Explore the best things to do outside for an unforgettable adventure

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Discover state parks for memorable outdoor adventures

Connect with nature at state parks

If you're looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle, state parks are where you want to be. With their sprawling landscapes, they offer an abundance of outdoor activities for all ages. For instance, the beauty of national forests and state parks with hundreds of miles of trails beckons hikers from near and far.

Consider Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois, stretching over 8,000 acres with various hiking trails, making it a hiker's paradise. A recent survey shows that 70% of visitors engage in trail hiking while visiting. Not only can you enjoy hiking, but activities like nature photography and birdwatching are popular here as well.

Fishing and water sports in state parks

Another fantastic way to enjoy state parks is through water activities. Many state parks feature serene lakes and rivers perfect for fishing, boating, and kayaking. For example, the Chesapeake Bay offers exquisite fishing spots, drawing in enthusiasts year-round. Reports from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicate that 12% of all fishing in the United States occurs in these waters.

Georgia State Parks offer idyllic settings for water-based fun. From challenging rapids for kayaking to peaceful streams, these parks are well-suited for families looking to mix some adventure into their day.

Family fun activities outside in Midwest cities

State parks aren't just limited to rugged adventures—they also provide ample opportunities for family fun. Events like Earth Day festivals often take place within these parks, drawing large crowds eager to learn about sustainability and enjoy the great outdoors.

In the Midwest, cities like Chicago and Duluth offer state parks with a variety of amenities, including playgrounds, picnic areas, and even splash pads for the little ones. Reports show that family activities in these areas significantly boost overall park attendance, with a 15% increase during summer months due to family-friendly programs.

Enjoy the benefits of nature therapy

Being out in nature isn't just fun—it's also beneficial for your health. Numerous studies indicate that spending time in nature can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mood. According to Dr. Lisa Nisbet of Trent University, 'Nature therapy is an often-overlooked prescription for those dealing with modern life's stresses.'

A walk along the Appalachian Trail or a quiet afternoon at a botanical garden can be therapy enough to reset and refresh. It's a win-win: while discovering the beauty of state parks, you also boost your mental and physical well-being.

Family fun activities outside in Midwest cities

Family fun in Midwest cities: must-visit parks and outdoor spots

Midwest cities have a lot to offer when it comes to outdoor adventures. Take Chicago, Illinois, for instance. The Millennium Park isn’t just home to the famous Bean sculpture; it also features a garden, outdoor concerts, and fun splash pads for kids in the summer. Moreover, with over 1,200 acres, Jackson Park is a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts.

Head over to Ohio's Columbus where the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens brings both families and nature lovers together. The 88-acre park beautifully showcases art, gardens, and even a butterfly house.

Kansas City, Missouri, doesn’t dissapoint with its massive Swope Park. Spanning 1,805 acres, it is among the largest urban parks in the US and includes a zoo, golf courses, and fishing lakes.

If water-based activities are more your family’s speed, Duluth, Minnesota sits on the edge of Lake Superior, providing ample opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. Not to mention the scenic North Shore Drive, a 154-mile route with stunning views and hidden beaches.

Jump across state borders and hit up Smyrna, Georgia. Home to the Silver Comet Trail, stretching from just outside of Atlanta to the Alabama state line, this trail is perfect for biking, walking, or rollerblading over its 61.5 miles. It's an absolute must for those who want to connect with the outdoors without leaving the metro area.

And let's not forget Indianapolis, Indiana. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail connects five downtown districts and includes art installations, peaceful green spaces, and the gorgeous 100-acre White River State Park, which offers a mix of museums and lush scenery.

Don't just restrict your family outing to just parks. Atlantic, Georgia is a gem of a town featuring fun-filled parks like Piedmont Park and Centennial Olympic Park – everything from wide trails to paddle boating opportunities lies in store for the whole family.

These city parks not only provide serene retreats but also offer specially crafted activities to make each trip unique. Whether you're after a picnic spot, water fun, or just a day in nature, Midwest cities have got you covered.

Hiking trails that connect you with nature

Unleash your inner explorer on breathtaking trails

Venturing outside is like unraveling a treasure map where each trail is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. From state parks to national forests, hiking trails offer that perfect escape into nature. Here's where you lose yourself and find serenity.

In the United States, there's no shortage of trails that promise awe-inspiring views and diverse terrains. Did you know that the Appalachian Trail stretches over 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine? A paradise for avid hikers, it welcomes around 3 million visitors each year according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Iconic trails in Georgia

Georgia, a state noted for its picturesque landscapes, boasts some of the finest trails in America. The Amicalola Falls State Park is a must-visit, featuring a challenging 8.5-mile hike up to Springer Mountain, the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The trail is renowned for its stunning waterfall, which cascades over 729 feet, making it the tallest in Georgia. Another significant location is the Chattahoochee National Forest, home to hundreds of miles of trails just begging to be explored.

