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Three Amazing Outdoor Spaces to Explore in Champaign County

July 16, 2020

The best memories we make in the summer months are usually spent outdoors! In the greater Champaign County area, we have a number of incredible forests, trails, lakes, and environments to explore. Here are three outdoor spaces to add to your summer to-do list!

outdoor spaces to visit in champaign county

When making your Illinois vacation plans for summer, make sure these stops are on your list!

River Bend's Lake Adventures

This beautiful 280-acre site contains approximately 130-acres of clear water in two lakes, one of which is the county's largest lake. The area also includes 2.5 miles of forest along the Sangamon River as well as a 1-mile nature trail, and a 1.2-mile multi-use trail. Possibility Pier, designed for universal accessibility, allows a seated person to fish through railing slots and use tackle tables at just the right height. Part of the pier is even under a roof to keep the summer sun at bay, and a picnic table allows for lunch on the water!

Homer Lake Hiking and History

Homer Lake Forest Preserve has several significant historical connections. The county highway bordering the north end of the preserve was the horse trail Abraham Lincoln traveled when he served on the 8th Judicial Circuit. A Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibit now marks the location. The preserve also includes the 14-acre site once known as Homer Park, a popular "destination park" on the Salt Fork River in the early 1900s. With approximately 10 miles of trails, this preserve is a favorite for hikers. Trails cross grasslands, prairies and woodlands, and hikers can walk along the Salt Fork River or around the secluded Collins Pond. 

camp and see the stars at Middle fork this summer

Middle Fork River Forest Preserve contains 1,702 acres composed of old hardwood timber, reforested lowlands, grassy meadows, and in-progress prairie restorations. Rich in trails, Middle Fork contains one of the region's premier Waterfowl Management Areas, and it is also home to a favorite camping area, the Harry L. Swartz Campground. Middle Fork also made international headlines as Illinois' first International Dark Sky Park! What does that mean for visitors? An incredible view of the night sky you can't find anywhere else in the state! 

Plan a summer vacation to champaign county

The greater Champaign County area is full of amazing opportunities to get outdoors, experience rich arts and culture, and get away from routines for a much-needed breath of fresh air! Take a look at what an outdoor adventure trip to Champaign County might look like for you.

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