Lake County has something of a dual character, divided as it is between touring city-goers set on exploring the metropolitan heartlands of Chicago and more laid-back nature tourists in search of Lake Michigan’s quieter beach fronts and small-town charm. It’s a dichotomy that has left Lake County with a real cascade of different activities, ranging from the family friendly nature parks that pepper its outskirts, to the Chicagoan chain restaurants and sprawling theme park at Six Flags. In the winter there’s also plenty of scope for outdoor sports, with snowshoeing and skiing popular across Lake County’s backcountry. The region itself has great connections with Chicago that sits just under an hour’s drive away to the south, and is also served by Greyhound routes out of the city. There are also a number of nearby Amtrak stops, but these only tend to go as far as the suburban drop-offs within Chicago’s city limits.
With more than 6 miles of shoreline, this enclave of nature in northern Illinois boasts some of the state’s best beaches and lakeside trails. With everything from biking and hiking, to swimming and fishing on offer, there really is something for everyone at the Illinois Beach State Park; Lake County’s most popular all-in-one outdoor getaway.
With the introduction of the record-breaking Goliath ride in 2014, Six Flags is set to take a place amongst the big boys of world theme parks. The new attraction is touted to be the fastest wooden coaster on the planet, boasting the steepest drop and more than 180 feet of vertical descent. But, if that doesn’t sound like your thing, then why not head for the merry-go-rounds and lazy river attractions that make Six Flags the wholesome destination that it is?
A huge museum in Volo, Illinois, the Volo Auto Museum has a number of exhibitions geared towards families. Their Military Experience exhibit has all kinds of military vehicles like tanks and helicopters, while their Cars in Wonderland exhibit has all kinds of fantastical automobiles from cartoons. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This one is consistently rated as one of America’s best pancake houses, enticing locals and visitors alike for more than 50 years of classic American breakfasts. The menu now includes a host of traditional dishes, from omelettes and basted eggs, to pretty much any pancake flavour you could pine after, making Walker Bros. an iconic addition to the culinary scene north of Chicago. The restaurant has six locations in the North Chicago area.
With a great location close to the Big Bear Lake & Park, the Hotel Indigo is a family or business traveler’s hotel with a range of luxury amenities. Guests enjoy access to no less than two health resorts (one on-site and one off), while there’s also an indoor heated pool and plenty of fine-dining at the hotel’s own 450 North Bistro and Bar.