Hastings Lake – An outdoor family destination

Hastings Lake in Lake County, Illinois offers a number of fun family options, including hiking, fishing and quite the extensive playground.

Hastings Lake Nature Hike, Lake County Illinois

As part of our Camp Jenny initiative this summer, I’m taking the boys on a hike every week. And so we’re having a great time exploring the different hiking options here in Lake County, Illinois. This past week we decided to try out Hastings Lake, part of the Lake County Forest Preserves and located in Lake Villa, Illinois.

Hastings Lake, Lake County

We actually decided to sign up for an evening walk with the Lake County Forest Preserve. We had a guide who took us on a short walk to point out the different animals that we saw and heard as the sun set. She also talked about the different plans we saw along the way.

Our Guide

My boys weren’t shy about asking questions, and our guide was very patient. It was a terrific introduction to Hastings Lake and I recommend you definitely sign up for a free outing. (Yep… it was free — and you can see what’s on the Lake County Forest Preserves calendar here.)

One thing we did learn was the path around the lake is paved, which means they plow it during the winter so it’s accessible year round. As we did our walk, we noticed a number of people riding bikes, walking dogs and even rollerblading.

We followed our guide to a wood boardwalk that goes out over the marsh so you can get a wonderful viewpoint. Just check out these amazing views we caught as the sun set!

Wooden walkway

Hastings Lake at Evening Walkway at evening

We did wish the evening walk went longer, however. So the boys and I came back later that week to explore around the entire lake. (So if you do go, plan on staying and doing the rest of the walk around the lake.)

Hasting Lake During the Day

First, I was surprised at just how many people were fishing during the day at Hastings Lake! We spotted some kids with their grandpa who had just caught a couple of fish.

The fishing spots are located all around the lake… from the several wooden docks closer to the entrance to the rock outcroppings set up if you walk around the lake. Apparently, the lake has bluegill, largemouth bass, carp, and other species.

Hastings Lake Fishing

We even spotted some turtles out sunning themselves by one of the fishing spots. My boys were thrilled!

I should also mention that there is a huge playground there… which parents had obviously flocked to with their toddlers. My boys, despite being older, thought it was a pretty good playground. I could see this being a regular destination if I lived in the Lake Villa area.

Hastings Lake OVERVIEW

Hastings Lake offers 4 miles of paved and gravel trails. The trails are open to bicycling, hiking, cross-country skiing and in-line skating.

There are also several picnic shelters which would be a great place to hold a gathering. And don’t forget about the large playground!

You can see a map of Greenbelt Forest Preserve, which shows the layout of the trails and amenities, or read more about the Hastings Lake.

One Comment

  1. Wow, beautiful pics! Great place to take the kids!

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