Top 5 Amazing Nature Places in Illinois | Illinois is famous for many reasons. After all, the state boasts of an amazing history as well as impressive natural wonders. Some of those nature spots in Illinois will make one wonder if they are really awake or in a dreamland. You will come across some of the most vibrant and unique natural surroundings here in the state. It could be historic structures, flooded forests, waterfalls, flooded and much more. Why not browse for some of the most popular scenic spots in Illinois?
1. Burden Falls
The Burden Falls make for the most beautiful sight in America. Located in Pope County, they may be very small when compared to other bigger and great waterfalls of the country, nevertheless, the 20-foot waterfall is the tallest in the state. Explore the wilderness around end enjoy bird watching, hunting, and fishing. There are several hiking trails through the forest and enjoy a captivating experience.
Rockford is often ignored, but the third largest city is worth a visit. After all, it is filled and surrounded by nature. The Anderson Japanese Gardens and farm-to-table restaurant are a must visit. Do not miss the chance to experience the city’s history and make a visit to the Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens as well as the Midway Village Museum.
3. Shawnee National Forest
Shawnee National Forest is spread across 280,000 acres of wilderness. The national forest contains an ample amount of attractions, and there are attractions Landmarks, sites and ecological areas listed in the forest. You will come across more than eighty additional natural areas, botanical areas and geological areas.
4. Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is a must-visit, especially for the nature lovers. It is certainly one of the most unique natural destinations. Explore the park which is home to canyons, hiking trails, sandstone overhangs, waterfalls, and bluffs. The abundance of wildlife will keep you captivated. Camping is available, and you can look forward to a wonderful weekend getaway in the Rock State Park.
5. Morton Arboretum
Morton Arboretum is set over 1700 acres and is a world-class facility in Illinois. There are paved routes for driving or cycling as well as hiking trails for the hikers. There is a maze, ground cover garden and a fragrance garden in Morton Arboretum. For those with children, there is a children’s garden to explore. People of all ages can enjoy educational programming. You are to come across some of the best wilderness trails in the state and interesting flora and fauna.
The above is not an exhaustive list of nature places in Illinois as there is still a lot more to the state. There are breathtaking parks and historical sites that are worth visiting. Illinois is also a major sports and cultural center, surrounded by natural resources, and agricultural productivity. Some other options to explore are Chicago Botanic Garden, Cave-in-Rock, Matthiessen State Park, Mississippi Palisades State Park, Cache River Natural Area and Garden of the Gods. Explore those excellent nature spots and look forward to an unforgettable experience hike. – USA TRAVEL LIGHT
Top 5 Amazing Lakes in Minnesota | Minnesota is a land of thousand lakes, beautiful bays and gorgeous beaches. The tourists and holidaymakers always favor lakes because of the serene atmosphere they create with crystal clear waters. However, not all lakes have unlimited options, and not all of them would be a perfect spot to go fishing or swimming. Most of the lakes in Minnesota are clear and range in depths. They are perfect for swimming and paddling as they are fairly deep and surrounded by secluded scenery and lush greenery.
In case you are wondering which lakes to head for, here are the top five picks.
1. Rainy Lake
This is just the right spot if you’re a bass fisherman. Thus, there is a good reason why city dwellers love going to the Rainy Lake every summer weekend. This is an excellent way to spend your day and enjoy fishing as you catch walleye, crappie and northern pike. There are hundreds of miles of snowmobile tracks and a huge variety of lodging available. Do not forget to bring your cross country skis or snowshoes especially in winter.
2. Mille Lacs Lake
Mille Lacs Lake is the second largest lake and covers more than 200 miles and is deeper than 40′. This is another good spot for fishing, and one can catch Muskie, Jumbo Perch, Walleye, Northern Pike, Tullibee and Small Mouth Bass. In fact, this is the most famous fishing lake and is just ideal for family vacations. Enjoy guided fishing adventures or opt for golf or explore miles of trails that are just perfect for bicycling, hiking or riding.
