Best Places in Illinois for Nature Lovers
Spending time outdoors is fun and also crucial for our well-being. Fresh air and sunlight can lower stress, improve mood, and boost physical health. So, if you’ve recently moved to Illinois and are looking for the best places to enjoy nature, you’re in luck! As a company that partners with professional long distance movers, we often hear new residents asking about the best places in Illinois for nature lovers. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you explore!
Lake Charleston Loop
Nestled close to Charleston, Lake Charleston Loop offers a serene atmosphere, and it’s perfect for anyone looking to reconnect with nature. It’s around 10 miles from the city center, making it an accessible day trip for families, hikers, or anyone in need of peaceful surroundings. Charleston long distance movers often move newcomers near this spot for its easy accessibility and variety of outdoor activities.
There are plenty of hiking trails that let you explore the wooded areas surrounding the lake. For the angler at heart, fishing is another popular activity. Imagine catching bass or bluegill while enjoying the beauty of the lake. It doesn’t get much better than that. The best time to visit is spring and fall, which offers moderate temperatures and fewer crowds. You can enjoy the color-changing foliage or the blossoming of new life in the woods.
When it comes to staying overnight or grabbing a meal, Charleston offers several cozy accommodations and restaurants. They’re just a short drive from the lake, making it convenient to plan a weekend getaway. Also, did you know that Lake Charleston Loop has some spots that are considered haunted? Locals often share tales of mysterious apparitions near the water, adding excitement to your visit.
Red Oak Nature Center is one of the best places in Illinois for nature lovers
Close to Aurora, the Red Oak Nature Center is a forested sanctuary that offers a break from city life. It’s just 8 miles from the heart of Aurora, so it’s a spot long distance movers Aurora has commonly relocate people who love nature.
Here, you can engage in a variety of activities that bring you closer to nature. Walking along the forested trails, you might spot raccoons, deer, and an array of birds. You’ll feel like you’re in a different world, despite being so close to the city. Any season brings its own beauty, but summer and fall here are particularly nice for spotting wildlife and taking leisurely walks.
The nearby Aurora offers several comfortable places to stay and a range of dining options, from casual cafes to elegant restaurants. My Place Hotel is an accommodation facility that is very close to the point of interest, offering reasonable prices and convenience. What makes this place stand out? Red Oak Nature Center hosts educational programs about local flora and fauna. It’s not just a spot for leisure; it’s a place to learn and appreciate the beauty of Illinois’ natural landscape.
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool
Hidden away in Chicago’s bustling Lincoln Park, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool offers a peaceful respite. This scenic spot is just 5 miles from downtown Chicago. Chicago long distance moving companies can help you move here. Newcomers who make this move often ask about nature spots within the city, and this is a top recommendation.
Did you know that this lily pool was originally designed as a work of landscape art? The serene atmosphere is no accident but the result of careful planning. Here, you can engage in some unique activities. Bird-watching is a popular choice, with over 50 species of birds spotted in the area. Photography is another favorite; the beautiful stone walkways and native plants offer excellent photo ops. The pool is particularly stunning in spring when the lilies are in full bloom. But if you miss this season, you will also manage to avoid that crowds that form during this time of the year. In terms of places to eat or stay, downtown Chicago offers a wide array of options just a short distance away – your wishes and budget are the only deciding factors!
Jacksonville recreational trails
Located within Jacksonville, these trails are perfect for biking and jogging. The trails are about 15 miles long and just 7 miles from the city center. The good news for newfound nature enthusiasts is that all 6 of the most popular trails are considered easy.
Mountain biking is a top pick here – so make sure to transport your bike with the help of long distance movers Jacksonville IL to your new home! You’ll also find runners and joggers making the most of the well-maintained paths. As for the best time to visit, spring and fall offer the most comfortable temperatures. You’ll avoid the heat of summer and the chill of winter.
Jacksonville offers various lodging options and restaurants, making it easy to plan a weekend or even a day trip. From villas to affordable inns, the city catters to most needs. As for restaurants, Ludi’s Grill and Los Rancheros are two of the places with the best reviews in this city. What’s special about these trails? They intersect with historical landmarks, adding an educational element to outdoor fun.
Lower Rock Run Preserve
Next up, we have the Lower Rock Run Preserve in Joliet. It’s a stunning area that’s just 9 miles from the city center. According to statistics from long distance moving companies Joliet, nearly 25% of new residents are keen on finding local spots for kayaking and other water activities.
The summer months are great if you’re interested in water activities, while fall provides a lovely backdrop of changing leaves for hikers. Here, you can spend your time kayaking or simply enjoying a picnic by the water. The preserve also has several hiking trails, suitable for all ages.
Nearby, you’ll find multiple dining and accommodation options. So, whether you’re planning a day trip or an overnight stay, you’re well-covered. Juliet’s Tavern is a local favourite, and it will likely become yours too after a few visits! Interestingly, the preserve is home to several species of native plants that are part of restoration efforts. This makes your visit not just fun, but also a chance to see environmental preservation in action.
