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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).
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.
Grafton Zipline Adventures
Looking for a jaw dropping, heart racing experience? Try Grafton’s newest attraction – a zip line that affords those brave enough a stunning river view and hours of fun. The nine zip lines total 1.75 miles, which should take approximately two hours to complete. The first of nine zip lines is nicknamed the Baby Bear – the shortest measuring only 300 feet in length. The longest, at 2,000 feet, is the Soaring Eagle, which has breathtaking views during its 250-foot descent. The Deer Hollow (3rd zip) and the Barn Burner (the final zip) are both 1,500 feet. The Limestone Leap (7th zip) is 1,300 feet, the River Run (5th zip) is 1,200 feet, the Gobblers Knob (6th zip) is 1,000 feet and the Road Runner (2nd zip) at 700 feet.
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.
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.
Celebration River Cruises
Hop aboard the family-owned Celebration Belle riverboat that cruises the mighty Mississippi River. Operating April through October, the 800-passenger riverboat offers a variety of cruises, ranging from sightseeing tours to theme cruises such as Big Band and fall foliage, captain's dinner and dance cruises, and overnight excursions.
The Chicago Riverwalk trail in downtown Chicago is an easy way to experience the vibrant city while exploring some of its more nature-oriented offerings. This trail is rated as easy, and will take you only 2.5 hours or 4.2 miles round-trip to complete.
The Nest at Palisades Cabins
The Nest at Palisades Cabins offer secluded luxury cabins designed to provide charm, quiet luxury and romance. We’re located on a wooded acreage high above the Mississippi River minutes from Savanna, the Palisades State Park and an easy 20 minute drive to Galena.
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.
Belle of the Rock
The Belle of the Rock paddle boat tours are located at historic Starved Rock state park in Utica, Illinois (just 80 miles west of Chicago). In addition to the river tours, we provide canoes and kayaks. Call us today at 815-434-9200 to make your reservation.
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 night cruises all departing from the landscaped dock on Chicago’s Riverwalk at the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Cruising season May - October. Please visit website for specific cruise dates and times.
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.
Mississippi Explorer Cruises at Chestnut Mountain Resort
Jump aboard Mississippi Explorer's latest 1.5-hour cruise. Experience the magical splendor of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge.
Chicago Architecture Foundation
Experience Chicago's world renowned architecture with one of 80+ different tours offered by The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF). Explore by boat, foot, bus, bicycle or Segway, and choose from tours such as the Devil in the White City tour, Lights, Camera, Architecture! tour, the Daniel Burnham Tour and many others. Interested in the boat tour? Only the Chicago Architecture Foundation and Chicago's First Lady Cruises can showcase Chicago's world renowned city architecture with style, class and comfort. Learn more at www.cruisechicago.com. Also offered: FREE exhibitions, programs and workshops, youth education, family programs and an architecture and design-themed retail store. Private tours and group tour rates available. Open daily 9:30-5:00.
Melvin Price Locks & Dam
Get the best view of Alton and the Mississippi River from eight stories in the air atop the Melvin Price Locks & Dam. Take a free guided tour and see towboats and barges as they push their way through this incredible structure. It's also a great spot to eagle watch in the winter.
Magnificent full-service inn celebrating more than 30 years of hospitality. Featuring elite amenities, dining and spa services in a romantic setting overlooking the Mississippi River.
Alton Riverfront Amphitheater
The 4,000 seat Alton Riverfront Amphitheater hosts a variety of events from community festivals to live concerts throughout the summer months. With the Mighty Mississippi River as a backdrop, bring your blanket and spread out for an evening under the stars. Check out our website for a list of upcoming events.
Skydive Chicago offers the best entertainment in the Midwest! The 220-acre resort offers camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing and swimming, all onsite. Stop by today!
LaSalle Canal Boat & Lock 16 Visitors Center
Mule pulled canal boat rides with period clothed storyteller, open May-October. The year-round Visitor center includes exhibits, programs, visitor information, cafe and gift shop.
Chicago River Architecture Tour - Wendella Sightseeing Boats
The Chicago River Architecture Tour is a 60-minute journey through the heart of the city. Led by an architectural expert, this in-depth tour traces the history and innovations of urban architecture in Chicago.
