McLean County Nature Day

As much as I believe I belong in the mountains, I still do love my flat home state of Illinois. And despite its lack of mountains, it still has so much to offer someone looking for outdoor recreation. On a recent trip home I visited a couple parks and thought I’d share a few pictures from the day!

First, I visited Moraine View State Recreation Area near Le Roy, Illinois. As its name implies, this park sits on a large moraine created by glaciers 15,000 years ago. One main feature of the park is a beautiful lake. While checking out the lake I saw a hummingbird for the first time in the “wild” (not at a backyard feeder). It was so interesting to watch the bird feed on some beautiful iris, and I was surprised at how camouflaged it was in the flowers. And a trip to an Illinois lake wouldn’t be complete without seeing lots and lots of geese.

Next I headed to Comlara Park. I basically grew up in this park and visit it frequently when I’m in the area. Even so, I usually see something new and exciting while I’m there. On this trip I made friends with a turtle crossing the road and found some deer and raccoon tracks. Spotting wildlife is my favorite part of being outdoors!

When I decided to take a “nature day” I didn’t realize how close Moraine View was to my childhood home (hint: extremely). Even when you’re in an urban area, nature is all around, and finding an outdoor space to play in might be closer than you think!

Now that I’ve had more experience looking for outdoor spaces, I have a few go-to sites for finding hiking trails, camping, etc. For hiking I always turn to AllTrails. It is an extremely easy-to-use site, and in the event a trail I’m considering isn’t already on the site, it’s easy to add. My other go-to for any kind of outdoor activity is The Outbound. This site has everything, crowdsourced and added by “explorers”. It’s another great resource that’s easy to add to if you know of activities that aren’t already included. Between these two sites I can find something to do near every location I’ve ever tried, and would recommend them to anyone. Do you have a favorite way to track down outdoor activities? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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