Edward R. Madigan State Park
If you’re yearning for a peaceful escape, Edward R. Madigan State Park is the place to go. Located near Lincoln, the park is about 12 miles from the city center. It was named after Edward R. Madigan, a U.S. Congressman passionate about the environment.
Fishing is a key activity here, especially with the pond stocked full of catfish and bass. Walking and bird-watching are also great ways to pass the time. The best months to visit are May through September when the weather is warm and the flora is in full bloom. But keep in mind that this is when most Lincoln long distance movers are fully booked, so plan in advance!
Situated near Naperville, Whalon Lake is about 10 miles from the city center and is perfect for water enthusiasts. You can kayak, canoe, or even paddleboard on this calm lake. Fishing is another option, with species like bluegill and largemouth bass commonly found. If you prefer cooler weather, fall is a great time to visit. The changing leaves make the scenery quite picturesque.
Whalon Lake is a hub for community events. From outdoor yoga classes to family fishing days, there’s always something happening. Just make sure to adjust your move with one of the long distance moving companies Naperville with the timelines of these events!
Mississippi Palisades is located 70 miles away from Rockford and offers a blend of history and natural beauty. This makes it a perfect weekend getaway from this city. Hiking is the main draw, with challenging trails that take you along limestone bluffs and offer stunning views of the Mississippi River. After having a peaceful and easy move with the assistance of some long distance moving companies Rockford IL, this will be a real workout! You might even spot some native wildlife like white-tailed deer and bald eagles. The area is also rich in Native American history, with several sites displaying ancient carvings.
Spring and fall offer the most comfortable hiking conditions, but if you’re a fan of winter sports, there’s also an opportunity for cross-country skiing. Savanna Inn And Suites is hands down the most popular accommodation for anyone visiting the Palisades, so you should see for yourself what the hype is about.
Pomona Natural Bridge
Down south, you’ll find Pomona Natural Bridge, about 20 miles from Carbondale. This sandstone bridge is a brief but scenic hike. Illinois long distance movers mention that around 15% of people moving into southern Illinois are interested in geological sites like this one.
Walking under the natural bridge is an experience like no other. It’s a brief hike, so even families with children can enjoy it. If you do like nature, late spring to early fall is the best time to visit when the weather is mild, and the trail is most accessible. Intriguingly, this natural bridge was formed through centuries of erosion and is considered a geological marvel and one of the best places in Illinois for nature lovers.
Garden of the Gods
Last on our list is Garden of the Gods, certainly one of the best places in Illinois for nature lovers. Located in the Shawnee National Forest, the park is most famous for its unique rock formations. You can hike, rock climb, or simply enjoy the spectacular views. It’s an ideal destination for photography enthusiasts as well.The park is a year-round destination, but autumn offers some of the most breathtaking views when the leaves change colors. Nearby, you’ll find various rustic lodging options and eateries that serve local fare. Fun tidbit: The rocks at the Garden of the Gods are over 300 million years old!
Essential tips for nature enthusiasts
- Always check the weather forecast before heading out:
Not just a casual glance at your weather app, but really delve into local forecasts. Consider the specific micro-climates that might exist in the area you are visiting. For instance, Mississippi Palisades can be significantly windier due to its elevation.
- Keep a map and compass handy:
Yes, your phone has a map, but technology can fail or run out of battery. A physical map and compass are reliable old-school tools that can be lifesavers in areas with poor signal.
- Learn basic orienteering skills:
Along with the map and compass, knowing how actually to use them can be incredibly useful. Basic courses are often available at community centers or outdoor stores.
- Observe all posted signs and rules:
It’s not just bureaucracy; it’s for your safety and for the preservation of natural habitats. For example, specific trails at Edward R. Madigan State Park might be closed during specific seasons to protect local wildlife.
- Wear appropriate footwear:
Not all trails are the same. What works for a flat trail like those in Lower Rock Run Preserve might not be suitable for the rugged terrain of the Garden of the Gods.
- Confirm operating hours:
Some parks and reserves have seasonal hours. Make sure the best places in Illinois for nature lovers you plan to visit will be open and accessible during your trip.
- Keep emergency contacts handy:
In areas with poor cell service, it’s good to know the location of the nearest ranger station or emergency exit route.
- Know the local wildlife:
Different areas come with various critters. While a squirrel might be the biggest animal you encounter at Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, the Mississippi Palisades could host bigger wildlife like deer or even coyotes.
- Pack a basic first aid kit:
Minor injuries can happen. A basic first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and basic painkillers can be handy.
- Leave no trace:
Last but not least, always clean up after yourself. The idea is to leave nature as you found it for others to enjoy.
The best places in Illinois for nature lovers await!
In our list of the best places in Illinois for nature lovers, each place offers a unique charm. So, if you’re new to the area or just looking for a getaway, these spots will provide the natural beauty and outdoor activities you’re seeking. Time to lace up those hiking boots and head out!