Smile Politely

Kaufman Lake is your next park to visit

Some people have never heard of Kaufman Lake, located at 2702 West Springfield Avenue (near the El Toro in Champaign). Of course, others have. Either way, these photos are sure to entice you to visit soon before summer runs out. Whether you want to exercise, fish, boat, or have a picnic, there is something for you at Kaufman.

I recently went to a Smile Politely editors’ meeting, and our Publisher, Seth Fein, was talking about what type of content to publish on the site. He said “use your articles to show what you think is beautiful in Champaign.” Weeks later, I am walking around Kaufman Lake and I think to myself, “this is beautiful.”

Kaufman Lake has a great path to walk, run or ride around wide enough for a family.

You may be thinking “a path around a lake, so what?” Well here’s a few reasons to visit this path in particular. First, there is a path that goes all the way around the lake. 

As you walk around the path, though, the scenery changes from light foliage and a creek, to heavier foliage and the lake, to railroad tracks. 

It is dynamic in that your surroundings change as you travel.

If you pay attention you can spot some creatures and pretty flowers. The Lake is definitely alive. 

Fishing is not simply stand on a dock and cast, although that is available, too.

But there are also little cut-outs around the lake that take just a bit of climbing down to get to. You can sit or stand, secluded by little brush, away from Springfield Avenue and feel the tranquility as you fish.

And as you catch the fish, you don’t necessarily have to throw them back. Kaufman has some regulations as to what size and type of fish you can keep, but expect to bring home some dinner!

Small boats are allowed on the lake and it appears canoes are available for rental. There is also an area for an open fire pit. You can call 217-398-2951 for equipment and space rentals.

I tried to convey the dreamy, relaxed, quiet environment that Kaufman Lake exudes. It really was peaceful and entertaining at the same time. Another point to mention is that I felt safe at dusk. (No overtly shady business was going on.) There were families, children, and older adults at the lake. I will definitely be back.

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