot dog. Miller’s Dog N Suds regularly hosts concerts and classic car nights as well. At one point, there were 600 locations of the restaurant. Currently, 14 Dog N Suds is still in operation with one other place in Lake County (Grayslake). Other items on the menu at the iconic restaurant include Texasburgers, corndogs, cheese dogs, chicken sandwich and their shake of the month. Miller’s Dog N Suds is open from May through October.

Camping in Lake County 


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“My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in the corner of nature” – Claude Monet. Camping season is officially upon us. Lake County may have a few spots to camp, but boy, are they mighty. Visit these three locations in the land of lakes where the deer and the antelope play. The three campsites remain open through October.

  • Illinois Beach State Park in Zion INFO»
  • Fish Lake Beach in Volo INFO»
  • Chain O’Lakes State Park in Antioch INFO»

WhirlyBall in Vernon Hills


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Bump, collide and compete against your friends in the unique bumper car sport WhirlyBall. Everyone’s favorite lacrosse/basketball/bumper car fusion game is the perfect place for summer fun. The play place also has a little something for adults in the libation department. Besides delectable eats, WhirlyBall has a vast selection of brews while the youngsters duke it out (or you join in on the fun). You can also have a sci-fi expedition as you and the kids zap either in laser tag.

Tempel Lipizzans in Old Mill Creek


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Bet you and your kiddies didn’t know horses can bust a move. These trusty and elegant steeds may not be choreographing TikTok dances, but they will jeté, pirouette and dazzle your hearts. The Tempel Lipizzans season is officially underway and the Old Mill Creek farm. So have a meet and greet, learn the history of these borderline unicorns and see the Lipizzans in their awesome majesty. 

Extreme Flight Simulation in Gurnee

Every time a bell rings, a prospective pilot gets their wings. Extreme Flight Simulations (figuratively) provides individuals with frequent flyer miles in the Gurnee facility’s airplane simulator. Take off, coast and land as this soaring simulator accurately reproduces the flight deck of the 737 NG. The aerodynamic attraction is open to the public, and no flight experience is needed. 

Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest

“Zoo animals are ambassadors for their cousins in the wild” – Jack Hanna. Take the family to see over 150 unique reptiles and other critters at Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, including their rattlesnake collection, lizards, snakes of all shapes and sizes, turtles, tortoises, crocodiles, an assortment of frogs, a baby sloth and more.

Skate Parks in Lake County

Say cowabunga as you land an ollie in one of Lake County’s skate park halfpipes: Warren Township Center Skate Park, Viking Park, Betty Russell Community Park and Churchill Hunt Park (Gurnee), Jewett Park Skate Park (Deerfield), Williams Park (Antioch), Daniel Barry Memorial Skate Park (Grayslake), Waukegan Skate Park and Sullivan Community Center.

Boundless Adventures Just North of the Lake County Border

Outdoor adventure seekers can rejoice as Boundless Adventures has reopened for the season just over the Lake County border. This nine-course facility empowers and inspires individuals to challenge themselves both mentally and physically. The Bristol, WI entity is the thrill-seekers’ haven and is highlighted by ziplining, obstacle courses, tree climbing and all sorts of challenging athletic expeditions for you. Choose your adventure based on your height, fitness level and comfort zone.

Launch Trampoline Park Gurnee


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Youths can jump for joy at this indoor fun and fitness emporium. This Gurnee amusement center stretches 16,000 square feet and is equipped with trampolines, dodgeball courts, a foam jumping pit, an arcade, obstacle courses, laser tag and a restaurant called Krave. Flip, flop, dunk and dive all summer long at Launch Trampoline Park Gurnee.

Lambs Farm in Libertyville


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Old Lake County had a farm E-I-E-I-O. The Libertyville/Green Oaks farmyard is highlighted by a petting area with sheep, goats and a plethora of other livestock creatures to meet and greet, various attractions like miniature golf, an old-world carousel and more. Visit the homestead’s Dogwood Pet Shop, Magnolia Café & Bakery and the Sugar Maple Country Store for delectable treats, unique treasures, adorable puppies and kittens. The Libertyville grounds’ businesses benefit programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. Lambs Farm is also celebrating its 60th born day in September.

Miniature Golf in Lake County

Hit the links in Lake County…on a far smaller course. It’s all in the hips. Make your tee times for some of the most unusual, scenic, difficult and competitive outings at two of Lake County’s best miniature golf courses. Before you hit the big boy golf courses, work on the short game at these two locations:

  • Par-King Skill Golf in Lincolnshire INFO»
  • Kristof’s Entertainment Center in Round Lake Beach INFO»

Summer Festivals in Lake County

Pardon our French, but the summer festival season in Lake County is lit AF (of course, we’re talking about atrial fibrillation) because these box socials can make your heart get jumpy). So get the fam and them together to achieve squad goals as summer festival season returns. Some of the marquee fests include Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, the 92nd annual Lake County Fair in Grayslake, Potawatomi Trails Pow Wow in Zion, Antioch Taste of Summer and more.

Stargazing in Lake County


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“Ground control from Major Tom.” Staring fondly into the eyes of a constellation is a wondrous sight. As we move closer to normalcy, you and your mini-mes can still keep their heads in the sky and experience the constellations hovering over Lake County.

Architectural Gems in Lake County

Illinois is known for its iconic, eccentric and historical structures all throughout the state. From Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings to a plethora of Windy City skyscrapers to governmental buildings in Springfield and clergy places, the Land of Lincoln is choc-full of man-made beauty. Lake County is home to some of the quintessential facilities that are must-view buildings. Some are ageless wonders, some are beautiful and gaudy to look at and some are eccentric out-of-place structures that define Lake County.

Angling in Lake County

Cast your hook, line and sinker as you try to nab a fresh fish. You have the OP-PERCH-TUNA-ty to exSALMON the waters and reel in the catch of the day. Lake County is named that for a reason, and the lakes are full of black crappie, bluegill, catfish, muskellunge, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye and other species.

Trails in Lake County


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No matter the season, we enjoy the fruits of what Mother Nature gave us in Lake County: The tall trees, the winding trails, the serene bodies of water, the creatures and critters and the picturesque plant life. Lake County also provides outdoor escapes from the shelter in place with an up close and personal live-action Claude Monet portraits like Des Plaines River Trail, Greenbelt Forest Preserve, Millennium Trail and Greenway, Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve and many more.

For more information on the summer fun guide for kids in Lake County, continue here. To learn more about family fun in the land of lakes, click here.

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