210 Outdoors - Other to Explore in Illinois

Checkout places to visit in Illinois


Located in the Midwestern area of the United States, Illinois is a vast state filled with charming towns, vibrant metropolitan cities, lush coastal plains, and natural prairies. From Chicago to Springfield and all other points in-between, each part of Illinois offers its own unique vibe that locals and visitors alike can appreciate. The region is steeped in history and culture; among its many landmarks are the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, Cahokia Mounds State Historic site, and

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Outdoors - Other to Explore in Illinois

Allerton Park & Retreat Center

Allerton Park is a stunning and peaceful area that boasts 960 acres of beautiful foliage, babbling ponds, sparkling waterfalls, grand country houses, as well as various recreational activities. Perfect for a relaxing getaway or an adventurous day trip, visitors can make the most out of their stay at Allerton Park by taking leisurely strolls along the trails through lush woodlands and meadows, working up a sweat with any number of outdoor activities like basketball and disc-golfing.


The village of Alton, is a vibrant city full of beauty and opportunity. This picturesque city by the river offers stunning views of the Mississippi that can be enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. It's home to Lewis & Clark Community College, the many shops and restaurants of State Street, and numerous historic sites - the Daniel Belle Home being just one example. With its vibrant culture, thriving economy, close proximity to larger cities and incredible history.

Apple River Canyon State Park

Apple River Canyon State Park is a nature lover's paradise. Encompassing over 3,000 acres of breathtaking canyon views, unique sandstone features and miles of hiking trails, the park is a perfect spot to spend a day, or even an entire camping vacation. With tranquil streams that cascade down into the beautiful canyon below, Apple River Canyon State Park offers visitors the chance to take in stunning natural beauty as they explore its many trails.

Argyle Lake State Park

Argyle Lake State Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise! The 800-acre park offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages such as biking and hiking on numerous trails, swimming in the lake, fishing from many docks, or simply enjoying a picnic while you relax and take in the stunning views of the lake. There is also plenty of camping spots available to choose from with full hookups and primitive sites so everyone can find something that fits their needs.

Ashmore Estates

Ashmore Estates, is an abandoned mental asylum and amusement park. Originally the grounds of the asylum served as farmland for local settlers in the early nineteenth century. In 1848, Dr. Richard Ashmore partnered with other prominent citizens to establish a separate institution dedicated to psychiatric care. The estate included a large stone building, with numerous other structures used both for residential and vocational purposes.

Aurora Downtown

Aurora Downtown, stands as a vibrant testament to the area's gritty determination and perseverance. From its humble beginnings as an industrial production hub to its recent reinvention as an educational and cultural destination, Aurora Downtown has been an integral part of the community. The streets are buzzing with energy throughout the day, alive with shopping options and specialty restaurants serving up unique dishes from around the world.

Ballard Nature Center

Ballard Nature Center is a breathtaking outdoor oasis. Spanning hundreds of acres and boasting both native wildlife and flora, the Nature Center provides a serene atmosphere for visitors to explore and appreciate the beauty of nature. Along with trails to hike, they also provide educational programs like “Moths of Summer” which explores the world of night-flying insects. The facility offers countless activities such as birding, horseback and wagon rides, fishing in stocked ponds.

Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center

The Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center is a great place to explore the wonders of nature. Featuring nearly 1,500 acres of wetlands that include a variety of wildlife, fens, and bottomland hardwood forests, this center is a haven for hikers and birdwatchers alike. With numerous trails and waterways to explore, visitors can experience sights such as bald cypress trees and limestone bluffs while taking in sweeping views of nearby Lake of Egypt.

Beaver Dam State Park

Beaver Dam State Park is a picturesque respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It features many outdoor amenities such as two-wheeler trails, a nine-hole golf course, boat ramps with access to the lake and well-stocked fishing opportunities. Aside from these recreational offerings, visitors can take advantage of camping and cabin facilities to overnight trips more enjoyable. On top of all these offerings, It also has spots available for picnics or grilling with friends.

