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The Midwest’s number-one attraction is the place in Chicago for lakefront fun. Take an exhilarating ride on the sky-high Ferris wheel, board a sightseeing or dinner cruise boat, and see a live performance at the outdoor Skyline Stage or acclaimed Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Dine at one of Navy Pier’s many boardwalk restaurants and browse the unique shops and stands (a great place to pick up a souvenir).
Starved Rock State Park
Seasonal waterfalls, awe-inspiring bluffs and rugged canyons dominate the storied landscape at Starved Rock. Rich with history and beauty, Starved Rock’s hiking trails meander through towering trees and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River. Outdoor activities include hiking, canoeing, paddleboat cruises, cross-country skiing, trolley rides, fishing and picnicking. Visitors can stay at the historic Starved Rock Lodge or in one of its cozy cabins.
Wildlife Prairie State Park
Wildlife Prairie State Park is home to over 150 animals that are native to Illinois, including wolves, bison, black bear, elk and cougars. Experience the Adventure Trek Tour, which includes a trip through the bison and elk pasture. Unique overnight lodging located in the park includes authentic train cabooses and a cabin nestled in the woods.
CITY: Hanna City
Starved Rock Lodge
Full-service Conference Center in Starved Rock State Park. Dining room, bar, veranda, outdoor dining, indoor pool (for Lodge guests). Retreats, meetings, banquets and dream weddings. Lodge has 69 rooms and 21 cabin rooms in a rustic, wooded setting.
Kayak through canyons of skyscrapers and architectural wonders, or explore the waters just off beautiful Lake Michigan. Kayak Chicago is Chicago’s premier full-service outfitter, offering a variety of tours with certified instructors and guides. It’s a truly unique way to experience the urban landscape.
Scuba dive at this unique spring-fed stone quarry and marvel at underwater treasures such as a submerged airplane (actually used in the movie U.S. Marshals) and a cement petting zoo. Mermet Springs offers on-site instruction and equipment rental.
The largest man-made lake in Illinois (26,000 acres), is a premier location for outdoor sports. We known to sailors, it is one of the best and most challenging for sailboats. There is also boating, fishing, hunting, bird watching, sand beaches, and camping areas. Hotels, cabins and golf courses make the area a true outdoor lover's playground.
Spirit of Peoria
Take a sightseeing or theme cruise on the Spirit of Peoria, an old-fashioned replica of a 19th-century riverboat that docks at the Peoria RiverFront. Join a one- to five-day overnight excursion to Starved Rock State Park or the St. Louis riverfront and be entertained by live ragtime piano and banjo music, as well as a storyteller sharing river lore, while the Spirit of Peoria paddles along the Illinois River. Stay the night at Starved Rock Lodge and see a show by a Mark Twain interpreter who brings the iconic author to life.
Tall Ship Windy
Navy Pier's resident 148-foot, four-masted schooner pays tribute to the Great Lakes' rich maritime heritage during a variety of cruises each day.
Odyssey Lunch/Dinner/Champagne Cruises
Step aboard Odyssey and enjoy a two or three-hour escape to the signature elegance and total entertainment experience only a luxury cruising vessel can provide. Creative appetizers, entrees and desserts prepared fresh onboard daily. Award-winning wines. Dancing to live music. And unmatched skyline views.
Chicago Public Beaches
Chicago’s 26 miles of lakefront and beaches are free and open to residents and visitors alike. In fact, they were foremost in Daniel Burham’s plan to make Chicago’s lakefront and beaches always open and unobstructed for the public to enjoy. And to this day, you can see that his vision is still alive and well, from the joggers and volleyball players to the swimmers and sail boaters who take to the lakefront every day. Of course, admission is free.
It's all about the water at Rend Lake, where you can swim, boat, water ski and fish. Relax at Rend Lake Resort, tee off at the 27-hole Rend Lake Golf Course or do some target practice at the Rend Lake Shooting Complex. Also located at Rend Lake is the Southern Illinois Art & Artisans Center, featuring more than 800 artists.
Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline
Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline offers 90-minute tours for the whole family that include lake and river cruises, fireworks cruises, canine cruises and wacky pirate cruises, all departing from the landscaped dock on Chicago’s Riverwalk at the Michigan Avenue Bridge.
Seadog Speedboat Rides
The largest speedboats in the country, the 70-foot-long, bright yellow Seadog boats carry up to 149 passengers and offer 30-minute speedboat rides along the lakefront. Seadog rides depart from Navy Pier.
Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa
At Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa go golfing on one of four championship courses, horseback riding along hilly wooded trails, boating on the sapphire waters of Lake Galena, or soaring over the countryside in a hot air balloon with Galena on the Fly. Relax in the luxury of the resort’s Stonedrift Spa with a pampering massage. Eagle Ridge offers a wide variety of lodging that ranges from traditional inn rooms to golf villas and distinctive homes.
The state's largest artificial body of water, Lake Decatur spans 2,800 acres, with 30 miles of shoreline offering recreational opportunities and wildlife vistas at lakeside parks and the city marina. Water sports include boating, fishing, sailing and jet skiing. While shoreline locations surrounding Nelson Park Marina offer miniature golf, dining, public gardens and picnic facilities.
Proudly referred to as Chicago's "Front yard," Grant Park is a public park, 319 acres located in Chicago’s central business district in the Loop Community area. Grant Park’s most notable features include Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Named for United States President and Civil War General, Ulysses S. Grant, Grant Park was developed as one of Chicago's first parks and expanded through land reclamation.
Chicago Greeter Service
Explore Chicago with a friendly, knowledgeable Chicago Greeter as your guide! Visitors can register for a free 2-4 hour guided walking tour of a neighborhood or special local interest of their choice. This free service matches an individual, family or small group of friends with one of over 200 enthusiastic volunteer Greeters who love sharing their expertise and passion about the city and all there is to see and do here. For more information, visit http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/tours/tourism/chicago_greeter_tours.html.
Trail of Tears Lodge
A remote lodge surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest. An abundance of outdoor recreation: horseback riding, hiking, hunting, fishing, shooting range, archery range, dirt bike & ATV trails. Outdoor pool, game room, hot tub and pets accepted.
This fun boat ride for the whole family offers panoramic views of Chicago lakefront fireworks aboard Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline popular 90-minute commentated lakefront fireworks sightseeing boat cruise on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.
Arrowhead Lake and Campground
Located on the northeast corner of Johnston City, this 35-acre lake includes a paved boat ramp for fishing, walking path, and campground. Only electric motors and canoes are permitted. You will find largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black and white crappie, and channel catfish in this small reservoir. Pedal boat rentals are available from July-September.
CITY: Johnston City
Bobby's Bike Hike- World's Greatest Tours and Rentals
Ride a cool cruiser-style bicycle and follow a guide who makes brief stops at Chicago's most popular sights, providing light-hearted commentary that will keep you entertained.
Argyle Lake State Park
Find serenity at this beautiful 1700-acre wooded park situated along an old stagecoach route between Galena and Beardstown. Featuring 95-acre Argyle Lake, the park is home to countless beaver dams and more than 200 bird species and 5 miles of hiking and biking trails.
Segway Experience of Chicago
Chicago's only Segway-authorized touring company has locations at Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue, plus certified tour docents who will ensure a memorable, safe experience.
Grosse Point Lighthouse
Built on the shores of Lake Michigan by the United States Government in 1873 after several shipwrecks demonstrated its need, this was the lead lighthouse marking the approach to Chicago. In 1999, Grosse Point Lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service; the first lighthouse on the Great Lakes to carry that status. The Garden Club on Evanston maintains wildflower and butterfly gardens on its property.
