Showing 1-96 of 156 items
Garden of the Gods
Explore the dramatic rock formations, cliffs and trails of the most visited site in the Shawnee National Forest. Millions of years in the making, the Garden of the Gods provides spectacular views unlike anywhere in the Midwest. See Camel Rock, Anvil Rock, Devil's Smoke Stack and other magnificent rock formations in this hiker’s and photographer’s wonderland.
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, paddle boat 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.
Shawnee National Forest
The Shawnee National Forest is famed for its awesome Garden of the Gods, and is home to the Rim Rock Recreational Trail (the forest has a system of 403 miles of equestrian/hiking trails). Hikers are greeted by magnificent jutting walls of rock covered with emerald-green moss, and paths that meander through canyons under the forest canopy. Nestled between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the stunning Shawnee National Forest landscape features rolling hills, lakes, creeks and rugged bluffs. If you’re into climbing than a must-see is Jackson Falls, located near the town of Ozark in the Hidden Springs Ranger District in Shawnee National Forest. The climb takes place on 60 feet of sandstone cliffs and boulders that include numerous freestanding towers.
Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins
Nestled in the beautiful hills of the Shawnee National Forest, Timber Ridge offers something for everyone, from families and honeymooners to outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy some Southern hospitality while staying in a real log cabin or one-of-a-kind tree house. Each of the units, including the tree house, is equipped with a bathroom, kitchenette, heating and air conditioning. Physical Location: Karbers Ridge, IL 62955 GPS: 37°33’52.18?N 88°20’17.03?W
Giant City State Park
Spectacular woodlands and sheer sandstone walls create a challenge for rock climbing and rappelling, as well as hiking. Outdoor lovers will also find horseback riding, a lookout tower, cabins and a swimming pool. Dine at historic Giant City Lodge, known for its homemade fried chicken dinner. Two different locations in Giant City State Park near Carbondale give you climbing options. A trail behind the picnic shelter takes you to a set of steep bluffs known as Shelter #1 near the Makanda entrance; another climbing area of the park includes the steep sandstone cliffs in Devil's Standtable. Plan to bring all of your own equipment since no permanent anchors are allowed. Ropes are permitted in both areas. After rainstorms, the wet sandstone gets really slippery. Use caution when grabbing for ledges as copperhead snakes warm themselves on the rocks during sunny days.
Matthiessen State Park
Canyons, streams, prairie and forest combine to delight visitors at Matthiessen State Park. Located in central LaSalle County, approximately four miles south of Utica and three miles east of Oglesby, Matthiessen is a paradise for those interested in geology as well as recreation. Visitors can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. All of this, along with park and picnic facilities make Matthiessen State Park a popular choice for a special outing.
The Morton Arboretum
Magnificent, 1,700-acre museum of trees and plants from around the world. Hiking trails, paved roads, restaurant, gift shop, open-air tram and handicapped accessible facilities.
The largest man-made lake in Illinois (26,000 acres), is a premier location for outdoor sports. 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.
White Pines Forest State Park
Enjoy recreation on 385 acres, much of it forest, with a state park lodge and provisions for tent and trailer camping. It is also noted for its vine-covered limestone bluffs.
Chestnut Mountain Resort
Ski along scenic slopes at Galena's Chestnut Mountain Resort, perched high above the Mississippi River. Rated by Ski Magazine as one of the top ski resorts in the Midwest, Chestnut Mountain goes all out with a snowboarding park and night skiing. Stay at the rustic 120-room lodge, which has three restaurants, including the fine-dining Sunset Grille. There are fun non-skiing activities in the summer as well, including boat cruises on the Mississippi Explorer and the exhilarating Alpine Slide, which speeds 2,000 feet down a hillside. Or try the new Segway Mountain Adventure Tours, a three-mile guided ride through rolling terrain.
Central Illinois lake with over 11,000 water acres and 172 miles of shoreline. Lake Shelbyville has 5 federal campgrounds, and 2 state campgrounds with over 1,000 campsites from tent camping up to full hookup. There are several recreational areas with picnic areas and pavilions and 2 wildlife management areas. Three public beaches are available for swimming on the lake. The lake also hosts many launching ramps that are available for boats, and 3 marinas on the lake. Many hiking trails also encompass the lake such as the General Dacey which also includes fitness stations, the Chief Illini trail and others.