3. Red Lake
The Red Lake is the largest lake in Minnesota and the second largest in the United States. In fact, it has two sections, the Upper Red Lake and Lower Red Lake. The lake is perfect for fishing, and the house rentals remain open during the winter months. One enjoys an easy access on Upper Red Lake.
4. Deer Lake
Located in Itasca County, you will find the Deer River interesting as it shifts through different shades of blue. It can be a scintillating turquoise one minute and icy blue the next. It is the mineral content that creates those scintillating shades of turquoise. It also happens to be the clearest lakes in the whole state, and you can see the fish below. There is an impressive variety of fish such as Black Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Muskellunge and Brown Bullhead I the fifty ft deep lake.
5. Lake Winnibigoshish
Another prime spot for fishing, Lake Winni is the fourth largest lake and its deepest point stretches till 78′. There is all kind of game fishing in this big lake, which is located in Cass County, Minnesota. The 70 feet deep lake supports a variety of fish including Lake Whitefish, Muskellunge, Walleye, Bluegill and Northern Pike.
It is time to enjoy a new holiday experience this season, and all you need to do is pick any of the above listed Minnesota lakes. Enjoy a great outdoor time, hiking, riding, fishing and swimming. USA TRAVEL LIGHT
Best Things to Do at Michigan Lake | One of the main attractions of the city Chicago is the enormous and vast ocean-like lake that is located right next to it, the Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan beaches are simply awesome, and there is a lot more to do and see here. Those fun-filled activities are just perfect for you and your whole family. You can hike on the shores of the lake, or jump into its waves.
Here is a list of some of the best things to do and enjoy near the Michigan Lake.
1. Enjoy the Stand Up Paddle Board
Well, you are guaranteed to fall in the icy cold water, but it is loads of fun on the standup paddle boarding. This is not only a unique way to tour the beaches of Chicago but an awesome workout for the whole body.
2. The Singing Sands of Indiana Dunes
The sands around Lake Michigan make a unique sound when you walk on them. It is really a fun experience as you take your shoes off and listen to the singing sands when you walk on them. You can hike on the beaches, trails and sand dunes of Lake Michigan and enjoy a wonderful time.
3. Fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday night
Watch the amazing fireworks display by Chicago’s Navy Pier. But, you need to be there on Wednesday and Saturday night. The fireworks are visible from afar but if you want a closer took, head to Navy Pier.
4. Rent a Boat
Most holidaymakers escape to the middle of the lake on a boat. There’s a sizeable portion of the lake which is dedicated for boats to anchor and is called the playpen. You will come across more than fifty boasts on a busy weekend. Go for a boat rental company that provides service with a driver.
5. Rent Bikes
Biking is the right way to explore the shoreline of the lake. All you need to do is rent bikes which are super easy, as there are plenty of Divvy stations all along the lake front. Just keep in mind that there are half hour charges and the costs go up by an additional dollar every other half an hour.
6. Dinner Cruise for a Romantic Date
Brose for the leading cruise services and go on a Dinner Cruise. You will simply love the beautiful skyline at night along the shore of Chicago. This is a great idea for the couple and even for the whole family to spend quality time on the lake.
7. Rent Jet Skis
Those who want to experience the lake in a faster way, they can opt for Jet skis that can be hired on Lake Michigan. Enjoy some fun filled time for a full half hour and if you still haven’t had enough, extend the time.
Keep exploring the nearby zones around the Lake Michigan. There are some great and, affordable campsites, in case you are interested in sleeping under the stars. You can also opt for cozy inns with cottage style rooms. – USA TRAVEL LIGHT
7 Best Selfie Spots at Chicago | Chicago is a very lively city and immensely popular among the local and international tourists. One comes across hip neighborhoods and lofty skyscrapers in the city that has it all. The best part is that there are diverse locations with an interesting background that work as the perfect spot for taking a selfie. You will find your creative selfie inspirations at their height as you move across the city with its unique landscape. This is the time to make everyone back home jealous and shoot yourself at the perfect selfie destinations.
Here are some of the best picks for that perfect selfie destinations. Just take out your selfie sticks, and head to these amazing locations for the best photos.
