The Scene

Water, sun and fun at northern Illinois parks

Cyclone at Raging Waves in Yorkville

Whether it’s paddling down the Fox River, splashing in the pool or seeking the thrills of water slides, there’s plenty of ways to spend time in the water this summer.

Take a short ride and visit a new-to-you water park or plan a day trip to spend the day at local theme parks. Rent a canoe and enjoy the calm waters on the Fox River or float down the lazy river. There’s even a paddlewheel riverboat cruise that can be a great outing for the family or a romantic date to enjoy the sunset.

Be sure to check websites in advance for the latest updates and remember weather can be a factor.

Three Oaks Recreation Center

5517 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake

Parking fee $5 per vehicle, additional fees for rentals

People cool off on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in the swimming area of Three Oaks Recreation Area.

Swim, float and even scuba dive at Three Oaks Recreation Center in Crystal Lake. Once a quarry, the area boasts some of the favorite water recreation in the area. Visitors can fish, swim, and enjoy water craft including canoes, rowboats, kayaks, sailboats and paddleboards. Small children will enjoy the spray park. See the website for weather conditions, rental information and

Santa’s Village Amusement & Water Park

601 Dundee Ave., East Dundee

Tickets can be purchased online

The well-loved amusement park invites guests to splash around at Santa Springs Water Park, featuring water slides, a zero-depth wading pool and a two-story water play structure. There are cabanas available for daily rentals.

Mill Race Cyclery

11 E. State St., Geneva

Rental fees vary by time, equipment

Looking to float down the river but don’t have a paddle, or boat? There’s more than cycles at Mill Race Cyclery, located along the Fox River Bike Trail. The shop offers water sports rentals including kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards. Secure your rental online and spend more time on the water. It also offers bike rentals, bike repairs and of course, sales of new equipment too.

Pottawatomie Park

8 North Ave., St. Charles

Fees vary by age, date and time. Tickets can be purchased online

Enjoy a sunset cruise aboard a real paddlewheel riverboat. The St. Charles Park District operates two paddlewheel riverboats each summer providing guests with a smooth sailing experience on the Fox River. The two-story riverboats offer guests the option to sit under a canopy or on the uncovered upper deck. Daytime cruises offered daily through August.

The Water Works

505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg

$12 non-resident and free for children 2 and younger

No need to worry about the weather at this indoor water park featuring three water slides, a zero-depth pool and lap pool, as well as a sprayground.

Raging Waves Water Park

4000 N. Bridge St., Yorkville

Tickets start at $49.99 plus parking $20, purchase online for savings

Illinois’ largest water park is located in Yorkville. Raging Waves boasts 32 waterslides, a lazy river that stretches for a quarter of a mile, a wave pool, leisure pool as well as sand area and private cabanas across 58 acres. When you get hungry, there are 11 dining options located inside the water park, making it the perfect place to spend the day soaking and splashing.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee

Ticket prices start at $50 plus parking, purchase online for savings

With rides like the Bahama Mama and Bubba Tubba where you raft down a six-story twisty course, Buccaneer Bay and the chill Castaway Creek there’s something for everyone at the theme park’s water park. The Tsunami Surge touts itself as the world’s tallest water coaster.