Category Archives: Adventure/Outdoor Illinois

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Fall is here and we were just too excited to contain ourselves. That’s why this week we invited all of you to join in on our celebration by posting your “signs of fall” Instagram photos this week. Check out a few of our favorite captures below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and you could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out


To kick off our signs of fall challenge, we shared this photo from @vintagemomentsshop taken at Eckert’s Farm.


Fall is for autumn goodies from farmer’s markets, like this one in La Grange. (Photo by @kristina_joseph_photo)


Wishing we could pull up a blanket and sip on some cider underneath this magnificent tree at The Morton Arboretum. Such an awesome photo by @kristenryanphotography.


The colors in this shot could have us daydreaming all day. Thank @tashaka87 for the distraction with such a great photo!


Spending time in nature is what fall is all about. Thanks for the gorgeous shot of Carpentersville @artistviejo.


Yellow leaves stand out against these dark shadows. Thanks for capturing this shot @caittakespics!

-Illinois Office of Tourism




Isn’t it fascinating that even without seeing the full detail of an object, our eyes know exactly what it is? That’s why this week we asked our Instagram followers to share their best silhouette images around Illinois. Check out a few of our favorite captures below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out


Lights, camera, skyline! We started off our silhouette challenge with this photo by @nav_dham


What a beautiful sunset… Great photo captured by @simply.ritch


Just a quick morning workout! Thanks to @keeping_moments_ for sharing this one.


Wonder where that plane is heading to… Thanks to @likes.this for sharing this with us!


A beautiful sunset shot of Northwestern University. Thanks for the awesome pic, @s.d.sea!


We’re seeing double at the Blackwell Forest Preserve! Photo by @meaghan_nelson


Around and around they go! What a fun picture captured by @cluff2003 at the Hamilton County Fair.


Nice pic, @amuj_ of the statue outside of Grant Park!


All the colors are showing in the sky at the Dick County Forest Preserve. (Photo: @amazedbyyouphoto)


Where did the sun go? Great shot by @pleasantly.defiant


The L is constantly busy! Thanks for catching real life, @jasondanielphotography!

-Illinois Office of Tourism


The first day of fall is days away, and that means changing leaves, savory fall flavors and, of course, sweater weather. So grab your PSLs (that’s short for Pumpkin Spice Lattes) because this week we’re gearing up for fall with a preview of the top autumn activities in Illinois so you can make the most of the season.

Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes and Apple Picking, Oh My!

It’s the time of year we’ve all been waiting for: Fall. The air is crisp, the skies are blue and there are endless corn mazes, pumpkin patches, apple orchards and fall activities for everyone to enjoy. But with so many options, where do you start? Fortunately, many of the fall farms in Illinois offer a combination of pick-your-own apples and pumpkins, corn mazes, hay rides, petting zoos and much more.

Take Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove, for example. Known for having the World’s Largest Corn Maze, this year’s corn maze theme celebrates the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. If twisting and turning through 10 miles of maze isn’t enough, how about climbing the observation tower, bouncing around on giant jumping pillows, cheering on a pig race, or soaring through the air on a zip line?


Richardson Adventure Farm’s 2016 Star Trek corn maze

Picking fresh fall produce is a seasonal staple. Jonamac Orchard, Royal Oak Farm Orchard, and Rendleman Farms are just a few of the top places around the state to get your fall flavor fix, including the must-have apple cider donuts. Hand pick a variety of apples and stop by the country store to stock up on preserves, pickles, baked goods and other specialty items.


Photo of Rendleman Farm by Instagram user yoshifujiiceramics

Prost! to Illinois Beer Festivals

What happens when you combine fall and beer? You get Oktoberfest, of course! These classic German beer festivals are held all over the state. Champaign and Galena each host their own reputable Oktoberfest celebrations on October 1 to celebrate German heritage, food, beer, music and more.
Beyond Oktoberfest, fall beer festivals are happening all over the state. Say “cheers” to these celebrations this season:

  • Woodstock Ale Fest, October 1: Celebrate the three “B”s at Woodstock Ale Fest: craft beer, bacon and bluegrass!
  • Cock-A-Doodle Brew Fest, October 8: Aurora’s brew fest brings together local craft beers, finger-lickin’ good wings and a lineup of live music.
  • Festival of Barrel Aged Beers, November 11-12: Held in Chicago, this is the country’s largest celebration of wood and barrel-aged beers where you can taste some of the rarest beers, which may not be available commercially from breweries across the U.S.

