Centered around a 129-acre lake, this preserve offers a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation and nature education. Surrounding prairie and woodlands provide a picturesque backdrop for walking, biking, picnicking, fishing, concerts, playground, volleyball, and other fun activities. When conditions allow, ice skating and ice fishing are available in designated areas of the preserve. Wading, swimming, and launching personal watercraft on the preserve lake, are not permitted.
Follow us on social media @LCFPD for news and updates on preserve activities, Beer Garden at Independence Grove hours and menu, marina closings, and our popular summer concert series. You can also check our interactive map or call the hotline at 847-968-3499.
For permit information or general questions, call the preserve office at 847-968-3499.
While part of the larger preserve, the Independence Grove Dog Park has its own separate entrance on Milwaukee Avenue, just north of Route 137. This special place is one of five Dog Parks where dogs can run and play off-leash. An annual or daily permit and a dog are required for entry.
No dogs, horses or other pets are allowed in the preserve or preserve facilities.
Qualified services animals are allowed throughout the preserve and in all preserve facilities.
At Independence Grove, 7.5 miles of walking trails circle the lake and run through scenic natural areas. Roughly 6.4 miles are available for biking and 3.8 miles for in-line skating. Trails here also connect to neighboring communities and provide walk-in access to the preserve.
The preserve’s Lakeside Trail and a short section of the Des Plaines River Trail (DPRT) have gravel surfaces. The Overlook Trail and the South Bay Trail Loop have paved surfaces. The North Bay Trail Loop has a combination of paved and gravel surfaces.
Late spring through early fall, the Beer Garden at Independence Grove features a variety of Lake County craft brews on tap, along with packaged snacks and other beverages. Plenty of casual lakeside seating is available. Interested in hosting your next event at the Beer Garden? Fill out an inquiry form, and our team will be in touch soon.
View the Beer Garden Menu
Relax outdoors at our Concerts in the Plaza summer concert music series in the Millennia Plaza overlooking the lake. Pack a picnic or buy dinner and beverages at the café. Enjoy a variety of musical genres by bands playing originals and classics. Pack a picnic or buy dinner at the café. Stop by the Beer Garden on concert nights for craft brews and scenic views.
Marina, Boat & Bike Rentals
Though personal watercraft are not allowed on the lake at Independence Grove, you can rent fishing boats, canoes, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and pedal boats at the marina
spring through early fall. You can also rent comfort bikes, quadracycles and adaptive trikes. Approved flotation gear and bike helmets are provided. The marina also sells bait, tackle, fishing licenses, snacks and beverages.
Group Use: A group rate for the marina is available to groups of 15 or more, Monday through Friday.
How to Reserve: Group use reservations are required and must be made at least 10 days or more in advance so that we can ensure proper staffing and equipment. Please fill out the form to get started.
Group Use Request Form
Located on the north side of the Visitors Center, the café is open seasonally and sells snacks, light entrees, beverages and ice cream from a convenient walk-up window. Season schedule, hours and menu »
Located adjacent to the Visitors Center, this sensory-rich play environment with handicap-adaptable equipment and wide paved pathways makes access comfortable and enjoyable for all visitors. All Forest Preserve playgrounds are smoke-free environments.
Indoor and Outdoor Venues
Offering panoramic views of the lake and preserve, Audubon Hall, the Millennia Plaza, and the North Bay Pavilion can be reserved for weddings, banquets, reunions, picnics and other private celebrations, corporate meetings and retreats, and community functions. For catering arrangements and reservations in 2023, contact Events at Independence Grove at 847-247-1111. Group rates and reservations are also available at the Beer Garden and marina. Email IndependenceGrove@LCFPD.org for details and pricing.
2024 Events at Independence Grove
The Lake County Forest Preserves is very proud to partner with Relish Catering Kitchen to be our on-site caterer for Independence Grove starting in 2024. To book your 2024 event at Independence Grove, reach out to Relish at 847-352-8840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relish strives to beat all expectations with their “from scratch” approach to creative catering dishes. Their classically trained chefs can prepare a wide variety of cuisines and culinary creations, and their staff provides the highest-level hospitality, making the host feel relaxed and guests feel welcome. Relish can cater all types of events: weddings, graduations, birthdays, BBQ’s, holiday parties, communions, baptisms, bar and bat mitzvahs, corporate meetings, or any special event.
Hours: 9 am–4:30 pm, daily, unless otherwise posted. This dramatic building offers panoramic views of the lake and preserve. The open interior offers banquet and meeting space, a classroom, preserve information, and a cafe. Learn more »
An amphitheater, fountain and native garden make an ideal setting for a variety of special programs, events, outdoor celebrations, and our annual summer concerts series. The native garden showcases flowers and foliage, a sculptured fountain, wooden pergola and gazebo, wood and wrought iron benches and winding red brick walkways. Volunteer gardeners help tend to its seasonal needs. The garden also shows homeowners how to create their own beautiful landscapes using low-maintenance native plants.
North Bay Pavilion
Situated on the scenic North Bay, this striking outdoor pavilion and adjacent open area are perfect for a corporate picnic, outdoor wedding, family reunion or other lakeside events. Permits are required for exclusive use of the North Bay Pavilion and for use of open areas in the preserve for groups of 25 or more. The Pavilion can accommodate 50 to 600 guests, and offers reserved parking, water and electric services, restroom facilities, picnic tables, 2’ x 4’ charcoal grill, sand volleyball court, fishing pier, stone fireplace, plus accessibility to all of Independence Grove’s open spaces and hiking trails. For reservations and to learn more about catering arrangements »
Bring your own canoe or kayak and launch it on the Des Plaines River. Located near the preserve's North Bay Pavilion, the launch offers shoreline fishing, a trail connection to the 31.4-mile Des Plaines River Trail, and parking. If you put in here, the next ramp, Oak Spring Road Canoe Launch, is 2.7 miles downstream. Learn more »
We've transformed a sterile quarry with step sides into a rich aquatic ecosystem with gently graded slopes and underwater islands. Musky, northern pike, black crappie, largemouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, bluegill and yellow perch are found here. Game fish are periodically stocked. A mandatory catch-and-release fishing program at Independence Grove makes it recreational for anglers and beneficial for nature. Anglers are encouraged to use barbless, non-stainless steel hooks.
State fishing licenses are required and are available at the marina (open seasonally), along with nightcrawlers and a limited stock of tackle. Fishing is not permitted in the preserve's South Bay.
Entrance and Parking
Free for Lake County residents. Driver's license is required for proof of residency.
$6 per car for nonresidents, Mon–Thu, $12 Fri–Sun and holidays. Cash or credit card only.
Vehicle window sticker available
$5 for Lake County residents only. Purchase at Visitors Center.
Sticker allows visitors to bypass showing the required proof of county residency on each visit. Just point out your sticker to the gate attendant to be waved through. Sticker is good for the life of the vehicle's window and is not transferable.