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Foliage, Festivities, and Fun: Fall at Illinois Beach 

While the rays of summer may have begun to fade, Illinois Beach Hotel is here to meet guest needs well into the colder months. Here are a few of the many fun things you can do near Illinois Beach in the fall (aside from enjoying the lakeview with a pumpkin spice latte in hand): 

First things first- if you want a specialty beverage to start your day off right, here are two places we cannot recommend enough: 

It’s All Good Coffee

What can we say- it’s all good! From bagel sandwiches to iced chai, smoothies and more, this family-owned coffeehouse located in the heart of Zion is a great bet for your fall beverage fix.

CJ’s Coffee House

Conveniently located 8 minutes away from the hotel, CJ’s Coffee House is a local Zion favorite. Not only do they serve amazing coffee, but they also have the best donuts and muffins in town! 


Kick things off with the annual Northern Illinois Airshow in Waukegan.

What better way to salute the end of summer than with an airshow? This annual tradition, held on Sep 9th, is a favorite among locals and a fun treat for the whole family. 

Fall at Six Flags Great America

Running from Sep 16th  to October 29th , Six Flags Great America is holding several spectacular events during the day and night, namelyOktoberfest, Boo Fest, and Fright Fest. 


As the name would imply, this ongoing event is a German craft beverage and food festival right in the middle of the park! Guests may enjoy a variety of experiences, from live music to Dunkel brew, Weiner Schnitzel to Apple Strudel. 

Kid’s Boo Fest 

Held during the day, Kid’s Boo Fest is a series of activities and events that focus on the “thrill” of Halloween rather than the “fright”. 

Fright Fest

Dubbed “Chicago’s Scariest Halloween Event” Six Flag’s Fright Fest is no laughing matter. From haunted houses to rides in the dark, goosebumps are guaranteed.

Family Fun at Kroll’s Fall Harvest Farm

Just a quick drive from the hotel, Kroll’s Fall Harvest Farm is a family-run pumpkin patch, petting zoo, and corn maze extravaganza.

Dungeon of Doom Haunted House

Pitched a few miles north of the hotel, the Dungeon of Doom Haunted House is a spooky experience unlike any other. 

Ghost Wauk Tours at Genesse Theatre

First opened in 1927, the Genesse Theatre has been the host of many strange and at times, frightening events. This immersive tour has been known to leave visitors with their hair standing up.  

A Potential Itinerary 

Mid-September (sunset approx. 7:00pm)  


  • 5:30 (p.m.): Arrive at Illinois Beach, check-in and get familiar with your accommodations 
  • 6:30: Go for a quick walk on the beach (remember to bring a light jacket!)  
  • 7:15: Dinner and Cocktails at Nolan’s 
  • 8:30: Settle in, watch a movie, and get ready for the fun that awaits!  


  • 6:30 (a.m.) Grab some coffee from the hotel lobby and watch the beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan 
  • 8:00 (a.m.) Head out to one of our favorite coffee shops for a sweet treat and get a taste of local faire!  
  • 8:40 Embark on a walk on one of Illinois Beach’s famous trails!  
  • 10:00 Load up the car and head to Six Flags for Oktoberfest and Boo Fest!  
  • 6:00 (p.m) Depart Six Flags before things get too spooky 
  • 6:30 Enjoy a light dinner in town- we highly recommend Jen G’s Pizza!  
  • 8:00 Ask one of the front desk staff for a board game before retiring for the evening 


  • 6:30 (a.m.) Grab some coffee from the hotel lobby and watch the beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan 
  • 8:00 (a.m.) Enjoy a buffet-style breakfast at Nolans 
  • 9:00 Choose another trail at the beach and soak in the views!  
  • 11:00 Make your way back to the hotel to refresh and collect your things. 
  • 1:00 Check-Out, and wave goodbye to the lake, don’t forget to fuel up before you leave!  

4 Fun and Entertaining Things to Do at Illinois Beach Hotel

With over 1,600 miles of shore, there are plenty of things to do at Lake Michigan and in the surrounding area. 

The Illinois Beach Hotel is centrally located on the beaches of Lake Michigan and is the perfect place from which to plan some fun activities for your visit. 

Our guide will discuss the best things you can do in and around our beautiful hotel. Keep reading to learn what they are. 

1. Spend a Day at Illinois Beach State Park

When traveling to Lake Michigan, you’ll want to add a day at the Illinois Beach State Park to your itinerary. Our beautiful state park has a lot of great outdoor activities you’ll enjoy.

