Lake County, Illinois, CVB - Official Travel Site

20 Festive Fall Photo Ops in Lake County 2022

By: Nick Borowitz

Autumn is almost upon us here in Lake County! That means ample opportunity to grab the camera and snap beautiful pictures of nature as the seasons change. We put together this guide for 20 festive fall photo ops in Lake County 2022.

Speaking of photography, the #LetsSnapLakeCounty Photo Contest has started and runs through to Halloween.

 

 

 

 

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Now through early November, our Spooks & Spirits: Lake County, IL Autumn Celebration shows off fall festivals and costume parades; haunted houses; corn mazes and pumpkin patches; Six Flags' famous Fright Fest; and "supernatural" attractions. There's something for everyone for the fall season.

Six Flags Great America’s Fright Fest presented by SNICKERS® starts this weekend. Prepare yourself for frightful thrills, delicious food and a boogying good time.

Here are the 20 fall festive photo ops in Lake County 2022.

Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

 

 

 

 

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With a vast array of plants and florals at the Chicago Botanic Garden, you can see the leaf colors change as they might around the world. The Garden sits on 385 acres and features four natural areas spread across nine islands surrounded by lakes. The 28 different gardens inside the Glencoe sanctuary offer ample opportunity to snap a picture of the autumnal equinox. The "Flourish: Garden at 50" birthday celebration goes through September 25 and features decorative installations, music and stories of the past. The Night of 1000 Jack-o-Lanterns in October lets you snap some spookier pictures. The Lightscape starts in November and adds a holiday twist to the Garden with a vast array of decorative lighting.

Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods

 

 

 

 

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Ryerson Conservation Area and the Brushwood Center take fall seriously. There are plenty of chances to snap an autumn picture and to peruse the grounds taking in everything the Center has to offer. Their Halloween Hikes (October 21-22) adds a haunted twist to the normally serene woods that will have everyone chuckling. Check back for their annual maple syrup hikes in winter.

Bowen Park in Waukegan

 

 

 

 

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The historic park in the City of Progress is known for its environmental learning stations representing a forest ecosystem, plus playgrounds and spray area for the kiddies. There is also an exercise trail in the park. The Waukegan Park District area has lush trees and sprawling fields and has a cascade of wonderful colors during the autumn season for your festive fall photo.

Beer Garden at Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville

 

 

 

 

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The Beer Garden at Independence Grove Forest Preserve is a part of the scenic 1,135-acre recreation area. The Beer Garden features delicious beverages from partners of the Lake County Libation Trail including Black Lung Brewing Co. of Round Lake Beach, Tighthead Brewing Co. of Mundelein, Mickey Finn’s Brewery of Libertyville, 9th Hour Brewing Co. of Lake Villa, Roaring Table Brewing Co. and Phase Three Brewing Co. of Lake Zurich, ZumBier of Waukegan, Ravinia Brewing Co. of Highland Park, Buffalo Creek Brewing of Long Grove and Liquid Love Brewing Co. of Buffalo Grove. education opportunities centered around a 115-acre lake reclaimed from a gravel quarry. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing and boating, a marina with boat and bike rentals, a native garden and nearly seven miles of trails. The red, yellow, brown and green pyrotechnic nature explosion is a sight to see and snap a shot. Be sure to stop by and snap some pictures while you hang out and listen different artists as part of SeptOberFest. This free festival is highlighted by lakeside fire pits, free firewood, s’mores kits and more. Check out the schedule, grab a beer and get your nature photography on while watching live music.

Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway (Passes through Wadsworth, Gurnee, Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Deerfield and Mettawa)

 

 

 

 

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The Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway protects land along more than 85 percent of the river in Lake County, providing wildlife habitat, natural flood protection and outdoor recreation opportunities. The trail spans nearly the entire length of Lake County for 31 miles as it winds through 12 forest preserves. It is open for hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and snowmobiling. The trail also connects to the Cook County Forest Preserve trail system.

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in Highland Park

 

 

 

 

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Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve is a scenic photo destination that any shutterbug will appreciate. It is tough to beat being able to snap a photo from a 70-foot-high-bluff that overlooks Lake Michigan. Trails inside the preserve connect to self-guided educational exhibits that let you learn about the area and the different angles for your camera lense. Visitors to the preserve experience hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, fishing, picnicking and birdwatching. The trails that run along Lake Michigan were among the first that offered public access to the shoreline back in 1887. The preserve's savanna, ravines and lakefront location allow visitors to observe one of North America’s busiest flyways for migratory birds, with at least 236 species of birds being seen here.

Hiram Buttrick Sawmill in Antioch

 

 

 

 

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Relish in the rich history of Antioch at the Hiram Buttrick Sawmill Tour. During the tour, visitors will learn about the economic importance of sawmills in the 1800s and will tour the replica facility. Constructed in 1976, the sawmill was built 500 feet downstream of the original site and made of abandoned sawmill material. During the construction of the replica, builders salvaged existing pilings from the original structure.

The Lehmann Mansion in Lake Villa

 

 

 

 

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This historical mansion is situated on 60 magnificent acres in the Village of Lake Villa. Constructed as a summer home for Edward J. Lehmann in 1912, it has been extensively restored to the grandeur of its past. The Lehmann Mansion is a big part of Lake Villa's past, present and future. The elegant construction offers plenty of opportunity for the keen-eyed photographer that enjoys both nature and architecture.