Mississippi River Visitor Center
The visitor center overlooks Lock & Dam 15 on Arsenal Island. See the observation deck - a great spot for viewing bald eagles in the winter and for watching barges lock through on their way up and down the mighty Mississippi River. Enjoy exhibits on the Mississippi River and a gift shop. Guided tours are available of the Lock & Dam system on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tour Reservations are required!
CITY: Rock Island
Mercury 3D Fireworks Cruise
Enjoy Chicago's summer fireworks on a Wednesday or Thursday from the unique vantage point of Lake Michigan. This fun boat ride for the whole family offers panoramic views of the Chicago skyline and the popular fireworks show at Navy Pier. Put on your complimentary 3D glasses to experience each magnificent burst in a whole new light!
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.
Bobby's Bike Hike Chicago Tours
Tour Chicago on a cool cruiser-style bicycle and follow a guide who makes brief stops at the most popular sights, providing light-hearted commentary that will keep you entertained. Some fun rides include the Lakefront Neighborhoods Tour, Bikes, Bites and Brews Tour, and the Southside Gangster Tour.
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!
CITY: East Peoria
Trolley Car #36
Take a 45-minute trolley ride along the Rock River, into Rockford's industrial roots and through Sinnissippi Gardens, where you'll visit the greenhouse, lagoon and beautiful planted gardens.
Great River Trail
The Great River Trail is a breathtaking journey along 60 miles of the Mississippi River. The route is a mixture of paved rail-trail, small-town sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes on the street and a stretch of road shoulder along the Great River Road. The Great River Trail begins in Savanna and travels south through many small river towns with traditions still steeped in the quintessential culture of the Mississippi River.
CITY: Rock Island
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.
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.
North Branch Bicycle Trail
Bicyclists and hikers can travel this trail that runs from Caldwell and Devon Avenues in Chicago, to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. The 20-mile trail winds along the Chicago River past the Skokie Lagoons and through forest preserves.
Steve's Segway Tours
Explore Chicago's lakefront, museums and Millennium Park on a three-hour Segway tour led by guides all year round.
Lock 16 Center
Visitor information, canal exhibits/programs, canal boat tickets, cafe, gift shop, great bathrooms, free Wi-Fi. Private meeting room/facility/canal boat rentals. At western terminus of I&M Canal.
Forest City Queen Riverboat
Many cruise options on the Rock River are available, including hourly narrated tours, family-style picnics and elegant dining.
A 32-acre park built in cooperation with Batavia Park District, the city of Batavia and the Batavia Riverwalk Committee. Park your bikes by the Depot Museum and stroll the boardwalks through the wildflower garden.
A destination port on the Mississippi with picnic area's, playground, outdoor pool. Within a half of a mile to Alton's historic antique district and the Argosy Casino.
Centennial Fountain and Arc
A 90-foot jet stream creates an arc across the Chicago River for ten minutes on the hour.
Mercury's Urban Adventure Cruise
Immerse yourself in Chicago's rich history with a live commentated, family-friendly 90-minute tour cruising the Chicago River and Lake Michigan aboard Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruiseline. Learn fun facts and hear fascinating tales as you cruise amongst the city's famous architectural giants. Capture incredible photos as only can be experienced from the unique vantage point of the Chicago River, and marvel at incredible skyline views from the expansive waters of Lake Michigan. Cruises depart daily, May through October.
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.
This park features a pavilion with tables, a gazebo, fountain, a play lot, basketball court, historic cannons and monuments, and a walk bridge across the Galena River to Galena's downtown historic shopping district.
Restaurants and shopping line this downtwon area. Home to the Itasca Art and Wine Festival. Scenic Riverwalk takes you from the nature center to the waterpark.
An elegantly appointed venue along Peoria’s Riverfront, the Gateway offers the finest surroundings for your next business or social function. Constructed in 1997, this beautiful building was designed and created to be the focal point of Peoria's Riverfront. The Gateway is conveniently located downtown just one block from Interstate 74 and is within walking distance of hotels, major businesses, and many restaurants. The Riverfront provides a spectacular backdrop with its stunning views and the vibrant nightlife offers a unique and festive atmosphere. This is an affordable, convenient site for any meeting, banquet, or conference occasion. With the comfort and versatility the Gateway offers, you will want to make this the new home for your annual banquets and weekly meetings.
