Besides stunning grounds and twice-daily docent-led tours (Monday to Friday), Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford offers several opportunities to combine wellness and nature. Use sensory prompts and visual clues on self-guided awareness walks through the gardens, which are the backdrop for drop-in yoga and Tai Chi classes. Once a month, join a sound and gong bath (through October).
In Glencoe, Chicago Botanic Garden, one of the world’s largest public gardens, offers monthly seasonal tree walks, allowing visitors to discover what’s in bloom. Or take a self-guided walk through the various gardens, including a 2-mile perimeter walk. While there, pop into the Butterflies and Blooms habitat (through Labor Day).
At The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, follow winding paths through a maze of hedges and shrubs leading to a stately sycamore tree and lookout platform. Or follow a 90-minute walking play along a 1- to 2-mile route as professional local actors enact family-friendly plays (through October).
Galena Goat Yoga has 45-minute classes with its adorable creatures and 45-minutes of goat play at the family-run Silver Linings Farm in Galena. Meet and mingle with female alpacas during a guided Yogapaca class at Magic Meadows Alpacas in Wonder Lake. The curious creatures have a surprising calming energy, helping you reach maximum zen.
At Hoof It Goat Treks in Galena, guides lead 45- to 60-minute hikes through woods and prairies on a farm that’s been in the family for four generations. Other on-site events: Hoof It and Sip It (a walk with wine and a goat), and Hoof’n and Groove’n around a bonfire with s’mores and live music.
In the northwest corner of the state, Galena offers multiple destinations with plenty of options to recharge (or kick back and relax).
Outside activities abound at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa. For a full-body workout, swing into action on one of three 18-hole golf courses or one nine-hole course. Or try FootGolf, which uses a soccer ball. Cast a line from the dock or cruise Lake Galena on a pontoon; kayaks, canoes and paddleboats are also available. Off-the-ground options include sunrise and sunset balloon rides, and a zipline. Inside amenities include a pool with a retractable roof and Stonedrift Spa, where guests can have massages, facials and body treatments. Refuel with locally sourced, fresh seasonal fare at one of three restaurants.
Widely known for their ski hills, Chestnut Mountain Resort also offers downhill options in summer. Ride the chairlift for any (or all) of these: mountain bike trails, dual alpine slides and a narrated boat cruise. See more Mississippi River Valley views from a chair on the Soaring Eagle Zipline or on a 75- to 90-minute Segway Tour. Additional outdoor activities include 18-hole minigolf, nine-hole disc golf and nature trails.
Overlooking the Mississippi, Goldmoor Inn guests choose from suites, cottages and cabins. All lodging choices come with a gourmet breakfast delivered to your door. Wander the woods around the property or relax with a massage.
In the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe building along the river in downtown, The Langham Chicago's wellness services include a spa, an indoor pool and hot tub, a health club, and afternoon tea.
Saturday morning sun salutations come with a view from the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building in Chicago at 360 Sky Yoga. Bring your mat for a one-hour class, which includes admission to the observation deck, plus a beverage (through August 26).
Soul Farm hosts one- and two-night yoga retreats on a rural farm in Amboy. Guests sleep in bunkhouses or glamping tents and enjoy healthy vegetarian meals made from in-season and locally grown produce between yoga practices. While there, listen to the sounds of nature or practice mediation in the woods. Extras include on-site massages and one-on-one time with a horse.
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