Do you have big plans to spend time outdoors this summer? Why not head to the park? With more than 500 parks around Chicagoland, you can find a park to best suit your needs, whether you're planning a romantic picnic or want to let the kids burn off some energy at the playground.
If you're looking for a tranquil setting to beat the summer heat, make a point to visit North Aurora Island Park. The park is surrounded by the Fox River, making it a popular destination for fishing. A covered pavilion provides great shade for a summer picnic, and a small playground is onsite to let the little ones have fun.
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate this 715-acre forest preserve and its well-maintained trails that wind throughout the property. The scenery includes a nice mix of tall grass and woods, and it would be rare to visit the forest preserve and not see deer, birds or other wildlife native to the area. Dog owners will especially appreciate the Aurora West Forest Preserve as the park features several off-leash dog areas.
Looking for a free way to entertain the kids this summer that doesn't involve putting them in front of a screen? Red Oak is the best free nature center in the area and includes a variety of activities to keep the kids entertained, such as animal encounters and themed monthly parties. The nature center is located on the Fox River Bike Trail, so it's a great place to stop when biking through Chicagoland.
A great alternative to the swimming pool on a hot summer day is the splash pad at Boucher Prairie Park. The splash pad is free and is cleaned routinely, making it a favorite destination for families with young children. The park also features an on-site playground for those that want to take a break from the water fun, and older kids can enjoy Boucher Prairie Park as well for the basketball court and hockey arena.
This park has something for everyone, whether you're looking to cool off at the splash pad, entertain young children at the playground, or play in an adult kickball league. Something else that makes this park unique is its close proximity to a local airport, making it a great spot to watch planes land and take off.
Did your favorite park in Chicagoland make this list? If not, let us know your top pick in the comments!