Wiener Dog Races are a highlight of Galena’s annual Oktoberfest. (Photo courtesy of Galena Oktoberfest)

Color Drives and Leaf-Peeping Hikes

Part of what makes this time of year so special is seeing the leaves change from summery green to fiery red, yellow and orange. There’s no better time to see the fall foliage than in September and October. Take a peaceful ride along the Great River Road in Alton or Grandview Drive in Peoria – the road President Teddy Roosevelt called the “World’s Most Beautiful Drive.”


The Great River Road Scenic Byway in Alton

For those looking to get up close with fall foliage, enjoy a leaf-peeping hike through one of the state’s many parks. Starved Rock State Park and Shawnee National Forest make for two exceptional opportunities to see fall colors at their brightest.


A canyon Starved Rock State Park as the leaves change colors

There are hundreds of fall events and activities happening this year. To find out more, visit

-Illinois Office of Tourism






Did you know more than 44 million people visit Illinois’ State Parks each year? That’s a lot of outdoor activity!  This week, we asked our Instagram followers to share their favorite photos of State Parks. Check out a few of our favorite shots below and be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out

8.22 Pere Marquette State Park - (at) benkettelkamp96

Now this is the way to spend summer days. We kicked off this week’s challenge with this shot of Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton from @benkettelkamp96.

Mississippi Palisades State Park - (at) cyndydehmer

It doesn’t get better than this. Hiking through Mississippi Palisades State Park gives you incredible river views over the tree tops. (Photo: @cyndydehmer)

Matthiessen State Park - (at) tashka87

We can’t get enough of this stunning shot of Matthiessen State Park. Thanks @tashka87 for sharing this with us.

Pomona Natural Bridge - (at) gcarlosz

Have you seen the Pomona Natural Bridge? This incredible 90-foot-long sandstone bridge is inside Shawnee National Forest. It may not be a State Park, but it’s too amazing to leave out! (Photo: @gcarlosz)

Lovers Leap - (at) itsrhee360

Legend has it that Lovers Leap at Starved Rock State Park is where two people of opposing Indian tribes died together. (Photo: @itsrhee360)

Starved Rock - (at) brandonhollerphotography

The waterfalls are one of the most amazing parts of Starved Rock State Park. And in the winter, they freeze over! (Photo: @brandonhollerphotography)

Ferne Clyffe State Park - (at) nancyrmckay

Big thank you to @nancyrmckay for sharing this shot from Ferne Clyffe State Park in Southern Illinois!

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Water Activities Feature Image

During these dog days of summer, you need somewhere to cool off. With Illinois’ multiple lakes, beaches and pools, it’s easy to splash in and enjoy sweet summertime. This week, we asked our Instagram followers to share photos of how they enjoy water across Illinois. Check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured!

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out

+Chicago River - (at) urbankayaks

We started the week off with this refreshing photo of kayakers on the Chicago River. Definitely added to the bucket list – thanks @urbankayaks for sharing.

+The Quarry Cable Park and Grille-(at) shredthequarry

Hold on tight! Wakeboarding is a summer favorite on Illinois’ lakes. Big thanks to @shredthequarry for this awesome photo on Crystal Lake.

+Mississippi River - (at) wildatheart_green

We can’t wait to ride the American Queen along the Mississippi River. Instagram user @wildatheart_green captured this photo taken in Alton.

+Fox River - (at) bodtke2

Even this family of ducks on Fox River is enjoying the summer waves. Thanks @bodtke2 for this cool photo.

+Chicago - (at)

On a hot summer day in the city, there’s nothing like a cool fountain to splash in. Instagram user captured this fun photo in Chicago.

+Lake Charles Park - (at) joe_s313

A bike ride along Lake Charles Park sounds like the perfect summer afternoon. Thanks @joe_s313 for the sunny photo!

+Blackwell Forest Preserve - (at) meaghan_nelson

Blackwell Forest Preserve has so many options for a fun day in the water, like this shot of the canoes that @meaghan_nelson captured.

-Illinois Office of Tourism