Cache River State Natural Area
Renowned for its ancient cypress-tupelo swamp, this natural area has been named one of America's 10 Most Beautiful Hidden Gems by Budget Travel. This sprawling area contains 100 threatened or endangered plant and animal species, and 11 state champion trees that have stood for centuries. Visitors enjoy birding, hunting, wildlife watching, canoeing and hiking. Bikers can access the Cache River via the Tunnel Hill State Trail.
Black Hawk State Historic Site
Wonderful for families, friends for outdoor recreation. Additionally, the Watch Tower Lodge has hosted thousands of wedding receptions and offers a lovely setting in the beautiful historic park. This wooded, steeply rolling 208-acre tract, borders the Rock River in the city of Rock Island. Prehistoric Indians and 19th-Century settlers made homes here, but the area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and its great warrior, Black Hawk. Voted one of the "7 Wonders of Illinois," this pristine park offers beautiful trails for hiking and walking only. Picnic areas are also available. While at the park be sure to visit the Watch Tower Lodge that houses a large reception area and the John Hauberg Indian Museum. The museum features Sauk and Meskwaki Native American Indian artifacts and displays depicting the four seasons and life of these tribes. A new exhibit tells the story of the Sauk and Meskwaki—how they came to live in the Quad City area, why they no longer live here, and, as the piece de resistance, a four-by-eight-foot scale model of the city of Saukenuk one of the largest Native American Indian settlements in the United States.
Mississippi Palisades State Park
The Mississippi Palisades State Park, located near the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple rivers in northwestern Illinois is known for its steep cliffs and interesting rock formations, as well as its beautiful trails that lead you to some of those awe-inspiring giant boulders. One such trail is the Sentinel, clocking at over 1.3 miles it’s the longest trail in the park and leads you smack dab into Sentinel Rock, where you can take a turn at trying to conquer this monolith.
Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center
The Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center has several interactive displays, free videos on the park, hiking maps, and more. Trailheads Concessions & Gifts, also located here, is a great place to buy gifts, souvenirs, and snacks (fresh fudge, too)! The Visitor Center and Trailheads are open year-round.
River Trail of Illinois
This 10-foot wide asphalt trail winds 4.8 miles along the former Illinois Terminal Railroad Co. path. Build in 1991, the River Trail provides a safe scenic route for outdoor recreation year round, winter weather permitting. The trail affords patrons the opportunity to experience the natural preservation of wildflowers, grasses, trees and wildlife. With direct access at the Park Administration Center, Bunnell field, and Taylor Street ball diamonds, and in close proximity to Veterans Park, Central Jr. High, West Park, and local restaurants, the River Trail offers something for everyone!
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. Lake Le-Aqua-Na offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities including more than 10 miles of mult-use trails. 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.
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.
Camp Shaw was established in 1956 and is the best kept secret in all of beautiful Kankakee County! Camp Shaw is also a wonderful place to hold a variety of outdoor and indoor events. It provides overnight accommodation; horseback riding, guided trail rides or group lessons and weekend packages are available. It is also an outdoor, environmental science education program encouraging interest and participation in the balanced management of natural resources.
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.
Enjoy a relaxing retreat at Sara's Sanctuary. Every retreat offers a different health and wellness experience, which includes therapeutic massage, aromatherapy, yoga or meditation, reflexology and Reiki. Each session has a limit of eight participants and four sleeping rooms.
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is located primarily in Williamson County, with small extensions into eastern Jackson and northeastern Union counties of southern Illinois. At almost 44,000 acres and with three lakes (Crab Orchard, Little Grassy, and Devils Kitchen,) endless opportunities abound for watching wildlife, hiking nature trails, photography, swimming, fishing from the bank or by boat, and hunting. Four seasonally operational campgrounds are open from April-October and offer full hook-up, water, electric, or non-electric sites. Refuge staff and volunteers at the visitor center welcome visitors and sightseers 7 days a week from 8am-4:30pm. Visitor activities such as guided hikes, bald eagle tours, and monthly F.U.N. programs help connect families with the diversity of flora and fauna that Southern Illinois has to offer. The Refuge provides many opportunities for wildlife-dependent outdoor recreation for the nature lover in us all.
