8 family-friendly activities on Lake County’s Chain O’Lakes

Summer in Lake County means time on the lakes, and there are plenty of them to choose from!

The most popular destination by far is the Chain O’Lakes. Not being native to the Lake County area I find navigating which events and locales that are best for families can sometimes be tricky. I chatted with some longtime Lake County residents and came up with this list of eight family-friendly activities on the Chain O’Lakes.

Take a hike at Chain O’Lakes State Park.

This large state park boasts hiking, canoeing and horseback riding. Visit the stables and you can take guided trail rides with children as young as 7. We did it a few summers ago and my daughter still asks to go back again and again!

Dine dockside at El Puerto.

200 Forest Ave, Fox Lake

Dine al fresco on the lake and keep kids entertained by watching (and feeding) the large fish that gather. Kids will also love watching the boats go by.

Find a sandbar.

Drop anchor and go swimming off one of the sandbars. Kids will be amazed that they are “standing” in the lake. Veteran tip: the chain is family friendly for children and families to participate in water activities on weeknights or before noon on weekends.

Fish off the shores of CJ Smith’s.

Fishing is a great family-friendly activity that teaches about nature and patience. CJ Smith’s resort has been family owned and operated on the shores of the Chain for 86 years. You can rent boats, buy bait and licenses, or just sit back and watch everyone else from the beautiful shore.

Watch a sunset.

Locals say the best place to view is on Fox Lake at Columbia Bay.

Watch the boat races at Blarney Island.

While the restaurant itself is not family-friendly, you can drop anchor and watch the boat races they host every Thursday on Grass Lake.

Find Bub’s Dog House.

This is a floating hot dog cart that you can get lunch at without leaving your boat.

Rent a boat at Boating Lake County.

Find more information on boating the Chain O’Lakes including new rules and regulations, beginning boating guides, where to rent and dockside dining at Boating Lake County.

This article was originally published on July 22, 2016. It has been updated with the most recent information.

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