Lake Forest, Illinois, is a charming historic city situated along the shores of Lake Michigan. Founded in 1857, Lake Forest has long been a picturesque escape from the bustle of nearby Chicago. Outdoor recreation and parkland are abundant in the area, with numerous destinations where families can play. Whether you're looking for summer swimming or winter ice skating, you can find it all in this area.
Deerpath Community Park
400 Hastings Road, Lake Forest, Illinois
Conveniently located behind the Deerpath school, this park offers over 25 acres of fun and games. The park features a ball field, batting cage, tennis courts, and a tennis wall. There are also multipurpose fields suitable for soccer, rugby, lacrosse, and football. Play equipment and walking trails make this an appealing choice for visitors of all ages. Restrooms are located onsite, and many of the facilities are lighted.
1001-1021 Jensen Drive, Lake Forest, Illinois
Elawa Park spans 16 acres and includes a ball field and soccer field. A pavilion and grills offer a convenient space for a party or cookout, while play equipment provides just what you need to keep little ones entertained.
The real highlight of the park is the Wildlife Discovery Center (WDC) and WDC Outdoor Trail. Butting up against the 670-acre Middlefork Savanna wildlife habitat, the WDC is a living museum and local biological station. It's home to around 85 different species of animals including the rhinoceros iguana, Burmese python, blue-tongued skink, American alligator, Virginia opossum, timber rattlesnake, komodo dragon, and more.
1191 Everett School Road, Lake Forest, Illinois
Everett Park is located behind Everett School. The park's 17 acres include five tennis courts, two soccer fields, one baseball field, and a basketball court. The pond is open for ice skating in the winter. A covered picnic area, grills, and playground make this a popular spot for young children and families.
800 N. Lake Road, Lake Forest, Illinois
Forest Park enjoys a picturesque lakefront location covering over 17 acres that include preserved bluff, ravine, woodland, and flatwood wetland ecosystems. Forest Park visitors can meander along lakefront paths, explore woodland boardwalks, and stroll the peaceful walking trails. Many of these are lit. Benches, water fountains, and bike racks are provided.
The adjacent Forest Park Beach adds nearly 30 more acres to this landscape. The beach includes a boat ramp and fishing piers. Guests are welcome to swim in the waters off the sandy beach or picnic in the grass. Sheltered pavilions are available in the park, and concessions are sold during the summer.
Forest Park Beach is only accessible to residents of Lake Forest. You must have a City of Lake Forest vehicle sticker to park in the Forest Park Beach North Lot or overflow parking. You must show proof of residence at all entrances.
1365 S. Ridge Road, Lake Forest, Illinois
Northcroft Park covers 30 acres and includes tennis courts, basketball standards, and soccer fields. A colorful playground and restrooms offer all the essentials for young visitors. Pavilions and grills are available as well.
150 S. Maywood Road, Lake Forest, Illinois
Situated between the Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart and Lake Forest Country Day School campuses, South Park's 30 acres are ideally placed for community interaction. The park includes ball fields, tennis courts, and basketball standards as well as play equipment, grills, a pavilion, and restrooms. In 2019, the park received a grant to help fund upgrades that will include a bocce court, batting cage, and fitness area with three pieces of equipment.
Townline Community Park
1555 W. Kennedy Road, Lake Forest, Illinois
The 35-acre Townline Community Park features a diverse playground with a small climbing web, slides of all sizes, swings, a merry-go-round, a teeter-totter, and a small playhouse. A pavilion, water fountains, and restrooms make this the ideal spot for a play date. A nearby walking trail provides a pleasant place for a stroll, and the adjacent pond adds a picturesque touch to this destination. A baseball field is located onsite as well.
600 S. Waveland Road, Lake Forest, Illinois
Waveland Park covers around 23 acres and offers space for a variety of sports. You'll find a soccer field, basketball standards, tennis courts, and a baseball field. Waveland Park also has play equipment, grills, restrooms, and walking trails. The park has been selected for upgrades and enhancements to make it more welcoming and keep the playground further from potential flooding.
850 Summit Avenue, Lake Forest, Illinois
West Park is a favorite among families with children. The play area features a small zip line, four-person see-saw, balancing platform, swings, and slides. A convenient restroom is easily accessible along with a covered pavilion and grill. The park features ball fields, soccer fields, and tennis courts too.
The West Park pond opens for skating in winter. For the ice to reach a skatable four-inch thickness, temperatures must be under 32 degrees during the day and under 20 degrees at night for several days. Skating on the pond is a popular local pastime that dates back to the 1920s.
Independence Grove Forest Preserve
16400 Buckley Road, Libertyville, Illinois
Just 20 minutes from Forest Park, the Independence Grove Forest Preserve offers 1,151 acres around a 115-acre lake for visitors to explore. Several trails are available in the park, including the 2.5-mile Overlook Trail Loop, 2.3-mile Lakeside Trail Loop, and 0.8-mile North Bay Trail Loop.
A wide range of activities are available in the park, including biking, boating, canoeing, fishing, hiking, ice skating, and swimming. Exploring the preserve you'll also find a playground, sand volleyball court, picnic tables, and drinking fountains.
These are our top picks for outdoor recreation in Lake Forest near our accounting offices. Head out and explore these highlights yourself and get to know our beautiful community a little better. Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know what your go-to destinations are for outdoor recreation in and around Lake Forest so we can keep our list up to date.