Illinois River at Buffalo Rock State Park
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—its waters lapping along the shores of many cities, including LaSalle, Peru, Peoria and Ottawa to name just a few. It’s in Ottawa where the Illinois River meets Buffalo Rock. Buffalo Rock sits like a sandstone island above the surrounding land and the Illinois River, and offers sweeping views of this famed waterway. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.
Downtown park on the banks of the Rock River. Site of several Native American "Effigy Mounds," which have been preserved, and home to Rockford Artists Fair.
St. Charles Paddlewheel River Boats
Cruise the scenic Fox River from Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles on the Fox River Queen or the St. Charles Belle paddlewheel riverboats.
CITY: St. Charles
See the beauty of the Mississippi from the deck of a real, old-time riverboat. Relax, unwind and recharge!
CITY: Scales Mound
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.
The Kankakee River takes a leisurely path from its origin to a point near Wilmington, Illinois, where it joins the DesPlaines River to form the Illinois River. Long acclaimed as one of the cleanest rivers in the Midwest, the Kankakee is a gentle Class I river ideal for first-time canoeists.
Mississippi River Lodge
Our Mississippi River Lodge is located right on the banks on the Mighty Mississippi River between Savanna and Thomson Illinois and offers awe-inspiring views from every angle. We offer 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, living room with fireplace & big screen TV, deck with grill, a fully stocked kitchen and much more! If you are a river lover, this is the place for you. Fishing, water skiing, tubing, or cruising up the river, it's all here for your enjoyment. Since we are located on Big Slough, off of the main channel of the river, you can have fun without having to deal with a lot of river traffic. Access to the main channel is easy if you want to cruise the river. Only five miles up the river is Lower Sabula Lake which offers a great new sand beach. There is a public boat launch only a quarter mile from the house and a dock is provided to moor your boat at the house. If you do not have a boat, you can fish off the dock or the bank.
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.
Rosiclare River Walk
Located in Rosiclare City Park, the River Walk offers great views of the Ohio River. The walk is handicapped accessible with benches for those who want to rest and enjoy the view.
Visit this "Key West" of the Midwest located where the Illinois River and Mississippi River meet. In addition to harbor faciltiies, a floating swimming pool and the Big Kahuna Bar and Grill, Grafton Harbor features a gift shop where boaters and landlubbers alike can find unique trinkets and treasures. Snacks, beer and wine, boating accessories and parts, clothing for all ages, navigational maps and gifts for that special child are all available.
Captain Andy's Parasail
Enjoy the relaxing view while sailing above the bluff line over the Mississippi River! The views are spectacular and sure to be remembered for years to come. It’s a very peaceful ride that gives you a completely different perspective on your world. After trying it once, most people are repeat fliers.
Experience the Mississippi River from a new and unique perspective! These 2- hour tours include basic instruction in how to properly pilot a kayak and guided tour of the Quincy Bay and river area. The guided tour includes all necessary equipment as well as instruction and tour, both given by a certified instructor and Mississippi River enthusiast. Open June through September. Self-guided tours/kayak rentals are also available. Reservations required. Call the Quincy Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for more information or reservations! 217-214-3700.
Bobber's River Tap
Bobber's is an open, outdoor, deck bar and picnic area, along the banks of the Pecatonica River. A relaxing stop for travelers by road or river. Bobber's is a converted 95 year old lumberyard. Bring your own pole and boat, or just sit and relax with a cold drink and watch the river flow by. Open: May thru October: Sunday: Noon - 10 pm; Thursday thru Saturday: 11 am - 1 am.
Tri City Port District
This site is on the Granite City Canal, near the Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River. Tri City Port is a duty-free foreign port, as well as a loading facility for farm and other products being barged on the river.