Castle Rock State Park
Castle Rock State Park is located three miles south of Oregon on Highway 2. The 2,000-acre park includes rock formations, ravines, and unique northern plant associations. In one valley, 27 different types of ferns have been identified. A sandstone bluff, adjacent to the river, has given the park its name. Picnic area amenities include tables, shelters, grills, toilets, drinking water and playground equipment. Six miles of marked hiking trails have been developed, and a public boat ramp/parking facility is located across from the park's main entrance.
Enchanting Linmar Gardens is nestled in a hillside overlooking the historic town of Galena. The secluded 3.5-acre garden is situated on natural outcroppings which have been enhanced with hand-built terraces. Meander on a guided tour along paths through a collection vibrant annual and perennial flowers including hostas, viburnums, conifers, grasses and daylilies.
There are formations of stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, and more. An underground stream flows through the cave bed, and the temperature is a relatively constant 58 degrees.
Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens
Naturally a great place to explore, learn and discover some of nature's wonders. Let nature be your guide, come visit and we'll show you why they call it the great outdoors!
Cheif Keokuk Campground
The Chief Keokuk Campground features 70 pads with electrical hook-ups for trailers, plus 25 tent sites (All camping Class B/E). There is a shower building on site. A sanitary dump station is near the camping area. A primitive cabin, Chief Tecumseh, is also available. The cabin is located on a slope overlooking Johnson Lake. A fire grill, table and BBQ grill are provided outside. A full size bed, two sets of bunk beds, a table and benches are provided inside. The cabin has heat and air conditioning as well as two ceiling fans. Reservations can be made, for dates between May 1st and November 1st, at ReserveAmerica.com for the campgrounds and cabin.
Wildlife Discovery Center
The Wildlife Discovery Center is a special place offering programs for people of all ages who have an interest in wildlife and their habitat. Children's classes, adult programs, and school field trips focus on wildlife conservation, field biology, and ecology. The Center also offers self-guided nature hikes, workshops, eco-based summer camps, wildlife ecology trips, group presentations, traveling animal exhibits and exciting volunteer opportunities. You can visit eye-to-eye with over 150 animals including a bobcat, raptors, Kookaburras, and an assortment of venomous and non-venomous reptiles like crocodilians, snakes, turtles and tortoises. The Wildlife Discovery Center is home to one of the largest public exhibits of rattlesnakes in North America, including four species that are native to Illinois. Indoor exhibits hours are Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. The outdoor exhibits and walking trails are open year round.
Walnut Point State Park
State park with hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and picnicking. Concession stand and boat rental available.
Apple River Canyon State Park
Apple River Canyon State Park is in the hilly northwest corner of Illinois in Jo Daviess County near the Wisconsin border. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife characterize this area. Once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies, the scenic canyon area was formed by the action of the winding waters of the Apple River. The park offers hiking, day use, camping and fishing, plus Millville, a National Historic Register site.
Ballard Nature Center
Just minutes away from the city but a world away, Ballard Nature Center is home to dozens of species of birds and wildlife. Natural prairie, wetlands, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, ponds and creeks round out the outdoor experience.
Bobber's River Tap
Bobber’s is an open-deck, outdoor bar along the banks of the Pecatonica River. It is a relaxing stop for travelers by road or river. Bring your own pole or just sit and relax with a cold drink as you watch the river flow by. Weekly entertainment on the Pontoon Boat stage; never a cover charge. Open: May thru October: Sunday: 11 am - 10 pm; Thursday thru Saturday: 11 am - 2 am.
Middle Fork State Fish & Wildlife Area
The Middle Fork State Fish & Wildlife Area consists of 2,700 acres of grass, forest and cropland, and wildlife habitat. The area also includes a portion of the Middle Fork River, a State and National Scenic River, with over 1,000 feet of scenic corridor for canoeing and fishing. The area also allows for hunting, hiking, picnicking, and camping.
Touch of Nature Enviornmental Center
Just 8 miles south of Carbondale, Touch of Nature borders the Shawnee Forest. It is a 3,100 acre wooded retreat area perfect for group events. Located in the City of Makanda, IL.
Lowden State Park
One of the most picturesque sites along the Rock River is just north of Oregon in Ogle County. The bluffs are graced with a majestic image of an American Indian gazing over the Rock River Valley. This is no ordinary statue. It is a 50 foot, concrete-reinforced wonder that is awe-inspiring. A tribute to all Native Americans, but more commonly associated with Chief Black Hawk, the statue was designed by sculptor Lorado Taft. You can enjoy many wonderful views of the Rock River from the park, but the best view of the statue is from IL Rt. 2.
