People of all ages are drawn to the water. It’s a wonderful place for your family to play and make lasting memories. Load your kids in the car and connect with nature through boating, fishing, and discovery when you explore these six waterways around Warrenville, Illinois.

Whalon Lake

A stunning sunset across Whalon Lake.

Image via Flickr by synspectrum 

Your brood will want to discover 80-acre Whalon Lake. The preserve sits just off Royce Road in Naperville and offers shoreline fishing and access to a portion of the DuPage River. This local waterway is well stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, catfish, and walleye. Catch-and-release fishing is encouraged. However, anglers are permitted to harvest fish based on posted daily limits.

Rent a boat from Naperville Kayak or bring your own. There are launch sites around the lake, plus trailer parking for small fishing boats. You don’t need to pay a fee or purchase a launch pass at Whalon Lake.

Whalon Lake offers diverse habitats to enjoy, including prairie and wetland, and is home to various waterfowl. There are two shelters for picnicking, and you can try your hand at Geocaching. Wander down the 3.71-mile paved segment of the DuPage River Trail. Go ahead and bring your four-legged friend along as well. The park features a fenced 12-acre, off leash dog park with a separate play area for small dogs. Visit Whalon Lake from April through October from 6 a.m. to sunset and from 8 a.m. to sunset between November and March.

Lake Carleton

Bring your fishing poles, a bucket of bait, and a picnic lunch to this neighborhood pond. Located on Center Drive in Woodbridge, Lake Carleton is a  17-acre park that offers non-motorized boating such as kayaking and canoeing. There’s also a biking and walking trail for taking a stroll with your kids. Visit this park during the winter and practice your ice skating skills. The restroom facilities are available when the Community Center building is open, and there’s plenty of parking.

Army Trail Nature Center

Get away to the Army Trail Nature Center on North Lombard Road in Addison. This hidden gem is right across the street from the high school. It covers 18 scenic acres and offers Warrenville residents another place to fish. Your school-age kids are invited to join the Fishing Club to hone their angling skills in the pond or the Environmental Club that helps maintain the information kiosks.

If you’re lucky, you might spot various wildlife like geese, ducks, turtles, red foxes, rabbits, opossums, and pheasants. Stroll down the 3/4-mile walking trail around the pond and explore the two observation decks and the outdoor educational classroom. Community members are invited to visit the center from sunrise to sunset.

Trout Park Nature Preserve

Trout Park Nature Preserve in Elgin began as a fish hatchery, and many young salmon were raised in its spring-fed ponds. Today, this 44-acre park on Trout Park Boulevard offers residents a charming, waterside nature resort and a family-friendly spot to play. This riverfront property includes a fishing area and a short walking trail. Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic under one of two shelters.

The upper portion of the park touts a rare grouping of White Cedar trees and abundant wildflowers. It’s a magical place for reconnecting to nature without leaving the city. Other popular attractions of the preserve include a well-maintained playground and baseball complex with a seasonal concession stand. There is plenty of parking in the lot and street parking is permitted on the south side of Trout Park Boulevard. The preserve receives heavy public use, and guests should remember that neither dogs nor bicycles are allowed at the park.

Hammel Woods

Hammel Woods on the DuPage River is located at Black Road in Shorewood. This 445-acre preservation system sits at the site of the historic Grinton Mill. It was named in honor of American soldiers who fought in the World War I battle in Hamel, France. Fishers can access the river from three areas in the preserve or from Route 59 and Crumby Recreation Area in Shorewood. Bait your hook and cast your line from the shores of the river, or set sail in your canoe or kayak. You’re not required to purchase a launch pass at Hammel Woods.

This river access area offers outdoor enthusiasts a 1.6-mile natural surface trail that’s ideal for hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. There’s also a 3.77-mile, paved path that’s great for biking and in-line skating. If you want to bring your dog along on this waterway adventure, Hammel Woods offers pet parents a 10.8-acre, off-leash dog park. Kids from toddlers to teens love camping, and this preserve features six primitive sites, so pitch your tent and stay awhile.

Messenger Marsh

The 620-acre Messenger Marsh is nestled within the Spring Creek preservation system at South Bell Road in Homer Glen. Here families have access to a portion of Spring Creek, plus a forest and savanna for exploring. Plan to fish the detention pond or hit the 3.44-mile crushed limestone path. It’s a portion of the Spring Creek Greenway Trail, and it welcomes hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians. There’s even a spot to park your horse trailer.

Nature lovers may get the chance to spot frogs and over 100 species of birds, and a variety of flora, such as hispid sunflowers and sunshine roses. The preserve is also part of a tree mitigation project. Funded by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, volunteers have planted over 10,000 trees and shrubs in the park. The preserve offers families with pets a 7-acre, fenced in dog park and one covered picnic area.

The area around Warrenville, Illinois, is home to many charming waterways. Crème de la Crème of Warrenville brought you this list of popular destinations. What local ponds, rivers, and lakes does your family enjoy exploring? Drop us a line now so we can add it to our list.