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Princeton’s rural setting affords visitors ample opportunity to pursue their favorite outdoor or recreational activity. Whether you are a fitness buff, an outdoorsman, or simply wish to pack up the picnic basket and share a wonderful afternoon outside with the family, our community and the surrounding countryside provide a variety of parks and waterways perfect for any manner of outdoor activity including golf, biking, jogging, hunting, fishing, canoeing, and more.

Our community is blessed with the wonderful Princeton Park District, which, year in and year out, tirelessly maintains over 192 acres of parks, the Bureau County Metro Center, and the public outdoor Alexander Swimming Pool.

The Bureau County Metro Center is a 50,000 square-foot recreation center featuring a full size gymnasium; 25-yard indoor swimming pool with wading pool and observation balcony; racquetball courts; weight room; cardiovascular room, elevated running/walking track above the gym; and locker rooms. A 40′ x 80′ multi-purpose room with adjacent kitchen provides the perfect setting for conventions, expositions, meetings, or wedding receptions. The Park District Staff at the Metro Center strive to provide a continuous schedule of fun and exciting events, leagues and classes keeping our residents and visitors active & entertained all year long.

Our green areas include the twelve acre Alexander Park which hosts a 9-hole disc golf course, six tennis courts, outdoor Alexander pool, horseshoe pits, barbecue & picnic areas, shelter, restrooms, playground and sand volleyball. West Side Ball Park provides 2 baseball diamonds, restrooms, and concession stand and is host to a ball game nearly every evening between May and August.

Zearing Park is a sprawling 72 acre park on the southeast corner of Princeton where you can find 3 baseball fields, shelters, picnic and barbecue areas, sand volleyball, horseshoe pits, playground, and concession stand. Zearing Park is also the home of a 3 acre fully stocked pond, walking path, and outdoor soccer complex.

Our City County Park is a 65-acre park nestled throughout a natural woodland setting just north of town offering hiking trails, barbecue areas, log cabin shelter, playground, ball field, and restrooms. It is often the location of Boy and Girl Scout Day Camps and our annual Shadows of the Blue and Gray Civil War Reenactment each October.

For more information about our community parks and planned Park District activities, please visit


Hennepin Canal Parkway

Now including over 90 miles of surfaced bike trails, 70 miles of equestrian trails, 150 miles of scenic hiking trails, and 90 miles of snowmobile trails, the Hennepin Canal Parkway has become a favorite destination for cyclists, horseback riders, hikers and sleders alike and is an exceptional spot for fishing, birding, canoeing and a wealth of other outdoor activities. For those looking to spend a night under the stars, it also offers camping areas at many of the locks, parks and waypoints along its path.

For those looking to learn more about the Hennepin Canal or plan a trip, may we suggest visiting the Hennepin Canal Vistors Center located in near by Sheffield, where you can find a wealth of information about the history and construction of the canal, including displays that help illustrate the canals past, as well as the plant and animal life that makes its home along the canal’s banks.

Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway

Experience the many natural and historical Princeton Gateway waypoints along the picturesque Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway.

From their website…

The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway preserves the natural river country along the banks of the Illinois River, so visitors can travel the same route as early French explorers. Get close to nature and see just what the Illinois River Road has in store for you. Whether hiking the bluff trails, biking our historic canal towpaths, wetting a fishing line or canoeing in one of the beautifully restored wetlands, or simply enjoying serene wildlife habitats, you’ll be immersed in the rich history and beauty of the Illinois River Valley.”