Mud-Free Playgrounds in Lake County

With this nice weather finally here, it seems like I can’t even drive past a park without my son begging me to take him there. However, when I walk him up to the parks, I see that there are pools of water under the swings and that most of the ground and slides are covered in mud. So I have to bring him back to the car crying–mom fail!

playgrounds with turf in lake county

However, I don’t have to be the bad guy anymore. There are actually several parks in Lake County that have turf, which equals mud free fun. I have been seeing more and more parks pop up that have turf, and I love it. So I rounded up a list of parks that you can bring your littles to that you don’t have to worry about muddy shoes ruining the backseat of your car.

Lake County Parks with Complete Turf 

Hastings Lake Playground

Hastings Lake Playground
21155 W. Gelden Road, Lake Villa

We all fell in love with Hastings Lake playground when we first discovered it. One of their best features is their turf ground.  The turf is laid to resemble a river streaming into a lake. You will see fallen logs, lilly pads, and frogs on it to make it more realistic looking.

That’s not the only good part about this park. With their two large play structures, swings, rock climbing, beaver hut, and picnic area, this is a park that will appeal to all ages. This park is quite a drive away from me, however it is totally worth the trip. Every time we go we spend hours there. There is really just so much to do.  See Melissa’s 2014 Review! 

*Editor’s Update 3/24/2017: 
Kid’s Castle at Deerpath Park

299 Onwentsia Road, Vernon Hills

Completely renovated in 2016, the beloved  Kid’s Castle playground at Deerpath Park in Vernon Hills is better than ever.  Children can live their own fairy tale on this truly regal playground that features pour-in-place spongy rubber surfaces.

What is extra special about this playground is that it is a community labor of love with residents involved in choosing the design, demolition, assembly and landscaping.  You can see and feel the love and care.

Photo Source : Lindenhurst Park District Website
Photo Source Lindenhurst Park District Website

Engle Junction Playground
2200 Grass Lake Road, Lindenhurst

Featured in our list of best parks for toddlers, Engle Junction is a good choice for little ones. Our writer Holly describes this park as “the holy grail of playgrounds” for parents of toddlers.  The turf ground makes it easy for new walkers to walk across, and the whole park is entirely fenced in.   While this park was initially developed for the Lindenhurst Park District’s preschool program, don’t be fooled into thinking you are not allowed to play there.  The Engle Junction Playground is open and welcome for public use.  Check out Holly’s 2014 Review

Photo Credit : Genevieve O'Keefe.
Photo Credit : Genevieve O’Keefe.

Independence Grove 
16400 W Buckley Rd., Libertyville

When you step into the playground at Independence Grove, the first thing you will notice is how springy the ground is. The ground is covered with rubber wood chips making it completely mud-free. The park is definitely one that you can spend hours at. There are two different levels, a massive climbing wall, and an underground tunnel.  This is a perfect park for a day after it rains.

Photo Source: Wheeling Park District Website.
Photo Source: Wheeling Park District Website.

Husky Park
1100 Lee Street, Wheeling

This park is one of the newer parks  in the Lake County area. The park is all under a shelter which will keep out sun as well as keep some of it dry from rain. The ground is covered with a soft, safe surface. The park features many slides, climbers, and swings, making it a great choice for kids of all ages.

Photo Credit: L. Thomas
Photo Credit: L. Thomas

*Editor’s Update 5/16/2016: 
Torrey Pines Park
520 Torrey Pines Way, Vernon Hills

Nestled in the Gregg’s Landing subdivision, this park features recycled rubber mulch, so no soggy sneakers here!  There’s a shaded shelter along with the playground equipment and viewing platform for a nearby pond.  There is no parking lot, but there is limited street parking on the side street.

Ravinia Woods Park Gurnee
Photo Credit: L. Thomas

*Editor’s Update 3/20/2017: 
Ravinia Park
985 Ravinia Drive, Gurnee

Located inside the Ravinia Woods subdivision and renovated just last year, this fun little playground features artificial turf and poured-in-place rubber surfacing.  The rubber surfacing makes it not only mud-free but ADA compliant for children of all abilities.  My children’s favorite feature is the webbed spinner. Note, that there is a parking lot but no restrooms.  Read our review from Kari A. for more info – Ravinia Park Playground Profile. 

*Editor’s Update 5/16/2017:
West Park
850 North Summit Avenue, Lake Forest

According to Chad,

With multiple slides, climbing nets, and bridges, West Park offers plenty of options for the active kids in your family. It also features a four-person seesaw and a rubber hammock that acts as a walking and balancing platform.

And not to be missed is the 50-ft. zipline!  Learn more in Chad’s West Park Playground Profile.

© J. Burris | Little Lake | 2017

*Editor’s Update 5/16/2017:
Horizon Park
350 Northgate Parkway, Wheeling

Jenna enjoys the eco-friendly turf and adventurous kids will love the zipline. Bathrooms and vending machines are nearby and the park features two main playground areas for older and younger children.  Read all about it Jenna’s Horizon Park Playground Profile.

Lake County Parks with Partial Turf

Photo Source: Gurnee Park District Website
Photo Source Gurnee Park District Website

Christine Thompson Park
Woodlawn Ave and Belle Plaine Ave, Gurnee

I stumbled upon this gem of a park on accident.  When we arrived I was rather impressed that the ground that appeared to be grass was actually turf designed to just look like grass.  The turf is located underneath the swings as well as under the playground that was designed for smaller children. Underneath the playground for older children is just standard woodchips. This park was newly remodeled and features several swings, slides, a gazebo, and even a rock climbing wall. We will definitely be going back during the spring.

Photo Credit: Loralie Thomas

Bowen Park
1800 North Sheridan Road, Waukegan

Featured in our list of Jaw-Dropping Playgrounds in Lake County, this is definitely one you want to check out.   With an outlook tower with 4o-foot tube slides, spider climber, spinner, splash pad, and toddler play area, this is one park that will easily entertain kids of all ages.

The ground of the park is mostly woodchips, however there are a few areas with rubberized turf. When you climb the area to the upper hill, the ground appears to be covered in wood chips. However it is actually rubberized turf designed to just look like wood chips. The surface of the toddler play area is rubberized as well to help new walkers.  Check out Loralie’s 2014 review.

Betty Russell Playground
Photo Credit: Melissa Haak.

Betty Russell Park
5300 Pinewood Rd., Gurnee

Featured as our number one pick for best playgrounds for toddlers, Betty Russell park is a great pick for a spring day.  Some of the ground is covered in spongy turf, while others have wood chips.  The park has several play structures including a train car, swings, and sports fields which would appeal to a variety of ages. Check out our 2013 review. 

Where will you be playing on the next muddy day? 

About Tracy Rubel 58 Articles
Tracy dreams of someday being considered a “cool” mom and she can still remember the days when she had time to put on makeup in the morning. She is a young, single, stay-at-home mom to an awesome little boy named Jayden. She recently graduated college with a degree in Early Childhood Education and has lived in various parts of Lake County her whole life. Every day, she and her son set off in her Jeep, rocking a pair of oversized sunglasses, in search of a new and exciting adventure to go on. In her free time she enjoys photography, reading, dancing, yoga, shopping, and pinning kid’s activities on Pinterest. She truly believes that if she was given enough Starbucks that she could rule the world.

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