Free Summer Activities in Lake County


Summer is almost upon us and with that comes kids that are out of school.  As a mom, I used to both love and dread summer because I wanted to spend time with my kids doing things but activities can be expensive.   However, there are a lot of free or low cost activities right here in Lake County.

To kick off the summer, attend a local Memorial Day Parade honoring those who gave their lives for our freedom.

As a Lake County resident, we have great forest preserves that are free or a nominal cost.  Check out Independence Grove in Libertyville which is centered around an 115 acre lake and has 6.25 miles of hiking and biking trails.  Amenities include picnic tables, fireplace, playground, sand volleyball court, fishing and more.  It even includes a swimming beach and flush toilets!  My favorite part?  Its free to Lake County residents.  Pack a picnic lunch, blankets, swimsuits and fishing poles and enjoy this wonderful preserve.

The Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest is a hidden gem in Lake County.  Focused on wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship, kids of all ages can explore these important concepts. There are trails and nature-based programs.  There is also face to face exhibits with reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals.  Admission is free.

Waukegan hosts Greentown writer’s Dandelion Wine Fine Arts Festival showcasing local and regional artists and venues.  This year’s festival will be June 2 in Bowden Park, Waukegan.  Admission is free.

Grayslake Heritage Center provides a look at the history and founding of Grayslake.  Special programs include farm to factory to table, concerts, art and photography exhibits.  Best part?  You guessed it – Free.

One of our best recreational places is Lake Michigan.  Take advantage of the warm weather and visit Illinois Beach State Park in Zion. Hike and bike along the shores of Lake Michigan and cool off by taking a dip.  Admission is free.

Did you know the Mother Rudd House in Gurnee was a haven on the Underground Railroad?  Visit one of Lake County’s oldest structures and learn its fascinating history. Admission is free.

When the humidity is high and the dogs days of summer set in, cool off by visiting your local library.  Local libraries offer summer reading programs, field backpacks, story time and more.  Visit Round Lake Area Public Library and explore the youth and teen programs available.  Also check out Museum Adventure Pass that provides free or discounted admission to many attractions including Brookfield Zoo and Chicago Botanic Garden.

For more ideas on free or inexpensive activities in Lake County, please check out

Enjoy the summer!

Comments are closed.