Lake County, Illinois Convention and Visitors Bureau - Outdoor Beauty in Lake County
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Outdoor Beauty in Lake County

Natural picturesque landscapes waiting for you...

The greatest thing about having so much outdoor beauty is the seasons that come with it. Every few months, our reasons for going outside change, and we get to experience the same landscape in a fresh and new way. Just as soon as we’ve had enough of spring showers, the summer sun shows up. So whether you’re picking the perfect pumpkin and exploring a corn maze at Richardson’s Adventure Farm in the fall, chartering a boat from Windy City Salmon along our summer beaches, or exploring our winter activities like cross country skiing or the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Winter Walks, we never run out of things to do outside in our natural beauty.

I live for that special moment, when I see the first signs of spring, peeking through a light blanket of snow. Springtime brings with it the return of green (and plenty of it!) to Lake County. Budding flowers jump back to life and paint 30,000 acres of forest preserves with vibrant colors and sweet, fragrant blooms. Let the 385-acres of the Chicago Botanic Garden get you excited about the fresh start of a new season with its song birds, garden walks and picturesque photo ops. Don’t forget to share your photos with “#VisitLakeCounty”!

As the spring months fade into summer, outdoor music concerts begin to pop up left and right. Hear beautiful live music while relaxing on a blanket along the shores of Lake Michigan in Waukegan. Beaches aren’t just for summer anymore! We have plenty to choose from, no matter what the season. Big ones, small ones, sandy ones, peaceful beaches, party beaches, and beaches that are straight off of a postcard. Hike our natural sand dunes, or bike and swim along 6 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline at Illinois Beach State Park (and be sure to read our blog post on the park). For those dog days of summer, bring the kids to swim under the watchful eye of a lifeguard on the golden sands of Waukegan Municipal Beach. Grab a delicious lunch at Lindy’s Landing and eat on the beach or on their deck overlooking beautiful Bangs Lake, or get in touch with your wild side at Blarney’s Island on the Chain O’Lakes in Antioch. Spend a July day working on that perfect tan, or cozy up in the shade of leafy tree, with that book you’ve been meaning to read. Or bundle up and take a walk along the wintery coast for a truly peaceful moment to yourself. With only the crunching sound of snow under your feet, you’ll be amazed at the beauty of this rare scene.

Go for an autumn hike for stunning views of fall colored trees at Volo Bog State Natural Area, home of Illinois’ only quaking bog… and learn what a quaking bog is! Or maybe you’re like me, and you love those classic campfire scenes. Camp out under the stars at Fish Lake Beach, after spending the night roasting marshmallows to that perfect half golden blend of deliciousness.

Want to get off the beaten path? No need for a powerful car - one horse power will do just fine. Connect with nature from the back of a horse at the Chain O’Lakes State Park Riding Stable, and then rent a canoe or go for a swim in the Chain O’Lakes.

Return to Lake County Outdoor Guide


Almond Marsh Forest Preserve
(Grayslake)
The highlight of this site is the significant marsh and sedge meadow complex. Approximately 110 acre...

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Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods
(Riverwoods)
Located among pristine woodlands in the Ryerson historic home in Riverwoods, Il., Brushwood Center a...

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Captain Daniel Wright Woods
(Mettawa)
This peaceful oasis among the bustling suburbs offers 4 miles of scenic trails: a short loop for hik...

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Chain O'Lakes State Park
(Spring Grove)
Located in the heart of Illinois' largest concentration of natural lakes, Chain O'Lakes Stat...

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Chain O'Lakes State Park Riding Stable
(Spring Grove)
The Chain O'Lakes State Park riding stable offers seasonal riding opportunities with the "Come Ride ...

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Chicago Botanic Garden
(Glencoe)
The Chicago Botanic Garden, with its world-renowned plant collections and displays, is one of the co...

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Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway
(Wadsworth)
The Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway protects land along more than 85 percent of the river in La...

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Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area & Welcome Center
(Riverwoods)
Ryerson Woods is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This area is one of the best ex...

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Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve
(Ft. Sheridan)
NOTE: Due to ongoing restoration as part of the Great Lakes Fish and Ecosystem Restoration program, ...

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Heller Nature Center
(Highland Park)
Visitors can enjoy a 97-acre preserve with oak-hickory forests, tall grass prairie, oak savanna and ...

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Illinois Beach State Park
(Zion)
Illinois Beach State Park is located along the shores of Lake Michigan from Waukegan to the Wisconsi...

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Independence Grove Forest Preserve
(Libertyville)
This scenic 1,135-acre preserve offers a wide range of outdoor recreation and education opportunitie...

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Lakewood Forest Preserve
(Wauconda)
Lakewood is Lake County's largest forest preserve. This preserve features dedicated equestrian trail...

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Openlands Lakeshore Preserve
(Highland Park)
The Openlands Lakeshore Preserve presents a rare opportunity to visit one of the last remaining ravi...

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Park District of Highland Park
(Highland Park)
The Park District of Highland Park, founded in 1909, operates and manages over 650 acres of land in ...

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Rosewood Beach & Interpretive Center
(Highland Park)
The newly restored Rosewood features: a nature cove for ecological and nature programs, guarded swim...

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Volo Bog State Natural Area
(Ingleside)
If you're looking for a truly unique outdoor adventure, head for Volo Bog State Natural Area in ...

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