Located in Northern Illinois near the Wisconsin border, the Chain O’Lakes region is one of the most popular boating destinations in the United States. The 15 lakes in the area are connected by the Fox River or other man-made channels. Over holiday weekends, you can expect over 100,000 visitors to flock to the area! Here’s a breakdown of each lake; pick your favorite and plan a day on the water.
1. Grass Lake
This lake may be one of the largest in the chain, but it's also the most shallow; the average depth is just three feet. But, that doesn't stop visitors from venturing into the middle of the lake to visit Blarney Island, a quintessential beach bar.
Blarney Island: A boat will pick you up from Port of Blarney, located at 27843 W. Grass Lake Road in Antioch.
2. Spring Lake
This tiny lake serves more as a means to get from Bluff Lake to Petite Lake, but that doesn't mean it isn't stunning. It's surrounded by greenery in the summer, and boasts one of the best marinas in the area, Spring Lake Marina.
Spring Lake Marina: 25125 W. Grass Lake Road, Antioch
3. Lake Marie
This lake is very busy during the summer, so if you're hoping to get some fishing done, experts say to visit on a weekday. You can expect to catch Bluegill, Crappie, and sometimes even Walleye.
4. Nippersink Lake
Don't skip over Nippersink Lake as you're cruising through the chain. It's centrally-located and absolutely beautiful, making it the perfect spot to stop and watch the sunset.
5. Bluff Lake
If you're looking for a place to eat on this little lake off the larger Lake Marie, Steitz's Resort is the place to be. Their Friday Fish Fry cannot be beat.
Steitz's Resort: 25400 W. Bluff Lane, Antioch
6. Fox Lake
Tied for the largest lake in the system, Fox Lake is home base for many visitors to the region. Thanks to multiple marinas and great waterside spots like Captain's Quarters and Fairmont Shores, Fox Lake is always busy.
Captain's Quarters: 38283 N. Bolton Place, Antioch
Fairmont Shores: 37641 N. Lake Shore Drive, Lake Villa
7. Channel Lake
Less than a mile from the Wisconsin border, this lake has an area of 352 acres. When your stomach starts growling from a long day on the lake, visit Thirsty Turtle Brew and View Pub - you won't go home hungry.
Thirsty Turtle Brew and View Pub: 42273 N. Woodbine Avenue #7, Antioch
8. Dunns Lake
Dunns Lake is a tiny offshoot of Nippersink Lake. If you're looking for a quieter day on the water, this is a great area to visit.
9. Petite Lake
Though its name might make you believe Petite Lake is the smallest in the system, that is far from the truth; it is a lively place with plenty of room for fun on the water. Do yourself a favor and stay at Cypress Resort and Marine while you're there; it has been beautifully restored.
Cypress Resort and Marine: 25635 W. Hermann Avenue, Antioch
10. Lake Catherine
Sitting right next to Channel Lake is Lake Catherine, a smaller body of water very close to the Wisconsin border. For over 60 years, Bob's Marina has been one of the best places for storing your boat on the Chain O'Lakes.
Bob's Marina: 25584 Route 173, Antioch
11. Brandenburg Lake
A tiny lake at just 75 acres, Brandenburg Lake is an incredible departure from the busier bodies of water on the chain. However, it is privately owned, so access is only available to residents. However, there is a way in - stay at
and you can live like the residents do!
12. Pistakee Lake
Pistakee Lake shares the title of largest lake in the chain with Fox Lake, as both have an area of 1,700 acres. That leaves you plenty of room for boating, fishing, and water skiing!
13. Duck Lake
This lake is a popular spot for ice fishing in the winter. Fishermen can expect to catch perch, among other types of fish.
14. Long Lake
Of course it's fun to get in the water, but one of the most beautiful ways to see Long Lake is by land. Visit Long Lake Park for a beautiful view of the shoreline.
Long Lake Park: 1030 N. Village Drive, Round Lake Beach
15. Redhead Lake
This small lake off the larger Pistakee Lake doesn't get talked about quite as much as some of the others, but it certainly is beautiful. Paddlers love to glide around this peaceful body of water.