So, You’re Relocating to Lake County?

Relocating can be very overwhelming.  Especially when you’re moving to an area of the country that you’ve never lived in before!  Read on to find the things you need to know about relocating to Lake County, and the things you won’t—spoiler alert—there are no typhoons!

relocating to lake county

My family moved to Lake County, Illinois in the summer of 2015.  We are a military family, so moving is no new idea for us. But having only lived overseas or in Southern California, moving to the Midwest was a new adventure for us.  Basements, for example, were uncharted territory.


While a home overlooking Lake Michigan might be pricey, there are plenty of water-accessible houses located on the famed ChainO’Lakes. This area runs through Lake County, sweeping south and west from Antioch to Johnsburg.  If you own a boat or have aspirations of owning one, the Chain O’ Lakes will give you access to the fun in the sun that’s guaranteed when living on the water.  There are even restaurants that are accessible by boat!

While searching for our home, the one thing that I couldn’t get over was the fact that Illinois had basements.  Imagine that–a whole level added underneath your house!  This can be a big change if you’re moving from somewhere like California, Texas or Florida.  Two things to note about basements: 1: they flood; and 2: there might be radon.

Be sure to request a radon test for your basement, as radon is a naturally occurring, carcinogenic gas that is released from the ground into the air. The results from our radon test were positive, so we requested a radon mitigator to be installed before we purchased the house.

Pay special attention to the sump pump on your property, which is what pulls the water from the area directly surrounding your house. My house sits at the bottom of a hill in my neighborhood, so my sump pump runs almost constantly, so we need to replace it every year or two.


Schools were the most important thing on my list when I was choosing a community.  I didn’t care if I had to live in a tiny house with no basement–I wanted a great school for my kids!  Even if you don’t have kids, or your kids are too young for school, you’ll find that the local school district plays heavily into the community’s feel.

Better schools seem to fall in line with higher taxes, but they also fall in line with lower crime rates and a better sense of community.  You can read all about Illinois public schools at:


If you’re moving from a warmer climate, you’ll want to start adding to your coat closet.  Illinois has four specific seasons that often weave together during the year. You’ll need a good winter coat and snow pants, along with hat(s), snow gloves and snow boots. Children must have these items for outdoor play at recess during the snowy months.

You’ll also need gloves that aren’t just for snow.  These gloves will be the ones your child wears to school when you know they won’t be going outside for recess or when you’re running errands on the weekends.  But guess what?  Said child will lose one of those gloves the first time they wear them, so you’d better get two pairs.  Think I’m kidding?  Just wait…

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the amount of winter gear you’ll need, then you’re in luck with my text tip!  We were gifted with great hand me down boots that act as a snow and a rain boot, plus they’re easy for your child to pull on and off!  They are called Boggs and they sell them for men, women and children.  These boots cost a little more than regular snow boots, but since they do double duty, they end up being cheaper in the long run.

Relocating to the Midwest also has many perks. Lake County boasts many forest preserves, with hiking trails, dog parks, pavilion rentals, and lakes.  The forest preserves also offer all-weather recreation, parks and children’s camps. Lake County is truly a great, family-oriented place to call home while you’re here.

Have you recently relocated to Lake County? Tell us your best transition tip in the comments section.

About Kari Alford 25 Articles
Kari is a military wife who gets to travel the globe with her favorite people: her family! She has a husband who is funnier than she lets on, a daughter who is more creative than anyone she’s ever met, and a son who is always up for an adventure (especially if it involves a sword fight!) Kari hails from Michigan, but thanks to joining the Navy when she was 19, she has lived in California and Japan until returning to the Midwest in 2015. Kari loves to experience what cities have to offer but also loves to kayak with her family, or explore the wilderness. Every day is a different one since she’s on her children’s school’s PTO board, the AYLL board, and goes to college part time. Kari hates being bored, so you’ll often find her with her crochet bag, working on an afghan while she’s waiting for her children during practice.

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