Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Antioch, IL

  • Published 2023/03/18

Located roughly between Chicago and Milwaukee, Antioch is sometimes called the “Gateway to the Chain O’Lakes.”

The Chain O’Lakes is a series of 13 interconnected lakes and rivers.

Antioch is within the larger Antioch Township in Lake County, Illinois.

It has a population of 14,622 as of the 2020 census.

Antioch has both the rustic charm of a little town and the vibrancy of a rapidly developing metropolis.

Antioch is noted for its high quality of life and is steeped in rich history and heritage.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Antioch, Illinois:

Catch Fish at Raven Glen Forest Preserve

Trail at Raven Glen Forest Preserve

Ken Schulze /

Raven Glen Forest Preserve is known for its stunning landscapes and rolling hills.

Raven Glen’s most striking natural features are Timber Lake, Hastings Creek, scattered marshes, undulating terrain with oak and hickory woodlands, and other tree species.

A short stretch of the Millennium Trail runs through the eastern border of the preserve.

Two piers offer access to Timber Lake, a 33-acre body of water where anglers and sightseers can relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Timber Lake has a sandy bottom and is home to the endangered Iowa darter fish colony.

Flowers at Raven Glen Forest Preserve

John Ruberry /

It separates the park’s two entry points and trail networks.

The lake is 95 percent held by the Forest Preserve, but the northern portion is privately owned and off-limits to the public.

There is fishing access at Timber Lake but not at White Slough.

The preserve is located at North U.S. Highway 45, Antioch, Illinois.

Visit Hiram Buttrick Sawmill

The Hiram Buttrick Sawmill is a fantastic historical relic built in the same style as the original mill.

It is located beside Sequoit Creek at Gage Brothers Park.

Hiram Buttrick built the first sawmill on the site in 1839.

The mills of the era were crucial to the economy and helped propel it forward.

The current replica sawmill was constructed in 1976 as part of the Village of Antioch’s celebration of America’s bicentennial.

Timber, beams, wooden pegs, boards, pulleys, shafts, and gear were all reclaimed from defunct sawmills and other structures.

This one-of-a-kind structure took over two years to build and was placed around 500 feet from the old sawmill.

The Hiram Buttrick Sawmill has quickly become one of Lake County’s most photographed attractions.

It is located at Cunningham Dr, Antioch, Illinois.

Taste the Best Wines at Vigneto del Bino Winery

Wines made from “local vines” are Vigneto del Bino Winery’s claim to fame.

The Trombino family of Antioch, California, founded Vigneto del Bino Winery in 2012.

Vigneto del Bino is well-known for its exceptional wines made from Illinois grapes.

Surrounded by 2,300 vines, the winery occupies just one acre of the ten-acre site.

The winery building features a production area for alcoholic beverages, a tasting room, and a retail area selling bottles and other wine-related merchandise.

Unwind with a glass of wine from their extensive collection while browsing their unique gifts.

The boutique’s idyllic setting between two vineyards lends an air of rustic elegance.

This is a priceless heirloom and a fantastic spot to photograph the endless vineyards.

They also sell locally manufactured goods, such as wreaths woven from vines and wine-themed gifts.

The winery is located at N Crawford Rd, Antioch, Illinois.

Visit the Lakes Region Historical Society Museum

The Lakes Region Historical Society museum provides a glimpse into the lives of early Antioch residents.

It showcases the region’s indigenous peoples, agricultural and commercial establishments, and private homes.

The Lakes Region Historical Society museum is in a yellow brick schoolhouse built in 1892.

It has nine rooms filled with artifacts dating from prehistoric times to the 1960s.

Historic sites such as Antioch’s Main Street and the Grass Lake lotus ponds and ice harvesting equipment can be viewed.

The Lakes Region Historical Society has been working on preserving the yellow brick grade school building since 1983.

They oversee the museum and have made it its mission to protect the historical legacy of Antioch, Illinois, and the surrounding Chain O’ Lakes region.

LRHS has been serving the Lakes Area since its inception in 1973.

The volunteers at this nonprofit are committed to preserving relics, uncovering forgotten histories, and expanding upon Antioch’s already impressive legacy.

