8 Amazing State Parks Around Chicago That Will Blow You Away

When you’re constantly surrounded by concrete, nothing is more refreshing than getting back to nature. Forget about skyscrapers, paved sidewalks, and honking cars, and go to one of these state parks in and near Chicago where the smog won’t get you. These little pockets of nature will help you unwind and get a fresh breath of air. Keep scrolling for all the best places to hike in and around Chicago:

Love hiking? Check out 10 trails in Illinois to add to your hiking bucket list.

Have you ever been to any of these state parks? Share your experiences and photos with us! We love hearing from you.

Address: Chain-O-Lakes State Park, Illinois, USA
Address: Matthiessen State Park Fort, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Address: Indiana Dunes State Park, Westchester Township, IN 46304, USA
Address: Lowden State Park, 1411 N River Rd, Oregon, IL 61061, USA
Address: Shabbona Lake State Park Campground, 100 Preserve Rd, Shabbona, IL 60550, USA
Address: Illinois Beach State Park, Zion, IL 60099, USA
Address: Starved Rock State Park, 2678 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Address: Kankakee River State Park, 5314 IL-102, Bourbonnais, IL 60914, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center

State Parks to Visit Near Chicago

February 02, 2022

Where can I go hiking in Chicago?  

Big city hiking can be some of the best, if you ask us. There are plenty of wonderful trails in and near the Windy City for those who love a good outing; some of our favorites include trails at Starved Rock State Park, which offers up 13 miles of the good stuff that lead you through all sorts of natural wonders, like 18 canyons and some impeccably perfect waterfalls. Indiana Dunes National Park is a quick drive or train ride from the city across the lake; it offers some of the most iconic (and unique) landscapes in the entire Midwest, with ocean-like lake views and absolutely breathtaking dunes (and some of the best trails in the country). Or, you could check out the photogenic Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, which is a 19,000-acre National Forest south of beautiful Joliet, which offers 22 amazing miles of hiking trails perfect for all skill levels. Want more Illinois? Check out this awesome hidden gems road trip through Illinois we’ve put together just for you!  

What are some of the best parks around Chicago for kids?  

The wonderful Windy City has TONS of awesome parks that are great for families with kids of all ages. Some of our favorite parks around Chicago for kids include Indian Boundary Park, on Lunt Avenue, which features a nature play area designed to pique children’s interests in the world around them, a climbing tower, water spray splash pads, and so much more. We also love Independence Park, on Springfield Avenue; this park features awesome amenities like zipline swings, an indoor pool, and even an on-site gym. Lucy Flower Park is another gem, with amazing old-growth trees, a flower-themed water play area, beautiful gardens, and more, and finally there’s the Maggie Daley Park, which features an adventure playground and several imagination-sparking play areas like a pyramid, a pirate ship, a suspension bridge, and more.  

Address: Chain-O-Lakes State Park, Illinois, USA
Address: Matthiessen State Park Fort, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Address: Indiana Dunes State Park, Westchester Township, IN 46304, USA
Address: Lowden State Park, 1411 N River Rd, Oregon, IL 61061, USA
Address: Shabbona Lake State Park Campground, 100 Preserve Rd, Shabbona, IL 60550, USA
Address: Illinois Beach State Park, Zion, IL 60099, USA
Address: Starved Rock State Park, 2678 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Address: Kankakee River State Park, 5314 IL-102, Bourbonnais, IL 60914, USA