Why Lake County, Illinois is the Perfect Location for Sports

Lake County, Illinois, is an active community only 30 miles north of downtown Chicago. With an abundance of sports facilities and venues available for hosting your next tournament or event, Lake County also has endless options for things to see and do when the games are over, making it the perfect location for sports.

Lake County is bordered by Lake Michigan and is only minutes from southeastern Wisconsin. It is conveniently accessible from the area’s major airports—Chicago O’Hare and Milwaukee’s General Mitchell. Getting here by car or bus is easy, too, with Interstate 294 being the county’s largest thoroughfare, or take a quick Metra train ride from downtown Chicago.

However you arrive in Lake County, you will find one of the Midwest’s premier sports and recreational destinations with modern indoor and outdoor facilities to host all of your events—from basketball, soccer, swimming, volleyball, hockey, gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, ice skating, bowling, table tennis and rock climbing to field sports, golfing, horseback riding, boating, fishing, hiking and biking.

Waukegan BMX Track
Waukegan BMX Track in Waukegan, IL

The Lake County Fairgrounds & Event Center is one of the area’s largest venues. Located in Grayslake, the Expo Hall has 65,000 square feet of space. Fun runs and obstacle course events have taken place outdoors among the more than 100 acres, including 12 acres of paved surface.

In Waukegan, all sports events are welcome. The Waukegan Park District offers the 23,000-sq.-ft. Waukegan Aquatic Center with an indoor, eight-lane lap pool. Waukegan Fieldhouse, an 80,000-sq.-ft. sports and fitness center, is highlighted by a three-story climbing wall, an indoor track, and a six-court hardwood gymnasium for basketball, volleyball and other indoor sports events. Outdoors, teams can bring their A-game to Waukegan Sports Park, where the 14 sports fields include a lighted synthetic-turf championship field, four lighted softball fields and parking for over 600 vehicles. For sand volleyball and swimming in Lake Michigan, head to Waukegan Municipal Beach. Not every community has a USA BMX sanctioned track, but Waukegan does. The Waukegan BMX Track hosts races spring through fall. Bowen Park is home to the Waukegan Skate Park, with 17,000 square feet of concrete, as well as a baseball field.

The Greater Libertyville Soccer Association is billed as one of the nation’s top destinations for soccer. With 16 fields, parking for over 1,200, seating for 100, and concessions, tournament organizers, teams and fans will feel right at home at this dedicated facility.

Canlan Sports in Libertyville
Canlan Sports in Libertyville, IL

A 360-degree climbing rock, heated driving range and on-site mini golf help to set Canlan Sports in Libertyville apart, and the venue is conducive for most youth or adult sporting events or tournaments. Two indoor soccer fields, eight basketball courts and more than 3,500 square feet of meeting space may be why one reviewer called this facility “a sports mecca.”

In Mundelein, the Keith Mione Community Park and Sports Complex has 11 baseball and softball fields plus two lighted adult softball fields among its 153 acres. Tennis courts, a stocked lake for fishing and—in winter— an ice rink are popular sites within the park. In summer, enjoy the park’s 6-acre Barefoot Bay Family Aquatic Center.

Forty-four park areas make up Park District of Highland Park, which includes an indoor ice arena, tennis and racquetball complex, recreation center, a nature center, a newly renovated 18-hole golf course, indoor pool, beaches for swimming, sunning or paddleboarding, plus there’s a boat ramp and yacht club on Lake Michigan.

Rosewood Beach
Rosewood Beach in Highland Park, IL

Vernon Hills Sports Complex has more than 17 fields, including a high school stadium field and parking for over 400. Renovated in 2017, Sullivan Community Center is part of Vernon Hills Park District and offers two gyms and meeting and community rooms.

Ice-skating and ice hockey events can make use of Twin Rinks Ice Pavilion in Buffalo Grove or Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills, each of which has two regulation NHL-sized ice surfaces, 12 locker rooms, heated bleachers and seating for 750. Players and spectators will enjoy the action here.

Canlan Sportsplex in Lake Barrington is one of the area’s most versatile indoor facilities, with 175,000 square feet of floor space. Baseball, softball, football, lacrosse and soccer teams compete on the 85,000-sq.-ft. indoor turf field. Floating, solid maple hardwood floors fill the 40,000 square feet of court space, configured for four basketball courts and eight volleyball courts. Cheer, dance, fencing, badminton, wrestling, rugby, wheelchair sports, martial arts, powerlifting, gymnastics, and track and field events can all be accommodated here, as well.