You can spend some time swimming or doing water sports at the beach. There are also a variety of fishing ponds where you can catch things like catfish or bass.

Our state park has five trails at various difficulty levels. Three of those can be used for both hiking and biking. 

2. Visit Six Flags With Your Family

If you’re traveling to Illinois with your family, you’ll want to visit Six Flags Great America. This is one of the best things to do around the Illinois Beach Hotel. 

If your older kids are thrill seekers, they’ll love the Demon roller coaster or the Giant Drop. Your younger kids might enjoy the Little Dipper or the Krazy Kars ride. If you want a fun ride for the entire family, Roaring Rapids provides the best white-water rafting experience for a ride. 

3. Explore the Art Scene

Taking time to enjoy some art is a great way to stay creative and relieve stress. If you want to spend a day learning something new during your visit, there are plenty of options around the Illinois Beach Hotel. 

Learn about the indigenous people that first lived in the Illinois area while visiting the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. There are plenty of events taking place at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. Whether you’re interested in musical performances or theater shows, you’ll find something you like here. 

Check out different galleries and find new artists by visiting the monthly ArtWauk when you’re spending a weekend in Lake Michigan.

4. Do Some Shopping

There are plenty of shopping options around the Illinois Beach Hotel. The Deer Park Town Center is an open-air center you can visit. Gurnee Mills is an outlet mall where you can find brand names at a fraction of the price. 

After a long day of shopping, you can eat at Illinois Beach Hotel’s Nolan’s Restaurant. We offer locally sourced food like the delicious Michigan Whitefish. 

Outdoor seating is available with beautiful views of Lake Michigan. We offer weekly specials and have happy hours too. 

Fun Things to Do During Your Stay at the Illinois Beach Hotel

There are plenty of fun things to do while staying at the Illinois Beach Hotel. You can spend the day outdoors at Illinois State Park or eat at our hotel’s highly-rated restaurant. 

Check out our packages & specials page if you’re interested in a weekend getaway and book your stay today.

Top 4 Activities to Try on Lake Michigan

According to Michigan State University, Lake Michigan brings millions of dollars to the outdoor recreation industry in our state. Over 20 million people visit Lake Michigan every year. 

Are you one of the millions planning a trip to Lake Michigan? If you are, you’ll want to know the best activities to plan for. 

Our guide will discuss the top activities you’ll want to try. Keep reading to learn what they are. 

1. Check Out the Trails at Illinois Beach State Park

First on the list of Lake Michigan activities, head out to the trails within Illinois Beach State Park. Using your vacation to spend time outdoors offers many physical and mental health benefits

Our beautiful state park offers a variety of trails great for hiking. You can request a guided tour or head out on your own.

The Dead River and Dunes Loop Trail is among the most popular at 2.5 miles long. This trail is excellent for hiking, but you can also take it if you’re interested in bird watching. 

One of the easier routes is the Illinois Beach Trail. It’s a 1.4-mile-long paved trail that can be used for walking or biking. 

2. Fish on Lake Michigan

You can also spend some time fishing in Lake Michigan. You can fish anywhere along our beach except in the swimming areas and the nature preserve. 

There are several small inland fishing ponds you can choose from. Sand Pond is a great choice for those with accessibility needs. Fish you might catch in this region include bluegills, carp, channel catfish, and largemouth bass.

3. Do Some Water Activities at Illinois Beach 

There are plenty of water activities to partake in when you visit Lake Michigan. The shorelines along Lake Michigan are packed with swimmers during the summer season. 

You can also rent a wave runner for a day of adventure on the lake. You can do some stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking in the water too. 

You can’t leave Lake Michigan without spending some time at our beautiful beach. Partake in all activities cautiously, however, as there are no on-duty lifeguards stationed at the beach. 

4. Take a Lake Michigan Cruise

You can also book a cruise while vacationing in Lake Michigan. There are a variety of options to choose from, like a family-friendly sighting-seeing cruise or a romantic sunset cruise. 

Once you have some activities planned for your trip, you’ll need to book a hotel for your stay. Illinois Beach Hotel is one of the best Lake Michigan hotels because it’s the only hotel in the state located along the beaches of Lake Michigan. 

Check out our page if you’re looking for more activities to do while staying at our hotel. 

Try These Activities When Visiting Lake Michigan

Try some of the activities we’ve listed in this guide when planning your trip to Lake Michigan. You’ll also enjoy your stay at the premier Lake Michigan hotel during your weekend getaway. 

The Illinois Beach Hotel offers a variety of lodging options as well as great packages and specials. Check out our page to book your stay today!