Chicago Lakes

Lakes Close to Chicago

The weather is warm so it’s time to start planning your upcoming big getaway. There aren’t many better options than a lake near Chicago. A lake getaway can be perfect for people that enjoy the outdoors too, because they offer opportunities to see birds, fish, turtles and other animals in their natural habitat.

It doesn’t matter if you’re seeking to paddleboard, buzz around doing watersports, swim, or work on your tan, the lakes near Chicago offer you numerous options for aquatic adventures. So what are you waiting for? Load up your vehicle with your beach goodies and snacks then set out on your next vacation and discover your own favorite spot on the water!

Lakes Near Chicago

Lake Activities

A quick excursion to a lake, or a longer getaway provides a nearly limitless amount of stuff for families, couples, or even those looking for some quiet time.

Let’s look at some of the options available to you when you arrive at a Chicago lake:

Start paddling. If you want a little physical activity, strap your favorite kayak or paddleboard to the top of your vehicle and find yourself a lake with a public launch and get out and enjoy the scenery on the waterfront.

Go fishing. For anglers, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a good fishing spot to help you have a relaxing day with a line in the water whether you’re roaming the lake in a killer fishing boat or standing on a dock with a beer in one hand and a rod in the other.

Pack a picnic basket. Chicago’s lakes gives you the chance to visit all sorts of excellent picnic areas where you can enjoy culinary delights, or something as simple as crackers and cheese and a cold beverage as you enjoy the view. For a romantic evening, this plan should be suitably romantic.

Lake Getaway Prep

Everyone’s beach getaway will be unique based on which lake you go to, what the weather is going to be, and what you want to do for entertainment. However, we took the time to make a list with some of our favorite ideas for your next summer trip so you have everything you need!

General items

If you’re going to be on, in, or near the water for most of the vacation, the following list of items is a good starting point for essentials to have on hand.

  • Radio or speaker
  • Backup clothes
  • A cooler with water bottles
  • UV protection
  • A beach blanket and umbrella
  • Flip flops or water shoes
  • Food and snacks
  • Bug spray
  • Towels and dry clothes
  • Bathing suits

Additional lake items

Take into consideration your planned activities at the lake and who will be in your entourage, the items below will likely be helpful and adding to your checklist before hitting the road.

  • Beach toys (buckets, shovels, football, frisbee, etc.)
  • Life jackets
  • Fishing and boating licenses
  • Tackle box and lures
  • Pool noodles, rafts, floats
  • Wine key
  • Masks and snorkels
  • Diapers (if a baby’s on board)
  • Fishing poles, nets, etc.
  • Paper towels and sanitizer

Lake Safety Tips

While spending a weekend to your favorite body of water can be tons of fun, everyone’s safety needs to remain top of mind. When you decide to spend a day at the lake here are some general safety tips to keep in mind.

  • Don’t swim alone
  • Make sure you have a life jacket for every person on the boat
  • Have an escape plan for what to do if you get stuck on a boat that capsizes or tips over
  • Regularly apply sunblock throughout the day – following the product’s instructions
  • Avoid alcohol consumption before swimming, as it can impair judgment and result in drowning
  • Avoid swimming near rocks or shallow water areas that may not be deep enough to dive underneath and escape from waves
  • Keep children within arm’s reach at all times while swimming in deep water

More Tips for a Lake Getaway in Chicago

If you’re going to visit the one of a kind lakes near Chicago, you’ll want to remember a couple critical items that can make your weekend gameplan far more rewarding. As an example, every lake near Chicago has unique qualities and surroundings which makes it important to take into account what will make for a memorable adventure when planning yours.

  1. Maximize unique local resources. When there’s time for a lengthier getaway, look for local state parks and recreation areas which give you the option to camp in a spot that is right on top of the water without breaking the bank.
  2. Find a marina. It’s common that lakes will have nearby marinas that offer boat rentals. Just because you don’t own a boat to enjoy a relaxing day of fishing or a day of watersports. Using a search engine can typically help you locate a marina that has what you need.
  3. Do homework on the beaches. If you pick the wrong time of year, occasionally beaches might be swarmed with beachgoers. To find more space to spread out, do some digging on a variety of lakes in the area to learn about how busy they are to find one with a slower pace. If you want to be where the party’s at, then look for the busiest, most popular beach!