Get the family outside and discover your new favorite family activity

Got cabin fever? Spending time in the fresh air of the great outdoors is good for the soul no matter the season. Battle winter boredom by bundling up and burying yourself in cold-weather play. Find your new favorite places for snow-day adventures to inspire your family-time creativity. 

Bundle Up For a Wintry Hike & Deer-Spotting

Chicago is home to plenty of easy-to-navigate hiking trails but North Park Nature Center’s Walking Stick Woods, a 12-acre woodland on the north side of the city, offers trails that wind through woodland, wetland, prairie, and savanna. The woodland creatures that live here are easier to spot in the wintertime. Post-hike, head to the center’s discovery room, where a hands-on table of natural objects and interactive displays highlight the animals that call this corner of the city home.


Snowtrek Northerly Island

Northerly Island offers a slice of nature with the bonus of unbeatable city views. Don some snowshoes and explore this pristine prairie in the wintertime. Snow trekking is offered on the island on select Saturdays from 10 a.m.-noon, weather permitting. The cost is $5 to check out a pair of snowshoes, available in both kid and adult sizes.


Learn to Cross Country Ski at Sagawau Canyon in Lemont

Sagauway Canyon is Chicagoland’s very own Grand Canyon. Located in the Des Plaines River Valley, it’s a dolomite canyon surrounded by cliff and ravine forests, a rarity in the flat Midwest. In the wintertime, Sagawau Canyon’s Environmental Learning Center becomes Sagawau Nordic, a premier full-service cross-country ski center that provides ski rentals, groomed trails, and lessons at all levels and ages hosted by PSIA Gold Medal Ski School-trained instructors. 



Explore a 1890s Farm at Kline Creek Farm

Step back in time to experience life on a working circa 1890s farm in the wintertime at Kline Creek Farm at Timber Ridge Forest Preserve in West Chicago. Watch as costumed interpreters harvest ice from the frozen lake, shear the ewes in preparation for lambing in March or prepare wintery treats by a fire. Stroll the snowy farm and meet the animals that live here year-round. 


See Soaring Eagles at Starved Rock

Mid-January, thousands of eagles migrate to Starved Rock and stay through March. They’re easy to spot as they soar through the sky or perch on the treetops. Bring binoculars and head out on an eagle-spotting hike of your own or sign up for one of the park’s many naturalist-guided hikes.


Downhill Ski or Snowboard at The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva

Set off on a winter adventure at The Mountain Top at Grand Geneva where you can conquer the slope . . . or at least the bunny hill. Located less than two hours from Chicago, The Mountain Top offers three chairlifts, two carpet lifts, a six-acre terrain park, food and drinks at Leinenkugel's Mountain Top Lodge, and even night skiing. It’s also a great place to learn to ski or snowboard. Sign up for one-hour private or semi-private lessons and certified instructors will encourage both beginners and advanced students. No ski equipment? No problem! You can rent all the gear you need onsite.

Save time to experience Grand Geneva's many other outdoor wintertime activities, including ice skating and sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing too.


Find a Sled Hill

Make the climb and then down, down, down you go. Where will you stop? At the bottom of one of Chicago’s awesome sledding hills—with a humongous smile on your cheeks. When Mother Nature buries us in the white stuff, you'll want to know exactly where to go to enjoy. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered from Soldier Field to Vernon Hills in our story Super Slopes! Where to Go Sledding in Chicago & Beyond.

Ski or Snowboard at Four Lakes

Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports in Lisle provides much-needed winter fun for the whole family just 45 minutes west of Chicago. From ski and snowboard lessons for beginners of all ages to a challenging terrain park for the most adventurous of boarders, Four Lakes is a great place to spend an afternoon. 


Trek to Wilmot Mountain for Tubing, Skiing or Snowboarding

Chicago’s terrain is flat as far as the eye can see, but in a little over an hour, you can hit mountainous slopes at one of the area’s best ski destinations. Read on to plan your winter family-friendly romp in the snow at Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin.



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