Top 5 Jaw-Dropping Playgrounds in Lake County

Playgrounds and Parks

We love all playgrounds – anything that encourages our kids to get outside and get active is A-OK in our book.  But this is ‘Murica, and sometimes you need to super-size your playground experience! So, we’ve put together our collection of the Top 5 Jaw-Dropping Playgrounds in Lake County. These are the playgrounds that will make your children’s eyes go big and leave them speechless. You’ll probably win a “Parent of the Year” award, or at least some well-earned gratitude for taking them to any of these sites. Just be prepared, because they may never want to leave…

best playgrounds in lake county

Jaw-Dropping Playgrounds in Lake County

Bowen Park, Waukegan

Connect with the Waukegan Park District | (847) 360-4700
There’s a reason Bowen Park is our Number #1 Jaw-Dropping Playground – precisely because your jaw will drop when you first lay eyes on it. I’m not sure which feature is most awe-inspiring: the 40-ft. tube slides built into the side of a hill, the double-decker spider climber, giant Allegro Spinner, the free splash pad, or simply the beautiful wooded setting? It doesn’t matter; they are all here for your enjoyment, along with a plethora of other well-thought-out features.

Bowen Park has served as the launch of our popular summer series, The Little Lake County Playground Tour in both 2014 and 2015.  For more details, read our complete Playground Profile of Bowen Park.

Sunset Woods, Highland Park

Connect with the Park District of Highland Park | (847) 831-3810
Small children will enjoy the tot playground with its pirate ship and parents will appreciate that it is completely fenced in. They’ll also love the two-level Petrified Park for archaeological adventures. Older children can pretend they are in the Swiss Family Robinson when they cross the rope bridge and crawl through the net tunnels of the Adventure Tree  House. Children of all ages will love the rocket ship tower and bubble pods.

According to Jennifer,

With four separate play areas for children, and amazing natural vistas, there is something for everyone to do or enjoy here.

Read Jennifer’s full review in our Sunset Woods Park Playground Profile and see it listed in our Toddler-Approved Playgrounds.

Warren Township Park, Gurnee

Connect with the Warren Township Center | (847) 244-1101
This was the first “jaw-dropping” park I ever took my child to, and I couldn’t help feeling that my own childhood was lacking once I saw it. There is so much to do for all ages and abilities. Large sprawling play structures big enough for adults, spider climber, disc swings, adaptive swings, rock climber, elephant slide, shrubbery maze, and even NEOS, an interactive electronic game that’s aerobic too!

My children have always been drawn to the giant sandpit that is the centerpiece of this playground. It has a water feature and plenty of sand toys to build the sandcastle of your dreams, but many children will choose to excavate dinosaur bones instead. Learn more about this park along with some of its newer features in our Warren Township Park Playground Profile.

Jewett Park, Deerfield

Connect with the Deerfield Park District | (847) 945-0650
For years, I would drive out to Whole Foods with no idea this lovely and expansive park tucked away across from the Metra Station and off of Waukegan Road. Jewett Park also houses the Park District offices and Community Center, which places it at the heart of the Deerfield community. The park is blessed with several amenities, including three separate playgrounds, a baseball diamond, a skate park, and a pavilion that often hosts free summer concerts.

Two playgrounds are located right next to the community center, and parents of small children will most appreciate the fully-fenced in tot lot with its adorable train structure. My favorite playground lies next to the pavilion and boasts a tall climbing tower with tube slides and an irresistible spinner.  The spinner was by far the most popular piece of equipment during our stop on the Little Lake County Playground Tour 2015.  

Learn more about this wonderful park in our Jewett Park Playground Profile and learn more about the tot playground listed in our Toddler-Approved Playgrounds post.

Paulus Park, Lake Zurich

Connect with the Village of Lake Zurich, Parks & Recreation | (847) 438-5146
Melissa was delighted to discover this park during the Grand Re-Opening of its playground last year. She appreciated its thoughtful construction that blends in with the natural surroundings and provides shade often lacking at other playgrounds. The best thing about Paulus Park is that it has everything you could want for a summer excursion with your family: new playground equipment, volleyball, beach, splash pad, shade, restrooms, skate park, and concessions.  Please note there is a fee to use the beach and splash pad.

For more details about Paulus Park, read our Paulus Park Playground Profile.

Put all five of these playgrounds on your must-visit list and you’ll be guaranteed some happy kids in return!

Do you have a favorite playground in Lake County that you consider to be a “jaw-dropper,” but don’t see it listed here?  Tell us about it in the comments. 

By Loralie

When Loralie isn’t out exploring with her two pint-sized adventurers you’ll often find her in front of her computer plotting to take over the world (or at least Lake County.) She appreciates good friends, good food, expensive shoes and parents who make two lanes in the drop-off/pick-up line at school. Her spirit animal is The Hobbit. She invites you to join her on her quest for unique distractions, diversions and deliciousness in this county we call home.

Top 5 Jaw-Dropping Playgrounds in Lake County


  1. I am surprised not to see Antioch’s Centennial Park. It is like a Castle, small places to hide, run and seek in. Swings, slides and tire bridges across it. It sits next to a pavilion so parents can hang out and enjoy as the energy gets burnt out of their young.

  2. One of our favorites is Hastings Park because of its wonderful turf for the little ones and great walking paths surrounding it for stroller rides. It is always well kept… And has indoor bathrooms!

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