Midwest delights

In the Midwest, trails like those in Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois, stretch across diverse terrains. The park itself spans over 8,000 acres, offering views of the Illinois River. It's perfect for a day hike or a weekend getaway set amidst nature. Even city dwellers in places like Chicago can escape the urban buzz with trails such as the 18-mile long Lakefront Trail. This trail offers a scenic route along Lake Michigan, combining the vibrancy of city life with calm coastal charm.

Family fun on the trails

Hiking isn’t just for the seasoned adventurers; it’s a family affair too. Trails in state parks are designed to accommodate all levels. The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Georgia provides several trails suitable for families, including a 2.5-mile round trip from the visitor's center to the summit. It’s a fantastic way for kids to learn about history while enjoying the great outdoors. Water balloon fights at the park's lower sections also add an unexpected layer of enjoyment!

Connecting with nature

The benefits of hiking are immense. Beyond the physical exercise, hiking trails connect you to nature's rhythms and foster a sense of peace. Studies from the American Heart Association suggest that regular hiking can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risks of heart disease. It's like having a natural wellness retreat at your feet. So lace up those boots and hit the trails—be it for a quick adventure or an extended trek. Happiness awaits in every step.

Explore botanical gardens and enjoy great outdoors

Stroll through lush gardens for a refreshing escape

When you think of serene beauty and tranquility, botanical gardens can't be beat. They offer a haven for nature lovers and a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Some cities, like Atlanta, Georgia, are home to magnificent spaces like the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This urban oasis sprawls over 30 acres and includes unique collections of plants from different parts of the globe. It's not just about the beauty of the flora, but also the educational value of understanding different plant species and their ecosystems.

The United States boasts of several renowned botanical gardens, each providing a unique experience. For instance, the Chicago Botanic Garden in Illinois covers 385 acres and features 27 display gardens and four natural areas. Whether you're looking to learn about native plant species or just want to soak in the natural beauty, these gardens have something for everyone.

Those seeking a more rugged yet equally spectacular experience might head to the Midwest’s countryside to see private and public gardens spread across hundreds of miles of trails. Pere Marquette State Park offers exceptional horticultural exhibitions and miles of trails that showcase the region’s rich flora. The sight of blooming flowers, flowing water features, and meticulously curated landscapes provides the perfect backdrop for a peaceful day.

Botanical gardens are also a fantastic activity for families, as they offer a mix of outdoor adventure and educational experiences. Kids can engage in outdoor activities that foster their curiosity about nature. Many gardens host family-friendly events and workshops designed to introduce children to the wonders of the natural world. These activities provide a balance of fun and learning, making them great options for family fun outside.

Moreover, these natural wonders aren’t confined to the countryside. Cities like Roswell and Smyrna offer lovely green spaces where families can unwind and reconnect with nature without having to travel far. Such urban gardens often have trails perfect for a leisurely stroll, picnicking areas, and ponds where kids can enjoy a bit of fun things outside.

Websites such as Google Maps make planning trips to these green havens even easier. Just a quick search can show you everything from the nearest botanical gardens to available hiking trails and fishing spots, ensuring you make the most of your outdoor excursions.

Water activities for a splashy good time

Best ways to cool off with water activities

When the sun’s blazing and all you want is a little relief, nothing beats splashing around in some cool water. Whether you’re right in the heart of the city or out in the great outdoors, there’s a bunch of awesome wet and wild activities to dive into.

1. Take a dip in a local pool or splash pad: Cities like Atlanta and Jacksonville are packed with community pools and splash pads that are perfect for cooling down. The Atlanta Aquatic Centers have facilities with both traditional pools and modern splash zones, fun for kids and adults alike.

2. Kayaking and canoeing: The Midwest is home to some iconic waterways. The Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois offers breathtaking views and calm waters, making it ideal for a serene kayaking or canoeing adventure.

3. Lakes and ponds for fishing enthusiasts: If fishing is more your style, you’re in luck. There are countless state parks and natural reserves scattered across states like Georgia and Illinois. The Georgia State Parks website offers a detailed map of all the fishing spots.

4. Tubing and rafting: For those looking for a mix of thrill and chill, tubing down the Chesapeake Bay or white-water rafting in the national forests in Washington are must-try activities. Group outings can be organized through various adventure websites, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

5. Paddleboarding on the river: Rivers like the Chattahoochee in Atlanta offer great opportunities for paddleboarding. Not only does it give you a full-body workout, but you also get to take in the stunning vistas along the way.

6. Plan a water balloon fight: Bring the fun of a water park to your backyard. Grab some friends, fill up those balloons, and get ready for an epic showdown. It’s one of the easiest and most entertaining ways to cool off on a hot summer day.

Remember, no matter where you are across the United States, there’s always a way to enjoy the water and beat the heat. Check Google Maps or your local parks’ websites for additional ideas and locations near you.

Horseback riding and outdoor adventures

Gallop through scenic landscapes

The thrill of horseback riding! Nothing quite matches the freedom you feel galloping across open fields or through forest trails. For example, the Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois offers miles of trails. You get a mix of terrains — rolling hills, rivers, and dense woods.