The Schoolhouse Museum, located at Main Street, Antioch, Illinois, is open on Saturdays from April through November.

Find Unique Collectibles at Great Lakes Antiques Boutique

If you’re looking for antiques or other one-of-a-kind treasures, look no further than Great Lakes Antiques Boutique.

The Great Lakes Antique Boutique is a treasure trove of unique items for the intrepid shopper.

Everywhere you look, you can find something extraordinary.

The one-of-a-kind wares come from various sources, including Etsy sellers, do-it-yourself designers, and antique shops.

In addition, they host over 120 unique retailers selling anything from vintage finds to handmade wares from local artisans.

You never know what kind of exceptional finds you might find at the Great Lakes Antiques Boutique on Main Street in Antioch, Illinois.

Explore the Antioch Fine Arts Foundation Gallery

The Antioch Fine Arts Foundation serves the local community by coordinating and promoting arts programs through its art gallery and education center.

The space is immaculate, featuring exhibitions of work by regional artists.

One of the foundation’s missions is to increase people’s exposure to and enthusiasm for the arts.

Volunteers manage and supervise the affairs of the Antioch Fine Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

The American Federation for the Arts Foundation (AFAF) was established in October 2001 to serve communities in northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin.

Check them out if you want to purchase artwork made in the area.

They are at Main St, Antioch, Illinois.

Make a Splash at the Antioch Aqua Center

The Antioch Aqua Center opened in 2013 and featured various aquatic attractions.

The zero-depth area of the Antioch Aqua Center features a play structure with splash fountains, a whirling vortex, and a “great stairway.”

This “stairway” is convenient since it allows easy access in and out of the water.

It also features a diving board and a water slide that drops guests from 20 feet into a 25-meter-deep pool.

Locker facilities are extensive, so there is plenty of room to change and shower.

There are a few grassy patches where you can spread your beach towels to claim your space while you swim.

Have a day of fun with your family in friends when you visit them at Main St, Antioch, Illinois.

Rent a Pontoon at Chain O’Lakes Luxury Boat Rental

Chain O’Lakes Boat Rentals has provided customers with one of the largest fleets of rental boats on the Illinois Chain O’Lakes since 2021.

Chain O’Lakes Boat Rentals’ fleet features a variety of pontoon boats available for rent at competitive rates.

The pontoon boats they rent out are in excellent condition and have comfy seating and sun-protecting Bimini tops.

It can carry between eight and ten passengers and up to 1,400 pounds.

In addition, you can relax knowing that they offer life vests for adults and children in their inventory.

Spend the day with your friends on the water, and you’re guaranteed a great time.

Come and visit them at W Riverview Pl, Antioch, Illinois.

Experience the Beauty of Ethel’s Woods Forest Preserve

A trail at Ethel's Woods Forest Preserve

Tracy Immordino /

The Ethel’s Woods Forest Preserve, located at Miller Road, Antioch, Illinois, is an excellent destination for hiking, running, and walking dogs.

The preserve’s four picturesque lookouts make the most of the area’s gentle hills and unimpeded vistas.

Enjoy its gently sloping hills and unimpeded views from four amazing overlooks.

Wildflowers at Ethel's Woods Forest Preserve

Tracy Immordino /

It has 1.6 miles of gravel trails perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing across a scenic terrain typical of a north woods setting.

In addition, Ethel’s Woods is now safely connected to the 575-acre Raven Glen Forest Preserve via a new pedestrian tunnel under Route 45.

This natural greenway connection between the two huge preserves will improve forest management and wildlife protection and provide more outdoor activities options.

A tree at Ethel's Woods Forest Preserve

Tracy Immordino /

Have a Picnic at Pedersen Park

Pedersen Park is an open green park that spans 8.6 acres and features a walking trail and stunning views of the Chain O’ Lakes marsh.

The park features a playground, a soccer net, a picnic pavilion with a grill, and tables.

Pedersen Park is a beautiful place for parties and get-togethers.

They have a boat race and a camping event there every year.

