Featured Photo by Gary Meulemans

 5 Family Weekend Activities in Illinois’ Fox River Valley!

A tributary of the Illinois River, the Fox River is a 202-mile long river flowing from Wisconsin to Ottawa, IL through more than 25 towns and communities known as the Fox River Valley. Situated along the western edges of the Chicago area, the Fox River Valley is not short on family activities to do and sights to see.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Photo by EnjoyIllinois

With 32-miles of multi-use trails along the river, The Fox River Trail has many scenic points that highlight the beauty of its natural surroundings. The trail is open for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing year-round and has many points of interest such as Carpenter Dam, Fox River Shores, Tyler Creek, Voyageur Landing, Shoemaker Nature Center, and the Fabyan Forest Preserve.

Turtle River Winterfest

Located in the town of Geneva and on the Fox River, the Fabyan Forest Preserve is a country estate previously owned by an eccentric businessman Colonel George Fabyan who developed and lived on the land with his wife, Nelle. His home, the Fabyan Villa was remodeled by Frank Llyod Wright and is now a museum. The estate features a Japanese style garden to stroll through and an authentic working Dutch windmill that offers tours.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Photo by John Jackson

As one of the few remaining authentic drive-in theaters left in Illinois, The McHenry Outdoor Theater, also known as Golden Age Cinemas, seeks to recreate the entertaining and innocent days of the 1950s cinematic experience. Often opting to do double features of well-known and iconic films, McHenry Outdoor Theater also hosts comedy shows, concerts, and many more events.

5 Ways to Get Outside on the Turtle River

Photo by Markus Spiske

Known for being Illinois’ largest family entertainment center, Funway presents a variety of activities to do. From indoor fun like bowling, roller skating, laser tag, and bumper cars, to outdoor fun like go-karts, bumper boats, mini-golf, and batting cages. They also have more seasonal activities that add to more diverse or themed activities

Off Roading with ATVs and UTVs

Photo by Steven Shaffer

Pottawatomie Park is a historic community park that showcases not only picnic areas, playgrounds, and a volleyball court, but also swimming pools, golf courses, and paddleboat rentals. Just off the east edge of the Fox River, and within walking distance of downtown St. Charles, it has a multi-use community center, paddlewheel riverboat cruises, tennis courts, and a native plant demonstration garden. Located on the Fox River Trail, it also allows access to hiking and biking trails.


I’m a senior at Winona State University majoring in advertising. I love anything related to arts and culture like dance, music, and visual art.

Carissa Chin

Writer , River Travel Magazine