This beautiful Freeport park offers an antique carousel, waterfall, seasonal duck pond, miniature golf course, 18-hole disc golf course, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, 3 miles of recreational paths, paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, fishing, hiking, biking, a performance amphitheater, gardens, picnic areas, shelters, boat rentals, playgrounds including "Kid's Kastle", a carousel and sledding in the winter. The Yellow Creek Adventure Golf Course (miniature golf) is open daily from Memorial Day thru Labor Day from Noon to Dusk. The Disc Golf Course is open during regular park hours and is free to play. Park attractions are open seasonally; call ahead to confirm availability of specific attractions.
Cache River Wetlands Center
The Wetlands Center provides a one-stop shop for information about the Cache River Wetlands and its recreational and educational opportunities. The center has an extensive natural and cultural history exhibit, wildlife viewing, trails and a video.
Matthiessen State Park
Enjoy hiking, cross-country skiing and more in this state park known for its waterfalls, bluffs and canyons.
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park
The gateway to the largest outdoor playground in southern Illinois includes Rend Lake, the second largest manmade lake in the state. Wheelchair access.
Spring Valley Nature Center/ Volkening Heritage Farm
135 acres, natural history museum, handicapped-accessible trails, 1880's living history farm and pioneer cooking demos. Cost for some programs.
Half Day Forest Preserve
This quiet and clean preserve features a 1-mile trail for hikers, bicyclists and cross-country skiers, three beautiful picnic shelters, a 3-acre pond for fishing, open playfields and a playground. The Half Day Forest Preserve is also the starting point for the Des Plains River Trail which links this preserve to the Wright Woods Forest Preserve. The entrance and parking area are located on Route 21 (Milwaukee Avenue) at the light for Woodlands Parkway, south of Route 60 (Townline Road) and just north of Route 22 (Half Day Road).
Whether you're interested in science or just fishing in the ponds near the buffalo herd you're welcome at Fermilab. Take a self-guided tour of the laboratory, the Art Gallery and science and educational displays. View the grounds from the 15th floor observation area. Visitors may also visit the Lederman Science Center. Performing arts and lectures. Groups welcome by appointment. Public tours are offered every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and as part of the Ask-a-Scientist event on the first Sunday of each month.
Weldon Springs State Park
Weldon Springs State Recreation Area is a 550-acre state park located near Clinton, Illinois. It centers on Salt Creek and the impoundment of a tributary, Weldon Springs, to form Weldon Spring Lake, a reservoir.
Mississippi River State Fish and Wildlife Area
Consisting of 15 wildlife management areas and 13 public access areas, the Mississippi River State and Wildlife Area manages a majority of its 24,400 acres to accommodate waterfowl hunting and habitat enhancement.
TREC Recreation Trails
The TREC trail system is a public trail designed to create recreational opportunities. The trails provide a great place for visitors to exercise, whether its walking, riding bikes, or roller blading. The mission is to develop a countrywide, multi-use trail system, educate the communities on the benefits of the trails, and promote an active lifestyle by providing recreational activities.
River Bend Forest Preserve
The 275-acre River Bend Forest Preserve south of Mahomet contains approximately 130 acres of clear water in two lakes, one of which is the largest public lake in Champaign County, and includes 2.5 miles of forest along the Sangamon River.
Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge
Visit Illinois’ bayou. Yes, the bayou in Illinois. Cypress Creek Wildlife Refuge is home to incredible cypress-filled swamps and wetlands and is unlike anything you expect to find in the Midwest. The refuge protects 15,000 acres of lush wetlands and some of the oldest living trees east of the Mississippi River.
Severson Dells Nature Center
Nature lovers will enjoy 369 unspoiled acres with an unusual 90% concentration of native wildflowers, a paved path and 2.5 miles of trails. The Nature Center features a butterfly garden, gift shop, aquarium and library. The Grove is an area designed with the intent to bring children back to nature using fallen logs, tree stumps for seating, vertical logs for forts, and nature music and art areas.
Come out to Camp Lakewood and enjoy the views of Lake Pauline plus all the creature comforts. Camp Lakewood is an RV campground. The sites include cable, WiFi, 30/50 AMP. They also offer a one and two bedroom cabin that is fully furnished and self contained. The newest cabin sleeps five and includes Cable TV. They do offer tent sites as well for those who want to be a little closer to nature.
