15 Festive Fall Photo Ops in Lake County, IL

Trees bright and green turn yellow-brown. Autumn caught ’em, see all them leaves must fall down,” – Andre 3000 of Outkast. Start making your appointments with nature with these 15 festive fall photo ops in Lake County.

When the leaves change yellow and orange, it is the viewing party of a lifetime traveling on the best fall hike and bike trails in Lake County. We all can’t get out to New England to see their legendary foliage (and frankly, we don’t need to), but Lake County’s trees pack a kaleidoscopic punch of their own.

When you’re pondering about your fall photo-op, don’t forget Visit Lake County is running its #LetsSnapLakeCountyPhoto Contest. Continue here to learn more.


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The phrase, “take a picture it’ll last longer,” takes new meaning as you take your impressive imagery of Lake County. The land of lakes invites you to submit your phenomenal pictures in the #LetsSnapLakeCounty Photo Contest. 📸🤳🖼 Enjoy Illinois Tourism Currents U.S. Travel Association. A Grand Prize and five category winners will be selected. The Contest runs through October 31. Click the link in the bio to learn more. . . #LetsGoLakeCounty #enjoyillinois #illinois #chicago #doitforthegram #instagood #photocontest #crowdriff #lakecountyil #imagery #photography #shutterbug #lcfpd #antiochil #gurnee #foxlakeil #highlandparkil #deerfieldil #lincolnshireil #grayslake #libertyville #mainstreetlibertyville #zion #waukegan #mundelein #lakezurich #longgrove #vernonhills

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Fall photo ops are great for a holiday card, an engagement picture, a birth announcement or just capturing a few memories for the scrapbook.

Let’s take a look at the 15 festive fall photo ops Lake County have to offer.

Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods


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Fall is beautiful in Ryerson Woods

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Ryerson Conservation Area and the Brushwood Center take fall very seriously. Not only can you snap a magnificent fall photo op in the Lake County forest preserve, but you can also peruse the grounds on their Halloween Hikes (October 25-26) and get the daylights spooked out of you. Check back in the winter for their annual maple syrup hikes.

Bowen Park in Waukegan


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The historic park in the City of Progress is known for their environmental learning stations representing a forest ecosystem, plus playgrounds and spray area for the kiddies. There is also an exercise trail in the Waukegan park. The Waukegan Park District area has lush trees and sprawling fields and has a cascade of wonderful colors during the autumn season for your festive fall photo.

Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe


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Pumpkin time! 🎃 🍁 #halloween

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All sorts of colors are shifting their appearance during the autumnal equinox at the Chicago Bo. “The falling leaves drift by the window. The autumn leaves of red and gold” are a must-see just south of the Lake County border.

The University of St. Mary of the Lake (USML) in Mundelein


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These insanely gorgeous #engagementphotos are on the blog today >> link in profile 🍁💍

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USML is the quintessential nature haven. The variety of trees species complemented by the serene lake makes for the perfect fall photo op.

Chain O’ Lakes State Park in Spring Grove


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Pro tip: pretend you’re tired so you get extra treats, then run full speed after squirrels 🐿

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“I came along, I wrote a song for you. And all the things you do, and it was all yellow.” Man’s best friend is posing for the perfect photo op. The Chain O’ Lakes has a slew of locations where you can shoot autumn pictures.

Richardson Adventure Farm & Corn Maze in Spring Grove


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Having fun in a corn maze 🌾

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A gigantic maze of maize, pumpkins galore, friendly farm animals and fall photo ops to match at the Spring Grove farm. We have yet to see a person frowning while ZORBing.

Heinz Apple Orchard in Green Oaks


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🍎Apple picking with my husband yesterday was so fun…but now I’m head of the apple pie-making committee! ❤️

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Ready to compare apples to apples? Snagging one of these red or green treats at the Green Oaks orchard gives a lot of pop to your fall pics. Don’t forget your pot hat so you can go full Johnny Appleseed.

Heller Nature Center in Highland Park

Oak-hickory forests, tallgrass prairie, oak savanna and natural wetlands are an oasis for native plants and animals at this 97-acre preserve. Document your fall expedition with a selfie at the Highland Park area.

