Shawnee National Forest is a Midwest destination unlike any other. Traverse 403 miles of hiking trails, discover local wineries and craft breweries, and don’t miss the Garden of the Gods.
n southern Illinois, fields give way to forested hills, rugged bluffs and sweet surprises in Shawnee National Forest.
Outdoor enthusiasts make tracks to Giant City State Park, which gets its name from the steep, carved sandstone cliffs that resemble city streets fit for a giant. Hikers explore miles of trails or gather their gear and tackle rock-climbing and rappelling on the massive bluffs. Giant City Stables leads guided horseback tours along wooded paths. The clear and calm waters of Little Grassy Lake, part of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, are ideal for a day of fishing and boating. For a colorful detour, the quirky Makanda Boardwalk showcases the works of local artisans, including metalwork and gemstone jewelry.
Head for the Forest
Traverse City, Michigan
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.
Some of the best hiking, biking, fishing and boating is all here.
Hike the Preserves at Crabtree Nature Center near Chicago, IL.
With the help of active restoration and natural succession, the 1,182 acre parcel of farmland that has become Crabtree Nature Center has been restored to ecological heath and biodiversity.
Crabtree is known as a birding site. Up to 270 species have been recorded migrating through the area. Many have been thrilled to spy a sandhill crane family or spot a flock of hooded mergansers on the lake.
North Dakota Adventure
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
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
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
Looking for adventure in Minnesota….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
If you want to see plenty of exciting wild life creatures up close……………plan a kayak trip on the Fox River in the Summer months. On a recent 3 hour kayak expedition during the month of August, one can plan to see and photograph large mouth bass jumping out of the water after flies and smaller flying creatures. Turtles swimming around the lily pads close to the river banks. Carp spawning in the creamy mud banks alongside the river.
In addition to the many underwater animals you’ll see many large flying birds such as Blue Herons, swallows and cranes hunting alongside the river banks for small insects and fish. As you round each bend and turn on the river you never know what to expect or what you will see. A true adventure awaits you on the Fox River in McHenry County, Illinois.
High-flying professionals demonstrate awesome feats of beauty and great skill at the Chicago Botanical Gardens in Illinois. The coordination of these light flying crafts was spectacular.
The Chicago Fire Kite Team has been competing and demonstrating team sport kite ballet and precision since 1986. Invited to kite festivals around the world, they have flown in front of friendly crowds in England, France, Japan, Canada, and the United States.
Plan to be surprised and awed at the spectacular natural features found here at Starved Rock in Illinois.
Surrounded by the flat, seemingly endless fields of Illinois farm country, a totally different topography is found within the park. Starved Rock was formed thousands of years ago by the melting of glaciers releasing torrents of water. As the water rushed downstream it eroded and stripped away everything in its path except the resistant St. Peter sandstone. It is that sandstone that formed the steep rock walls and the cool dark valleys of the eighteen canyons. When conditions are right cascades of falling water spill down into these gorges, creating the waterfalls so many come here to enjoy.
Although you can technically see waterfalls in 14 of the 18 canyons, some of the most scenic waterfalls are found in St. Louis, French, Wildcat, Tonty, Ottawa and Kaskaskia canyons. The best times to see waterfalls are in the spring when the snow and ice melt or after a heavy rainfall.
Winter brings a whole new life to the canyons. The freezing and melting that happens during this time of year creates amazing ice sculptures in the canyons. Make sure you come back in the winter to see an icefall – they are spectacular!