You don’t always have to go to bed on time. And now that the weather is getting nice–aka the sun stays up longer–live it up and explore. If you’re new to Lake County or just need a new idea, here are my personal, top 10 favorite things to do while living in Lake County that my kids love and I don’t hate.
1. Six Flags Great America. My son thinks there are three Americas: North, South and Great. And you can cross two out of the three off of your list AND ride the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster. My son is now 48 inches tall, officially, which is one of life’s big milestones, let me tell you. The day you get measured by three different employees and get the wrist band, AND ride the American Eagle with your friend, is a day you won’t soon forget. Be sure to check out the Six Flags Great America website for hours and prices.
Younger children will like: Rides for all ages.
Older children will like: Exploring the ‘”dangerous” rides and laughing at mom and dad screaming on the Demon.
Grownups will like: Being nostalgic and people watching.
But is there alcohol? Around every corner.
2. Eating OUTSIDE. Literally, this is my favorite thing to do. I like to sit in the sun and have someone wait on me. And the most beautiful place to do this is Lindy’s Landing in Wauconda. Have you been? Your kids can swim in the VERY shallow water of Bangs Lake while you slip your flip flops off and rub your toes in the sand and enjoy the world’s best Mai Tai. You’re welcome.
Younger children will like: Swimming and sand castles.
Older children will like: Walking down the dock and feeding the ducks.
Grownups will like: A few hours of bliss with a waitress that comes to the beach.
But is there alcohol? Seriously, the world’s best Mai Tai.
Younger children will like: The playground and all the open space.
Older children will like: Shopping for toys, snacks and the pet store.
Grownups will like: The restaurant and pet store.
But is there alcohol? Nope.
4. A drive-in movie at the McHenry Outdoor Theatre (technically in McHenry County, but just barely over the Lake County border). So fun. For the whole family. Not sure if you’ve been in a while, but think ‘tailgating’. You can bring your own food and drinks. Get there early and play Frisbee. People don’t actually sit in their cars (unless the weather is cold/rainy), they bring lawn chairs and hang out outside and soak in the fireflies and stars in the sky. Maybe it’s because my kids get really tired and let me cuddle with them under a blanket …but this is my absolute favorite thing to do, oh wait, please don’t stop reading the rest of my list…
Younger children will like: Wearing their pj’s.
Older children will like: Staying up late.
Grownups will like: A whole family adventure, and putting the little ones to sleep in the back seat if they can’t make it through the show.
But is there alcohol? If you bring it along, yes!
5. The BMW Championship. Held in Lake Forest at Conway Farms Golf Club on September 14-20, tickets are already on sale, and kids attend free with a paying adult. I don’t like golf, but this is a pretty impressive event, and it is located so close to our house. I plan on taking my kids (Shhh, this is my husband’s Father’s Day present. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read my articles, but I guess we’ll find out now won’t we? I’ll let you know… ). If you don’t make it to the tournament, check out all the local places to golf with your family in Lake County. If you have little ones, even a driving range can be hours of fun.
Younger children will like: Sunshine, outdoors, golf clubs and golf carts.
Older children will like: Famous people.
Grownups will like: A professional sporting event and getting your children excited about one of your favorite sports.
But is there alcohol? Yes.
6. The Classics: roller-skating, bowling, mini-golf, trampoline parks, libraries, farmer’s markets, playgrounds. Bring a kite, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, rent a paddle boat or bike ride to make it even more memorable. Be sure to check Little Lake County’s Facebook page for ideas; other events can also be found at the Lake County, Illinois Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
Younger children will like: Everything!
Older children will like: Making memories.
Grownups will like: Photo opportunities of children flying kites and just being kids.
But is there alcohol? Depends on where you go…
Younger children will like: All of the characters and music.
Older children will like: Sitting up close.
Grownups will like: Sitting down and relaxing for a minute while the entire family is entertained.
But is there alcohol? Yes, in restaurants before and after the show, and at concessions at intermission.
8. A Kirk Players show. This community theatre group is in their 49th season. Tickets are affordable, all profits go back to the community, and it is a nice, local theatre group. Summer workshop registration is underway if you have a budding thespian on your hands.
Younger children will like: Seeing their friend in the play, or knowing they can try out when they turn eight.
Older children will like: Close seats and exciting plots.
Grownups will like: The price tag and their mission, and the stunning entertainment.
But is there alcohol? Nope.
9. Arlington International Racecourse. While this is technically in Cook County (but just barely), you can find face painting and gambling under one roof. Who isn’t happy here? Sundays are family days.
Younger children will like: The petting zoo and face painting.
Older children will like: Pony rides, and telling mom or dad to place a bet for them.
Grownups will like: Meeting-up with other families and not having to host. This location is a good half-way point for friends in the south or western suburbs, plus it is public transportation-friendly from Chicago.
But is there alcohol? Yes.
10. A party at home. Sometimes you don’t have to leave your house, you just have to be friends with someone FUN in Lake County, and that’s reason enough to come visit. At our house life isn’t meant to be lived, it is meant to be celebrated! We’ve had parties for almost no reason at all. A sticky candy party when my son got his orthodontics off. A hot chocolate costume party so the first graders could have another excuse to wear their costume after Halloween. A Chinese New Year party–love that one, I just ordered take out!
During the Olympics we had our own “basement olympics” featuring ping pong, air hockey, Foosball and kiddie bowling. We held a first birthday party for our puppy, complete with toilet water (blue fruit punch) and cupcakes. I’m also planning a Back to the Future movie marathon –with full viewing of the flux capacitor–on Oct 21, 2015. What do we want? TIME TRAVEL! When do we want it? It’s irrelevant… And next year I think square root day on 4/4/16 is going to be even bigger than Pi(e) Day (3.14.15). I’m just saying… you heard it here first. Mark your calendars.
Younger children will like: Naptime and the usual routines.
Older children will like: Getting together with friends and no crowds.
Grownups will like: Getting together with close friends; sticking to a budget.
But is there alcohol? Depends on who your friends are, but I hope so!
What is your family’s favorite, kid-pleasing activity that doesn’t suck for grown-ups?
Editor’s Note: Please drink responsibly. We don’t think that you have to drink with your kids to have fun, it just can make it more feel more like an “adult” outing and not a playdate.