Your summer Lake County tour: Round Lake Communities

Only three more Lake County towns to visit after today.

Chain ‘O’ Lakes State Park

KariHorse

Credit: Hailey Klippert

Aren’t you sad?

I am. Because that means summer is drawing to a close.

WHY???

Let’s not dwell on the negative!

Let’s dwell on the fact that in Lake County alone there are four villages named after a lake that is round in shape.

Seriously? WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT THIS LAKE?

It’s round.

So are donuts, but you don’t see any lakes being named after them.

There is Round Lake Beach, then you have your basic Round Lake. And of course, there is a Round Lake Park because you have to have a park. Oh, and of course there is a Round Lake Heights.

On the tollway going north there is even a sign that says “Round Lake Communities.”

Even the tollway committee gave up because there wasn’t enough room on the sign.

Way to go forefathers.

Way. To. Go.

What a lot of people who aren’t locals might not know is that the areas that I am visiting this week were tourist locales for Chicago residents back in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

The older, smaller cottage-type homes you see as you drive through Round Lake, Ingleside, Fox Lake and even Lake Villa, were all vacation homes to Chicagoans who wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Those are now permanent homes to the residents now, which I think is a pretty cool piece of trivia.

Round Lake Beach and Fox Lake

Yes, Virginia, there is actually a beach in Round Lake Beach.

And it is a good one.

The lake is actually called Round Lake and it is quite beautiful and very clean.

I have taken my girls there to swim many times and we love it.

If you go on a weekday, it is relatively quiet because it is set within a neighborhood and a little difficult to find without GPS. That’s a good thing.

On the weekends though, it can get busy.

There is a great park there with grills for having your own barbecue.

Free and open to the public, it is located at Lakeshore Dr. in Round Lake Beach. Call 847-546-2351 to get the street address.

Lifeguards are on duty from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. only.

Head a little farther northwest on the journey of the cool vacation communities of Lake County and you’ll find Fox Lake.

We love Fox Lake because we feel like we are indeed on vacation.

There are some amazing homes on the water as you head down Grand Avenue through town.

Don’t miss those and don’t miss the little Village Bakery in downtown Fox Lake, either.

Miller’s Dog and Suds

Since 1967, this little drive-in has been sitting at the corners of Washington Street and Rollins Road and it is still family-owned-and-operated.

They serve family friendly Coney dogs, fries and root beer in a frosted glass, among much more on their large menu.

Every Wednesday night is Kids Night where Kids Cruise Car Meals are just $2.50.

Every Saturday night from 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. is Cruise Night where they have cars from all over, new and old, in their lot with music. It’s such a fun environment for all ages.

Miller’s is located at 517 Washington St. in Ingleside, and is directly across the street from the Ingleside Metra station.

Chain ‘O’ Lakes State Park

At the top of the county, right on the border of Wisconsin is a gem: Chain ‘O’ Lakes State Park.

There is so much to do at this park, I almost don’t know where to begin.

I saw pictures of my sweet adopted family member/neighbor Hailey and her boyfriend recently riding horses at this bucolic looking place and I asked her where they were.

When she said Chain ‘O’ Lakes, I almost couldn’t believe it because it looked like they were far, far away from here.

I know we live near some beautiful places, but I think we get distracted by the construction, and the traffic and all the busyness, that we forget we are surrounded by real beauty in our suburbs.

They have stables within the park and have many riding options, from pony rides for children six and under, to Couples Day every Wednesday where couples can ride for $40.

Chain ‘O’ Lakes also offers boating, fishing, picnicking, walking trails and much more.

The park is located at 8916 Wilmot Road in Spring Grove.

One more little secret I am going to let you in on.

There is a Mattel Outlet Store just over the border, not far from Chain ‘O’ Lakes Park. You can find some amazing deals there and the staff is so friendly.

It is located at 12400 Fox River Road in Wilmot, Wi.

The store hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

There you have it.

Get lost in the far north suburbs and feel like you are on a vacation.

Go to a lake that is shaped like a donut.

Go to a family-owned drive-in and see some old cars on a Saturday night with a frosty root beer in your hand.

Go for a horseback ride through the countryside and imagine you are a million miles away.

Knock some holiday gifts off your list and be a rock star.

Then maybe you could think of some new names for the “Round Lake Communities” on that long car ride back to the city.

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