Moraine Hills State Park – Illinois

Moraine Hills derives its name from a geologic formation known as a moraine, which is an accumulation of boulders, stones and other debris deposited by a glacier. As glacial ice melted here following the Wisconsin glaciation period, it left gravel-rich deposits called kames that make up the park’s wooded hills and ridges.

From fishing to hiking and biking – from lush habitat and rare plants to watching a wealth of wildlife – Moraine Hills State Park is home to a recreational bounty in northeast Illinois. Located 3 miles south of McHenry in McHenry County, the park is located near the Fox River and McHenry Dam, with about half of the park’s 2,200 acres composed of wetlands and lakes.

In 1939, the State of Illinois made the initial McHenry Dam State Park land acquisition of 15 acres on the east bank of the Fox River. Major acquisition of the Lake Defiance area began in 1971, and construction of park facilities took place in the spring of 1975. The present Moraine Hills State Park opened in October 1976.​ The park name is derived from a geologic formation known as a moraine, which is an accumulation of boulders, stones and other debris deposited by a glacier.

The 48-acre Lake Defiance, located near the center of the park, is one of the few glacial lakes in Illinois that has remained largely undeveloped, maintaining a near-natural condition.

The waters and wetlands of Moraine Hills are home to abundant wildlife; more than 200 species of birds have been identified at the park.  Fishing is available on both Lake Defiance and on the Fox River. The McHenry Dam area provides access to the Fox River, and a fishing pier accessible.  More than 10 miles of trails make Moraine Hills popular for hikers, skiers and cyclists, and provide one of the park’s main recreation features.

 

https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/Pages/MoraineHills.aspx

Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin

Prairie wildflowers at Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit.

The Kettle Moraine State Forest—Southern Unit is 61 miles east of Madison and 37 miles southwest of Milwaukee.  More than 22,000 acres of glacial hills, kettles, lakes, prairie restoration sites, pine woods and hardwood forests can be found in the Southern Unit. The Forest is 30 miles long, extending from the village of Dousman, almost to the city of Whitewater. The forest headquarters is 3 miles west of the village of Eagle on State Highway 59.

cranes

The hills and valleys of Kettle Moraine South have a great variety of natural habitats, plants and animals, including many rare species. You may see or hear coyotes, red foxes, sandhill cranes and Cooper’s hawks. The 3,500-acre Scuppernong River Habitat Area is the largest wet prairie east of the Mississippi River.

Location

 

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/kms/nature.html

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Ohio

2019 River Celebration

Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Over 125 miles of hiking trails are available for your hiking pleasure in CVNP. These trails range from nearly level to challenging.

Blue Hen Falls

Blue Hen Falls is favorite of visitors who wish to visit one of the prettiest waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The trail takers hikers down an old driveway to Spring Creek (named for the spring upstream that feeds this creek year-round).

 

https://www.nps.gov/cuva/learn/index.htm

Lake of the Ozarks – Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

 

It’s a  17,441 acre playground lying just to the south of Osage Beach. Lake of the Ozarks State Park is Missouri’s largest and can provide a pleasant diversion while vacationing in the Lake area. The park has 85 miles of shoreline and two public beaches, plus boat launching areas.  The Grand Glaize Arm of the lake dissects the park with over 85 miles of shoreline.

 

Wildlife at Lake of the Ozarks State ParkDiscover unusual natural features along the park’s lake shore on Lake of the Ozarks Aquatic Trail . This unique “trail” designed for boaters has stops marked by buoys. A free booklet keyed to these buoys explains the significance of each of the 14 marked shoreline highlights. It is available at the park office.

Naturalists present programs in an open air amphitheater from May until mid October, featuring slide shows or movies about natural features found in Missouri¹s state parks. Guided hikes and a variety of other programs are provided as well.

Many lake visitors escape the summer¹s heat by exploring 56° Ozark Caverns. Follow Highway A (between Osage Beach and Camdenton) for eight miles and follow the signs. After paying a small fee, hand held lanterns are provided which enhance the sense of discovering a whole new world of underground beauty. The spectacular Angel’s Shower, a never-ending flow of water which seems to fall from the solid ceiling of rock into two massive bowl shaped stone basins on the cave floor, is one of the many features pointed out by your guide. Unusual animals, adapted to this world of darkness, can be seen as well.