1. ‘The Bean’
The Bean” at Millennium Park is one of the most distinctive attractions of Chicago, Also known as the Cloud Gate, the massive, mirrored sculpture is called Bean because of its shape. The Bean reflects city views on all its sides. This is just the right spot to take a selfie and get a unique, skyline photo.
It is amazing to see an art installation made of 106 pairs of legs. Just stand anywhere in-between and click a selfie. Designed by Magdalena Abakanowicz, a Polish artist, those tall nine-foot sculptures can certainly inspire some creative shots for your selfie.
3. Navy Pier
Get gorgeous aerial views of the city on the Navy Pier Ferris, and this is something that everyone needs to do when in Chicago. As the ride moves very slowly, you get plenty of time to get creative with your selfie. Right at the top of the Navy Pier, you get another great view of Chi City.
4. Shedd Aquarium
Shedd Aquarium carries the oldest living fish in an aquarium in the world. Some of them are more than 100+ years old, and you should certainly watch out for the lungfish. Capture yourself along with those aquatic creatures and let everyone at home share the experience.
5. Leaning Tower of Niles
Located in the suburb of Niles, this is a replica of the Pisa tower of Italy. Designed way back in 1934, it is about half the size of the original but keeps everyone lured and gathering here for taking pictures and selfies.
6. Lake Michigan
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and head towards North Avenue Beach, and Lake Michigan. Those white sand and beach volleyball are the just perfect way of relaxing and enjoying some cool time alone or with your loved ones. Just rent a boat to get out on the lake and get the full effect of the City by the Lake and take some nice selfies.
7. John Hancock Center
John Hancock Center is one of the most iconic buildings of Chicago, and the aim of every tourist is to visit the 360 Chicago Observatory Deck. At its top. This is the place from where you can get the best panoramic views of the city and of course, the perfect selfies. USA TRAVEL LIGHT
Top 5 Things Kids Will Love at Los Angeles | Los Angeles is a land of music and movies. However, all that glitz and glam doesn’t sum up LA. If you are toying with the idea of taking your children to LA for a holiday, well, stop pondering and start making the bookings.
After all, the L.A. is a great city for the kids where they can have the time of their life. This is an excellent way to spend quality time with your family, and in fact, kids and parents or grandparents can explore the city together. Read on to learn about the most heart-warming activities that families can bond over.
1. Disney California Adventure
Begin with a visit to the Disney California Adventure, where the older kids can enjoy the gravity-defying roller coasters or the infamous Tower of Terror drop. There is a bug’s land and Cars Land where the whole family can spend some good time with those Cars characters and in the Bug’s Life themed land.
2. California Science Centre
Develop an appreciation for science among your kids and take them to the California Science Centre. Watch them learn how to apply physics and chemistry to everyday world with exhibits and hands-on experiments. They can learn about sound waves, vehicles, and space and will come out of the centre a lot smarter.
3. Universal Studios
This is really fun as the kids see how a movie studio works and the best part is that there is a theme park attached to it. Let your kids know where some of their favorite movies and shows come from. Take the Studio Tour, and hop on to any of those rides such as Shrek 4D, Transformers, King Kong 3D, The Simpsons Ride and more. There are plenty of restaurants and shops.
4. El Matador Beach
If your family loves beaches, then head for the El Matador Beach, which is breathtakingly beautiful. Enjoy the sunset on the beach which is less crowded. Explore the sea caves or trek across miles of hot sand with your children and design your own mini-adventures.
5. Glendale Planetarium Shows
L.A. is famous for stargazing, thanks to its free series of planetarium shows. Get a peek of the cosmos with your kids. However, look for the calendar of events to get more information. Kids will love the cool, dark planetarium and discover more about the vast world around them.
There is a lot more to L.A. certainly. Thus, if you are planning a holiday there with your family, you are certainly taking the right decisions. There are plenty of famous attractions for the children and the whole family.
