100 Things to do this Summer in Lake County

summer fun in Lake County

Summer is here and Lake County if full of fun just waiting to be had. Consider this your checklist of what to do to make 2015 an epic summer to remember.

  1. Join us at 1 or more stops on the 2015 Little Lake County Playground Tour! Remember to get your VIP badge at our first stop in Bowen Park for a chance to win a free fall session at Foss Swim School!
  2. Visit Waukegan Municipal Beach.
  3. Watch a movie outside at one of the Outdoor Movie Series.
  4. Rock-out at a Kindie Concert! (Translation:  Kids Independent Artist Concert, there are several series happening all summer).
  5. Visit a new to you playground.
  6. Don’t be bummed about a rainy day! Have fun and save money at one of the summer movie clubs for kids. Most shows are less than $5 each (some are free!)
  7. Head to your local library, or make it an adventure and head to a different one! Not only can you beat the heat they have a variety of fun activities form concerts and movies to storytimes and drop-in crafts.
  8. Visit Barefoot Bay for one of there 3 Summer Splash Days. On summer Splash Days admission after 3 p.m. is free for one child per paying Mundelien adult.
  9. Start your day (or end it) at the Grayslake Spray Park.
  10. Go Bowling! Sign-up at KidsBowlFree.com and they can bowl for FREE in Round Lake, Waukegan and Mundelein.
Bowen Park Splash Pad
Bowen Park Splash Pad
  1. Visit the Mundelein Spray Park.
  2. Go Fishing! There are several kids fishing derbies or stop by Independence Grove for one of it’s drop-in fishing days. They provide poles and instruction (for only $1).
  3. Spend a lunch hour at MainStreet Libertyville’s Out to Lunch.
  4. Pick your own food! Strawberries will be ready soon and watch for details on other berries and apples in the late summer.
  5. Visit a Farmers Market and try a new vegetable.
  6. Enjoy a community campfire at Community Campfire Friday Nights.
  7. Stroll Waukegan’s Art District at ArtWauk held  monthly (usually the third Saturday).
  8. Take a walk through a local cruise night and watch your kids ooh and ahh over how different the cars used to look.
  9. Go on a picnic! These playgrounds are the perfect spot for playdate picnics.
  10.  Explore the woods, safely! Head to Wander Woods at Heller Nature Center and let the kids climb, dig, and explore.