Des Plaines Conservation Area
This site's 5,500 acres make up one of the largest and most used hunting and field trailing areas in the state. It also offers camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, two small natural areas and 12 miles of equestrian trails with cross-country jumps.
Old Plank Road Trail
Old Plank Road is a 21-mile recreation and nature trail used by in-line skaters, walkers, runners, bikers, bicyclists and even cross-country skiers in the winter. This trail reaches from Park Forest all the way to Joliet.
Volo Bog State Natural Area
Just 45 minutes northwest of Chicago is a state natural area featuring the state's only quaking bog with an open water center. Volo Bog State Natural Area was created when the melting of glaciers pushed deep into the ground 12,000 years ago.
War Bluff Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
Nestled in the uplands of the Shawnee National Forest, supports mature oak-hickory woods, river bottom forests, young forests and old field habitats. More than 530 types of plants, including a rich variety of wildflowers and 20 types of ferns. 10 walking paths give access to the area.
Shoal Creek Nature Preserve
This 260-acre site offers nature trails for visitors to explore wetlands, prairie openings, and sandstone bluffs and ledges. The preserve is home to more than 700 plants and 70 bird species, including bald eagles during the winter months.
Columbia Woods Forest Preserve
Offers places to fish and picnic. Canoe access. Biking. A host for "A River Thru History" each September, where you can step back 200 years into Chicago's past with a festive gathering of fur trappers, settlers, craftsmen, and entertains along the banks of the Des Plaines River - www.ariverthruhistory.com.
Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area
A pool of clear bubbling water which sparkles like silver on sunny days provides the basis for the name of Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area. Even on extremely cold days, this pool does not freeze, and visitors marvel at the bordering beds of watercress. Majestic oaks and prairie grasslands provide a panorama of natural beauty to park visitors. The Fox River runs through this picturesque area which is also home to several small manmade lakes. A natural prairie restoration project gives visitors a feeling of the original landscape with native wildflowers, songbirds, waterfowl and upland game. Picnicking, fishing and hiking are popular pastimes in summer, with ice fishing, sledding, ice skating and cross-country ski trails available for the winter sports lover. For relaxing, exercising or just enjoying nature, Silver Springs is the perfect get away location.
Kinkaid Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Sandstone bluffs and rolling hills surround the lake and oak-hickory forest. Picnicking, fishing, boating, and hunting opportunities available.
Lake Sara Pavilions
Two different locations on Lake Sara. The pavilions offer a chance to host a meeting on the lake. The two outdoor facilities are perfect for receptions and parties with plenty of outdoor space. It also features a large open room, kitchen area, boat dock and outdoor decks.
Devil's Kitchen Lake
This 810 acre lake with a maximum depth of 90 feet and a 24-mile shoreline is part of the Crab Orchard Refuge. It is stocked with rainbow and brown trout and provides largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, channel catfish, bullheads, and carp. Boat ramps are available. Boats have a 10-horsepower limit. Camping is available.
Little Grassy Lake
Little Grassy Lake Campground and Marina is located on Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge and is a destination stop for returning campers, boaters, and sportsmen. They offer full service camping, primitive camping, boat rentals, concessions, and a bait shop. Reservations accepted to reserve boats and campsites. Pontoon boats, fishing boats, and kayaks can be rented. You don't want to pass up the opportunities to explore the thirty miles of shoreline and embrace the solitude you will find on the lake. The 1200 acre lake is stocked with catfish, crappie, and bass, and offers plentiful oppourtunities for fishing, paddling, boating, and wildlife observation. Amenities include waterfront camping sites, remodeled bathrooms with hot showers, dump station, swimming, pets allowed, monthly educational programs and a renovated concession/bait shop which is stocked with minnows, crickets, camping supplies, cold beverages, food items, ice cream, firewood and ice.
Heron County Park Wetlands Boardwalk
950 foot floating boardwalk. Songbirds, season migratory birds, and waterfowl such as Canadian geese, mallards, wood ducks, kingfishers, green herons, and American egret all flock to the area. Also includes an observation tower to take in the "wide-angle" view.
Cedar Ridge Whitetails, LLC
Trophy whitetail hunts in scenic Southernmost IL. Hunts are offered September 15th through December. The farm consists of mature timber, pine and cedar thickets, thick draws and open area food plots. All hunts are with an experienced guide.
