Monday, April 30, 2018

Lake Michigan Serenity at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Fort Sheridan, Illinois

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I savored a free day and went exploring. I knew that I wanted water views and to visit somewhere new. We quickly zeroed in on the Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. The preserve rests on Lake Michigan treating you to incredible views like this:


Lake Michigan from Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Fort Sheridan, Illinois
Lake Michigan views!
Fort Sheridan was once a military base:

Fort Sheridan once served as a military base from 1887-1993, so you will notice some interesting architectural elements upon arrival. We quickly noted the water tower which is part of the old fort's barrack complex. The impressive landmark can be seen from various points in the area. While much of the fort is now residential, a section is still used for the Army Reserve.

Water tower at Fort Sheridan
Water tower at Fort Sheridan
A parking lot rests at the entrance of the preserve. It isn't huge, so I recommend coming earlier in the day to make parking easier.


Signs throughout the preserve not only give perspective to location but also provide guests with a little info about nature including geology and wildlife. Openlands has an incredible mission of ensuring that there natural spaces remain within easy reach of every city dweller. Additionally, Openlands maintains the goal of protecting habitats in northeastern Illinois to ensure cleaner water and air while providing natural balance to the lives of visitors.

Looking up the bluff on Lake Michigan in Illinois
Looking up the bluff!

There are several trails through the preserve including on the bluff, near the lake and through a ravine. We hiked most of them during our visit.

Hiking down to Lake Michigan:

Stairs leading to the Openlands Trail along a segment of Lake Michigan
Stairs leading to the Openlands Trail along a segment of Lake Michigan
We began by descending down the stairs towards the lake. Along the way, there are a couple of spots to enjoy the views. The lake is stunning, you can't help but pause!


We enjoyed serenity walking along the lake. A few families were playing a bit in the water. The clear day was magical.


There are a few art pieces along the hike in the ravine. We did not fully explore the ravine on this trip but hope to soon!


We headed back up the stairs to explore atop the bluff. We discovered a sun clock that was very accurate:

Sun clock at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Fort Sheridan, Illinois
Sun clock at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve 

From atop the bluff, I snapped a picture of Baha'i Temple in the distance! Pretty cool!

Baha'i Temple at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve
Baha'i Temple in the distance
The views are so incredible at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve that I could have spent the entire day there. I can't way to visit when the foliage has returned! The lake views are serene and really give that nature respite you need. Openlands Lakeshore Preserve is definitely one to have on your exploration list!

Tips:

  • Pack a picnic.
  • Bring binoculars. We discovered a lot birds. Plus, you may be able to see pretty far. We could see Baha'i Temple during our visit.
  • Dogs are permitted; just make sure they are on a leash and you clean up after them!
  • Lake County Forest Preserves also has a preserve at Fort Sheridan. It was not open during our visit. Parts of it will be reopening soon, so check for it on your visit.
  • There is a port-a-potty in the parking lot.
  • There is no fee for the preserve but you can donate to Openlands.
**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Lake Michigan Serenity at Openlands Lakeshore Preserve in Fort Sheridan, Illinois

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