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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.
Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort and Enchanted Forest
Discover a magical family getaway just beyond the glow of Chicago at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort. Nestled in the Starved Rock area of Illinois, Grizzly Jack's is an oasis of relaxation and adventure - a destination where water park fun meets natural wonder. Escape from the big city and enjoy a vacation in the scenic Northwoods at Grizzly Jack's - an unforgettable place to unwind, play, meet, dine and explore with family and friends.
KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort
KeyLime Cove offers a year-round tropical resort experience. The massive indoor water park features a wave pool, body and tube slides, a lazy river, waterfalls and whirlpools. Besides the splashy fun, KeyLime Cove offers a variety of restaurants and entertainment options geared to both kids and parents. Grab a little "me" time and indulge in the luxurious Paradise Mist Spa, or pamper your princess at The Enchanted Lagoon Kids Spa.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Splashdown at EastSide
The wettest and wildest family water park in Central Illinois. Play in Splashtower Island or ride the lazy river. There's even a splash and play area for the young ones in your family. www.fondulacpark.com
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.
Paradise Bay Water Park
DuPage County, Chicago's Western Suburbs - Check out the Lombard Park District's award-winning aquatic facility! State-of-the-art amenities are endless and include a 140,000-gallon leisure pool, bowl slide, zero-depth pool, bubble bench, lap pool, drop slide and much, much more!
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.
Pelican Harbor Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Park
Illinois' only indoor/outdoor aquatic park features seven water slides, a lazy river, two zero-depth entry pools, a spray play area, diving well, sand playground and two concession stands.
Splash City Family Waterpark
Surfing in Illinois? Yes! The FlowRider creates a perfect wave for surfing and body boarding. Water slides, a lap pool, the lazy river, a sandy play area and "Monsoon Mountain" make for a family adventure.
Lakeview Family Aquatic Center
This outdoor aquatic center has a swimming pool, a zero depth pool with play equipment, 2 giant water slides, 1 small slide, diving boards, a video arcard and wet sand play area.An arcade, lockers, showers, concessions and souvenirs are also available! Children seven years and under must be accompanied by an adult 17 years or older.
Splash Country Water Park
This deluxe water park features tube slides, the second largest lazy river in Illinois, zero-depth pools, sand activity areas and concessions.
Pyramid Acres Campground & Marina
Offers gas, bait, tackle, ice, beer, groceries, contour maps and camping with water and electricity. Open all year. Located at the northeastern edge of the lake.
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.
Kids will love this railroad themed aquatic center featuring a spiral slide, tube slide, water geysers and playful water features. Open during the summer months 7 days a week, Whitewater Junction is located inside the lovely Longview Park in Rock Island, Illinois.
Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center
Fun for the whole family! Highlights include two amazing water slides that splash down into 350,000 gallons of crystal clear water. The zero-depth entry pool also features water toys for children, lanes for swimmers, and diving boards. The 14,000 square foot facility also has a full bath house with accessible restrooms and changing rooms, along with a full-service concession stand, shaded and open lounge areas, picnic tables and much more.
Splash Valley Aquatic Park
Kankakee's premiere water park offers splashtacular fun for the whole family. The outdoor water park encompasses a lazy river, three waterslides, lap pool, and two zero-depth entry pools. Group rates and party rentals are available.
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.
Splashdown Water Park
Central Illinois' premier family water park is located at the Eastside Centre Sports Complex. Play in Splash Tower Island, ride the lazy river, or spend time in the splash and play area designed for little ones.
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.
Vaughn Athletic Center and Indoor Water Park
The Vaughan Athletic Center is dedicated to fitness excellence with quality equipment and programs designed to offer members the best value for their fitness dollar. The newest facility in the Fox Valley Park District is the Vaughan Athletic Center located on Indian Trail near Orchard Road on the far west side of Aurora. The Vaughan Athletic Center features 225,000 square feet of athletic, fitness, and aquatic fun. The Vaughan Athletic Center is home to an aquatic center with three indoor pools. The aquatic center offers lap swimming, diving boards, warm water therapy, swim lessons, and aquatic fitness classes. In addition, there is an indoor water park featuring two water slides, a lazy river, and spray and play areas. In the Vaughan Athletic Center’s 10,000-square-foot, full-service fitness center, members can use a wide variety of equipment, attend the Fox Valley area’s best group exercise classes, and receive personalized, one-on-one help from certified trainers. This year-round indoor water park has tube slides, zero-depth entry and interactive water play.