Best equestrian spots in Georgia and Illinois

Got your gear ready? Georgia’s got some top spots. In Dawsonville, you’ll find Dawson Forest, which offers an extensive trail network. Perfect for riders of all levels.

Head over to Illinois for the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, perfect for family fun. Knowing where to go makes all the difference.

Family-friendly horseback riding spots

Looking for a day out with the kids? Try Sawnee Mountain Preserve in Atlanta, known for user-friendly trails. Stables often provide guided tours and rental services, making it an easy and fun thing to plan.

What to know before you go

First timers? Don’t worry! Many stables around Atlanta offer lessons for beginners. Make sure to wear long pants and boots. Trust me, the experience is worth it.

Want more info? Check out the hidden gems of time travel tourism on our blog for more adventures.

Enjoy fun arts and culture events outdoors

Fun arts activities in the great outdoors: where culture meets nature

It's amazing how art can enrich our experience of the great outdoors. From Atlanta to Chicago, Midwest cities host some spectacular outdoor arts and culture events designed for family fun. Whether you're into live music, theater performances, or engaging art installations, there's always something happening that blends nature with creativity.

Festival vibes and family fun

Every year, cities like Atlanta and Chicago light up with festivals that bring art directly to the outdoor space. The Atlanta Dogwood Festival, celebrated in Piedmont Park, combines visual art exhibits with live music performances, making it a perfect activity for a day out with the family. Similarly, Chicago's Millennium Park is home to numerous outdoor concerts, public art displays, and theater, inviting people to interact with art in a more personal, open environment.

Immersive art installations and trails

If you're looking for a more intimate experience, check out the Atlanta BeltLine or Chicago's 606 Trail. These trails feature amazing art installations right alongside walking paths, enabling visitors to experience art as part of their natural surroundings. You can encounter innovative sculptures, murals, and pop-up performances while enjoying a leisurely walk, providing a unique twist to the usual hiking trails.

Interactive art for kids

Bringing kids along? Don’t worry, these outdoor activities also offer plenty of interactive art experiences tailored just for them. In the Children's Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, kids can discover art in nature through hands-on exhibits that combine biological education with artistic creativity. Also, Chicago boasts Maggie Daley Park, which consistently hosts kid-friendly events that feature interactive music sessions, puppet shows, and art workshops.

Enjoy outdoor arts all year round

Interestingly, outdoor art isn't just a summer affair. Across the Midwest, parks and public spaces come alive with artistic events no matter the time of year. Winter lights festivals and autumn harvest celebrations ensure that the arts are celebrated alongside nature's changing seasons.

Celebrate Earth Day with outdoor activities

Celebrate Earth Day by reconnecting with nature and having fun outdoors

Earth Day is the perfect excuse to leave the couch and enjoy the fresh air. Whether you're in Georgia, Chicago, or Dallas, there are a ton of ways to make the most of this special day. Many state and national parks host events like clean-up drives, wildlife tours, and eco-friendly workshops, providing a meaningful way to give back to the planet while enjoying the great outdoors.

Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

For those near the Chesapeake Bay, participating in a clean-up day can be incredibly fulfilling. Volunteers often gather to clear debris from the shores, and it’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded individuals while learning about the local ecosystem. According to, regional clean-up efforts have removed thousands of pounds of trash, showcasing the significant impact of community involvement.

Botanical Gardens Excursions

Families can also visit botanical gardens in various cities to appreciate the planet's biodiversity. From the Atlanta Botanical Garden to the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, you’ll experience a wide variety of plant species and stunning displays. It’s educational, too. Children can learn about native plants and conservation efforts, making it both fun and informative.

Trails and Hiking Events

One of the best things about Earth Day is the hikes organized by various park authorities. States like Illinois and Washington have extensive hiking trails within their state parks, such as the Pere Marquette State Park with its miles of trails, offering guided hikes that emphasize environmental education. According to a report by the National Park Service, hiking events during Earth Day see a significant increase in participation, encouraging more people to embrace nature.

Family Fun with Water Activities

Why not make a splash? Earth Day often falls in the spring, perfect for water activities like fishing, kayaking, or even taking a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. Smyrna and Sandy Springs offer beautiful spots for fishing along the river, ideal for a peaceful day outdoors.

Equestrian Adventures

Horseback riding is another exciting outdoor activity gaining popularity on Earth Day. Places like Dawsonville in Georgia provide horseback riding events that align with eco-friendly practices, promoting the appreciation of the natural world from a different perspective.

Join Fun Arts and Culture Events

If you’re more interested in arts and culture, many cities like Roswell and Decatur host outdoor arts festivals celebrating Earth Day. These events combine environmental awareness with creativity, making them perfect for family fun.

With all these options, celebrating Earth Day has never been more interesting. So, grab your family and friends, and head out to make some unforgettable memories while helping the planet.