There are several kid-friendly museums in the land of Hollywood. You can always check out the local lists of social attractions such as Stargazing at Griffith Observatory, visiting Kidspace Children’s Museum or see a play at Topanga’s Theatricum Botanicum. You will never run short of options for your children as you holiday in LA! – USA TRAVEL LIGHT
Top 5 Nature Places To Visit near New York City | Being in the New York City and surrounded by those tall skyscrapers need not mean that you are now completely in an urban jungle and far away from nature. If you are over with all those fantastic things to do in NYC and are looking for some respite in nature, well you need not get anxious or travel far.
There is good news for all those outdoor adventurers who look forward to mountain hikes and dying to hit the road. There are some popular nature spots within the city such as Botanical Garden, Central Park. Prospect Park and some more where one can enjoy nature walks. However, there is a lot more to do and explore around the New York City. For example, there are boroughs nearby that can be explored or the wildlife sanctuaries and the mountains that are just minutes’ drive away from the New York City.
1. Bear Mountain
Tourists and visitors can escape from the city madness and head towards the Bear Mountain, which are just 15 minutes away! Bear Mountains rise on the west bank of the Hudson River and offers some perfect hiking and biking trails. There are some great spots for picnic, swimming and river fishing.
2. New Hope
The unhurried and unassuming New Hope, resplendent with indie boutiques and seasonal-focused eateries is simply amazing places to be at. Different quaint spots take you back in the lap of nature. You can rent a bike to cruise down the Delaware Canal towpath and go through stunning woodlands and hundreds of species of native plants.
3. Breakneck Ridge
Breakneck Ridge one of those beautiful spots that are just an hour north of the city. The ridge is simply amazingly beautiful in all seasons. Everybody loves to hike on the trail that goes around a mountain on the Hudson River. You get some stunning views of nature around and will simply love that cold mountain air.
4. Cold Spring
Cold Spring is another popular place to go to for the nature lovers. September or October is the right time when the Hudson Valley leaves are beginning to change escolars. Watch the beautiful landscape along the Hudson River as you take the Metro North to the Cold Spring. The cute small town comes with a rich history and boasts of great restaurants.
5. Staten Island Greenbelt
For those who don’t want to leave the NY city and still want to be close to nature, they can head for Staten Island Greenbelt which is known to be made of the biggest collection of trails, wetlands, wooded areas and public parks. You will find plenty of wildlife here: birds, deer, chipmunks, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish.
The best part about New York City is that it is a fantastic tourist destination with loads of options for the holidaymakers of every kind. There are some amazing nature parks and reserves along the Hudson River. You can find yourself in the middle of nature within an hour of leaving NYC. – USA TRAVEL LIGHT
Top 5 Best Selfie Spots at Rocky Mountain | Capturing a great selfie and uploading it on Instagram or Twitter is the dream of many holidaymakers. After all, you want the whole world to know about the fabulous time you are having and share memories with your loved ones. The Rocky Mountains are known to boast of some of the most breath-taking scenery in the world. There are crystal clear waters of its many lakes and those majestic mountains towering high over you. Why not take a selfie shot with an ideal location as the backdrop to show off the destination and your smile?
The Rocky Mountains are filled with amazing nature and fantastic locations. You could simply wander off in any direction to reach a “wow” spot.
1. Alberta Falls
Travel to the Alberta Falls, during n May and June when the 30-foot gusher is most impressive. Enjoy the cooling mist throughout the summer and fall and take a selfie against the Alberta Falls. Your holiday would be incomplete without a quick selfie at one of the most photographed spots in the Rocky Mountains.
2. Moraine Park
Moraine Park is simply breath-taking. Gaze at those glacier-hewn peaks surrounding the park and before you get lost in the wonders of nature, take a selfie. Capture the magical moment in your camera and create a lifetime memory. The Thompson River glitters in the light at sunrise, and the mountains gleam under the morning sun.
3. Longs Peak
Hike up towards the Longs Peak to get amazing views of cliffs from Chasm Lake. The four-mile hike is simply worth it and you are guaranteed some stunning views as backdrops for your selfie. Make a memory to remember as you capture yourself on camera during those special moments on Longs Peak.
