Lakes In Chicago, Illinois - Updated 2024

lakes in chicago
| 4 min read

Chicago is one of the most populous cities in the United States. With its busy people, bustling lifestyle and heightened modernity, many think it is especially difficult to have a peaceful day out surrounded by nature’s beauty. But that isn’t the case. Chicago is filled with many great lakes, among them are Wolf Lake, Lake Calumet, Bullfrog Lake and many more. And each of these lakes has its own specialty. Therefore, planning a lake-hopping in Chicago is highly fun and is definitely guaranteed to give you a surreal experience of different terrains and fun-filled outdoor activities, and you also get to meet people from all walks of life. Apart from that, these lakes are also rich in flora and fauna. Many rare species and local habitats are found in these lakes, making your trip more special. So, just relax and read our list of lakes in Chicago, Illinois.

1. Wolf Lake

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Serhii Chrucky used under CC-BY-2.5

A gorgeous and serene vast lake located at the heart of Hegewisch, Chicago, this place is perfect for a secluded and quiet day out, either with family or on your own. A majority of the lake is now a conservation area for local flora and fauna, therefore, you are in for a treat of nature, including rare aquatic flora, when you go visiting this lake. The William W. Powers Conservation Area is located in this lake and it is famous for its picnic facilities. There are picnic tables, stoves, toilets, amenities for outdoor games, and many more, in this conservation area.

Wolf Lake

Address: 12949 Avenue O. Chicago, IL 60633

Website: Wolf Lake

Price: Free entrance

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2. Lake Calumet

Lake Calumet
Source: Photo by Flickr user Asian Carp Region... used under CC BY 2.0

Dubbed the largest body of water in Chicago, Lake Calumet is a beauty of its own. The lake is usually only flocked by locals because it is not easily found by outsiders. This gives you an advantage because if you can find your way here, it is almost guaranteed to be quiet and serene without any disturbances. The species of birds here are spectacular, therefore, most birdwatchers have this lake on their bucket lists. Apart from that, you may also catch glimpses of great Chicago wildlife.

Lake Calumet

Website: Lake Calumet

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free entrance

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3. Lake Michigan (from USD 71.0)

Situated in the midst of the bustling city, this lake gives you the opportunity to enjoy nature even in the city center. Lake Michigan is touted as one of the Five Great Lakes of North America, and it is rightfully so. The lake is shared between Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. With its great nature, the lake has a myriad of beaches, connections to oceans, islands, parks as well as lighthouses. You will never feel bored or out of things to do when you go on a vacation to this lake. In fact, you might need more than one vacation to completely tour Lake Michigan. There are many cruises you can go on for a tour of the majestic lake and its scenic routes.

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Chicago's Lake Michigan Plated Lunch Cruise

Duration: 2 hours

84 reviews

Nearby gorgeous lakes

4. Powder Horn Lake

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you’re looking at a lake with a savannah terrain, look no further than Powder Horn Lake. With many different habitats in one area, you will have unlimited fun when you visit this lake and its surrounding. The flora and fauna here are also big plus points, as its nature is well-preserved, therefore is full of diversity and richness. Anglers, birdwatchers, and joggers love this lake. Apart from that, you can also take part in many activities here, like fishing, ice fishing, boating, kayaking, rowing, birding, and many more. What’s more, you can also volunteer to be part of their conservation team.

Powder Horn Lake

Address: S Brainard Ave, east of S Burnham Ave/S Ave O Burnham, IL 60633

Website: Powder Horn Lake

Opening hours: Sunrise - sunset (daily)

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5. Busse Lake

Chicago skyline from Lakefront Trail at Northerly Island (34002846708)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bex Walton used under CC BY 2.0

Famous for its sport fish population of more than 19 species, Busse Lake has anglers flocking it all year round. The lake is man-made and has been well-maintained since 1978. Birdwatchers, wildlife photographers, and general tourists overall find this lake satisfying and peaceful. It has three pools, namely Main Pool, South Pool, and North Pool. The former two pools are for sport fishing as they are deeper, whereas the latter is more of smaller-scale fishing. The lake and its surrounding marshes are also accessible, with fishing piers, handicap access, kayak/boat rentals, biking trails, as well as ample parking areas.

Busse Lake

Website: Busse Lake

Opening hours: Sunrise - sunset (daily)

Price: Free entrance

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6. Lake Opeka

Lake Opeka
Source: Pixy

Are you planning to go on a lakeside vacation but to one that has an adjacent golf course? Check out Lake Opeka. It has an 18-hole par-13 golf course on its premises for you to spend your day golfing while basking in the magnificent view of the lake. The lakeshore itself is a great place for jogging and biking, and fishing activities are allowed here. Apart from that, the lake also houses picnic areas, BBQ pits, exercise spots, a playground, and even a volleyball sandpit. Moreover, the park also has Lake Park where you will be spoilt with various outdoor activities for your day out.

Lake Opeka

Website: Lake Opeka

Price: Free entrance

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7. Bullfrog Lake

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

With various engaging outdoor activities to do here in Bullfrog Lake, you will never run out of things to do when you visit. Kayaking, fishing, boating, mountain biking, birdwatching, jogging, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, camping, walking: you name it, they have it. Apart from that, this lake also has various free programs organized from time to time, such as Friday and Saturday night campfires, Saturday afternoon hikes, camping skill demonstrations, and many more. They even provide limited camping backpacks for free, which come with binoculars, field guides, a compass, and many more.

Bullfrog Lake

Address: 9600 Wolf Rd, Willow Springs, IL 60480

Website: Bullfrog Lake

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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8. Tampier Lake

Lake in the Hills
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Locallllll used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Tampier Lake has four locations for recreation in its area: Tampier Lake Boating Center, Tampier Lake-North, Tampier Lake – South, and Tampier Greenway Family Picnic Area. You can choose your destination as per the activity as well as your crowd. Among activities included in this lake are fishing, boating, birding, ice fishing, drone flying, kayaking, rowing, canoeing, and many more. The sunsets here are of magnificent views and gives photographers a rare opportunity to capture the majestic nature.

Tampier Lake

Address: W 131st St west of S Wolf Rd, Cook County, IL 60464

Website: Tampier Lake

Opening hours: Sunrise - sunset (daily)

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9. Maple Lake

Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Raidarmax used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A great place for fishing, this lake is located in Cook County near Willow Springs. With great species of fishes found in the depth of this lake, many anglers love to come here during their vacations and test their skills. It has a fishing pier, and you can get fishing supplies as well as boat rentals from the boating center. The lake is also famous as a designated ice fishing lake.

Maple Lake

Website: Maple Lake

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A surreal holiday experience

Lakes in Chicago are sure to give you an elevated experience during your vacations. Whether you’re visiting one lake, or planning to go lake-hopping, use our list for your vacation and have a great stay!

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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A simple writer, a wanderlust addict. I am Durga, a writer by profession and an addict of wanderlust by nature. I love world culture, urban spaces, wildlife, architectural ruins and every part...Read more

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