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The 4th of July falls on a Thursday this year, which means some of you may have a long weekend and are looking for ways to cool off.

The good news is that the Springfield area offers plenty of opportunities to do just that, even if you don’t have a boat or a private beach.

Parks at Lake Springfield

What to expect: Lake Springfield offers eight public parks with 35 picnic areas, two recreation buildings, six softball fields, horseshoe pits, a volleyball court and numerous playgrounds – and most of them can be reserved.

  • Lake Park on East Lake Shore Drive near the Henson Robinson Zoo
  • Beach Park on Long Bay Drive
  • East Cottonhill Park
  • Bridgeview Park on North Lakewood Drive
  • Center Park on East Lake Shore Drive, where the Beach House is located, an event venue available for rental to the public.

Although swimming from the shore is not permitted in the lake, there are numerous places near the beach where you can sit down for a late lunch with the family.

Location: All around Lake Springfield; a list of addresses and parking locations can be found on the City Water Lights Power website.

Cost: A fee may be required to reserve some buildings, such as the beach house, but most pagodas, dining areas and picnic areas can be reserved free of charge on the CWLP website.

Lake Springfield Marina

What to expect: Breaking waves rock your canoe from side to side as cool water washes over your sun-tanned skin, a few hours of exercise on the water with friends and maybe a speaker. The Lake Springfield Marina on the lake of the same name offers boat rentals for parties of all sizes; from duos of two to a barge that can accommodate 30 people at once. In addition to spending the Fourth of July on a boat, swimming from the boat is also allowed on Lake Springfield, while swimming from the shore is not permitted. Bring a bathing suit and some sunscreen.

Not looking for a whole boat? Rent a canoe or kayak for $30 and spend the afternoon in the sun on your free day.

Location: Springfield Marina, 17 Waters Edge Blvd.

Cost: Boat rentals typically begin at 9:30 a.m. and are booked in two- or four-hour increments. Boat rentals range from $175 for a two-person boat for half a day to $575 for a 30-person party boat.

Fireworks and concert on July 4th

What to expect: Booming music to liven up the soul in the later hours of the day after you’ve taken the kids to the water park to splash and play.

Knight’s Action Park celebrates America by bringing you its fireworks spectacular featuring Central Illinois’ favorite band, Unchained, on the Trade Winds outdoor patio stage. There will be food, drinks and plenty of fun for the whole family.

The party starts at 6pm on July 4th in the restaurant. The fireworks start around 9:30pm.

Location: 1700 recreational trip

Cost: Entry to the pub to watch the fireworks is free, but if you want to swim at Knight’s Action Park, you will need day passes to the park, which cost between $31.95 and $39.95.

Claire Grant writes about business, growth and development and other news topics for The State Journal-Register. Reach her at [email protected]; and on X (formerly known as Twitter): @Claire_Granted