What Are The National Parks In Illinois?

By Alice Ross | NORTH AMERICA

Nov 07

There are no national parks in Illinois. But even though the state doesn’t have any national park, it has a lot of state parks that showcase the state’s natural beauty.

The cliffs and waterfalls found in different parts of Illinois are undoubtedly remarkable. Visiting some of these sites, you will realize how beautiful the United States is. Below are the state parks in Illinois you may want to check out.

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Argyle Lake State Park

Argyle Lake State Park

Again, even though there are no national parks in Illinois, there are plenty of state parks for everyone to enjoy – the first one we want to feature is Argyle Lake State Park. Situated near Macomb, Illinois, this is a great park to relax with your family, doing some fishing.

This is one of the best spots to go fishing in the country, but aside from that, you can also do some hiking, camping, or just relaxing while taking beautiful pictures.

Beaver Dam State Park

If you are visiting Illinois in an RV and planning to do some camping, this is one of the best parks to visit. 

While the most popular activity here is fishing, you can also do something more physically challenging like hiking. 

Buffalo Rock State Park

Buffalo Rock State Park

If you are planning to check out Starved Rock State Park, it would be silly to miss Buffalo Rock State Park as they are just sitting next to each other.

After enjoying following the trails at Starved Rock, move along to Buffalo Rock and enjoy the animal figures and study the history of the buffalo in Illinois.

Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park

Another state park you wouldn’t want to miss in Illinois is Castle Rock State Park, which is located only a few miles from Oregon. If you are fond of rock formations or just want to see leaves in different colors that go with the season, this is the place to go.

Learn about the rich history of Indian and turn your trip into something more educational, which makes it a perfect destination for those who are traveling with kids.

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area

If you are looking for a place where you can just relax and maybe just enjoy the water by boating and fishing, this is the place to go.

You could also enjoy fishing or follow the trails through the woodlands. Make sure to check online if they are closed because there are certain parts of the year when they don’t operate. If you are a hunter, there are contests and events you can also join or check out.

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area

What makes this park different from other others is that it allows you to so sailing and has a big swimming pool. But like the others, Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area gives you an opportunity to go fishing and hiking.

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area

You can find a big man-made lake here and some gorgeous trails all the way to the woods, but you’ll also see a well-sized swimming pool ideal for little kids and the chance to catch some fish on the lake. 

Furthermore, this is a big camping park, which means you can easily park the RV in and make the most of your time.

Giant City State Park

Going a little bit to the south of Illinois, you’ll find one of the more exhilarating and heart-racing state parks in Illinois. This park surely makes up for the absence of national parks in Illinois! 

The common activities fishing, camping, and picnicking are offered here, but there are also other exciting activities you can do here. These activities include horseback riding and rock climbing.

Giant City State Park

Harry Woodyard State Natural Area

Before heading to Georgetown, make sure to visit the bathroom first for a more relaxing stay. While most state parks in Illinois offer restrooms, this park doesn’t have one.

If you’re big on hunting, the events take place in this woods are something you would be interested in. However, there are also several hiking trails you can explore and waters you can go fishing.

Horseshoe Lake State Park

Horseshoe Lake State Park

Do you like bird watching? Then don’t miss Madison County where you can find a gorgeous nature with different species of birds.

This is a huge destination for birdwatchers, but fishing and hiking are also possible just like in any other state park. 

Lincoln Trail State Park

Lincoln Trail Homestead State Memorial

If you like the idea of adding some educational hint on to your trip, Lincoln Trail State Park is definitely a must-visit. It honors the trip Abraham Lincoln and his family had through the area a lot of years ago.

While you are able to spend some times outdoors to get some daily dose of sunshine and do all of the common activities done in a park, you’ll have a bonus of learning more about the United States.

Lincoln Trail Homestead State Memorial

Lincoln Trail State Park

Another park dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, this park is located in the town of Mt. Zion, which marks the place of the first home he lived in, in Illinois.

Hiking and fishing are some of the most common activities here, but keep in mind that camping is not allowed in the park.

Moraine Hills State Park

Lincoln Trail State Park

If you happen to visit Illinois in wintertime, make sure not to miss Moraine Hills, State Park. It’s a perfect place to go if you want to experience intense cross-country skiing on natural trails. This is perfect for ice skating but also for other fun activities for people who are not into cross-country skiing.

If the weather allows, you can also do some sort of fishing. You are able to access the park from McHenry.

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park

Located in a town known as Loves Park, this is a perfect place to just park your RV and pull up your camping gears.
You could check out the lakes and do some fishing if you happen to visit during the summer season and skating and ice fishing during the winter season.

There’s also a long trail system that is going to be perfect for those who are looking for some adventure. It is located in a town called Loves Park.

Shabbona Lake State Park

Shabbona Lake State Park

Another state park that makes up for the absence of national parks in Illinois is Shabbona Lake State Park. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, this is the perfect place for you.

Located only a few miles outside of Chicago, Shabbona Lake State Park showcases definite uniqueness from the city to the park’s fields and forests.

This place gives you an opportunity to enjoy fishing, hunting, or just enjoy different winter activities. If you want, you can also join fishing classes, so make sure to bring your poles.

Sangchris Lake State Park

Sangchris Lake State Park

If you happen to be in the area of Springfield or Rochester and are looking for a place where you can park your RV and settle your camp for a while, this is a perfect place for that.

It’s a popular stop point for people traveling in RVs and offers access to a stunning park which gives an opportunity to hike, sail, and different other relaxing activities.

Starved Rock State Park

Considered as do-it-all Park, Starved Rock State Park is located in Utica, Illinois. You could do all of the usual outdoor activities in this park, however, it’s known for its several picturesque hiking trails.

Begin at the visitor's center where you can take maps and get yourself familiar with the parks layout to make sure you won’t get lost.

Starved Rock State Park

Trail of Tears State Park

Another educational state park in Illinois is Trail of Tears State Park. After all, one of many people’s reasons for looking for national parks in Illinois is to learn something about the history.

Trail of Tears State Park was named after the trip the Indians were forced to make when they were pushed away from their land by colonists. Learn quite about the history while on the way to the park.

Trail of Tears State Park

Tunnel Hill State Park

This is a remarkable state park to go if you like the idea of just cycling or strolling around the area. There is a bike trail that is approximately 45 miles accompanied by a lot of chance to exercise your legs and get a little physical.

While the hill here is not a mountain, it’s big enough to have a tunnel while a train can pass through. 

Tunnel Hill State Park

William G. Stratton State Park

While there are no national parks in Illinois for you to enjoy, Illinois state parks offer a lot of activities that could make up for it, William G. Stratton State Park is another one of them.

Accessibly located at Morris town, this park allows you to go on the water by Jet Ski or boat after having a quiet picnic under the shades. Trails are also available for you to explore. 

​William W. Powers State Recreation Area

If you visit Illinois for a road trip, it’s hard to miss this park as it is located in Chicago. If you visit the area during the winter season, you could try ice fishing and catching waterfowl can be done in the fall. 

​William W. Powers State Recreation Area

On the other hand, if you visit during the rest of the year, you are able to enjoy fishing in the lake or simply spend some time relaxing under the sun.

As you can see, even though there are no national parks in Illinois, these alternatives are not bad at all. Hopefully, this article has helped you plan your trip accordingly. If you have other questions about this topic, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comment below. Make sure to share this with your friends on social media too!

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

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