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Shedd Aquarium

Make a Splash at Illinois Water Parks

Dive into warmer weather and head to one of Illinois’ most fun and entertaining water parks.

Jul 01, 2020 Family Fun

Four people on the Tornado Wave water slide

Enjoy the warmer weather by taking a trip with the family. Water parks are the perfect destination for little swimmers and adults alike, with a variety of activities. Here are the top water parks across the state. 

Water being dumped over playground at a water park Child coming down yellow Great America Hurricane Harbor water slide
Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Fort Mackenzie / Six Flags Great America Hurricane Harbor Gurnee

Six Flags: Great America & Hurricane Harbor and Great Wolf Lodge

In Gurnee, the one-two punch of Six Flags: Great America & Hurricane Harbor and Great Wolf Lodge makes for a family-friendly getaway at two of Illinois' largest water parks, located less than 2 miles apart. 

After a day of fun in the sun, book a room at the Great Wolf Lodge itself or nearby Wingate by Wyndham Gurnee. Treat yourself to some grub at either Saluto's Pizza & Pasta or Stevens Steakhouse. The former offers classic homemade Italian fare like porcini mushroom ravioli, while the latter is a spirited family-operated establishment offering a wide selection of finely aged steaks and chops, the freshest seafood, and an extensive wine and martini list.

Teenagers on inflatable tubes in a lazy river Mother and daughter on inflatable tube on a water slide
Raging Waves

Raging Waves (Yorkville)

Plan a trip to Illinois’ largest water park, Raging Waves in Yorkville. With 19 water slides, a lazy river, wave pools, and more, there is something for everyone at Raging Waves. Head down the thrilling slide known as PJ’s Plummet, or grab your group and make your way down the 1080-foot tunnel slide on a triple tube.

Stay nearby at the Hampton Inn Yorkville for a comfy and convenient Yorkville experience. Then, grab a bite at Southbank Original Barbecue on the Fox River, where you'll find BBQ classics like slow-cooked and smoked-to-perfection ribs and pulled pork, including all the fixings from mac and cheese to bourbon baked beans. 

Families playing on a playground at a water park

Raging Rivers Waterpark (Grafton)

Raging Rivers Waterpark features the Breaker Beach Wave Pool, Swirlpool, Shark Slide and so much more. Located in Grafton, Raging Rivers Waterpark is the perfect way to beat the heat and maximize the family fun this summer. 

After slippin' and slidin' all day, grab a bite to eat nearby at Grafton Oyster Bar, for award-winning food and entertainment on the Mississippi River. This hot spot features a vibrant New Orleans vibe while serving up an array of delicious oysters on the half shell along with speciality menu items like Shrimp Voodoo Tacos, Fried Catfish and much more.  

And while you're in Jersey County, rise to new heights with Grafton Sky Tour at Aerie's Resort. You'll take an enclosed gondola or chair lift and soar over 300 feet while experiencing breathtaking views of the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois River. 

Indoor water park with water slides Family looking at the menus in a restaurant
Aerial View of Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort / Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Restaurant

Grand Bear Resort (Utica)

Head just outside Chicago for a fantastic family getaway to the Grand Bear Resort at Starved Rock in Utica. Located near Starved Rock, the resort is an all-encompassing water park experience — including a playground, lazy river, tube slide, tot pool, and wave pool. Perfect for families, the property has plenty of places to stay, from suites to villas and cabins.

Take in the scenery while dining at the Starved Rock Lodge Restaurant, a rustic dining room immersed in history. Traditional American fare, plus elevated dishes like ale fried walleye and roasted duck accompanies the beautiful ambience at this stunning state park restaurant.

Women on inflatable tubes in a pool Child Playing Mini golf

Knight’s Action Park (Springfield)

Take the family on an aquatic adventure in Springfield. A multi-amusement venue located in the State Capitol, Knight’s Action Park offers a batting cages, driving range, mini golf, go karts, and of course, a water park. With 8 water slides, plus splash pads, and a wave pool, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the water. When you're ready, mosey on over to Tradewinds Pub & Eatery—located right next to the park—for a juicy burger, onion straws, or the pub's signature hand cut fries. 

Stay close to the water park at Staybridge Suites South. A complimentary breakfast bar will be ready for you in the morning so you can fuel up before exploring beautiful Springfield. Make sure to check out the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, where you’ll be inspired by more than 40,000 square feet of memorabilia, history, and galleries of Lincoln’s legacy.

Overview of Six Flags with magic river and hydroslides

Hurricane Harbor (Rockford)

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is the ultimate waterpark destination in Northern Illinois. This family-friendly attraction offers many ways to have splashtastic fun including the Bermuda Triangle, Caribbean Cove, Tidal Wave and so much more.

After you've worked up an appetite, head over to GreenFire Restaurant Bar & Bakery which offers contemporary American cuisine that's cooked in their state-of-the-art woodstone ovens. Indulge in wood-fire pizzas, burgers, steaks, and cakes and pies for dessert. 

A trip to Rockford wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Nicholas Conservatory Gardens - a picturesque botanical garden which offers a variety of family-friendly activities and events. 

Giant Yellow water bucket emptying into pool red and yellow waterslide

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