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Say Yes to Outdoor Adventure in St. Charles, Illinois

Sometimes, it's easy to take nature for granted. We get so wrapped up in our busy, daily lives that we forget to appreciate the wonderful natural areas surrounding us and the exciting activities that go along with it. With June being National Great Outdoors Month, it's a perfect time to take a deeper dive into what the outdoors can offer, especially in St. Charles, Illinois. Take a look below at some ways that you can have a memorable day outside in this city, plus some eco-friendly tips that are easy to implement while you're soaking up some sunlight.

One of the most notable natural features in St. Charles has got to be the Fox River. The Fox River is 202 miles long, and just so happens to run right through the middle of downtown St. Charles. It's breathtaking to admire - especially when you're out dining at one of our waterfront restaurants. Aside from the beauty it presents, it also allows for a "boatload" of water fun!

It's hard to come up with a better way to spend a summer day than out on the water, and St. Charles makes it so easy to do so! If you already have a boat or jet ski, you can go ahead and launch it from Boy Scout Island. For kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards, you can go to Boy Scout Island, Ferson Creek Park, Frank Gorham Memorial Canoe Launch, Mt. St. Mary Park, or Pottawatomie Park. If you need a kayak or a pedal boat, the St. Charles Park District has got you covered, as you can rent one by the hour from the Riverview Miniature Golf Course located in Pottawatomie Park. This is 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 extremely common in the Fox River due to the amount of species you can land 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! There are plenty of spots throughout St. Charles where you can cast a line, 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.

At times, you'll find that the best way to enjoy the water is to just relax and not do any paddling yourself. St. Charles has two Paddlewheel Riverboats that are located at Pottawatomie Park, offering a cruise that you won't forget. The two-level Riverboat can accommodate up to 90 passengers for sightseeing tours, and you'll venture the water while learning about the nature of the area, along with some history on St. Charles! So, sit back and take-in all the picturesque views from the middle of the Fox River with the company of your family and friends.

Photos Courtesy of the St. Charles Park District

The Fox River is not the only place around town where you'll come across enjoyable outdoor activities. Whether you're by yourself or with others, there is loads of fun outside in St. Charles. Not only do these activities bring joy, but there are also many benefits that go along with being in the open air, such as improved mood thanks to soaking up the natural light, and even reduced stress. On top of that, you may even find a brand new hobby that you just can't get enough of!


Photo #1 Courtesy of Brigette Burgman of Nomadic Soul Photography, Photo #2 Courtesy of Rachel Kawate

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 2022, 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 its location - like the famous island green design on hole 3. If you fall in love with the greens, there are even some first-rate private country clubs in town that you can become a member of, such as the St. Charles Country Club and the Royal Fox Country Club. If traditional golf isn't really your thing, try some miniature golf at the Riverview Miniature Golf Course in Pottawatomie Park. Everyone of all ages will have a blast strategically putting the ball, avoiding thrilling obstacles at each hole.

Public Pools

Photos Courtesy of the St. Charles Park District

Summers in St. Charles can get a bit warm, so make sure to cool off at one of the Public Pools in town: Swanson Pool or Otter Cove Aquatic Park. Swanson Pool can be found in Pottawatomie Park, and is spectacular to spend some time at after engaging in all the outdoor activities that the award-winning Pottawatomie Park offers. Swanson Pool has an activity pool, water slides, a sand play area, and refreshments in case you get a little hungry or thirsty. West of downtown at James O. Breen Community Park is where you'll find Otter Cove Aquatic Park. 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 for a thrill that can't be beat.

Where's Your Favorite Place to Spend Time Outdoors in St. Charles, Illinois?

  • Forest Preserves

  • Parks

  • The Fox River

  • Trails

Net Sports

Photo #1 Courtesy of the St. Charles Park District

Net sports are a terrific way to have fun with one or more friends while getting some exercise in! Round-up some pals and refine your serve at one of the many tennis courts around town. If you'd prefer 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. For a larger group activity, sand volleyball is the route to go. Enjoy this exciting summer sport at the East Side Sports Complex, or at the Evergreen Pub & Grill, where you can grab some delicious food (like their mouthwatering BBQ) while you're at it!