This peaceful, expansive waterfront park is on a long peninsula surrounded by towering old cottonwood trees, wetlands, and channels.

Pedersen Park is a one-of-a-kind playground suitable for kids of all ages.

It has two regular swingsets, two bucket swingsets, a tot slide, a big-kid slide, and many climbing bars.

While the playground equipment is relatively ordinary, the park’s scenic location and ample open space make it a hit with visitors of all ages.

It is located at IL-173, Antioch, Illinois.

Visit Trevor Creek Park

Trevor Creek Park is a hidden gem located in northern Antioch.

Trevor Creek Park is an excellent spot for the kids to slow down from the day’s hectic schedule.

Trevor Creek Park is suitable for people of all ages and skills.

The playground is in a vast open field with plenty of room to run.

There are several slides, climbing walls, and climbing structures.

A tiny pavilion provides shelter for two picnic tables.

However, there aren’t any trees in the park, so there’s little to take a break from the heat.

Various sports teams use the baseball field for after-school and weekend practices.

The park is located at Kennedy Dr, Antioch, Illinois.

Enjoy Outdoor Games at Tim Osmond Sports Complex

Antioch, Illinois, is home to the Tim Osmond Sports Complex, a 78-acre park ideal for outdoor activities.

The Tim Osmond Sports Complex has something for everyone and features a baseball diamond, disc golf, a football field, an outdoor pavilion, parking, a picnic area, and a playground.

Invite your pals over for a thrilling round of disc golf.

The outdoor pavilions and expansive playground will be a hit for the kids.

Picnic spots are great places to unwind with loved ones and share a meal.

Visit one of their two football fields, which hosts youth football, cheerleading, soccer, and lacrosse games.

Have a day of fun when you visit the sports complex at Depot St, Antioch, Illinois.

Enjoy a Lake Cruise with the Boatyard Rental Lake Marie

Located on Lake Marie in Antioch, the Boatyard Rental Lake Marie is a waterfront facility that rents pontoon boats, fishing boats, and kayaks.

They also offer a bait and gear shop and a boat launch.

The facility is conveniently located off Interstate 94, within walking distance of downtown Antioch.

Their boats are in excellent shape and have enough power to cruise the lakes.

You can take a relaxing cruise around the lake, cast a line, and take the breathtaking scenery.

The check-in process is simple, and the staff was warm and accommodating.

After your water activities, stop by their shop for refreshments, ice, sunscreen, and anything else you might need.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore McDonald Woods Forest Preserve

McDonald Woods Forest Preserve is ideal for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing.

Some trails lead to the Millennium Trail and other local bikeways.

Chickadees, cardinals, and raptors like Cooper’s hawk find haven among the evergreen trees that populate the preserve.

The area was purchased in the 1970s and is now a nature reserve honoring A. B. McDonald, the previous landowner.

In the 1940s, he established a private nature preserve on 295 acres, constructing three lakes and planting a pine grove and other trees.

Once barren plains, the rehabilitated grasslands are teaming with natural prairie flora and butterflies on their annual migration.

Visit McDonald Woods Forest Preserve to enjoy nature’s finest moments.

It is located at W Grass Lake Rd, Lake Villa, Illinois, ten minutes from Antioch.

Have a Picnic at Thelen Park

Thelen Park is an open green space with a playground, a football field, a small skate park, two baseball diamonds, and hiking trails.

Thelen Park is located at 8400 Winn Road in Spring Grove, Illinois, 15 minutes from Antioch.

It’s the place to go if you’re looking for outdoor activities near Antioch, Illinois.

Bring your family and friends along for an enjoyable picnic.

Bring your kids so they can burn off some energy on the playground or at the ball fields.

Thelen Park is a beautiful park in a breathtaking location.

The park’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display is always a crowd-pleaser.

Final Thoughts

Antioch’s proximity to hundreds of small lakes, each with unique fishing, hunting, and boating opportunities, has made it a popular vacation destination.

In addition to the town’s natural beauty, historic downtown Antioch features several quaint boutiques and eateries.

Enjoy the best things to do in Antioch, Illinois.

© All rights reserved.