Wacky Pirate Cruise
Kids (2-10) swashbuckle with Buccaneer Bob aboard Chicago’s only Wacky Pirate Cruise. During the 60-minute lake and river sightseeing boat ride, little buccaneers receive their own pirate bandana; learn how to tie nautical knots; are “knighted” by Buccaneer Bob with their own pirate name and tattoo and “captured” by mom and dad in great family photos. It’s a one-of-a-kind cruise aboard Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline.
Walnut Point State Park
State park with hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and picnicking. Concession stand and boat rental available.
C J Smith Resort
For 84 years, C. J. Smith Resort has provided everything needed to enjoy a day of fishing and boating on the beautiful Chain O' Lakes in northern Illinois. C. J. Smith Resort is a family owned and operated business since 1929. We believe in providing exceptional service and reasonable prices to our valued customers and guests.
Steve's Segway Tours
Explore Chicago's lakefront, museums and Millennium Park on a three-hour Segway tour led by guides all year round.
Combined Lake and River Tour - Wendella Sightseeing Boats
The Combined Lake and River Tour offers a comprehensive overview of Chicago, with breathtaking views of the magnificent skyline and an up-close perspective from the Chicago River.
Melton's Fishing Camp Cabins
Daily and weekly rates, pets welcome, boat and motor rental, bait and tackle, hunting and fishing licenses available.
Lake Jacksonville Campground
All the beauty and excitement of the great outdoors awaits you at Lake Jacksonville. Whatever you're looking for in outdoor recreation, fishing, sailing, swimming, skiing, canoeing, hiking, and picnic areas you'll find it here.
MetroWalkz Self-Guided Walking Tours
Our numerous self-guided walking tours with easy-to-use maps and insider narratives make sightseeing a breeze. Current tours include Loop Architecture, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile, Museum Campus, Grant Park, Chinatown, Old Town, Gold Coast and the West Loop.
Mercury's Urban Adventure Cruise
Board this 90-minute river and lakefront cruise, complete with live commentary detailing over 50 downtown Chicago buildings and bridges. Cruises depart daily, May through October.
Egyptian Hills Marina Lodging
Egyptian Hills Resort is your passport to the Ultimate outdoor family vacation. Whether you are into waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, sport fishing, or pleasure boating; the Lake of Egypt is a boater’s paradise. All within a stone’s throw of your cabin. Our cabins and chalets sit next to soothing, running streams and waterfalls – with breathtaking lake front views. Each cabin/chalet features a full kitchen, living room, large deck, full bedroom, 2 loft bedrooms and full bath.
CITY: Creal Springs
Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park
This beautiful 715-acre state park with a 40-acre lake derives its name from a combination of the town of Lena and the Latin work for water, aqua. The large tracts of wooded land include oak, hickory, walnut and pine trees. Woodland flowers are on display, especially in the spring and early summer, and wildlife is abundant. There is boating, fishing, a children's fishing pond, swimming, picnic and playground areas, shelters, trails for mountain biking, hiking and cross-country skiing, equestrian trails, sledding, hunting and camping. Camping supplies, bait and boat rental are available at the camp store that is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
A quiet cove at dawn, where the only sound is the whir of a casting reel and the gentle splash of the fly hitting the water’s surface...that’s Lake Sara. A sunny afternoon slalom skiing behind a powerboat or running along the beach...that’s Lake Sara. A family picnic in the grass at water’s edge or a family reunion, with fried chicken and the works, under one of the pavilions...that’s Lake Sara. Lake Sara is an 800-acre recreational lake nestled into a wooded shoreline, encircled by a winding road. Spend a day, a week, or a season on the shores of Lake Sara. Lake Sara has something for everyone, in every season of the year.
Boating on Lake Decatur
Boating on Lake Decatur is allowed year-'round with a permit (available at the cashier's window / 2nd floor of the Decatur Civic Center). For general information, call Lake Management Office at (217) 424-2837.