Didier Farms in Lincolnshire

The farm favorite features hayrides, pony rides, camel rides, kiddie rides, an exotic petting zoo, a parakeet exhibit, a corn maze and pig races (the sprinting porkies only gallop on the weekends). Not to mention you can get a sweet pic of that big ole pumpkin you’ve picked.

Illinois Beach State Park in Zion

Right by scenic Lake Michigan, the greens start to change yellow, orange, red and gold. A snap of autumn with the backdrop of the drink provides all of the seasonal feels you need.

Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in Highland Park


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❤️🍂🍁☀️🤗fall , 25th of October #ilovefall #Chicago #seasons #seasonsandlandscapes #fall

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Once upon a time, this defunct post was one of the United States Army named after Civil War Cavalry General Philip Sheridan. The fort located in Highland Park, Highwood and Lake Forest has been closed since 1993 but is a beautiful backdrop to your gram. From the autumn trees to the Lake Michigan scenery, this National Register of Historic Places and U.S. National Historic Landmark is a photo-op gem.

Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville

This scenic 1,135-acre preserve offers a wide range of outdoor recreation and education opportunities centered around a 115-acre lake reclaimed from a gravel quarry. Visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing and boating, a Marina with boat and bike rentals, a native garden and nearly seven miles of trails. The red, yellow, brown and green pyrotechnic nature explosion is a sight to see and snap a shot.

Volo Bog State Natural Area in Ingleside

View all the fascinating natural activity by taking a tour of Illinois’s only remaining open-water quaking bog. The National Natural Landmark in Ingleside is a perfect venue for a festive fall photo op.

Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve in Grayslake

Rollins Savanna is named an “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society due to the large number of endangered yellow-headed blackbirds that have found refuge here. Shutterbugs can take a festive fall photo there. Maybe Tweety will photobomb you.

Heron Creek Forest Preserve in Lake Zurich


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What is your favorite thing about fall? 🌼 The cooler weather? Pumpkin spice everything? The foliage? Back to school (in non-covid years, lol), What do you love most about fall? 🌼 I love the foliage… but I also love that last bloom of wildflowers right before the frosts set in. I love how briefly everything erupts in yellow, like these wild sunflowers and fields of goldenrod. Then, everything shifts to purples and whites when the asters bloom. It is just so pretty. 🌼 And I love watching all the birds and butterflies migrate through. Flowers and wildlife, that’s a win win as far as I’m concerned. 🌼 Fall is definitely the most colorful season of all 🌼 🌼 🌼 #letssnaplakecounty #enjoyillinois #travelillinois #letsgolakecounty #naturalillinois #illinois_shots #lakecountyil #forestpreservesoflakecounty #discoveryourplace #flower_perfection #flower_shotz #flowers_earth #plantsplantsplants #fallphotography #autumnforest #autumnphotography #nature_captures #runwildmychild #1000hoursoutside #hikeitbaby #celebratechildhood #raiseawildchild #adventuresofchildren #curiouslittleexplorers #optoutside #kidsoutside #adventuremore #outdoorslife

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Speaking of birds, the waves monikered Lake County Forest Preserve features a rolling landscape of scenic woodlands, open fields and sensitive wetlands. The highest wetland classification in the land of lakes offers views of an array of wildlife habitats and gorgeous plant meadows. Smile for the birdie. Say cheese!

Honorable Mention Fall Photo Ops

  • Tempel Farms in Old Mill Creek INFO»
  • Lambs Farm in Libertyville INFO»
  • Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway INFO»
  • Waukegan Light House INFO»
  • Lehmann Mansion in Lake Villa INFO»
  • Vigneto del bino in Antioch INFO»
  • Valentino Vineyards in Long Grove INFO»
  • Other Lake County Forest Preserves INFO»
  • Lincolnshire Marriott Resort INFO»
  • Corrine J. Rose Park in Waukegan INFO»
  • Bangs Lake in Wauconda INFO»
  • Gander Mountain in Antioch INFO»

For more places to take festive fall photo ops in Lake County, click here. Continue here to see all that is going on in Lake County. For autumn’s fall fab 5, click here.

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