4. Trail Ridge Road
The 48-mile route of the Trail Ridge Road crosses the Continental Divide and scales treeless peaks in between. Needless to say, there would be several excellent spots on the way that would just be perfect for a selfie. The road is one of the most sought-after selfie spots among the Rocky Mountains. Start the day along Trail Ridge Road with a good breakfast and get ready to take some stunning shots on the way.
5. Odessa Lake
Odessa Lake is arguably one of the most splendid lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park. However, you need to complete a 9.5-mile hike, and it is best to arrive with a permit for backcountry camping on the shores of the lake. Look around you, and you will find yourself surrounded with some of the most stunning natural vistas.
As mentioned before, Rocky Mountains are a giant outdoor playground, and thus there are many more spots and hiking trails to explore. No wonder, the mountains draw hundreds and thousands of tourists and local all year round. The right time to visit is during the summer and throughout September. You can simply sit still and be one with nature. Don’t plan anything and just absorb the experience. You may never know, but there are plenty of options of perfect selfies during the entire trip. – USA TRAVEL LIGHT
Best Things To Do at Minnehaha Falls | Minnehaha Falls, overlooking the Mississippi River is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the urban setting. The wilderness waterfall in Minnehaha Park attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors every year. The 193-acre park with the 53-foot waterfall boasts of hackberry, silver maple, oak, and elm and cottonwood trees.
There are three main stops near the Minnehaha Falls; the Mall of America, the Falls Park and the historic Fort Snelling. It is very easy to reach them as all are connected by the Light Rail Metro. There are ample possibilities to connect with nature here as one explores the beauty and history of the Minnehaha Falls. The Falls offer an impressive sight the whole year round. This is a favorite place for the families with plenty of tables and shelters and tennis courts as well as picnic spots. The beautiful terrain is dotted with sculptures. The nature enthusiasts get ample choices in hiking trails.
The popular waterfall may be hidden among natural growth and located off the beaten path, but there is loads of fun and adventure here for vacationers. One will be surprised to see a large member of leisure visitors, walkers, runners, bikers, skateboarders and rollerblades having an awesome time here. If you are lucky, you might land there when the cultural festival is going on. It is no wonder to see Minnehaha Falls a major tourist attraction. After all, there is plenty to do and see here for the locals and visitors. And, if you get hungry, Sea Salt Eatery offers fresh and delicious seafood, wine, and local beer.
To begin with, one can hike to the base of the majestic Minnehaha Falls. Take a tour of the Falls, and if you are there during the winters, you will see that the falls have frozen. You could hire a bike and explore the area. Ask for the bike rentals available in the just next to the Sea Salt Eatery. It is a great idea to pack a picnic as the Minnehaha Park has a huge playground for the kids and is loaded with picnic tables.
Do not forget to check out John Harrington Stevens House which was built in 1849. Stevens was the first settler of this now a major city, and his house now is a historical landmark in the park. You will find the exhibits inside the house very interesting. Just look at the early tools and tables used by the early pioneers and Natives Americans. After visiting the Stevens House, you can go to the Pergola Garden, where your children can enjoy those rows of flowers and tunnels.
If you want to rest for some time, just take a breather and sit anywhere in the huge park. Just admire the nature around and those sculptures. In fact, there are several sculptures on display, and you are likely to come across out the life-size bronze sculpture of Hiawatha and Minnehahs or the mask of Chief Little Crow which look very interesting. – USA TRAVEL LIGHT
Secret Places in Grand Canyon That Many Not Known | Grand Canyon is well famous across the world and among the tourists. It is a well familiar landscape with many. After all, it is hard to miss those red-gold hues of the dramatic landscape that stretches for miles and miles along the Colorado River. There is no denying that this is one of the most beautiful spots on the face of this Earth. Grand Canyon National Park leaves each and every visitor in awe and wonder. One may have travailed to the Grand Canyon several times, and yet, they find a new adventure and experience awaiting them here. Read on to learn about those secret spots and venues in Grand Canyon that most are not aware of.