Oak Terrace Resort & Spa
The Inn overlooks a championship golf course with each room featuring a private balcony overlooking the course. Offers 37 rooms, indoor pool, and hot tub. This 3-story full service resort and day spa is a Chalet nestled in the woods overlooked Lake Beyers. With 2 fireplaces, 9 treatment rooms, nail salon, full service hair salon, hydrotherapy tubs. Oak Terrace has meeting and banquet facilities, bar and restaurant, 18-hole golf course, fitness center, Zumba classes, tennis, hiking, and boating, hotel and villa accommodations. Also houses Lakeview Spa with a full compliment of services and a Boutique. There is a 66 acre fishing lake and easy access to boat parking. Wi-Fi.
Gillson Park offers 60 acres of beautiful lakefront property, including a harbor and beach. It is ideal for picnics, bicycling, volleyball, tennis and other outdoor sports.
North Point Marina
Enjoy the beautiful blue of Lake Michigan aboard one of over one hundred charter fishing boats on the Lake County harbors of Waukegan and North Point. You will find the Coho running in the late spring, Lake Trout biting in mid-summer, and the Chinook come home to spawn in late summer and early fall. Whatever time of the year you go, you'll find expert charter fishing captains ready to make your time on the water a great one. For information on hotel information, please contact the Visit Lake County at 847-662-2700.
CITY: Winthrop Harbor
Located on a serene wooded hilltop, gently slopes into a full-service marina and restaurant situated on Lake Shelbyville.
Poplar Camp Beach
Beautiful sandy waterfront on Cedar Lake. State certified Lifeguards on duty during beach hours, lap lane, restrooms, picnic tables and a concession area.
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
A wildlife refuge covering approximately 43,500 acres of forest, wetlands, and grasslands. Hunting, fishing & boating available.
Marengo Ridge - McHenry County Conservation District
The major glacial feature at Marengo Ridge Conservation area is the Marengo Ridge, from which the site derives its name. Left by the retreating Wisconsin glacier, the Marengo Ridge moraine is 40 miles long and 3 miles wide, creating one of the steepest vertical moraines in Illinois, at 1,050 feet above sea level. This rugged, fire-protected topography supported wooded communities dominated by oak species. Site features hiking trails, campground, picnic shelters, scenic views, x-country skiing, and fishing.
Whitewater Junction - Aquatic Park
Whitewater Junction is a railroad-themed aquatic facility. Two water slides, spray toys, zero depth edge and shallow water play area.
CITY: Rock Island
Fairview Family Aquatic Center
Fun for the whole family! Zero depth activity pool, six lap swim lanes, separate pool for drop slides and diving boards, as well as a sand/water play area for children and two competition sand volleyball courts.
DuPage County, Chicago’s Western Suburbs - Jump in to summer fun at Centennial Beach! Featuring four acres of grass and trees, a sand beach, water play features, an NCAA/U.S.S.-approved diving complex, this historic beach is a place the whole family can enjoy! With water depths ranging from zero to 15 feet, the facility caters to swimmers of all skill levels. Combined with a playground, Frisbee® Area, shallow end slide, concessions stand and Beach store, Centennial Beach is the perfect way to beat the summer heat. Named "best public place to swim" in 2008 by Fox News Chicago viewers in an online poll!
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park at Pine Lakes
A beautiful 105-acre campground, with a 45-acre stocked lake. Enjoy free fishing, beach swimming, hiking, boat rentals, hayrides and more. Cottages and cabins are also available.
Drost Park features a 7-acre lake, pavilions, 1-mile walking trail, boat ramp, playground, and restroom facilities. The University of Illinois' Master Gardeners keep it seasonally beautiful.
