There’s nothing like a day out enjoying nature on the water as a family. Whether you’re planning a canoeing or kayaking trip or a relaxing day fishing, you’ll find plenty of waterways in and around Glenview, Illinois, that make it easy to enjoy the great outdoors with the kids. From peaceful lakes to marshes, rivers, and more, our area has it all. Crème de la Crème of Glenview put together this list of easy-to-access waterways so you can enjoy a day in nature, no matter what your kids have in mind.

Lake Glenview

One of the peaceful docks that jut into Lake Glenview in Glenview, IL.

Image via Flickr by Payton Chung

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy the water. Our very own Lake Glenview offers a great place for a day enjoying activities on the water. The Glenview Park District provides non-motorized boating access on the lake during boating season, which lasts from May 1 until October 1.

Canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats are all permitted, so it’s easy to come up with a plan for fun close to home. The limited boating access gives Glenview residents another way to connect with and appreciate nature right here in our own backyard.

Keep in mind that you will need to buy a Glenview Park District permit, available at the Park Center, before boating and abide by the rules put in place to protect the wildlife in the area. Boaters cannot access the islands and south lobe of the lake. The park district puts these rules in place so boaters don’t disturb the nesting and migration patterns of birds. You’ll have a chance from your boat to show the kids the wildlife that lives along the shoreline, making a day out on the lake a relaxing and educational experience for the whole family.

Grant Woods

Drive over to Ingleside to enjoy a range of outdoor activities in Grant Woods. This scenic preserve offers quiet woodlands, open prairies, and marshes with abundant wildlife to explore.

Along with opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, Grant Woods features 6 miles of gravel trails when you want to move the day’s activities to land. You can walk, hike, or bike with the family here. In wintertime, the trails also offer a great place for cross-country skiing. Want to spend a day out and about with your dog? You can explore the trails with your family pet as long as you keep them on a leash, or visit the off-leash dog parks with a permit.

Grant Woods also offers picnic tables and picnic shelters, making this a great spot for a bigger outdoor get-together with family and friends. If you’re just looking to spend a peaceful day outdoors with the kids, it’s perfect for that too. Enjoy time on the water kayaking or fishing, then head over to the picnic tables for an outdoor lunch together once the kids have worked up an appetite.

Whalon Lake

Whalon Lake, located in Naperville, offers a wide range of water-based activities to enjoy as a family. The huge lake is part of the DuPage River preservation system, which itself conserves over 1,500 acres of land.

If your kids are interested in exploring local wildlife, Whalon Lake is the place to go. The area protects a diversity of habitats, including the lake as well as wetland, prairie, and a piece of the DuPage River habitat. Head over to the lake to see an assortment of waterfowl, including ducks, or check out the abundance of plants around the preserve, such as wild leek and red mulberry.

This preserve makes a great spot for a family fishing trip, as the 80-acre lake features access to shoreline fishing. A variety of fish species call this lake home, including black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, and walleye.

Whalon Lake also offers access to a 3.71-mile paved portion of the DuPage River Trail, so it’s a great place to go if the kids are in the mood for hiking, biking, or inline skating. In the winter, you can also come here for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing adventures. If you’re organizing a bigger group outing, you can even rent out two different picnic shelters here.

Fox River

Head to South Elgin for a relaxing canoe or kayak trip down the Fox River. South Elgin Canoe provides an organized trip that takes the guesswork out of putting together a family outing on the water.

The beautiful Fox River hosts a 6.5-mile canoe or kayak excursion beginning just below in South Elgin and ending in St. Charles at Ferson Creek Park. Your rental will include canoes or kayaks, paddles, life vests, and shuttle service. It’s an easy way for families, friends, and groups to enjoy a peaceful trip along the Fox River.

DuPage River at Hammel Woods

The Hammel Woods DuPage River access area offers yet another Illinois spot perfect for family time outside. Located in Shorewood, Hammel Woods stretches 445 acres and is part of the DuPage River preservation system. Hammel Woods protects both wetland and forest habitats. You might just spot a least weasel or long-tailed weasel here!

The DuPage River Access features shoreline fishing along the river. The river also offers a canoe and kayak launch.

When you’re not enjoying the water area, you can make use of some natural surface trails that are great for hiking and running or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, depending on the season. You’ll also find a paved portion of the DuPage River Trail here if you want to hike, bike, or go in-line skating with the kids. DuPage River access features six campsites for rental as well, so if you want to go for a longer family adventure, this area is a great option.

Crème de la Crème of Glenview, IL. hopes this list of waterways in and around Glenview inspires you the next time you’re looking for a way to plan an outdoor day with the whole family!