Head towards the House Rock Valley and House Rock Wildlife Area, where there are fewer dirt tracks. Just jog to the north of the Grand Canyon, and go through Marble Canyon after turning from the East Rim. You will find Marble Viewpoint below this point, and the House Rock area lies between the canyon and you at this point. The remote area is simply gorgeous, and it ‘s hard to ignore the pristine clean scenery. It is like being on some other planet. Marble Viewpoint is an experience in itself and difficult to explain. The narrow finger of land juts out to the north and drop-offs to a couple of thousand feet along the edges and leads to the Kaibab Plateau.
If you are fond of camping, then a good option is to reach the South Kaibab Trail that will lead to the Bright Angel Campground. There is a Clear Creek Trail that will go into the deep tributary canyon and reach a lonely Clear Creek. However, the Clear Creek camping zone might get crowded during the peak season. You can head down canyon to the Colorado River or hike towards the Cheyava Falls that shoot straight out of the Redwall layer on the North Rim of the canyon. Spend the night at Bright Angel Campground and climb the Bright Angel Trail, which is more shaded and reach the South Rim.
Another off the beat trial is the Spencer Trail, which is a bit steep but will take you to the historic Lee’s Ferry area. The view grows magnificent as you go higher up the trail. And it will take you just about an hour to reach the top. The best part is that there are plenty of stops on the way to rest and catch your breath. Watch the snaking Colorado River glinting like a green emerald through the limestone rock walls. Lee’s Ferry is a great base for exploring the terrain, and it will amaze you because of its unique geography. Historically, it served as an important river crossing from both sides. The Lodge will supply everything, and the lodgings are very homely and comfortable. There are even a small grocery and angling shop and a restaurant that serves delicious meals throughout the day.
There are no fixed ways to explore Grand Canyon as there is so much to it and there is a different character to experience in its various spots. – USA TRAVEL LIGHT
Best Nature Places to Visit near Hoover Dam | Hoover Dam is one of the great engineering marvels of the world. Completed in 1935, the massive structure links Arizona and Nevada and crosses the Colorado River. The Dam locks in the Lake Mead, which is the largest artificial lake in the country. The Dam is about 45 minutes from the Las Vegas city.
There is plenty of nature around the dam, where one can go and explore a Recreational experience or fun filled activities. One can enjoy guided tours of the power plant at the dam.
The Lake Mead National Recreation is spread across a 1.5 million acres and includes 700 miles of shoreline of the lake. This is just the right spot for all those looking for hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. Rent boats by the hour or one can take a cruise on the Desert Princess. There are spectacular scenes around the lake and desert. One can take a sidewalk to reach the top and enjoy a great view of the state border, as they stand with one foot in Arizona and the other in Nevada. Get some great food and lots of water along to enjoy a great picnic.
Another popular spot for camping is the Valley of Fire State Park, which is about an hour away from the Hoover Dam. The colorful sandstone formations offer stunning views of old petroglyphs from the Ancient Pueblo that are more than 3,000-year-old. Take any of those roads, such as the White Domes Road that takes you past Rainbow Vista. When you reach Rainbow Vista, take a moderate loop hike to White Domes to get close to the striations of rock. There is a slot canyon with many different colors on the walls.
Just close to the Hoover Dam is the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, where the stunning desert landscape stretching across 196,000 acres will simply leave you awestruck. Join hundreds of other rock climbers from all over the world. Take any of those many trails and find one suitable according to your expertise, as you might be a novice or an expert. Many climbers like to take a 13-mile loop through the park to enjoy a real workout.
Do not miss the Keystone Thrust Fault, which is an impressive sight and made by a fracture in the earth’s crust. See how the gray carbonate rocks from the ancient oceans have been pushed over the newer layers of the red sandstone. If you are lucky, you might find wildlife such as burros, foxes, sheep as well as interesting vegetation such as black brush and Joshua trees.
Hoover Dam is like an oasis in the middle of the desert and is a favorite playground for boating and swimming. Take one of those Lake Mead Cruises or go in a large paddle-wheeled boats that run all year round. Explore the seasonal waterfall oases, sandstone bluffs or the desert hiking trails around the area surrounding the Hoover Dam. This is a great way to enjoy nature with your family and friends. – USA TRAVEL LIGHT