Although Illinois is well known for its state parks, some might be surprised to hear that one of these parks features some amazing beaches perfect for swimming, soaking up the sun, and lounging on the sand. Do not let the name lead you on, there are plenty of other aspects of Illinois Beach State Park that make it one of the best in the state. Adults and families alike enjoy the park’s many amenities and breathtaking natural beauty. With over 4,100 acres, this state park is able to offer visitors something different to explore during each of their visits.
1. The Beaches
The name alone lets visitors know what the best part of this state park is, the beaches! As you can see from the photo above, Illinois has been hiding some serious beaches that many may have not known even existed. Obviously this part of the park is seasonal in nature. So, absolutely try to make it in the summer if you are interested in swimming. Or perhaps even during the warm days of spring if picnicking in the sand sounds intriguing and you don’t mind staying out of the water. These sandy beaches are some of the best throughout the midwest. They even compete with popular spots in Michigan known for their beaches.
2. Natural Beauty
For those interested in sitting back and relaxing while observing some natural beauty, Illinois Beach State Park is the perfect destination. The park is home to over 650 species of plants, as well as a plethora of wildlife that visitors can enjoy during their trip. Those looking for a low key, light effort exploration, planning a picnic might be the perfect solution. Grab a blanket, some snacks or lunch, perhaps some binoculars and sit back and enjoy the natural life that will surround you. Looking for an educational trip? Consider bringing along some nature books and try to identify species of plant and animal.
For those interested in a more athletic type of trip, Illinois Beach State Park also offers a beautiful bike trail for visitors to ride on. The park itself is broken up into North and South units. The bike trail allows cyclists to travel between the two when utilizing the Zion Bike Trail. This trail connects 29th Street at the south end to 17th Street at the north end.
3. Fishing, Boating and Camping
There are plenty of activities for nature lovers of all kinds at Illinois Beach State Park. The park offers a large campground area that includes showers, electricity, and washrooms for visitors to use when camping. From May through September, interested visitors can make a reservation through the park’s website. A reservation is highly recommended because camping is a popular activity for visitors, and spots can certainly fill up quickly.
In almost every area of the park, with exception to the swimming area of the beach, visitors are able to try their hand at fishing. This, of course, excludes the nature preserve. Where wildlife can sometimes be at risk and thus illegal to interact with in any way. Those looking to step up their fishing experience can also contact the park about the available boating options.
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