We have endless ways to escape into nature with dozens of parks and five forest preserves. We challenge you to visit as many as possible to discover all the great features and hidden gems found within.

Bountiful Blossoms

Every year, we wait with bated breath for the final freeze so that we can see those early spring wildflowers peek above the ground. Whether you want inspiration for your garden, need a backdrop for your photos, or simply want to admire beautiful gardens, we have many spots to check out. 

Allerton Park & Retreat Center—Explore the 14 formal gardens with over 100 ornaments and sculptures at this secluded estate. From their peony garden, which blooms in late spring, to the Fu Dog Garden, lush with hedges and greenery, we guarantee you’ll be awed.

Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden—The gardens at the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve feature an eye-popping red Japanese-style bridge and a scenic waterfall set amongst the award-winning gardens filled with diverse flora. 

Arboretum & IDEA Garden—On the University of Illinois campus, the Arboretum is a “living laboratory” utilized in the teaching and research of faculty and students. The public enjoys the ever-evolving, and picture-perfect space that extends to the Japan House where the cherry blossoms bloom each spring. Get inspired for your own garden at the Master Gardener’s Idea Garden, providing design ideas and a Children’s Garden. New paths continue to add to the accessibility of the space.

Heron View Forest Preserve—The newest forest preserve in the area, Heron View sits on a floodplain allowing for an impressive display of Virginia bluebells in spring. While witnessing this spectacle, keep an eye out for great blue herons that nest among the sycamores.

Our Community Parks

Did you know that 100% of the homes in Champaign-Urbana are within a ½ mile distance of green space? With over 1,200 acres of community parks all around the area, there is plenty to explore for a little break. Learn more about our area parks and preserves through the listings below.


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