College of Lake County Basketball Court
College of Lake County basketball court in Grayslake, IL

Grayslake Park District offers soccer, baseball and softball field rentals. Numerous ice rinks, bike paths and greenways can be found in the district’s parks, and indoor meeting rooms are available, too. The Grayslake Golf Course is a scenic nine-hole, par-3 course ideal for new golfers. Also in Grayslake, the College of Lake County campus includes three full-size indoor courts, one game field, seating for 2,500, and team meeting rooms to enhance events.

Scenic parks, an aquatic center and a 50,000-sq.-ft. sports facility are located in Round Lake Beach. The Round Lake Beach Sports Complex features an adult-sized regulation indoor soccer field, a regulation basketball/volleyball court and 9,000 square feet of mezzanine space. The nearby Renwood Golf Course frequently hosts tournaments.

Within Deerfield Park District, reserve space for your next sports event at one of 20 parks, two outdoor pools or any of the district’s indoor facilities. Deerspring Pool is a six-lane, 50-meter Olympic-size pool with a diving well and one-meter diving board. At Mitchell Pool, a six-lane, 25-meter pool also has a separate diving well with one- and three-meter diving boards. Sachs Recreation Center has gym space, an indoor lap pool, indoor track, meeting rooms and two air-conditioned tennis courts. The Jewett Park Community Center includes a dance studio and an 11,000-sq.-ft. skate park. The Deerfield Golf Club and Learning Center boasts an acclaimed 18-hole golf course with multiple sets of tees for players of differing ages and skill levels.

At Joy of the Game, a 50,000-sq.-ft., air-conditioned sports center in Deerfield, there are two professional level Connor Sports wood courts and two high school regulation-size courts suitable for basketball, volleyball and other sports. A mezzanine has additional seating for 250 spectators. More than 40 tournaments and special events are held here throughout the year. Trinity International University campus is a good location for 5K, 10K and marathon races, as well as arena sports.

Steeple Chase Golf Course
Steeple Chase Golf Course in Mundelein, IL

Lake County is home to renowned golf courses, a few of which host PGA tournamanets annually. Steeple Chase Golf Club located in Mundelein consistently ranks as one of the top public courses. Shepherd's Crook Golf Course in Zion is open to the public and features a par 72 course, strategically designed to the terrain. ThunderHawk Golf Club in Beach Park, also open to the public, is ideal for those that like a challenge, nestled amongst the forest, marsh and prairie land. The banquet hall is available for small and large events. 

Lake County also has a variety of running, hiking and biking trails ideal for events. Henry J. Paulus Park is well suited for triathlons, where participants can swim in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Zurich.

Paulus Park
Paulus Park in Lake Zurich, IL

For some fun after the events, Brunswick Zone has locations in Vernon Hills and Waukegan, offering bowling, billiards and arcade games for small parties or league competitions. WhirlyBall of Vernon Hills has whirlyball, lasertag, arcades and billiards with a full restaurant and bar, perfect for parties and events. Dave & Buster’s at Hawthorn Mall offers a full-service restaurant and over 200 games for kids and adults.

Athletes will enjoy Lake County’s family-friendly accommodations, restaurants and entertainment. The area has more than 65 hotels and three resorts, and many offer group rates. In between games or events, spend time seeing the sights in nearby Chicago or stay right in Lake County for fun at Six Flags Great America, Great Wolf Lodge Illinois or shopping at Gurnee Mills Mall.

Chain O' Lakes State Park
Chain O' Lakes in Spring Grove, IL

Outdoor recreation is close by, too, at Illinois Beach State Park and Chain O’Lakes State Park. Bordered by three natural lakes and the Fox River, which connects to seven other lakes, Chain O’Lakes also features a 44-acre lake inside the park. From leisurely dockside casting to large scale tournaments, fishing enthusiasts can catch bluegill, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, muskie, northern pike, bullhead, catfish and yellow and white bass here. The free boat launch is a gateway to all sorts of on-the-water adventures. Boat races and recreational boating and watersports are popular up and down the chain.

Perhaps best of all, you can count on the dedicated customer service from the friendly staff at Visit Lake County, who want to help make all aspects of your sports event or tournament a success. The professional sports event specialist has all the answers you need for planning the big and small details, and these services are free. Start planning your next sports tournament or event at visitlakecounty.org/sports.

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