Parks and Recreation Month: New Little League Baseball and Kayak Rentals to Kick off the Season in Jacksonville, IL

Parks and Recreation Month: New Little League Baseball and Kayak Rentals to Kick off the Season in Jacksonville, IL Main Photo

24 Jun 2024


Celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month this July by exploring the wonders of Jacksonville, IL. In Jacksonville alone, there are more than 10 parks, each with its own unique appeal including nature trails, city life, wildlife, sports, lake adventures, and more. Discover new and upcoming park activities, sports opportunities, and more right here in Jacksonville this summer!

“These exciting additions to Jacksonville’s Parks and Recreation scene not only enhance our natural environment, but also enrich the lives of both residents and visitors alike,” said Brittany Henry, Executive Director at the Jacksonville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “They offer avenues for adventure seekers, relaxation, and open the opportunity for those to connect with our community and environment, ensuring that Jacksonville remains a vibrant destination for all to enjoy.”

Get to know some of the best parks in the region and the native fauna of Illinois. Create a plan to celebrate this National Parks and Recreation Month with picnics, day hikes, and other outdoor activities. 

Jacksonville’s New Little League Team

Jacksonville has an abundance of sports opportunities for adults and children. From the Jacksonville Skate Park to the Foreman Grove Park Disc Golf Course, Jacksonville offers plenty of chances to get your game on.

In recent news, Jacksonville now offers Little League Baseball—which began in April—to Jacksonville School District 117 students who will be 10-12 years old by August 31st. The games involve competition against other teams in Little League District 117. Home games take place at the Future Champions Sports Complex.

“This league serves as more than a sports organization; it’s a cornerstone of the community, bringing families and youth together, shaping young lives, and contributing to the vibrant culture of the area,” Henry said.

Jacksonville is also home to a few golf courses including the Nichols Park Golf Courses and K's Creek Golf Club. Nichols Park now also features a disc golf course.

“The newly installed 18-hole disc golf course at Nichols Park provides enthusiasts with an exciting challenge amidst scenic surroundings,” Henry said. 

Visit the Local Parks in Jacksonville, IL

You don't have to travel far to explore the national wonders of Illinois. Here are a few can't-miss parks in Jacksonville, IL. See how many you can visit this July!

“Jacksonville has a lot to be proud of when it comes to thrilling additions to outdoor activities that have been added within the past year,” Henry said. “Activities including kayak rentals at Lake Mauvaiseterre have been a huge hit since the program took off, offering residents and visitors a serene water adventure.”

Lake Mauvaiseterre now has a self-serve kiosk for renting kayaks and paddle boards through an app from Rent.Fun. Six kayaks and two stand-up paddleboards are offered to rent, with paddles and life jackets included. The rental fees are $25 for 2 hours and $15 per hour thereafter.

“Additionally, the extension of the Lake Jacksonville Paved Trail offers more enhanced opportunities for walkers, joggers and cyclists to explore the natural beauty that surrounds our beloved man made lake,” Henry said.

The National Park Service has an interactive map that allows you to find some of the best trails, preserves, and monuments in the area. You can also use Find Your Park to discover some of the best places to explore nature in the region.

Many of these parks are designed to accommodate visitors of all activity levels. You can find stroller-friendly walkways if you are traveling with little ones or seek advanced bike paths if you want an adrenaline rush.

State Parks Are Affordable and Easy to Get To

There are 63 National Parks across the United States. These range from the vast Grand Canyon to the memorial at Gettysburg. While these parks are beautiful, they can be hard to get to. Fortunately, there are nearly 10,000 state parks across the country that protect 20 million acres of land. You can easily find one of these parks near Jacksonville, IL to enjoy a day out in this beautiful land.

Beaver Dam State Park is only a little over an hour drive from Jacksonville. Sangchris Lake State Park is only a 50-minute drive. According to the Illinois DNR, “The Illinois Department of Natural Resources does not charge an Entrance Fee to any state owned or operated land with the exception of Wildlife Prairie Park and sites with beaches. Beaches charge $1 a day per person for beach use only.”

State parks are often more affordable for families and individuals to visit. Not only can you create unforgettable memories when you visit parks near Jacksonville, IL, but you can enjoy countless fun activities on a budget.

Visiting Local Parks Supports Regional Economic Development 

There is a direct correlation between visiting state or local parks and economic development in Jacksonville, IL. The money you spend on park admission or annual passes helps the preserves hire park rangers and other stewards of our natural assets.

Your contribution also supports the upkeep of the parks, including the removal of invasive species and litter which can be harmful to local wildlife. This maintenance improves the quality of life of Jacksonville, IL and makes it a desirable place to live now and for future generations. The state parks can remain an asset that attracts residents to Jacksonville and grow the overall workforce.

Even if admission is free, your visit to the local parks of Jacksonville makes a difference. Parks monitor foot traffic and visitor counts in each preservation. Your attendance could lead to additional funding for the park and programs for kids, families, and adults alike.

Make plans this July to explore the state and local parks of Jacksonville, IL. Don't forget your sunscreen, water, comfortable walking shoes, and bug spray. Always tell someone where you will be hiking and when you will be back. This will allow you to enjoy nature safely and return with positive memories. 

Learn How the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation Supports Quality of Life in Jacksonville, IL

The Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation is focused on promoting quality of life in the region through parks and recreation, plus housing, education, child care, and more. We are able to carry out our mission through the generous financial contributions of our investors. To learn more about becoming an investor, feel free to give us a call at (217) 479-4627 or fill out our online form