I recently returned from the Northwoods of Wisconsin. The colors were just starting. NMMA sent this over and I'd like to share it with you for locations close to Chicago.
Discover Boating Names Top Spots in U.S. to Enjoy Vibrant Autumn Colors from a Boat
"CHICAGO (September 15, 2010) - As summer draws to a close, many Americans plan road trips to areas flush with fall foliage, but nature enthusiasts can experience a different type of scenic "drive" by taking in autumn's colors from a boat.
Boaters are always on board with the best views from the water, but non-boaters may be surprised to learn they can avoid the crowds and find a new way to enjoy the changing seasons. Fall foliage cruises across the country provide access to picturesque waterways and shoreline panoramas blanketed with the season's vibrant colors.
"We have highlighted a few of our favorite scenic waterways that provide prime viewing opportunities, for boat owners and non-owners alike, to enjoy the beauty of the season from the water," says Ellen Hopkins, spokesperson for Discover Boating, the U.S. recreational boating industry's national awareness program. "Many are surprised to learn that 90 percent of Americans live within an hour's drive of water, so taking in fall colors from a boat is more accessible than you may think."
Discover Boating surveyed a network of boating experts and people who love life on the water to compile the following list of waterways and destinations, many of which offer cruising, rental and charter options, to view fall colors from a boat:
Lake Geneva, Wis.: The town of Lake Geneva sits squarely on the 8.6 square miles of Geneva Lake, a popular nautical destination for weekend trips from nearby Chicago and Milwaukee. The city's quaint downtown, stately lakeside homes, fall festivals and variety of boating opportunities, make this a must-visit in the autumn months.
Peak Season: Late September to Late October
More Information: www.travelwisconsin.com/fallcolor_report.aspx
Lake Monroe, Ind.: Situated in south central Indiana near Bloomington, Lake Monroe is the state's largest lake. Surrounded by 13,202 acres of lush, protected forest and three recreational areas, it's an ideal destination for viewing spectacular fall foliage. The lake is served by a full-service marina with nine launch ramps, making it easily accessible for locals and tourists.
Peak Season: Mid-October to Early November
More Information: http://www.in.gov/visitindiana/leafcam/
Michigan's Upper Peninsula: It's no wonder Michigan is popular with those who love life on the water, with more than 11,000 inland lakes and 3,200 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, it's a boater's paradise. Visit the state's Upper Peninsula - surrounded by three of the Great Lakes - where there's no shortage of autumn's changing colors and waterways ideal for boating.
Peak Season: Mid-September to Mid-October
More Information: www.michigan.org/Topics/Fall/Default.aspx"
Some of my suggestions....
Starved Rock State Park, Utica, Illinois, Illinois River
Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, Big Kitten, Little Kitten, Wildcat Lakes
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, Whittington, Illinois, Rend Lake
Lake of Egypt, Williamson County, Illinois
"As the days get shorter, head out on the water to enjoy nature's fall colors before winter arrives. DiscoverBoating.com can help boaters plan their next on-the-water adventure and show novices how to get started in boating.
About Discover Boating
Discover Boating is a national awareness campaign developed by the recreational boating industry and managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). Discover Boating programs focus on increasing participation and building interest in recreational boating by demonstrating the benefits, affordability and accessibility of the boating lifestyle, while helping potential boaters experience why life is better with a boat. To find out more, visit DiscoverBoating.com."