Lake Decatur Marina and docks, Anna Fisher Rock Garden, Paul's Puttin' Place, Dunn's Dugout, Beach House and Dockside restaurants, Bandshell/Amphitheater, Large Pavillions, fishing, boating, playgrounds, snow sledding, bike/walk path, observation deck
Lake County Forest Preserve
We currently manage 25,268 acres of land and offer innovative educational, recreational and cultural opportunities for all ages. Visitors enjoy nearly 112 miles of trail for a variety of outdoor recreation uses, fishing ponds and lakes, public access to the Fox River, award-winning nature and history education programs and events, and three public golf courses. Facilities of special interest include Independence Grove near Libertyville, Ryerson Conservation Area near Deerfield, Lake County Discovery Museum near Wauconda, Greenbelt Cultural Center near Waukegan, and three golf courses (Brae Loch near Grayslake, Countryside near Mundelein, and ThunderHawk near Beach Park). Most Forest Preserves are open from 6:30 a.m. to sunset, every day of the year. Special hours apply at the golf courses, Discovery Museum, Greenbelt Cultural Center and Ryerson Woods.
Four Seasons Campground
Stop on by and enjoy the friendly, peaceful atmosphere. Spacious shaded sites. See an abundance of wildlife. Also available: wireless internet, L-P gas fill, dump station, large pull through, 31 full hook-up sites, 12 pull through sites, (20, 30 and 50) amps available. Public access to: city park, lighted walk path, shower house, laundry facilities/handicap accessible. Cabin rentals available.
Independence Grove Forest Preserve
This scenic 1,114-acre Preserve offers a wide range of outdoor recreation and education opportunities centered around a 115-acre lake reclaimed from a gravel quarry. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing and boating, a Marina with boat rentals, a native garden and nearly seven miles of trails. The 19,000-square-foot Visitor Center features exhibits and a cafe. It can be rented for weddings and other private functions.
The marina offers modern concrete docks, an air-conditioned lounge, private showers, dry dock, and winter storage.
Crab Orchard Lake
Campground, fishing, boating, beach, picnic areas, country store, fishing tournaments.
Evanston's Dog Beach
Bring your dog to Evanston's Dog Beach! Admission restricted to dogs with a "dog beach season token".
Frankfort Community Aquatics & Activities Center
Located at the West Frankfort City Park, this newly built indoor 25-meter six lane pool is open to the public; classes and activities available, handicap accessible, lifeguard on site, open every day.
CITY: West Frankfort
Includes picnic and playground areas, a shelter, tennis court and basketball court.
One of the finest fishing and boating areas in the nation, this marina is the gateway to the Ohio River's Smithland Pool, constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The 619-acre full-service boat marina has more than 200 slips.
Prophetstown Park District Pool & Recreational Center
Indoor/outdoor pool with aerobic classes and open swims. Rec Center has volleyball and basketball courts.
YWCA Camp Tu-Endie-Wei
Trails, fishing, cross-country skiing, skating, cabins on Willow Lake.
Offers picnic & playground areas, sand volleyball courts, soccer field, basketball court.
East Fork Lake - Olney Water Skiing
East Fork Lake north of Olney is a perfect location for water sports. Whether it's skiing, or tubing, you'll enjoy your time in Olney at East Fork Lake.
Joseph Westwood Memorial Park
Picnic and playground areas, shelters, tennis courts, ball diamonds, plus a recreation building.
CITY: Pearl City
Carlyle Lake Sailing Association
CSA has docking for 380 boats, 3 electric jib cranes, 1,300 ft. of dock and 2 launching ramps. Special events feature annual regattas.
This beautiful Carterville park includes a community center, baseball field, skate park, walking path that surrounds a fishing pond, volleyball courts (sand), playground, pavilion, gazebo, and memorial garden. Ballfields and shelters can be reserved.
North Point Marina - Lake Michigan Charter Fishing
Enjoy the beautiful blue of Lake Michigan aboard one of over one hundred charter fishing boats on the Lake County harbors of Waukegan and North Point. You will find the Coho running in the late spring, Lake Trout biting in mid-summer, and the Chinook come home to spawn in late summer and early fall. Whatever time of the year you go, you'll find expert charter fishing captains ready to make your time on the water a great one. For information on charter fishing opportunities and hotel information, please contact us.
CITY: Winthrop Harbor