Playing outside is good for the soul, whether that soul is five or fifty years old. Fresh air, sunshine, and open spaces encourage kids to exercise, imagine, and explore. This type of play is also beneficial for adults. Basically, no matter how old you are, it’s good to get outside and enjoy a park. Romeoville, Illinois, has lots of nearby parks worth checking out. Here are seven to visit.
O’Hara Woods Preserve
Image via Flickr by Heather Smithers
Covering 54 acres of land in the heart of Romeoville, the O’Hara Woods Preserve offers open spaces to explore and a short, mostly paved trail with a boardwalk. This small trail is perfect for an easy run or a relaxing walk through the woods. In the winter, visitors enjoy snowshoeing on this trail and throughout the preserve. In the southern portion of O’Hara Woods, you’ll find a variety of fields and other park amenities like restrooms and parking. Visit the preserve during the springtime to enjoy the blooming wildflowers or during the fall for the changing leaves.
Lake Renwick Preserve Copley Nature Park
Less than 10 miles southwest of Romeoville, Lake Renwick Preserve Copley Nature Park in Plainfield is a nature preserve that protects a 200-acre lake and over 800 acres of wetland habitat. Enter the preserve through Copley Nature Park, Turtle Lake, or the Heron Rookery Nature Preserve. Bird enthusiasts should keep an eye out for several notable species that make their homes in the preserve, including the great egret and blue heron.
The Copley Nature Park off of Lincoln Highway is a great starting point for your exploration of the preserve. A restroom and several picnic areas at this entrance offer a great spot to enjoy lunch or dinner after a few hours of walking and bird-watching. The Lake Renwick Bikeway runs through the preserve for over three miles. This asphalt trail is excellent for cyclists, runners, and others. Check out the other trails in the preserve when there’s snow on the ground for some cross-country skiing opportunities.
Boucher Prairie Park
Boucher Prairie Park is located in Romeoville on Airport Road. It’s a popular community park that offers many amenities. There’s a splash pad, volleyball courts, baseball fields, picnic tables and pavilions, an in-line hockey rink, and a walking track. Use the wide-open park spaces for kite flying or running off some energy with a ball or Frisbee. Nature areas provide short hiking trails and space to explore. Boucher Prairie Park covers over 70 acres of space and is perfect for all ages.
Part of the Des Plaines River preservation system, Veterans Woods is a 77-acre park with several trails and lots of wooded areas in Romeoville. A multi-purpose trail starts at the Roy F. Hassert Grove entrance and is ideal for walking, running, and biking. This entrance also offers picnic tables, parking, and restrooms. Narrow paths lined with towering oak trees welcome explorers young and old to appreciate this forest’s natural beauty.
Runyon Preserve is just about 6 miles south of Romeoville in Lockport. This park is part of the Fiddyment Creek preservation system. Walk along the creek and search for a special animal that makes its home in this protected area, the western chorus frog. Since 1934, Runyon Preserve has welcomed locals as they enjoy nature and soak up some fresh air. Bring the whole family for some exploration and a picnic.
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve
A little further outside of Romeoville, just 10 miles away, the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is worth a short 20-minute drive. This 2,503-acre natural area features a waterfall, overlook, and several trials. The Rocky Glen Waterfall is actually a dam built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Fishing is allowed in several areas throughout the preserve.
Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve features a variety of natural habitats, including prairies, savannahs, and woodlands. Find your way to an open prairie to fly kites or model airplanes or hike one of the many trails through the woods. Trails run for a total of 11 miles through the preserve with limestone and turf surfaces, perfect for running, walking, and biking. If you’re exploring on a bike, be sure to stick to the specially-marked bike paths to protect the glen’s natural areas. During the winter months, park rangers will sometimes groom the trails for cross-country skiers to explore.
DuPage River Park
Surrounding a portion of the East Branch of the DuPage River, DuPage River Park is about 6 miles from Romeoville and features park trails, a sports complex, restrooms, a small lake, and picnic shelters. Still a work in progress, the DuPage River Trail is planned to stretch 40 miles through DuPage County. Three sections of the trail are complete, including a section that runs through this park. Park at the trail entrance off of Royce Road and go left to reach Whalon Lake and a dog park or go right to reach the DuPage River Sports Complex.
Almost four miles of paved trail through the park and around Whalon Lake provides the perfect place to bike, skate, walk, or run as a family. Don’t worry about little learners on bikes or young, distracted walkers; the trail is wide and flat, so it’s easy to see others coming and avoid collisions. Educational signs along the trail will help you learn more about the history of the area and the DuPage River Park if you’re interested. Come back to the parking lot when you’re done on the trail or at the lake to take advantage of the picnic tables, restrooms, and water fountain.
At Crème de la Crème of Romeoville, IL, we encourage outdoor play and exploration, which is why we’ve put together this list of local parks for families to enjoy. See if you can find time to visit each one and decide on a favorite. Maybe the kids will even want to weigh in. If there’s a park we forgot to mention that you love, let us know. We might even add it to our list.