Escape to Kankakee County!
Lose yourself in the natural beauty of the Kankakee River and Kankakee River State Park, you won't be disappointed.
Get a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life and go for a well-needed retreat in the great outdoors. Just an hour-and-a-half drive from the Chicagoland area, Kankakee County often receives visitors looking to immerse themselves in nature and outdoor activities. Check out some of the top things to do when it comes to exploring the great outdoors in Kankakee County, Illinois, from river kayaking to scuba diving to weeklong kids’ camping programs.
Canoeing and Kayaking
Get adventurous by the water. Rent canoes or kayaks from Reed’s Canoe Trips, located next to the famous Kankakee River. Winding through Kankakee River State Park, the river is 11 miles long, giving paddlers plenty to see along the way. During warmer days, it’s common to spot wildlife like raccoons, deer, beavers and a variety of birds (including eagles). Guests have the choice of renting one-person or two-person kayaks—especially perfect for bringing along the kids—and up to three distinct types of trips. You can opt to take a swimming break, go on a hike or make a pit stop along the way for a bite to eat!. The paddling trips can last anywhere from three to six hours, depending on your preference.
Fishing is a popular activity in Kankakee County. Whether you’re casting your line from land or kayak, fishing is a fun activity for everyone. Choose to fish by yourself or use the services from Big River Fly-Fishing or Grab Your Fly Fishing Charters that will take you floating down the Kankakee River on a drift boat to nab delicacies like smallmouth bass, northern pike, channel catfish, walleye and more. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast who wishes to fish on your own, contact Sportsman's Letter for fishing advice and to acquire a map of the best fishing spots on the Kankakee River.
There’s nothing quite like enjoying the idyllic beauty of nature by going on a scenic hike in Kankakee River State Park. The 4,000-acre park has several hiking trails to explore, including a 3-mile route along Rock Creek, which will take you to a stunning waterfall in the midst of limestone canyons. You might see rabbits, foxes, squirrels, ducks and raccoons along the trek too. An alternative hiking spot in the county is Perry Farm Park. Once you arrive at the farm, you can enjoy the view of grazing livestock before going on a hike via the farm’s paved trail. While exploring, stop outside Native American Indian caves for a perfect photo opportunity (it’s advised not to explore inside).
Get up close and personal with the great outdoors by exploring the bike trails in Kankakee River State Park. And on your next trip to the area, check out Riverfront Bike Trail, a paved path through towering trees and lush gardens. The trail begins at River Road Park near Kankakee Community College and is now connected to Perry Farm Park over the Kankakee River by the Riverfront Trail bridge. If traveling with a bicycle is not ideal, try out the area's first ever bike share program, Bike609. The bike share kiosks are conveniently positioned at 10 different locations giving visitors access to the many bike trails Kankakee County offerrs.
Encourage a love of the great outdoors in your kids by taking them to Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See in Manteno. This campsite has a cool program that allows kids to stay for five to seven days at the site and sleep in a cabin. Campers will have access to various activities on the premises like archery, swimming, arts and crafts, field games, jewelry making and more. Or, if you’d rather skip kids’ camp and make it a whole-family camping experience, stay for one or two nights at any one of our off-the-grid campgrounds. You won’t be disappointed.
Did you know you can go scuba diving in Kankakee County? In Kankakee, Haigh Scuba Diving Quarry will take you to a 12-acre spring-fed quarry for an impressive underwater view. You’ll be given scuba diving equipment before heading underwater to admire a wide range of freshwater fish like bass and bluegills. Keep your eyes peeled for sunken charter boats, a truck, moss-covered statues, old pottery and more. Certified staff will help instruct first-timers on all the safety precautions and methods before they go on their dive.
Kankakee County is home to several gorgeous golfing courses. Manteno Golf Club is an idyllic spot with an 18-hole golf course that caters to seasoned golfers and amateurs. After playing a round of golf, head inside for a light lunch and to admire the view of the open field shrouded with gorgeous trees. In Grant Park, Minne Monesse Golf Course is another fantastic destination to tee off and enjoy the lush green surroundings. Or visit Oak Springs Golf Course in St. Anne, which has its own irrigation system, full-service lounge and a restaurant that overlooks the course.