Key Lime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort offers families a fun day out in the Chicago suburbs. In this full review, you will find out how Key Lime Cove caters to families with its multiple room options, variety of dining choices, and a fun for all ages waterpark. The hotel actually runs more like a self-sustaining city because everything you could possibly need lies within the walls of the property.

Key Lime Cove Resort and Waterpark

Photo credit: Kirsten Maxwell-Teaching Traveling Mom

Key Lime Cove Resort is located in Gurnee, Illinois, about an hour north of Chicago and 10 miles south of the Wisconsin border. Its proximity to Six Flags Great America amusement park and the Gurnee Mills mall make it a popular choice for families looking for a weekend of non-stop entertainment.

What Works for Families at Key Lime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort

    • The hotel allows families to use the waterpark before they are able to check in. We arrived at 1:30TMOM Travel Disclosure p.m. and the kids were allowed to enjoy the facility before the 4:00 check-in time.
    • The water park has five major water slides, a gigantic water works play structure, a play area for younger children, a lazy river, and a basketball pool. The swimming pool and Children of all ages will be entertained and the pool is adequately staffed with trained lifeguards. We even encountered two little lost girls and the staff quickly helped them reunite with their parents.
    • There are many food options. There are sit down restaurants, snack bars, a coffee shop/bakery, and grocery store. Nobody in your party will go hungry.
  • The staff throughout the property was very friendly and helpful.
  • The arcade was a fun diversion when the kids were finished with the water park. The cost to play the games was not over the top, and the tickets dispensed from each machine were very generous so the kids could buy prizes afterwards.

What Doesn’t Work for Families at Key Lime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort

  • We were there on a Sunday and the waterpark seemed to be about half full. Early in the day the wait for the most popular slide, the Hurricane Vortex, took about 20 minutes, later it was closer to 30 minutes. The other slides barely had a wait, and since there are four of them, I would recommend steering your kids toward those. (Note: Two are body slides, and two require rafts, so you will have to carry a raft up the stairs if your child is unable to manage.)
  • We have high expectations when it comes to rooms, and I have to honestly say both my husband and myself thought the rooms were a little tired and dated. They were clean, but they could definitely use some updating.
Queen Deluxe Room Key Lime Cove

The queen deluxe room.
Photo credit: Kirsten Maxwell-Teaching Traveling Mom

  • The hotel is not well sound proofed. We could hear every conversation, screaming kid, and running teenager, that came past our room. We had to turn on a white noise app on my phone around 11pm just to drown out the noise.
  • We had a queen deluxe guest room with two queen beds and a pull out couch. When the bed was pulled out, the room was pretty small. If I was planning on staying again, I would reserve a larger room. I believe they have suites available, and that definitely would have been a better choice for our family of five.

The Hotel

The property sits back off the highway in Gurnee, close to Six Flags Great America, Gurnee Mills Shopping Mall, and many restaurants. The hotel has 414 guest rooms and suites in seven different configurations so some rooms can sleep up to 12 people using connecting rooms. Waterpark admission is included in the room price.

Once you enter the property, the idea is that you are transported to a tropical town, and the idea works. Not only is there an indoor waterpark, but there are restaurants, shops, a spa, an art studio where they have daily kids activities, and arcade. Kids of all ages will enjoy themselves with all the property has to offer. The resort is trying to have guests use wristbands for payment, but when we went the system was down. It will be a nice feature when it is up and running.


As I mentioned, our room was a bit dated, but I did have high expectations. It was fairly clean and I know there are other options in the hotel for room choices. Our room was on the first floor and looked out to the waterpark exit. We couldn’t leave our curtains open because anyone walking by could see in our room. After our stay I was told there are rooms with a courtyard view, I imagine those might be the ones to book.


There are two main restaurants, D.W. Anderson’s and The Crazy Toucan. We ate dinner at The Crazy Toucan which is more of a sports bar serving tropical food and beverages, and the food was decent. The food and service was adequate, about what you would expect from a hotel restaurant.

We did make a post dinner run to the ice cream parlor located inside D.W. Anderson’s. Two of our kids had single scoops of ice cream and two of us split a pretty amazing banana split. That was probably the highlight of our dining experience at Key Lime Cove.

In the morning there is a full breakfast available at D.W. Anderson’s or head to Island Temptations which serves muffins, cereal, doughnuts, juice and coffee. We opted for the cafe. The kids loved the doughnuts, but I thought the coffee was a miss. Do yourself a favor and drive down the block to the Starbucks.

D.W. Anderson's Banana Split

The banana split was worth the calories!
Photo credit: Kirsten Maxwell – Teaching Traveling Mom


We enjoyed our one night stay  at Key Lime Cover Indoor Waterpark Resort. The kids loved the waterpark area, except for waiting in line for their favorite slide. They almost enjoyed the play structure area where they could dump water buckets on other unsuspecting visitors the best. They also loved playing at the arcade at the end of the day. The room could have been better, but I was informed it was a fully booked weekend, so a better room wasn’t available. Next time, I would ask for one of the rooms facing the inner courtyard. Key Lime Cove is fun for an overnight if you’re in the area or a day trip if you live in the Chicago area.

Headed to the Chicago area? You may want to read these articles from other Traveling Moms: Things to Do in Chicago – The 411 on the 606 and 21 Not to Miss Brunch Places in Chicago