Save the date: February 27th - March 2nd, 2025

The Chain O’Lakes area in northeastern Illinois is the busiest inland recreational waterway per acre in the United States. More than 30,000 boaters and fishermen flock to the collection of lakes on summer weekends. But those numbers pale in comparison to totals reached on holidays when crowds reach nearly 100,000 according to Fox Waterway Agency estimates.

The large waterway system consists of 15 lakes connected by the Fox River and manmade channels. There are 7,100 acres of water, 488 miles of shoreline and 45 miles of river in total.

A busy entertainment industry including restaurants and bars meets the demand of visitors and residents alike.


Growth Spurred by the Windy City

It all started with the rise of Chicago in the late 1800s and early 1900s. As new businesses opened in Chicago, residents of the city and neighboring communities built hotels, resorts, private summer homes, campsites, dance halls and sportsmen’s clubs on the shores of Fox River and lakes.

The region was near Chicago and on weekends thousands of people traded the fast pace of the big city for the relaxed atmosphere of Chain O’Lakes. It was an escape from their weekday reality.


Plenty to Do and See

Chain O’Lakes residents and visitors get their pick of about 50 restaurants and bars. There are many different types of food available. Plus, many restaurants and bars offer lakeside and waterfront views, along with boat access.

This scene includes:

  • Famous Freddie’s
  • Reflections on Deep Lake
  • Granny’s Lakeside Diner
  • El Puerto Mexican Restaurant
  • Kief’s Reef
  • Bon Voyage Great Food And Spirits
  • Cabana’s On the Chain
  • Captain’s Quarters
  • Point of Blarney
  • Fairmont Shores
  • And More

There are a number of events happening near Chain O’Lakes in the next few months:


Travel the Waterways in Your Own Boat

Are you in the market for a boat? Then you are in luck when you visit Chain O’Lakes. There are plenty of boat dealers offering a wide selection of new and used boats for sale. Large and small boats, ski boats, pontoon boats, speed boats and wakeboard boats are all available. You can also find just about any boating accessory you need!

With its continued popularity, wildlife and many recreational and entertainment options, Chain O’Lakes has something for the entire family.