CITY: Granite City
Fox River Trail
32 miles of biking, hiking and cross-country skiing featuring some of the most scenic trails of the Fox River. Points of interest include Carpenters Dam, Fox River Shores, Tyler Creek, Voyageur Landing, Shoemaker Nature Center and Fabyan Forest Preserve.
CITY: St. Charles
Saw Wee Kee Park
Saw Wee Kee Park sits along the south shore of the Fox River. Located in Oswego this park has an abundance of fun, advanced mountain bike singletrack trails to conquer. These 5 miles of steep inclines and quick descents will give you plenty of stories to tell your friends. While you are there you can also fish, kayak and canoe along the Fox River.
Kickapoo Creek Park
Kickapoo State Recreation Area in Oakwood, IL has 22 deep-water ponds, ranging in size from 0.2 to 57 acres, providing a total of 221 acres of water for boaters, canoeists and anglers. Lushly forested uplands and bottomlands along the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River is habitat for enough birds, wildlife and wildflowers to please any nature lover, while nature trails and running trails provide pathways to inspiration and physical fitness. If you want a less demanding excursion in the outdoors, there are facilities for camping and picnicking. With 22 lakes and access to the Middle Fork River, Kickapoo is known for the opportunities it provides for water-based outdoor activities. Anglers find excellent fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie and redear sunfish. Especially popular are the annual fall and spring stockings of rainbow trout, which provide an unusual opportunity for central Illinois anglers to fish for catch-able size trout. There are 12 launching ramps on nine of Kickapoo's lakes. Boat and canoe rental is available for Clear Pond.
Illinois River at Starved Rock State Park
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—but it’s in Utica where the Illinois River meets Starved Rock State Park. With 18 canyons, and sandstone bluffs for four miles, Starved Rock State Park is one of Illinois’ treasured nature habitats. On your journey down the river, your eyes will never tire from all the wildlife that call the river home. From Black-crowed heron, river otters, Western ribbon snakes, even bald eagles. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.
Bicycle Trails - Aurora
More than 35 miles of trails, from Aurora to Crystal Lake, pass through scenic landscapes. Routes include the Fox River, Virgil Gilman and Red Oak Trails, and the Illinois Prairie Path.
Lock and Dam #17
This New Boston lock and dam assists with barge navigation on the Mississippi River.
CITY: New Boston
Featuring 240 acres, Nature Center, parking, boat launches and Rock River access, fishing, hiking, nature preserve, cross-country skiing, shelters, grills, playground equipment, and more. Ronald Reagan saved 77 lives here as a lifeguard during his boyhood years.
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.
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.
CITY: Apple River
Canoe & Pedal Boat Rentals: Pottawatomie Park
Enjoy the scenery from the waters of the Fox River! Rentals Mid-May through Mid-August. All rentals launch from the River View Miniature Golf Complex within Pottawatomie Park. Deposit required. Children age 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult (age 18+). All rentals are subject to safe river & weather conditions. Sorry, no boat rentals on July 4th.
CITY: St. Charles
River Trail Nature Center
Nature is wonderfully displayed in this silent forest that glaciers carved thousands of years ago. The prairie extends along the riverbanks, rich in plant and animal life.
St. Genevieve Modoc Ferry
Ride the ferry across the Mighty Mississippi the next time you visit historic St. Genevieve and Randolph County. The ferry travels between St. Genevieve, Missouri and Modoc Illinois, and holds approximately nine vehicles.
Vermillion River Rafting
This outfitter in Oglesby offers river rafting excursions on the Class 3 rapids of this popular stretch of the Vermillion River. With 14 sets of rapids on this 9 1Ž2 mile trip, Vermillion River Rafting will supply you with whatever your party needs: from rafts, paddles, life vests even rafting instructions. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends and for parties of 5 or more.
Less than 1 hour from Chicago, Kayak Morris provides unique rentals, guided tours and lessons. Trips are approximately 2 hours in length. Kayak and canoe tours maintain a leisurely pace, making stops along the way to enjoy nature and to take a rest. For a faster pace try a specialty kayak or canoe tour. All kayak and canoe tours will be on the Illinois River, Mazon River or I&M canal. All tours include kayak or canoe, life vest, paddle, lesson, and safety briefing. Tours are kept small in size to maintain comfort and pacing, so make sure to reserve your place ahead of time.
