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State Park Guide | Illinois

Guide to Illinois State Parks


Sandstone Bluffs | Natural lakes | Wetland & Rivers | Beaches of Lake Michigan | Rock Formations & Canyons | Prairies | Wildlife + Find Campgrounds near Illinois State Parks

Cache River Natural Area

This fascinating park protects some diverse landscapes and visitors can enjoy a wide variety of plant and animal life. There are two main areas of the park, the Lower Cache on the Cache River and the Little Black Slough. Within these two areas visitors will find wetlands, once common in the area, bald cypress, tupelo gum swamps and much more. Visitors to this park will enjoy exploring these unique landscapes through a variety of recreation including hiking and canoeing.

Chain O’Lakes State Park

This park is located in the area of Illinois that has many of natural lakes. Visitors to this park will find lots of water recreation, especially boating, fishing and skiing. Chain O’Lakes State Park borders three lakes, connected by the Fox River, and there is even a large lake within the park. The park has wonderful wildflowers through much of the year, and the habitat within the park makes it a great destination for bird watching and wildlife viewing.

Giant City State Park

Full of natural beauty and a great destination for outdoor recreation. The park is named for the huge sandstone bluffs and the “Giant City Streets” formed by these bluffs. Visitors should all be sure to take a hike on the Giant City Nature Trail to see the main feature of the park. In addition to this trail there are many more for visitors to choose from. The park also offers some excellent rock climbing and rappelling options. Another feature of the park is the historic lodge, which is a comfortable spot to stay and a wonderful historic feature of the park.

Illinois Beach State Park

This park stretches for over six miles along the shore of Lake Michigan. Within this park there are a variety of natural features, including dunes, marshes, oak forests and more. These diverse features make this park a wonderful area to enjoy recreation, including swimming, hiking, fishing, boating and more. Illinois Beach State Park also has a wonderful array of plants, especially wildflower, which can be found in the dunes, and many other plant species found in the diverse habitats of the park.

Jubilee College State Park

This park protects the historic grounds of the Jubilee College, one of the earliest colleges in the state. Although the college closed, the grounds and buildings have been turned into a fantastic state park. Visitors will love the natural features of the park, located in the Illinoisan drift-plain, including Jubilee Creek. Within this park there are many animal species for visitors to see, and there are many options for recreation. Visitors can enjoy fishing, camping, winter camping, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and more.

Mississippi Palisades State Park

This park is located near where the Mississippi River and the Apple River meet. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful natural features of the park, including wildflowers in the spring. In addition the park is a wonderful spot to enjoy some hiking. Visitors can walk on the same trails that people have been walking on for thousands of years. The bluffs of the palisades make it so that people have to follow defined paths. This park also has lots of wildlife, including migrating birds. The limestone cliffs also have caves that drop straight down, among other interesting rock formations. Visitors to this park can learn about human history in the region. Mississippi Palisades State Park is also a fantastic area to enjoy winter sports, including cross-country skiing, sledding, ice fishing and more.

Pere Marquette State Park

Looking over the Mississippi River, Pere Marquette State Park is filled with natural splendor. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the prehistoric use of the park, including fossils and Native American history. The fall colors at this park are especially beautiful. Visitors can enjoy a variety of recreation at this park, including camping, fishing, boating, hiking and more.

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park is located in a region with lots of plains and other interesting natural features. The park’s features make it a wonderful destination for recreation. Within the park’s acreage there are two lakes. These lakes are fantastic for swimming, as well as winter recreation, including ice fishing and ice skating. Throughout the year the park is also good for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and more.

Starved Rock State Park

This park is known for its amazing rock formations, which form 18 canyon within the park. Visitors to this park can enjoy the amazing waterfalls within the park, especially the abundance of features during the early spring. In addition the park is filled with lush vegetation, which visitors can enjoy while hiking throughout the park. Visitors can also enjoy the park while boating on the Illinois River. Starved Rock State Park also has a wonderful historic lodge, which provides amazing modern amenities as well as a look into the history of the park.

Wildlife Prairie State Park

Located near Peoria, this zoological park is home to a wide variety of animals. Children will love seeing the animals native to Illinois and more within the park. Visitors can see bears, cougars, wolves, foxes, bison and many more species within this park. Another feature of the park are the family friendly activities, including a train and a slide.

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