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News in Youth Services

Monday, August 15, 2016

American Adventure Month

August has so much going for It! It's National Lawn Games Month, Get Ready for Kindergarten Month, National Back to School Month, Peach Month, Sandwich Month, and American Adventures Month.

Out of all of these nifty designations, I'm going to talk about American Adventure Month.
This is to celebrate all of the cool places to visit and things to do in America.

National Geographic lists their top five places as:
  1. Learning to base jump in a wing suit in California
  2. Heli-ski the Ruby Mountains in Nevada
  3. Climb the Shawagunk Mountains in New York
  4. Camp out on the Outer Banks in North Carolina
  5. Learn how to whitewater paddle at Natanhala Outdoor Center in North Carolina
If jumping off mountains, climbing up mountains, and riding in a tiny boat down whitewater rapids isn't your idea of a family vacation, take a look at these options closer to home. Illinois has over 140 state parks and recreational areas. Whether you are looking close to home in Cook County or further abroad, there's a little something for everyone in Illinois.

Chain O'Lakes State Park
 Chain O'Lakes State Park
Located in Spring Grove, Illinois this park's features are mostly water-based. There are also trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Horses are available to rent May through October. There are areas for boating and fishing as well as boat and bicycle rental. If you want to spend the night there are campgrounds available.

Illinois Beach State Park
 Illinois Beach State Park
Located in Zion, Illinois this state park is the place to go if you want to swim in Lake Michigan. The park also offers trails for hiking and biking, camping areas and picnic grounds. There is also a hotel on site if tent-sleeping is not for you.

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park
This park can be found along Interstate 80 in Utica, Illinois. This park has 18 canyons formed by glacial meltwater and stream erosion. There's hiking, fishing, boating, and hunting in season. The historic lodge offers all the amenities of a hotel in a stone and log construction circa 1930. There are also cabins available to rent within the park.

Kickapoo State Park

Kickapoo State Park 
Located in Oakwood, Illinois boasts some of the best mountain biking trails in the state. This state park has hiking, canoeing, trout fishing, hunting, scuba diving and camping.

Piney Creek Ravine

Piney Creek Ravine
Found in Chester, Illinois Piney Creek Ravine State Natural Area has the largest body of prehistoric rock art in the state. As this is a state nature preserve, the only activity available is hiking.

Fort Massac State Park

Fort Massac State Park
Located in Metropolis, Illinois this park hosts year-round events including an annual encampment that recreates life in the United States in the 1700s. The Fort Massac Visitor Center is open year-round and offers a variety of exhibits for the history enthusiast.

For a full listing of Illinois State Parks, try the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.

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