When planning your next reunion, there are many factors to consider. You want the location to be welcoming, easily accessible and fun on any budget. Attractions should be suitable for all ages, outdoor activities must be ample and spaces need to accommodate large groups.
Perfectly located between the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas, Lake County combines the recreation opportunities and hospitality of the Upper Midwest with all the cosmopolitan amenities and facilities of the big city.
Lake County Activities
If you need space for a large reunion, Independence Grove offers over 1,100 acres for your group to gather. The park has individual pavilions and picnic spaces for groups of any size, and the visitor’s center can be rented out for larger parties and other private functions.
The Lake County Forest Preserves have recreation opportunities for groups of any ability and picnic pavilions along the pristine shores of Lake Michigan and the Fox River. At the Ryerson Conservation Area, visitors can explore the former country house and cabin of Chicago businessman Edward Ryerson and enjoy a meal along the Des Plaines River. Captain Daniel Wright Woods has some of the most scenic forests in the state, with trails that lead to large group spaces in the nearby Half Day Forest Preserve. At Illinois Beach State Park your group can gather in the many campsites and pavilions near the Lake Michigan shoreline and enjoy the natural dune atmosphere.
One of the premier theme parks in the country, Six Flags Great America features both edge-of-your-seat thrills and a place to catch a tan. New in 2017, THE JOKER free-fly coaster will send riders on maniacal twists and turns and take Six Flags Great America to the next level of thrills! Don’t miss our 15th roller coaster this summer at the Midwest’s Greatest Thrill Park. Adrenaline junkies will love the X-Flight wing coaster, Superman: Ultimate Flight and Goliath. The latter ride is the world’s tallest, fastest and steepest wooden roller coaster, and riders can see for miles from its crest. For those in your group who prefer wet over wild, Great America’s Hurricane Harbor water park has slides, lazy rivers and the 500,000-gallon Hurricane Bay. The park also features several themed areas for younger riders, including Kidzopolis and Camp Cartoon, where children can take a ride in the Mystery Machine. Great America’s group ticket deals ensure an affordable price and pavilions provide a common meeting place. Six Flags can also host a family reunion picnic at Six Flags Picnic Grove for reunions containing over 100 people. The food is provided by Six Flags. The park operating dates are April 29- November 5, 2017.
Lake County also has the world-class Chicago Botanic Garden with 23 separate plant collections and a model railroad garden to explore. Lambs Farm can host the family picnic on site and family members can enjoy the petting zoo, train ride, mini-golf, thrift shop, bakery and other attractions at the farm.
Gurnee Mills has over 200 retailers and restaurants, and its Tilt Studio at Rink Side offers ice skating, mini-golf and arcade games for children in your group. For a unique shopping experience, Long Grove Historic Village has boutiques and cafes in buildings dating back to the 1800s. Tour art galleries and antique stores while sampling fresh baked goods and stop by the village’s historical society to learn more about Lake County’s past.
If your group loves to compete, the Libertyville Sports Complex offers a 360-degree rock climbing mountain, a driving range and indoor soccer fields. The numerous courts and 3,500-square-foot conference rooms make combining family tournaments and meals in one location convenient and contained.
Lake County’s proximity to both Chicago and Milwaukee gives your group a taste of local cuisine from both cities and their regions. Chicago specialties such as deep-dish pizza and Italian beef are plentiful, as are Wisconsin specialties such as brats and fondue. Large sit-down restaurants such as Golden Corral can accommodate large groups with hearty tastes, and a diverse restaurant scene includes Thai, French and Mediterranean options. Lake County’s numerous park pavilions and picnic areas are ideal for barbecue and catering if your reunion prefers to stay outside during mealtimes.
Lake County has over 60 hotels in every price range for your group. Never want to leave your lodging? Gurnee’s KeyLime Cove boasts an indoor water park for year-round enjoyment, a spa for adult relaxation and on-site restaurants perfect for meals and reunion activities. The Illinois Beach Resort has a stunning lakefront location and large gathering spaces, while the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort, Hyatt Deerfield and Embassy Suites are inland and closer to the county’s parks and museums. All of these choices feature free parking and managers well-seasoned with reunion planning to keep your reunion as affordable as possible.
Locating Lake County
Lake County is accessible via Interstate 94, which runs through the entire county and is a day’s drive from anywhere in the central United States. Both Milwaukee’s General Mitchell and Chicago’s O’Hare international airports are within an hour’s drive, and the county’s roads make travel a cinch. For easy transport between downtown Chicago and the county, the Metra Union Pacific and North Central Service lines can whisk large groups with ease.
With history, attraction and amenities to spare, why not host your next reunion in Lake County? Our website provides maps, hotel guides and more travel tips to help plan your reunion.