More Outdoor Fun

Photos Courtesy of the St. Charles Park District

This summer, embrace your inner-Tony Hawk and catch some air at one of the local Skate Parks: Mt. St. Mary Park, East Side Sports Complex, or River Bend Community Park. If you're a fan of frisbee sports, try out Disc Golf at James O. Breen Community Park, where the 9-hole course is nestled in the woods that forces you to make challenging shots through varying elevations. Why not enjoy America's Pastime and take some batting practice at one of the many available Baseball and Softball Fields in town like at Primrose Farm Park or at East Side Sports Complex? We've only just scratched the surface of outdoor fun in St. Charles - the possibilities really are endless!

Let's not forget about all the community spaces that add so much vibrancy to this town. St. Charles boasts 52 parks and natural areas, as well as 13 forest preserves and an abundance of trails. Experience them for yourself - you'll discover endless beauty and even learn about the wide variety of natural features in the area first-hand.

Whether you're looking to bike, hike, run, or take a leisurely stroll, St. Charles has trails all around the city where you can do all of the above. Throughout the magnificent community parks and forest preserves, and even connections to regional trails like the Great Western Trail and The Fox River Trail, you'll have plenty of options with varying distances and terrains. The Great Western Trail (Western Section) begins at the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve and travels all the way to Sycamore, making it a 17-mile route. The Fox River Trail (a fan-favorite) runs all the way from Oswego to Algonquin for a total of 74 miles, and goes right through the heart of downtown St. Charles. This whole trail allows for jaw-dropping views of the Fox River, and if you're lucky, you may even catch sight of a Bald Eagle that are known to frequent the area. You can find more by clicking below, or by downloading the Travel St. Charles app.

Businesses That Can Help

Photo #1 Courtesy of Brigette Burgman of Nomadic Soul Photography, Photo #2 Courtesy of The Bike Rack

If you're itching to start hitting the trails but you don't have the necessary gear or equipment, St. Charles has some one-of-a-kind businesses in town that can help you out with just that! Dick Pond Athletics is undoubtedly one of the best and most trusted running shoe and apparel stores in the Chicagoland area, and their experts can assist in finding the proper shoes so that you can avoid injury. If biking is what you're looking to do, we have some incredible shops around just for that, too! Both The Bike Rack and Sammy's Bikes have friendly, experienced staff that can guide you in choosing a new, high-quality cycle. While you're there, you can also browse tons of accessories - bicycle shoes, eyewear, water bottles and so much more! If you're coming from out of town, Sammy's Bikes has bike rentals that are ideal if you are looking to go out on the trails for the afternoon.

We are very fortunate to have a large number of amazing parks in town, managed by the award-winning St. Charles Park District. One of the best spots to spend your summer outside is Pottawatomie Park. This is a prime location for a picnic and a jam-packed day out, having endless amenities such as golfing and paddle sport rentals (as mentioned before), a native plant garden, a multi-use community center, and much more. Mt. St. Mary Park is also a favorite, located on the west bank of the Fox River. You'll find a winding trail that goes past numerous brilliant sculptures, and from May to September, it hosts Sculptures in the Park where you can admire even more public art in this exhibition.

One of the best ways to discover all the natural areas is by visiting local Forest Preserves. Forest Preserves are so important because not only do they protect local habitats and wildlife, but they also serve as an educational resource for individuals to take-in the nature up-close. A great Forest Preserve to visit is LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. Here, you'll come across an array of natural features: prairies, woodlands, grassy fields, and more. It's also home to the Creek Bend Nature Center where you can take a deeper dive into learning about the outdoors in the Fox Valley Area. Another Forest Preserve to go to is the Fox River Bluff (West) that straddles the Fox River right by Red Gate Road. Being one of the Kane County Forest Preserve District's approved off-leash dog areas, you can bring your pup along to keep you company during your adventure!

These are just a few of the countless ways you can spend time outdoors in St. Charles. If you want to learn more, please visit our Outdoors Page here. Happy exploring!

After a full-day of the outdoors, you're sure to build up quite the appetite. Fortunately, There are a great deal of restaurants nearby where you can indulge in delectable food all while dining outside. Click here to learn more.


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