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Adventure Awaits Outdoors in St. Charles, IL

At this point in the year, it's safe to say that just about everyone is itching to find ways to get outside and soak up some sunlight. We are proud to say that St. Charles is filled with immaculate natural beauty, along with tons of activities to take part in to get outside and appreciate it. However, with April 22nd being Earth Day, it is critical to also practice eco-friendly habits in order to protect our environmental surroundings. Continue reading below to learn how you can make the most of the outdoors in this city.


Activities on the Fox River

 

Spending time outside enjoying the beautiful Fox River is about as good as it gets. If you already have a boat or jet ski, you can access the water by launching from Boy Scout Island. For kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards, you can visit Boy Scout Island, Ferson Creek Park, Frank Gorham Memorial Canoe Launch, Mt. St. Mary Park, or Pottawatomie Park. If don't have a kayak or pedal boat, there's no need to worry as the St. Charles Park District has you covered! You can rent one by the hour from the River View Miniature Golf Course, making this a fantastic option if you are visiting the area from out of town, or if you're just beginning to "get your feet wet" into the world of paddle sports.


Fishing is a very popular activity on the Fox River due to the amount of different species you can catch including Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, and Walleye - you might even reel-in your personal best! In fact, a 4.76 pound Largemouth Bass was caught in a 2022 tournament - that's quite the catch! You can cast a line at many different spots in town, a few being Pottawatomie Park, the East Side Sports Complex, and Mt. St. Mary Park. Before you head out, just be sure to secure the proper fishing license beforehand!



Sometimes, the best way to really enjoy the water is to relax and not do any of the paddling yourself. St. Charles has two Paddlewheel Riverboats located at Pottawatomie Park, offering a cruise that will give you a unique perspective of the Fox River. The two-level Riverboat can accommodate up to 90 passengers for sightseeing tours, and you'll cruise the water while learning a bit about the nature of the area, along with some history on St. Charles!


Exploring the Trails

 

One of the very best ways to explore as much of the trails as you can is by bike. Whether you're an experienced cyclist, or just getting into pedaling, there's a variety of trails throughout St. Charles to venture, including the breathtaking Fox River Trail and the Great Western Trail. We are also extremely fortunate to have great bikes shops in town that can help you along your cycling journey, like Sammy's Bikes and The Bike Rack. The experts at each of these businesses can answer any questions that you may have, and ensure you have all the proper gear you need! Sammy's Bikes also offers bike rentals by the hour, so if you're out of town and didn't bring your bike, you'll still be able to hit the trails.



Photo 1 Courtesy of the Fox River Trail Runners

Lacing up your pair of running shoes and heading out for a jog is not only a great way to admire St. Charles' natural surroundings, but also a great way to exercise, as well. There is countless amounts of different running trails you can take in this town, giving you an array of scenery to view while you run. Plus, with many races taking place throughout the year, training beforehand will help you reach new personal bests! Need a new pair of shoes or some gear? The experts at Dick Pond Athletics can get you fitted proper and make sure you have everything you need to cruise the trails. If you dread running alone, connect with the Fox River Trail Runners - a local club that promotes running in Fox Valley, and frequently host workouts, races, and social events.


Photos Courtesy of the St. Charles Park District

Another great way to admire the nature around is by simply taking a walk. There are tons of terrific, shorter trails located throughout parks in St. Charles where you can practice mindfulness all while and soaking in the beautiful natural surroundings. At Mt. St. Mary Park, you can take a stroll all while gazing at the sculptures scattered throughout the park. Delnor Woods Park also has another great trail, where you can view native flowers, a waterfall, and all the wildlife that is out and about enjoying the weather.


Which Outdoor Activity Will You Do This Year?

  • Golfing

  • Pedal Boats

  • Pickleball

  • Swimming


Additional Outdoor Recreation

 

Public Pools

Photos Courtesy of the St. Charles Park District

If you need to cool off from spending so much time outside, head to one of the Public Pools in town: Swanson Pool or Otter Cove Aquatic Park. Located in Pottawatomie Park, Swanson Pool is a must visit after spending a day at the award-winning park. Swanson Pool offers an activity pool, water slides, a sand play area, and refreshments in case you get hungry or thirsty. Otter Cove Aquatic Park can be found at James O. Breen Community Park. Here, you can join Ollie the Otter in making a splash off their diving boards and lap lanes, or catch some speed and travel down their water slides!



Golfing

Photo 1 Courtesy of Brigette Burmgan of Nomadic Soul Photography, Photo 2 Courtesy of @rachelkawate

A "hole-in-one" of an outdoor activity is golfing, and St. Charles is home to a first-class public course: the Pottawatomie Golf Course. Named "Finest Public Golf Course" by Kane County Magazine in 2023, this 9-hole golf course was designed in 1939 by famous golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones Sr. Nestled right by the Fox River, this course takes advantage of it's location - like the famous island green design on hole 3. If traditional golf isn't really your thing, try a round of miniature golf at River View Miniature Golf Course in Pottawatomie Park, which is always a blast for the whole family. Or, test your skills with a round of disc golf at the 9 hole course at James O. Breen Community Park, where you'll throw a frisbee instead of hitting a ball, playing a course that weaves throughout a wooded area.



Net Sports

Photo 2 Courtesy of the St. Charles Park District

Net sports are a terrific way to have fun with one or more of your friends will getting a bit of exercise in. Round-up some pals and refine your serve at one of the many tennis courts in town, like at Langum Park, Mt. St. Mary Park, or at the East Side Sports Complex, just to name a few. If you'd prefer playing on a smaller court, give pickleball a try! This fast-growing sport is available at three different parks in St. Charles: Belgium Town Park, James O. Breen Community Park, and Pottawatomie Park. D&G Brewing also hosts frequent pickleball nights where you can play, too! For a larger group of people, sand volleyball is the route to go. Enjoy this exciting summer sport at the East Side Sports Complex, or even at the Evergreen Pub & Grill where you can grab some delicious food (like their mouthwatering BBQ) while you're at it!


More Ways to Celebrate the Outdoors

 

Visit the Outdoor Farmer's Market

There's nothing quite like starting your morning off with a trip to the Farmer's Market! From June through October at the Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, you can shop local goods including eggs, honey, baked goods, hand-made items, and so much more! You'll feel good knowing that you're purchasing the products locally and from local individuals. If you can't wait until June to shop outside, this Farmer's Market does take place indoors from November through May.



Start Your Own Garden

Food always tastes better when you grow it yourself! This year, start your very own garden at your home - not only will this add greenery to your outdoor space, buy you can even save some money on groceries! If you don't have a desire to grow produce, grow other plants as fun springtime/summertime hobby! To browse plants, head to Heinz Greenhouse Garden Center or Trellis Farm & Garden. At both of these places, you'll also be able to pick up any gardening equipment you may need!



Become a St. Charles Explorer


There is a wide variety of wildlife in St. Charles - from unique birds to aquatic animals; there are many species that can be spotted. If you want to get out and explore nature, participate in our Fox River Scavenger Hunt! This Scavenger Hunt contains 8 different animals you'll have to find throughout the area, and when you finish, you can turn it in to receive a free scoop of Ice Cream at Kimmer's, seeded paper you can plant, and a St. Charles Explorer Certificate! You can schedule a convenient pickup time Monday through Friday at the St. Charles Municipal Building from 8am to 1:30pm, by calling 630-443-3967.



In need of a great St. Charles resource that you can take on-the-go? Download our FREE Travel St. Charles App HERE to discover dining, shopping, events, and so much more!




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