McConnell Bobtown Landing
Enjoy the natural wonders of the Pecatonica River, Stephenson County's water trail, as is meanders nearly 60 miles through undisturbed Midwestern beauty. This landing offers ample parking, two picnic areas, portable toilet, 10' x 20' floating dock, fire pits and charcoal grills, two ADA fishing piers and canoe/kayak and boat launch. Camping at the site is available for canoes, kayaks and boaters. Reservations required.
Hike or bike into Buehler Preserve from Galena and experience the prairie life! Pets welcome. Fishing is allowed.
Freeport Canoe Company
Enjoy canoeing from the McConnell Bobtown Landing to McNeil's Damascus Landing or to Tutty's Crossing in downtown Freeport. Groups, individual canoeists, and beginning or seasoned paddlers are welcome. $50 rental per canoe. Ages 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult; ages 18 to 18 must have parental consent form.
Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve
Experience a commanding view of the Mississippi River and the only known intact thunderbird effigy mound in Illinois. Hiking, bird watching, sightseeing, Native American archaeology and much more on 85 acres of scenic Mississippi River bluffs.
McNeil's Damascus Landing
Enjoy the natural wonders of the Pecatonica River, Stephenson County's water trail, as is meanders nearly 60 miles through undisturbed Midwestern beauty. Access the river at McNeil's Damascus Landing which offers ample parking, a picnic area, fire pit and charcoal grills, portable toilet, 10' x 20' floating dock and canoe/kayak and concrete boat launch with access docking. Camping at the site is available for canoe, kayaks and boaters. Reservations required.
Mississippi River Trail
Situated in Sunset Park in Rock Island is the Mississippi River Trail. Listed as a difficult trial, mainly due to its length and many portions not protected by shade, this asphalt trail hugs the bank of the river as you move through parks, industrial sections, downtown business districts and small river towns.
CITY: Rock Island
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—its waters lapping along the shores of many cities, including; La Salle, Peru, Peoria and Ottawa to name just a few. It’s in Ottawa where the Illinois River meets Buffalo Rock. Buffalo Rock sits like a sandstone island above the surrounding land and the Illinois River, and offers sweeping views of this famed waterway. On your journey down the river, your eyes will never tire from all the wildlife that call the river home. From Black-crowed heron, river otters, Western ribbon snakes even bald eagles. In some spots you’ll traverse tight canyons with tall rock formations on either side, and in other areas you’ll share the river with barges and commercial boats. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.
Canoe the Vermilion
This outfitter in the Illinois Valley offers canoe equipment, instruction, and transportation to help you fully enjoy this scenic stretch of the Vermilion River. Venture out on your own, or choose from excursions that include everything from picnics along the river to overnight camping trips.
The Vermilion River in Oglesby, Illinois, is a water paradise for fisherman and adventure seekers alike, with Class 3 out of 6 rapids. You’ll go from lazy streams to feeling like you’re on a roller coaster ride. This is certainly the most well known and likely the largest watershed in Illinois, and at 7.7 miles, the longest whitewater stretch in the state.
Apple River Canyon State Park - Thompson/Salem Units
This 1,150 acre area allows hunting, fishing; no boating/biking. See postings/fact sheets at registration. Sign in/out at lots #1 or #2. The vegetative cover at the site is a mixture of steep timbered slopes and bluffs with grassland, row crops and hay fields predominate on ridge tops. The topography can be severe especially bordering the Apple River.
Wolf Creek State Park
Eight miles northwest of Windsor, Wolf Creek State Park encompass 11,100 acres of water, 250 miles of shoreline and large tracts of carefully maintained indigenous woodlands ideal for camping, horseback riding, snowmobiling, boat fishing, water skiing, pontoon boating, windsurfing or just plain bobbing and drifting on the glittering expanse of the lake itself. In addition to visiting the small, friendly wooded campgrounds or taking part in the action on the lake, swimming is available from the beach. You can also take a leisurely stroll through nearby forests. An abundance of deer, pheasant, rabbits, wild turkey and songbirds are almost always visible.