This story originally published in 2016 on Little Lake County and has been updated to reflect current information.
As we hit the mid-point of summer parents are looking for activities that will entertain our children and help us remain of sound mind through those long, school-less days of summer. My go-to solution to keep sibling squabbles to a minimum is to keep them busy and help burn off that ice cream energy! Open since 2010, Three Oaks Recreation Area is one of the newer amenities in McHenry County which will provide your little balls of energy with entertainment from sunrise until they fall asleep on the car ride home.
Three Oaks began as a gravel mine more than 60 years ago, and after years of mining, fresh groundwater filled the quarry and created two large, deep lakes. The surrounding natural habitat on the South Lake includes walking trails, a meticulously groomed beach, fishing, paddle boarding, and access to rowboats, sailboats, paddleboats, and kayaks. There is even a scuba diving facility here! Complete with a Culver’s quick-service restaurant with outdoor patio seating, a playground, splash park, and clean bathrooms/locker facilities, a trip to Three Oaks makes a beach day easy on everyone. The beach here has a remarkable ambiance and relaxation is quite possible with its soft, clean sand and lifeguards who are on duty from 10:00 a.m. until sunset.
Opened in 2016, The Quarry Cable Park is the brand new development on the North Lake. One of only two cable wake parks in Illinois, this is a unique destination for Illinois residents to try something different and learn a new sport. If you are seeking adventure, this is the place to do it, as the 32-acre cable wake park will allow guests to learn or advance their wakeboarding skills. A full-size, six-tower cable system with jumps and features for experienced riders and two double-tower cable systems for beginners offer riders with varied skill levels a chance to experience this unique activity.
Wakeboarding participants ride on a short, wide board that is similar to water skiing, but the extra balance that the width provides makes it easier to master acrobatic maneuvers–all while cables pull the rider through the water. Safety is a top priority as all riders are required to wear a helmet and a life jacket, and will receive instructions on proper cable usage to ensure a safe ride. A variety of day passes allow you to choose from two-hour, four-hour, and all-day options; multi-ride and season passes are also available.
If wakeboarding sounds intimidating, wakeskating, kneeboarding, and tubing (for special needs guests) are also all available on the North Lake, thus appealing to the younger and/or less adventurous kids (and their nervous parents!) This area also boasts a beachfront bar and grille, fire pits, live music, baggo, sand volleyball, and open-air yoga. The Quarry Bar and Grille will offer delicious food and will feature live music and special events.
Please note that, although Three Oaks Recreation Area is free to residents of Crystal Lake, parking for non-residents is $5.00 per car. Daily admission rates for non-residents are $10 for adults and $6 for children 4-15. See the Three Oaks website for current admission rates.
Please note that The Quarry Cable Park & Grille is operated separately from Three Oaks Recreation Area and does not charge an admission fee to enter. If guests choose to wakeboard, they can purchase their choice of cable pass, and if you want to just enjoy the restaurant and the amenities in this area, you can do so without paying an admission fee.
Memorial Day through Labor Day, you can visit this beautiful and fun area and soak up every ray of sunshine possible. So what are you waiting for? Grab your kids, grab your suits and get shredding!
Have you been to Quarry Cable Park? Share your experience in the comments!