Family-Friendly Resort with Indoor Water Park
The Hurricane Vortex whirlpool ride at KeyLime Cove Waterpark Resort looks like a giant pinwheel painted with yellow and orange stripes. Once the ride begins, those stripes blur as a torrent of water whips you around before safely dropping you in the Lazy River. The ride is one of eight major aquatic attractions at KeyLime Cove’s sprawling 65,000-square-foot indoor water park, which is located in Gurnee, Illinois, about an hour north of downtown Chicago.
Kids of all ages will find something to do here. The indoor facility—which is kept at a balmy 84 degrees—houses two 500-foot water slides, a wave pool, and the interactive Toukie’s Big Deluge aquatic playground for kids. KeyLime Cove is a conveniently cashless resort. Upon check-in, you’ll receive a high-tech wristband that also functions as your room key, water-park ticket, and credit card for anything and everything at the resort.
While the kids play games in the RipTide Reef Arcade, adults can unwind in the Paradise Mist Spa. The resort also has six eateries, including The Crazy Toucan and D.W. Anderson’s, an old-fashioned soda fountain with 1950s decor. Upstairs, the resort’s guest rooms feature flat-screen televisions and WiFi.
Gurnee, Illinois: Theme Park and Shopping near Chicago’s North Shore
Located about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, Gurnee is virtually synonymous with Six Flags Great America, a high-octane theme park. Typically open from May until Halloween, Six Flags features The Dark Knight coaster, an adrenalized tour of Gotham City that ends with a harrowing king/rook swap, and Raging Bull, a hypertwister coaster reaching speeds up to 73 miles per hour. New for 2014, the Goliath is the world’s fastest wooden coaster, reaching speeds near 72 miles per hour. In the summer, cool down on water-park rides such as the five-story Dive Bomber slide. For a break from the park, head to Gurnee Mills, one of the state’s largest malls and home to hundreds of stores and restaurants.
Gurnee lies just west of Chicago’s North Shore, a group of affluent suburbs along Lake Michigan. There are several sites to explore in these nearby cities. The picturesque town of Evanston, home to Northwestern University, was named one of the “Coolest Suburbs Worth a Visit” by Travel + Leisure. You’ll find more than 9,000 types of plants in nearby Glencoe at the Chicago Botanic Garden.