Ozark Caverns Visitor Center opened in 1987 and helps visitors understand the cave environment. The one mile Coakley Hollow Self-Guided Trail near the Visitor Center takes visitors through one of the most scenic and naturally diverse parts of the park. This is one of ten trails in the park.

More info:

https://www.funlake.com/state-parks 

My Fall Favorite

Traverse City, Michigan

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The days are warm, the nights are cool, and you won’t find a prettier place to take a color tour. Rolling hills are painted in deep reds, bright oranges and sunny yellows – a striking contrast against the sapphire blue of Grand Traverse Bay.

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Some of the best hiking, biking, fishing and boating is all here.

https://www.traversecity.com/fall/outdoors/

The Peace Garden State

North Dakota Adventure

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PEMBINA GORGE

Whether you prefer hiking, canoeing or kayaking, winding along the bends of the Pembina River through the panoramic Pembina Gorge is a must for any nature lover. Enjoy the recreational, historical and natural scenery opportunities of this scenic North Dakota nook.

Rendezvous RegionWalhalla, ND
Fishing on Lake Sakakawea at dusk.

DEVILS LAKE

Head to the full-service Woodland Resort for unbeatable boating and fishing. The resort also boasts a restaurant, cabins, motel, campground, bait shop and boat rentals, along with a full-service winter ice fishing headquarters with fish house rental and guided ice fishing packages available.

1012 Woodland DriveDevils Lake, ND 58301

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LAKE METIGOSHE STATE PARK

Nestled in the scenic Turtle Mountains on the shores of Lake Metigoshe, this state park includes several miles of rolling hills and multi-use trails. Amazing canoeing, kayaking and fishing opportunities abound on one of the cleanest natural fresh-water lakes in North Dakota. Cabin rentals are available in summer and winter

 

For more info visit https://www.ndtourism.com/best-places/11-great-north-dakota-outdoor-adventures

10,000 Lakes and Counting

Looking for adventure in Minnesota….

  1. Fall colors at Mic Mac Lake in Tettegouche State Park / by Wayne Moran

    Chase the Fall Colors on Minnesota’s North Shore

    It’s always worth visiting the North Shore, but in September and October, the region transforms into a truly magical destination that practically insists on becoming your annual vacation spot.

  2. Boundary Waters SQ

    A Beginner’s Boundary Waters Itinerary: Four Days in Paradise

    One of the hardest things about planning your first Boundary Waters trip is deciding where to go within the vast preserve’s 1,200 miles of canoe routes, 11 hiking trails and approximately 2,000 designated campsites. This four-day itinerary highlights some of the best sights and camping spots along a moderate course, and ends with a hearty dose of small town Minnesota on the final day—a complete “Up North” experience if there ever was one.

  3. Arctic Cat ATV

    Minnesota’s ATV Trails Cater to All Riders

    Minnesota boasts dozens of trails for all-terrain vehicle riders. Opportunities exist for riders throughout Minnesota, with the majority of trails clustered in the northern part of the state. There are trails to match every skill level, from flat and open trails that cater to beginners, to narrow, winding trails that will challenge even the most experienced riders.

  4. Northeast Voyageurs

    Houseboating & More at Voyageurs National Park

    Voyageurs National Park is Minnesota’s only full-fledged national park. It is uniquely water-based among national parks, with its interior accessible only by water. 240 camping, houseboat and day-use sites dot the shores of four large, island-studded lakes, and dozens of smaller lakes, along the Canadian border.

  5. Find Creature Comforts in the Midst of Wild Nature

    Find Creature Comforts in the Midst of Wild Nature

    The Boundary Waters is a true wilderness preserved within Superior National Forest’s 3 million acres, and offers its many visitors an experience of a lifetime. But it isn’t the only place to take in the area’s beauty. Much of the forest shares the BWCAW’s distinctive, rugged beauty.

  6. Voyageurs National Park

    The Big 6: Minnesota’s Spectacular National Park Sites

    Six diverse and unique national park sites can be found in Minnesota, preserving and highlighting some of our most distinctive natural, historical and cultural resources.

     

For more information on these and other ideas visit http://www.exploreminnesota.com/travel-ideas/all-travel-ideas