Best Places for Snow Tubing Near Chicago for Families
When there's no snow to be found in the city or your neighborhood sledding hills are worn down to the grass, you still can find perfect slopes for snow tubing near Chicago with kids just a short drive outside the city.
Snow tubing is the perfect winter activity for the whole family; it gets everyone outside playing, and unlike skiing or snowboarding, it requires no gear. (And unlike ice skating, it requires no balance!) Everything you need to go snow tubing with kids—a tube, a hill, and snow—is provided by the parks. Just dress warmly, and you're ready for a day of snow tubing near Chicago.
Try Cascade Mountain for a thrilling snow tubing experience. Photo courtesy of Cascade Mountain
2.5 hour drive from Chicago
Cascade Mountain has major snow-making capabilities. This is hi-tech operation offers 900-foot chutes and 90-foot drops. There is also a surface lift to take you and your tube to the top of the hill. The chalet snack bar offers drinks, sandwiches, and a cozy place to warm up. The snow tubing season runs from mid-December through early March. Kids and adults will enjoy this thrill ride.
40-minute drive from Chicago
The Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville has well over 1300 acres of natural beauty and is one of the most spectacular spots for winter activities in Chicago. Once there’s enough snow on the ground (usually at least 3 inches), Mount Hoy opens for an 800-foot slide down the hill. Inner tube rentals are at the base of the hill and are $10 per tube per day, and only these tubes are allowed on the hill. The hill is open on weekends and school holidays through February 28 from 10am to 4pm (last tube rental is at 3:30pm).
Photo courtesy of Villa Olivia
60 minute drive from Chicago
Boy oh boy is the snow tubing at Villa Olivia popular. New this year, reservations are available online and we strongly suggest you make them, as they have been selling out. Tickets are good for two hours of all-you-can-tube time for kids 6 and up (and over 42 inches). Kids that are 4 and 5 years old may ride along with a paying adult. Fees include tube rental and rides up the magic carpet to the top of the hill. Everyone hitting the hills must sign a waiver (which can be printed and signed at home). Day tubing is available on weekends and holidays from 9am-5pm, and evening tubing takes place Thursday through Sunday and holidays from 5 pm-9:30pm.
RELATED: Chicago Winter Fun Guide
Wilmot Mountain provides snow tubing about 75 minutes from Chicago. Photo courtesy of Wilmot Mountain
75-minute drive from Chicago
Halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, this mountain has a big tubing area with 22 lanes and two surface conveyors. About half a mile from the main ski lodge, the tube runs have a separate snack lodge and deck for taking a break. Rentals are available weekdays from 4pm-9pm and holidays and weekends from 9am-9pm. Kids must be 42 inches tall to go tubing, and only one person is allowed per tube. (But up to 4 tubes can link together for a ride down the mountain!) All participants must book a reservation in advance, and must sign a waiver, which can be done when purchasing tickets online.
Snow tubing at Sunburst is worth the drive. Photo courtesy of Sunburst Winter Sports Park, Facebook
120-minute drive from Chicago
Yes, we just called Wilmot’s 22 lanes big, which makes Sunburst Winter Sports Park massive, with all of 45 tubing chutes. In fact, it claims to be the largest snow tubing park in the world. The chutes have a 90-foot drop in elevation, and Sunburst says riders can reach speeds of a thrilling 30 mph. The rules here are simple: tickets are $20 for everyone (that’s for 2-hour sessions on weekends and holidays, and from 4pm-8pm Tuesday through Thursday), kids must be 42 inches tall to ride, tickets are only available for purchase on-site, and everyone signs a waiver when you get there. We have heard reports that it can get very crowded here, and lines can be long, so prep kids to keep masks on and stay together as a family this winter.
145-minute drive from Chicago
This family-friendly Southwest Michigan ski slope, terrain park, and snow tubing area has something for outdoor winter sports enthusiasts of all ages and ability levels. The snow tubing area has only 3 lanes, but they’re gentle and fun for the whole family (well, anyone in the family who is over 5 years of age and at least 42 inches tall). Tubes are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and $20 gets you the tube lift and tube use for 2 hours. (You can also rent a helmet to use while tubing.) The slides are open Wednesday through Friday from 1pm-9pm, Saturdays and holidays from 10am-9pm, and Sundays from 10am-7pm. The warm-up hut is not open this year, so take heat breaks in the car, and bundle up!
RELATED: The Best Sledding Hills in and around Chicago
Night tubing with brightly colored snow lights at Snowstar Winter Sports Park
3-hour drive from Chicago
While this spot is a bit more of a trek from Chicago, if you need a winter weekend getaway, the short lift lines, family atmosphere, and required reservations means this spot is a good one for young kids, or if some of the family wants to ski and others want to tube. Also, this is the only place on our list that is for kids 3 and up (riders must be able to safely hold onto a tube and ride alone). You'll get 2 hours to use a tube and ride up the hill on the magic carpet lift. Everyone has to sign a waiver to hit the hill, and it is open daily, with reservations taken only by phone.
Photos courtesy of the mountains/parks