Bell Bowl Prairie

Bell Bowl Prairie, a 22-acre protected natural area consists of marsh and wet woods ecosystems surrounded by a large cattail marsh. Wild turkeys, beavers, deer and other wildlife thrive in these habitats and visitors can enjoy observing them in their natural environment; the sheltered landscape also serves as a breeding site for numerous species of both songbirds and waterfowl. Further nature lovers can explore the beautiful trees and wildflowers that grow around.

Belmont Prairie

Belmont Prairie, is one of the best preserved tallgrass prairies in the Midwest and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. It's grassland ecosystem encompasses plants native to northern Illinois along with wildflowers, shrubs, and oak savanna trees. This area has been recognized as a National Natural Landmark due to its significant biodiversity and contains an abundance of species listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern.

Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park

Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park is a perfect way to get out and explore nature. Located on historic Bluff Trail, the park offers a variety of recreational activities from kayaking and fishing to hiking and bird watching. With nearly 500 acres of land spreading out along both sides of the Des Plaines River, there's plenty to explore! The park also features multiple picnic pavilions, loaders for personal boats, boat beaches, a restroom building open during summer hours.

Bishop Hill State Historic Site

The Bishop Hill State Historic Site is a reminder of America's vestige of Utopian communal living. It is the site of the communal colony established by Swedish immigrants in 1846, founded on principles of hard work, resource sharing, and cooperation. A museum highlights artifacts from this time period while guided tours are available through restored historical buildings like the Steeple Building which served as their church and the Colony Store Museum.

Black Hawk State Historic Site

Black Hawk State Historic Site is a great place to visit with something for everyone. This scenic park is located along the Upper Mississippi River and provides historical information about the Sauk and Meskwaki Nation through its photo galleries, plaques and displays. There are also plenty of recreational activities to keep the whole family occupied such as trails perfect for walking, hiking, biking or horseback riding as well as fishing spots on the river.

Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve

Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve Set between Stone Bridge Trail and Roscoe Road, the preserve offers over 668 acres of lush forests, rolling meadows and sparkling spring ponds. From spring through fall, visitors can hike the trails, view wildlife, observe wildflowers and take part in bird watching activities. Fishing is also a popular activity with anglers gathering around Blackhawk Spring’s many fishing spots to attempt to catch one of their local varieties such as walleye or bluegill.

Blackwell Forest Preserve

The Blackwell Forest Preserve is a natural oasis amidst the everyday hustle and bustle of suburbia. It's the perfect escape for outdoor lovers searching for large expanses of greenery and rolling hills. The preserve comprises 500 acres of forest landscapes which include small streams, winding trails, wetlands, prairies and two recreational lakes. Visitors can indulge in various activities such as biking, birdwatching, fishing and even horseback riding on the 20-mile stretch of trails.

Bryant Cottage State Historic Site

Bryant Cottage State Historic Site is a great place to learn about the past. This state-owned property features the Bryant Cottage, which was the home of Joseph and Mary Ann Bryant in 1870. The two-story frame structure was originally constructed on the adjoining farm in 1848 and later moved after the property was purchased by the state. Visitors to Bryant Cottage can see period furnishings, photographs, and documents depicting family life in America during this time.

Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve

Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve is a breathtaking destination for nature lovers. It offers over 1,000 acres of rolling hills, prairies, wetlands and ravines to be explored. Visitors can spot wildlife such as eagles, deer and turkeys as they explore the lush greenery. Whether guests are looking for a leisurely stroll down one of the multiple trails or an adventurous canoeing trip on Buffalo Creek itself; there is something for everyone.

Busse Woods

Busse Woods is a fantastic outdoor space and forest preserve, which encompasses over 3,700 acres of natural habitat, is a great spot for outdoor activities including cycling, fishing, and hiking. There are also plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities -we've been lucky enough to spot hawks, coyotes, foxes and other animals! In addition to the wildlife viewing area there's also multiple camping spots spread throughout, so you can relax while listening to the peaceful chirping of wildlife.

Cache River State Natural Area

This 6,000 acre area offers a refuge to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which are either threatened or endangered. Visitors can explore the diverse ecosystems here on foot, via canoe or kayak along the river system that meanders throughout the hot, moist swampy areas and cool sandstone bluffs. Take part in bird watching and hiking or fishing from one of the dozens of holes and oxbows scattered throughout the nature preserve.

Map of Outdoors - Other to explore in Illinois