Iris and Jack Witkowsky State Wildlife Area
A part of the Apple River Canyon State Park Complex, the Iris and Jack Witkowsky State Wildlife Area is 1,100 acres for public hunting and nature viewing. Beginning of a transcontinental bluebird trail segment. Sign in/out at lots #1 or #4.
Boone County Conservation District
The Boone County Conservation District manages over 3,00 acres of prairies, woodlands and wetlands in scenic Boone County, Illinois. Minimum impact recreational opportunities, special events and educational programs are offered to the public throughout the year.
Fox River Bike Trail
Dawn until dusk, a 36 m. trail is the forefront of outdoor recreation passing through Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and Aurora. It winds along the banks of the Fox River through miles of prairie grass, overshadowing trees and blooming flowers.
Homer Lake Forest Preserve
Homer Lake Forest Preserve contains 892 acres for fishing, boating, hiking picnicking, cross-country skiing and sledding. Also available is an exciting Homer Lake Interpretive Center, which hosts thousands every year through programs like "Homer Lake Take Me Fishing" and the unique Natural Playscape.
Lake Vermillion County Park
Lake Vermilion County Park includes a boat ramp, dock complex, concession building, playground, and an open shelter. The park is open year round and considered 'high-use' during summer weekends with power boating (unlimited HP), jet skiing, water skiing, and fishing tournaments. Wildlife observation includes herons, river otters, and eagles. Lake Vermilion, 1,000 acres in size, is one of Illinois' most heavily stocked fishing lakes with bass, tiger muskies, catfish, crappie, and walleye being frequently fished.
Coral Woods - McHenry County Conservation District
This sugar maple forest provides the sweet sap necessary for annual maple sugar programs, and is also known for its magnificent display of spring wildflowers. Activities include hiking, x-country skiing, picnic shelters and scenic views.
Rock Springs Center for Environmental Discovery
Rock Springs Center is the largest park in the Macon County Conservation District properties with a total of 1,343 acres in the southwest area of Decatur, IL. The Sangamon River runs through Rock Springs and several small ponds dot the landscape. A wide range of terrain including forest, wetland, grassland, and restored Illinois prairie make Rock Springs a destination for nature lovers. Rock Springs is also home to a large nature center, a museum, a restored farmhouse, nearly nine miles of hiking trails, and a paved bike trail. Rock Springs is a favorite for families all year round. Rooms and pavilions are available for rent for meetings and events.
Eagle Watching - Union County Refuge
The Union County Refuge in Union offers a popular spot for bald eagle watching. Visitors can view bald eagles and take wildlife photography off the main road, which runs down the middle of the wildlife refuge. Park rangers will be available weekdays to answer questions about the eagles and other wildlife spotted in the refuge. Admission is free. For more information on eagle watching, contact the Union County Refuge (618-833-5175).
Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area
Approximately 5,000 acres are timber, while there are 46 miles of trails for activities including horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and bicycling. Boating is permitted. Camping with electricity.
During Christmas, Sherwood Forest is adorned with decorations and twinkling lights. Any time of year view a variety of animals, including turkeys, rabbits, peacocks, llamas, and miniature goats and deer.
Iroquois County State Wildlife Area
The area features some of the finest and most extensive prairie-marsh and sand dune vegetation remaining in Illinois. Primarily operated as a permit pheasant hunting area, hiking, picnicking, and snowmobiling opportunities are also available.
Midewin Tall Grass Prairie
Largest open space in northeast Illinois.
Shelbyville State Fish and Wildlife Area
A 6,400-acre wildlife area on the north end of Lake Shelbyville. Hunting for waterfowl, forest and upland game is popular. Boat access is provided to accommodate anglers and hunters.
Spring Lake Park
Spring Lake Park in Macomb, IL. has three different singletrack trails ranging in intermediate to difficult. At 10 miles in length this park has a nice smattering of everything an adrenaline junky would want. The trails here are tight in some spots with a few ladder bridges, log piles and even a teeter-totter, and the hills just keep coming with jumps that make you feel weightless.
Lake Katherine Trail
Lake Katherine Trail is a 3.2-mile trail of moderate difficulty, located near Palos Heights, Illinois. This 1.5-hour hike over wood chip, dirt and gravel roads is one of the best urban nature walk trails in the area. The Preserve features an attractive lake, an arboretum, a waterfall garden, an herb and conifer garden and expansive views from atop a ridge in the eastern section.
