Being a city kid comes with the obvious perks—access to great museums, plenty of playgrounds, tons of events—but sometimes you might feel like you're missing out when it comes to experiencing nature. Just think of all the wildflowers you could see. Luckily, you can pack up the kids and become one with nature by exploring these great hiking trails and wide, open spaces, all within a few hours' drive or less. From sand dunes in Indiana to waterfalls in DuPage County, here are some of the best spots to hike as a family.
RECOMMENDED: The best hiking trails in America
Hiking trails for the family
Part of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County that makes up more than 69,000 acres of natural land, the Des Plaines River Trail runs along the Des Plaines River and is a perfect place to explore from River Forest to the Wisconsin border. Young ones will appreciate the River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook to learn about the trail through fun and interactive displays.
One of the most beautiful attractions in all of Illinois, this state park is a must for those who love the outdoors. Thirteen miles of trails, waterfalls, boating, trolley tours and more is some of what you'll find here. Make a weekend of it and stay at the Starved Rock Lodge.
With more than 40 miles of hiking trails, 23 miles of mountain bike trails and even 14 miles of equestrian trails, you'll find something for everyone at this state park. Fishing, boating and plenty of kids' activities round out this worthy day or weekend trip from the city.