Grass Lake, Illinois, USA

Also known as:  Fox Chain O'Lakes

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Grass Lake.

If you’re considering Grass Lake vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Grass Lake guide!

Grass Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Illinois - Chicagoland -

Grass Lake is one of nine lakes linked by channels to form the Fox Chain O’Lakes in northern Illinois. The combination of lakes is the largest inland, recreational waterway in Illinois and is a destination for all outdoor enthusiasts. Water level control on the entire Fox River Chain O’Lakes is controlled by a series of dams on the Fox River. The dams, under the control of the Illinois Division of Water Resources, maintain recreational water levels and control flooding.

Grass Lake is the shallowest lake in the chain, making it a favorite among fisherman; boaters must stay in the center of lake, giving anglers the shoreline all to themselves. Fishing enthusiasts find that due to the shallow nature of the lake, channel catfish and carp are bountiful catches but largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow bass, muskie, walleye, perch, crappie, white bass, northern pike, bullhead catfish, and smallmouth bass are also found in the shallow waters. Chain O’Lakes State Park borders Grass Lake and offers one of many access points to the lake. The lake is also a high quality waterfowl hunting area with other 30 waterfowl hunting blinds managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Due to the popularity of Grass Lake and the Fox Chain O’Lakes, numerous hotels, motels, resorts, and camping facilities provide vacation rentals for visitors, while lakefront home owners value their real estate and private piece of the action. Together all nine lakes of the chain offer approximately 7,000 acres of water with 488 shoreline miles and over 29 miles of dredged and natural channels that connect the lakes to make navigation possible. The area provides year-round fishing — ice fishing is a very popular winter activity.

Moraine Hills State Park on the western border of the McHenry Dam provides year-round recreation in the form of biking, hiking, boating, cross-country skiing, fishing, geological finds, historical sites, hunting, interpretive programs, picnicking, hiking trails, ice skating, and wildlife viewing. At marinas and commercial venues around the lakes, horse rentals and boat rentals are also available. Snowmobiling over the frozen lakes assures that the area stays busy even in the colder months. Tiki bars, lounges, and lakefront restaurants provide a variety of food, beverage, and entertainment for time off the water.

Grass Lake is located in Lake County in the Chicagoland tourism region of Illinois. The entire Chain O’Lakes extends from Lake County into McHenry County, which is in the Northern tourism region. The Northern Illinois Region ranges geographically from lush forested lands and peaceful farmlands to big cities, small towns and historic villages. In Chicagoland, the action focuses on the excitement of downtown Chicago, with its music heard all around the city, especially amidst the roaring nightlife. All of the entertainment and thrill of both regions are only a short drive from Grass Lake.

Grass Lake is just one of many destinations in this adventurous area that offers year round fun and excitement. So no matter which season you choose to travel, it will all be here waiting on you.

Custom Grass Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Grass Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park

Fish species found at Grass Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Bullhead Catfish
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • White Bass
  • Yellow Bass

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Grass Lake

The Grass Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Grass Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Grass Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Illinois Dept. of Transportation-Division of Water Resources

Surface Area: 1,360 acres

Shoreline Length: 9 miles

Average Depth: 3 feet

Maximum Depth: 6 feet

Completion Year: 1908

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