Richardson Adventure Farm and Corn Maze in Spring Grove

 

 

 

 

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Every year at Richardson Adventure Farm, they rearrange their renowned 33-acre corn maze with a new layout of trails, twists and turns that stretches for 11 miles. You can tackle the full maze or just a short trail. If you're feeling brave, explore the maze at night by flashlight or moonlight. When you're finished in the maze, wander over to the Sunflower Festival and stroll the 13 acres of of sunflowers that has 3.2 miles of trails. The other attractions at the adventure destination include a 50-foot tube slide, 50-foot tall observation tower, bridges, pedal carts, pumpkin patches, corn crib, goats, chickens and play area. There are concessions for purchase and free wagon rides on the weekends. Wooded picnic area with free campfires. For big kids and grown-ups: zip line, Zorbing and brew pub. Reservations suggested for groups and for private picnic tables and campfires.

Paulus Park in Lake Zurich

 

 

 

 

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Gather your friends and family and take a journey through the Jack-o-Lantern World experience. Walk a 3/4 mile long trail through the thousands of hand carved Jack O'Lanterns. Experience the one-of-a-kind whimsical celebration of art, nature and fall. Paulus Park's location on Bangs Lake offers plenty of photo opportunities overlooking the lake, picnic area, playgrounds, beach, athletic field and concert stage.

Illinois Beach State Park in Zion

 

 

 

 

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Illinois Beach State Park is situated along the scenic shores of Lake Michigan. It stretches from Waukegan to the Wisconsin state line. The park offers numerous photographic chances on the walking and biking trails. The park features a campground, full service resort, camp store and picnic areas.

Volo Bog State Natural Area in Ingleside

 

 

 

 

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If you're seeking a truly unique outdoor photo opportunity, the Volo Bog State Natural Area is a must-see shoot. This is the only "quaking" bog in the state of Illinois to have an open water center. There is plenty of opportunity for bird-watchers and nature lovers. The floating boardwalks make for a unique photo opportunity no matter the season, but the browns and oragnes of fall make for great looking angles and aesthetics.

North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor

 

 

 

 

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This quiet, serene and safe area along the panoramic Lake Michigan offers the relaxation you expect and the nurturing you need. The natural and lush recreational setting makes for breathtaking images when the sun is rising or setting. The large variety of boats that can be seen lazilly entering and exiting the harbor are excellent opportunity for the avid boat enthusiasts and nature photographers alike. While you're there, stop by the Harbor Brewing Lakefront Biergarten for a libation to further bask in the autumn glory.

Chain O' Lakes State Park in Antioch/Spring Grove

 

 

 

 

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The Chain O' Lakes State Park is the largest concentration of natual lakes and is a water-oriented recreation area. The trees, plants and wildlife that call the area home are rife for a photo shoot and ready to show their (autumn) colors. The park is split between McHenry and Lake Counties and sits on nearly 6,500 acres of water and 488 miles of shoreline. There are seven picnic areas and four trail systems. No matter if you're walking/biking the six miles of foot trails or galloping the eight miles of equestrian trails, you're almost guaranteed to stumble upon the perfect photo shoot spot.

Heller Nature Center in Highland Park

 

 

 

 

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Visitors can enjoy a 97-acre preserve with oak-hickory forests, tall grass prairie, oak savanna and natural wetlands. Three miles of trails offer nature and solitude. Document your fall expedition with a selfie at the Highland Park area.

Heinz Apple Orchard in Green Oaks

 

 

 

 

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Are you ready to compare delicious apples to delicious apples? It's always a delight to snag one of these red or green treats fresh off the tree. The chnaging colors of the leaves in combination with one of the succulent fruits makes any fall photo shoot really pop.

Didier Farms in Lincolnshire

 

 

 

 

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This farm favorite features hayrides, exotic petting zoo, pony rides, camel rides, corn maze and sprinting piggies (only on the weekends). While you're there don't forget to grab some sweet treats and that autumnal pumpkin for the holidays.

Heron Creek Forest Preserve in Lake Zurich

 

 

 

 

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The highest wetland classification in the land of lakes offers views of an array of wildlife habitats and gorgeous plant meadows. This preserve features rolling landscapes of scenic woodlands, open fields and sensitive wetlands. Heron Creek Forest Preserve is also a bird watcher's paradise. There are more than 116 species of birds that have been observed here. Six state endangered bird species, black tern, black-crowned night heron, yellow-crowned night heron, osprey, Forster's tern, and three state threatened bird species, brown creeper, pied-billed grebe and red-shouldered hawk have been found in the area.

Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve in Grayslake

 

 

 

 

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Rollins Savanna is named an “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society due to the large number of endangered yellow-headed blackbirds that have found refuge here. Shutterbugs can take a festive fall photo there. Maybe Tweety will photobomb you.

Rosewood Beach in Highland Park

 

 

 

 

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Before you lay out your yoga mats, just chillax on the shores of the Highland Park beach to see the sun come up. Tucked away on the east side of Sheridan Road, Rosewood Beach’s sunrise is a perfect place to soul search and meditate before beginning your day along Lake Michigan. Leading up to the Lake Michigan shoreline, there is a ton of vegetation that pops all the right colors as you approach Rosewood.


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Spooks and Spirits: Lake County, IL Autumn Celebration has something for the whole family!

September isn't over yet. Click here to see more fun activities.

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