Ray Norbut State Fish and Wildlife Area
With nearly 1,100 of its 1,380 acres primarily composed of oak and hickory stands, this area offers exceptional habitat for deer and squirrel, and is a good hunting area as well. In the winter, sight-seers ofter spot bald eagles along the Illinois River.
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
Over 25,000 acres, nearly 140 miles of trails and educational facilities. Enjoy relaxing, volunteering and exploring the forests, lakes, prairies, and open spaces.
Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center
The Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center is a joint project of the Homewood-Flossmoor (HF Parks.com) and Olympia Fields (OF Parks.com) park districts. The near 40-acre nature preserve is home to a diversity of wildlife and habitat types. See beautiful woods, wildflowers, birds and furry friends along the way. There are trails along both sides of the park which is located at Vollmer and Western Avenues in Olympia Fields. Please be careful when crossing Vollmer Road. The Park is open to the public daily, sunrise to sunset
6-acre park donated to the village in 1891 by David McWilliams, the first banker and business person in the community. It is named after the Prince of Wales, Baron Renfrew, who visited the area while on a hunting expedition in 1860.
Ryerson Woods Conservation Area and Visitors Center
Ryerson Conservation Area is one of the best examples of a northern flatwoods forest, a rare northern Illinois landscape. The 552-acre Preserve supports some of Illinois' most pristine woodlands and several state-threatened and endangered species, and offers 6.5 miles of scenic trails that wind through a stately forest to the quiet Des Plaines River. The Welcome Center, opened in 2006, features "green" architecture and was designed using LEED standards. In addition to preserve information, it offers a nature library, exhibits and meeting rooms.
Julius J. Knobeloch State Nature Preserve
Beautiful. untouched nature preserve which way originally purchased by the Knobeloch family in 1874. After a family disagreement, the land was auctioned off to the nature conservancy and then sold to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Sand Ridge State Forest
The largest of all the state forests in Illinois. Covers 7,100 acres of native oak-hickory forests and pine plantations. Supports diverse desert flora and fauna in its sandy landscape as well as also offering a variety of recreational facilities.
Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area
Fishing, boating, picnicking in the out-of-doors.
Turkey Bluffs State Fish and Wildlife Area
Hiking, picnicking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Hunting for upland game, fur-bearers and deer is encouraged on its 2,265 scenic acres that overlook the Mississippi River.
Jake & Norb's Gun Club
Bordering the refuge on N.E. corner. Traditional hunting of the highest quality. Only 2 hunters per pit with experienced mandatory guides, two pits, 1-water access, 1000 decoys, free snacks. Over forty-two years as an experienced club.
Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary
The Amboy Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary is 272 acre of wetlands offering a rare and fragile ecosystem, which includes endangered turtles, many birds and unique plant life. It is located near the intersection of U.S. Route 52 and Mormon Road about 3 miles south of Amboy. Open to the public 7 days a week for walking and bird-watching. No dogs are allowed due to sensitive plant and wildlife.
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.
57-acre wetlands preserve features wildflower, birds, and wildlife, which may be viewed from an observation deck.
Lakeview Nature Center
Borders Spring Lake Park and is habitat for deer, turkey, fox, geese, beaver and coyotes. Trails and educational programs offered.
Round Lake Area Park District
Round Lake Area Park District offers visitors a wide range of activities and facilities to enjoy. They include the Renwood Golf Course, the new sports center, the Prairie Grass Nature Museum, community theatre, outdoor pool/aquatic center, fitness center, child development center, teen center, senior center and acres of picturesque parklands. Private parties/outings at any of the facilities can be accommodated.
Sanganois Conservation Area
A 9.960-acre bottomland environment of sloughs and backwater lakes, Sanganois is managed primarily to provide a refuge for migratory waterfowl and a public duck hunting area.
Camp Sagawau Environmental Education Center
Environment Education Center - offers cross country skiing in the winter.
Kaskaskia River State Fish and Widlife Area
One of the largest state-owned and managed sites in Illinois, located 35 miles southeast of St. Louis. The land and water area total more than 20,000 acres of river and bottomland. It contains 36 miles of river.
Andrew's Mill Park
Picnic area, pond for fishing & ice skating with handicap accessible fishing pier, Gerald Strohecker natural area with native woodland, prairie and wetland.