places you’ll go

guides to getting outside around Chicago

Chicago Wilderness Explorer

Online mapping tool to help you select places to visit, based on what you want to do– hiking, birding, camping, etc.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

  • State Parks in northeastern Illinois.

Cook County Forest Preserve District

  • Information about forest preserves in Cook County.

Lake County Forest Preserve District

  • Information about forest preserves in Lake County

DuPage County Forest Preserves

Illinois Nature Preserves

Some of the most biodiverse sites in the state are protected by the Illinois Nature Preserve system.  Access and land ownership can vary, so check ahead before you go.

Chicago Park District

City parks range from small playgrounds to significant restoration projects to formal landscaped gardens.

The Nature Conservancy

This non-profit organization owns and manages some of the most ecologically important parcels in the state (and other states, too).  Sometimes access to the preserves is limited to protect plants and animals on the site, so check ahead before visiting.