2013 Grayslake Car Show © M. Haak | Little Lake County.com | 2015

  1. Visit Crabtree Nature Center in South Barrington.
  2. Make your own popsicles. Try Heather’s healthy version of rocket pops. 
  3. Try out geo-caching.
  4. Go to a summer festival. We publish a list of the weekend festival every Friday.
  5. Take a Small Serendipity Class ($1 per child every other Wednesday) at River Trails Nature Center (Northbrook).
  6. Visit the Lake County Fair. Worried about taking the kids? Read our tips for tackling the fair with little kids.
  7. Stroll through one of Lake County’s downtown’s and look for public art. Wauconda is once again hosting Art on Main street with their Adirondack exhibit.
  8. See the North Central O-Gaugers model train run at the Fremont Library, held monthly on the Second Saturday.
  9. Visit a touch-a-truck event and take a picture of your kids standing in a wheel bigger than them!
  10. Take a day trip to Chicago. You can’t ignore that big beautiful city to the south of us. Save money by visiting on a museum free day or take Loralie’s itinerary for a full day of fun for less than $20.
Maggie Daley Park L. Thomas | littlelakecounty.com | 2015
Maggie Daley Park Chicago © L. Thomas | Little Lake County.com | 2015
  1.  Have a giant sundae for dinner.
  2. Take the kids on a hike. Visit one of these hiking trails with playgrounds for added fun.
  3. Visit the Chicago Botanic Garden for one of their drop-in activities.
  4. Visit Bonner Heritage Farm (Lindenhurst).
  5. Go back in time at Civil War Days (Lakewood, Wauconda).
  6. Grill your pizza. Don’t want to try it yourself? Visit one of these fire roasted pizza locales.
  7. Visit the Wildlife Discovery Center (free admission!) at Elawa Farm (Lake Forest).
  8. Have lunch (or dinner) at a Drive-in.
  9. Get an ice-cream cone. These are our fan favorite ice cream shops. 
  10. Sign up for summer reading at your local library. Check out the Little Library Bookshelf for ideas on what to read.
ice cream
Tastee Freeze Grayslake Chocolate Dipped Cone © M. Haak | Little Lake County.com | 2015
  1. Go to an art festival or create your own with your kids’ art.
  2. Plant a fairy garden.
  3. Build a sand castle.
  4. See fireworks.
  5. Stay up late and look for stars. Don’t know what you’re seeing? Go to a Lake County Astronomical Society event. They hold viewings at local libraries as well as a monthly star viewing at Volo Bog.
  6. Run through a sprinkler.
  7. Take a family bike ride. These are our favorite trails for family bike rides. 
  8. Have a family game night. These are some of our favorite games.
  9. Find a food truck in Lake County.
  10. Go out to breakfast.
Mundelein Fireworks © T. Reubel | Little Lake County.com | 2015
  1. See hot air balloons at Color Aloft. Stay for the glow when the balloons return for a chance to step inside one (when grounded).
  2. Go to a parade.
  3. Take your favorite donuts to a park for an outdoor breakfast. Let the kids wear their pajamas.
  4. Ride a horse.
  5. Visit a carnival. Cheryl’s family loves Mundelein Community Days. 
  6. Visit one of the Japanese Garden festivals at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.
  7. Visit Lambs Farm, don’t miss the playground!
  8. Let your inner 80’s child out and go roller skating.
  9. Give the kids a dollar (or two) and head to a neighborhood garage sale. Let them buy whatever they want (you can always put it back out in yours!)
  10. Go to a drive-in movie.
McHenry Drive-in
McHenry Outdoor Theater © S. Younge | Little Lake County.com | 2015
  1. Cool off on a hot day at the ice rink! In past summer’s Rink Side Sports Family Entertainment Center has offered discounted admission on a day over 90 degrees.
  2. Watch the Wings Over Waukegan Air Show, this year’s show is September 12 & 13.
  3. Visit a zoo, while there is not one in Lake County we are close enough to visit several Brookfield, Lincoln Park, Racine, and Milwaukee.
  4. Take a day trip to Kenosha and visit one of their free museums, like the Dinosaur Discovery Museum.
  5. Go swimming. Have a little one? Check out our listing of Tot Swim hours especially for toddlers and preschoolers.
  6. Find some local history, visit one of our local museums.
  7. Play with the Raupp Museum at one of their museum in the park playdates.
  8. See a Rodeo in Wauconda.
  9. Meet up with Gurnee Park District’s Rec-Mobile at one of their stops.
  10. Take a day trip to the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Have toddlers? Loralie has a toddlers Guide to the Ren Faire.
Waukegan Air Show
Wings over Waukegan Air Show © M. Haak | Little Lake County.com | 2015
  1. Summer in Lake County can’t be complete without a trip to Six Flags. Check out Visit Lake County’s Kids Guide to Great America for how to get the best price on tickets and more.
  2. Plant a Vegetable garden. Loralie has some tips in her beginners guide to green gardening.
  3. Blow bubbles.
  4. Make sidewalk chalk art.
  5. Go to a Ravinia kids show.
  6. Build an outdoor obstacle course.
  7. Host a lemonade stand for charity.
  8. Visit Cacao Sweets & Treats for one of our Cupcakes for a Cause event.
  9. Rent a paddle boat at Independence Grove.
  10. Plant a butterfly garden.

Ravinia Festival

  1. Take a day trip to McHenry County, our McHenry Mama Shelby gives you here picks once a month.
  2. Skip Stones at Butler Lake.
  3. Go barefoot.
  4. Visit the Waukegan Park District’s Art Van at one of it’s Arts Park stops.
  5. Fly a kite or go to a kite festival.
  6. Visit a farm to table restaurant or create your own by getting dinner from the farmers market.
  7. Host a playground crawl for your friends. How many parks can you do in one day?
  8. Climb a tree.
  9. Have an (iced) tea party. Our southern belle Krystal has the recipe for sweet tea. 
  10. Make your own ice cream. Our girl in the kitchen Heather has a patriotic recipe everyone will love. 
Hanrahan Park, Mundelein © C. Keegan | Little Lake County.com | 2015
  1. Visit the Lake County Discovery Museum. Tuesday kids get in free and parents are half price! Their newest exhibit is perfect for sneaky summer learning that seems like fun.
  2. Visit the Round Lake Children’s Neighborhood Museum.
  3. Play inside! Beat the heat (or save a rainy day) at an indoor play place. Westfield Hawthorn has a brand new one, Chick-fil-A Vernon Hills, or the Treehouse (Lake Zurich).
  4. Take a day trip to Green Meadows Petting Farm.
  5. Go to a Miss. Jaime from the Farm Show. She plays at all Mariano’s monthly.
  6. Hike Volo Bog.
  7. Go to a pajama storytime.
  8. See a children’s play. Summer is a great time to see ones performed by youth theater groups.
  9. Take a music class, or drop-in at one of the library ones so your kids can rock the playground with us!
  10. Make s’mores!

Get out there and make it the most epic summer of fun Lake County! Did we miss your must do summer activity? Be sure to share it in the comments so we can try it out and add it to next years list!

If you use our list when you’re out playing share your adventures with us using the tag #LLCPlays

About Melissa Haak 653 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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