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The Best Outdoor Things to Do in Illinois

Illinois is a great place to explore and experience the outdoors, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. From fishing and camping to hiking and biking, there’s something for everyone in the Land of Lincoln. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful day of exploration or an adrenaline-filled adventure, these are the best outdoor activities in Illinois.

Fishing

Fishing is a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Illinois outdoors. There are plenty of places to drop a line, from the banks of the Mississippi River to the many lakes and ponds scattered throughout the state. You can catch some of Illinois’ most popular fish, including bass, catfish, crappie, and walleye. With over 5,000 miles of streams and rivers, Illinois is a great place to enjoy a day of fishing.

For a more adventurous experience, you can head to the Illinois River and try your luck at catching the state’s biggest fish, the muskellunge. In addition, you can take advantage of the state’s numerous charter boat fishing services and explore the deeper waters of Lake Michigan and other great lakes. No matter what kind of fishing you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in Illinois.

If you’re interested in learning more about fishing in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources provides a wealth of information, including fishing regulations, license requirements, and more.

Camping

Camping is another great way to experience the outdoors in Illinois. With over 60 state parks and hundreds of private campgrounds, you can find the perfect spot for your next camping trip. From primitive campsites to full-service RV parks, there’s something for everyone in the Land of Lincoln.

One of the most popular camping destinations in the state is Starved Rock State Park, located in the heart of the Illinois River Valley. With its towering sandstone bluffs, deep canyons, and numerous waterfalls, Starved Rock is a camper’s paradise. In addition, the park offers plenty of activities, such as hiking, fishing, and boating. If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, you can check out the camping cabins at Moraine Hills State Park or the backcountry camping at Pere Marquette State Park.

No matter what kind of camping experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

Hiking

Hiking is a great way to get out and explore the outdoors in Illinois. With over 2,000 miles of trails, there are plenty of places to get your hiking fix. Popular destinations include the trails at Starved Rock State Park, the River to River Trail, and the Rock Island Trail. No matter your skill level, there’s a trail for you in Illinois.

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For an easier hike, you can check out the trails at the Illinois Beach State Park. With its miles of shoreline and its diverse habitats, it’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll. For a more challenging hike, you can head to the Shawnee National Forest and explore the many trails that wind through its forests and bluffs. For a truly unique experience, you can take the Tunnel Hill State Trail, which features a 50-foot-long tunnel that was cut through a ridge of sandstone.

No matter where you decide to hike in Illinois, you’re sure to have a great time.

Biking

Biking is another great way to explore the outdoors in Illinois. With its miles of rail trails, scenic vistas, and rolling hills, the state is a great destination for cyclists. The most popular biking trails in the state are the Great River Road, the Galena Trail, and the Metro Lakefront Trail. All of these trails offer stunning views of the Illinois countryside and are sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience.

In addition, Illinois has several mountain biking trails, such as the ones at Kankakee River State Park and the Palos Trails. Both of these trails offer technical terrain and plenty of obstacles for the more experienced cyclist. For those looking for a more relaxed ride, there are plenty of rail trails to explore, such as the Hennepin Canal State Trail and the Great Western Trail.

No matter what kind of biking experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

Paddling

Paddling is a great way to explore the waterways of Illinois. With its numerous rivers, lakes, and streams, the state is a paddler’s paradise. Popular paddling destinations include the Illinois River, the Kankakee River, and the Fox River. You can rent canoes, kayaks, and other boats at many of the state’s parks and marinas. No matter what type of paddling experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

You can also take advantage of the state’s many river-based outfitters and guided tours. These companies offer everything from half-day trips to week-long adventures. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful float or an adrenaline-filled whitewater experience, you can find it in Illinois.

No matter what kind of paddling experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is another great way to experience the outdoors in Illinois. With its numerous sandstone bluffs and limestone cliffs, the state is a great destination for climbers of all skill levels. Popular destinations include Jackson Falls, Mississippi Palisades, and Starved Rock State Park. These locations offer plenty of routes for experienced climbers as well as beginner-friendly routes for those just getting started.

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If you’re looking for a more unique experience, you can check out the Ice Climbing Park at Starved Rock State Park. The park features a variety of ice climbing walls that range from beginner to advanced. You can also take advantage of the park’s rappelling and top-roping courses. No matter what kind of climbing experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

No matter what kind of rock climbing experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a great way to explore the outdoors in Illinois. With its rolling hills and lush forests, the state is a great destination for equestrians. Popular destinations include the trails at Starved Rock State Park, the Hennepin Canal State Trail, and the Kickapoo State Park. All of these locations offer plenty of trails for horseback riding, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider.

If you’re looking for a more unique experience, you can check out the horseback riding stables at the Fox Valley Park District. The stables offer guided horseback riding tours through the forest, as well as lessons for those just getting started. No matter what kind of horseback riding experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

No matter what kind of horseback riding experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

Golfing

Golfing is another great way to experience the outdoors in Illinois. With its numerous golf courses, the state is a great destination for golfers of all skill levels. Popular destinations include the courses at the Medinah Country Club, the Merit Club, and the Cog Hill Golf & Country Club. All of these locations offer championship-level courses as well as more beginner-friendly courses.

If you’re looking for a more unique experience, you can check out the golf courses at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo’s two courses, the North and South courses, offer a unique challenge with their tight fairways and tricky greens. No matter what kind of golfing experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

No matter what kind of golfing experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

Paintball

Paintball is a great way to experience the outdoors in Illinois. With its numerous paintball fields, the state is a great destination for paintballers of all skill levels. Popular destinations include the fields at Chicago Paintball, Xtreme Paintball, and Skirmish USA. All of these locations offer a variety of fields, from wooded forests to urban cityscapes.

If you’re looking for a more unique experience, you can check out the paintball fields at the Chicago Park District. The district’s two fields, the North and South fields, offer a unique challenge with their tight bunkers and tricky terrain. No matter what kind of paintball experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

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No matter what kind of paintball experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

Geocaching

Geocaching is a great way to explore the outdoors in Illinois. With its numerous geocaches, the state is a great destination for geocachers of all skill levels. Popular destinations include the caches at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Shawnee National Forest. All of these locations offer plenty of caches for you to explore.

If you’re looking for a more unique experience, you can check out the geocaching events hosted by the Illinois Geocaching Association. These events offer a variety of activities, from scavenger hunts to GPS-based races. No matter what kind of geocaching experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

No matter what kind of geocaching experience you’re looking for, you can find it in Illinois.

Conclusion

Illinois is a great place to explore and experience the outdoors. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful day of exploration or an adrenaline-filled adventure, there’s something for everyone in the Land of Lincoln. From fishing and camping to hiking and biking, these are the best outdoor activities in Illinois.