Get everyone outdoors and spend a day hiking, climbing and picnicking in one of Illinois’ most beautiful parks. Garden of the Gods is part of the Shawnee National Forest and has 5.5 miles of interconnected trailways meandering around beautiful limestone rock formations. Some of the trails go by cliff edges with 100 foot drops into gorgeous bluffs with views over the forested lands of the Midwest, especially beautiful in the fall when the trees are changing colors.
Garden of the Gods is a 5 hour drive from Chicago but they have camping facilities. Bring hiking boots or walking shoes and look out for deer on the hilly road into the park. Park admission is free and camp sites cost $5 with the nearest town about 20 minutes away.