6 Outdoor Adventures to Take Before Summer Ends

6 Outdoor Adventures to Take Before Summer Ends

- Erica Zazo - 

As the bright nights grow shorter and the seasonal warmth dwindles, so do our opportunities for adventuring in peak summer season.

At Sandhill Coffee, we’ve been busy this summer not only exploring and attending events around the midwest, but also staying local as we debut the Sandhill Mobile Cafe at farmer’s markets and festivals around the city. However, there’s still lots of time to get outside and make the most of what’s left of the warm weather.

Here’s our guide on several must-take adventures to take before summer officially comes to an end.

  • Camp at a local state park
  • If sleeping under the stars is on your summer bucket list, time is running out to book your site. No matter if it’s deep in the Northwoods, on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, on the outskirts of the city, or right in your own backyard, there are plenty of places to camp in the midwest. To book a state park campsite, visit the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website (such as Michigan, Illinois, or Wisconsin). We recommend clicking “Calendar View” to see site availability by date, since open campsites can be hard to come by on short notice.

  • Paddle under fireworks or through natural landscape
  • There are plenty of local waterways to explore both in the city and in more rural settings. Locally, we recommend renting from Fox River Canoe Adventures & Kayaks if you’re looking for a more natural, scenic paddle. Or, if you’d prefer an urban adventure, consider Wateriders’ Navy Pier Fireworks Paddle on the Chicago River. You can also check out the Openlands Chicago and Paddle Illinois Water Trails interactive map for water trails around the Chicagoland area to plan your own adventure.

  • Buy fresh, seasonal produce from a farmer’s market
  • Grilled sweet corn, vine-ripe tomatoes, and sweet cherries – nothing beats locally sourced and in-season produce. Chicago boasts more than 30 farmer’s markets within the city, and that’s not even counting all of the surrounding suburbs that host their own markets. Sandhill Coffee’s Mobile Cafe is located at the Batavia Farmer’s Market every Saturday from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. from June through October. It’s an impressive market with a wide-array of local farmers, vendors, artisans and makers, not to mention right off of the beautiful Fox River in the summer time.

  • Take a hike (bike or run) on a local trail
  • We’d argue there’s no bad time to take a hike. That said, summer is an exceptional time to hit the trail, as you won’t get better weather and more sunlight than in the summer months. Resources like AllTrails, TrailLink, the Hiking Project make it easy to find a trail near you, no matter where you live. And in Chicago, we’ve also put together guides like ecosystems to hike through and explore in Chicago and how to pick up a new hobby like trail running and where to do it.

    get outside
  • Plan a roadtrip through the midwest
  • A long drive on a scenic road, through small towns, and deep into nature is a great way to soak in summer. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide for you to plan your trip and our favorite destinations throughout the region. 

  • Watch and marvel at the Sandhill Migration
  • In mid-September you can marvel at one of the most notable bird migrations in the world right in your own backyard. The sandhill crane migration, which happens twice per year, moves right through Illinois. According to wildlifeillinois.org: “Around 20,000 sandhill cranes migrate through Illinois from mid-February to mid-April and again from mid-September to mid-November,” with optimal viewing and in McHenry and Lake counties. Learn more about sandhill cranes and their migration patterns on the Audubon website.

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