Featuring six and a half miles of the only remaining beach ridge shoreline in the state, Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park is a fantastic RV holiday destination for those who love the outdoors. Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park (also commonly known as Illinois Beach State Park) is a 4,160-acre park that consists of two separate areas (the North Unit and the South Unit) and is located in far north-eastern Illinois along the banks of Lake Michigan in Winthrop Harbor.
Originally visited by French explorers in the 1600s and part of the "Three Fires" of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa in the 1700s, the land in and around the park has a lot of history. When Illinois became a state in 1818 transient hunters and trappers called the area home. In 1836, a treaty was made with the local Native Americans and the area became part of Lake County. Preservation efforts for the area were considered as early as 1888 and in 1948 the state acquired the first parcels of land for what is now Illinois Beach State Park.
Along with having the only remaining beach ridge shoreline left in the state, the park also features sprawling marshes, forests of oak and a vast array of flora and fauna. Popular recreational activities in the park include fishing, swimming, biking and hiking and the park is very popular during the summertime. The park also has impressive camping facilities, with 225 RV friendly campsites that feature 30 amp electrical hookups. Peak season in Illinois Beach State Park runs from the beginning of May until the end of September.
Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park is located right near the border of Wisconsin on the banks of Lake Michigan. The park is in a very easy to reach location and there are multiple towns located to the north, west and south of the park. Some of the towns that close to the park include Beach Park (around two and half miles away), Wadsworth (around five and a half miles away) and Winthrop Harbor (around six and a half miles away). The closest city to the park is Waukegan (around five and a half miles away), with the city being located roughly in the middle of Milwaukee and Chicago
There are multiple entrances to the park, however for those wanting to access the park office and campground there is one main access road that splits off into two other roads once you enter the park. The road used to access the park is very easy to find as it is off IL-137. The roads in and around the park are very flat and you should have no issues with overhanging branches or skinny roads. During the winter time the park is known to experience heavy snowfall, so if you are planning on visiting during the winter make sure that you contact the park office to see whether the roads will be open.
There is plenty of parking available at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park.
Public transport is available from the city of Waukegan via a bus.
The campground at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park is a great place to spend the night. The campground is located in the southern unit of the state park and features two large loops that contain 225 RV-friendly sites. All sites have 30 amp electrical connections and the ability to access the showers and sanitary facilities that are located within the campground. Other amenities in the campground include a dump station. water collection points, ADA accessible sites, a playground and extra parking.
There are numerous sites available for those who have larger rigs and you should be able to get cell phone reception on all of the major networks. Due to the high use of the campground throughout holiday weekends if you plan on coming during that time we recommend getting a reservation. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance and are only accepted from May 1st to September 30th. The campground closes each year from January 1st until March 31st.
Since Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park has the only remaining beach shoreline left in the state it would be a shame to not make the most of it during your stay. Swimming is available in both the north and the south units of the park and is a very popular activity for visitors of all ages. The swimming beaches in both units have ample parking and there is a planned upgrade for the concession stand and bathhouse that is located in the southern area of the park. There are no life guards on duty at the park so make sure you take precautions when swimming.
Love to fish? If so, you should consider having a fish during your stay in Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park. You are allowed to fish along the beach area in both units of the park but you must stay out of the swimming areas. If you want to experience some other terrain there are also several small inland fishing ponds, including Sand Pond that have fishing piers available to use. If you need a pier that has disability accessibility we recommend checking out Sand Pond.
Spending a lovely summer afternoon relaxing over a picnic is one of the great pleasures in life. The easy access to Lake Michigan makes Illinois Beach State Park a relaxing and enjoyable place to picnic with the family or friends. Both the northern and southern units of the park contain numerous picnic grounds that are equipped with tables. If you have a larger group of 25 people or more you will need to obtain a picnic permit. You can do so by calling the park office. Remember that all alcohol is prohibited at Illinois Beach State Park and Dogs are not allowed on the beach or in the nature preserve.
If you are a hiking fan you will love your stay at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park. There are plenty of excellent hiking opportunities available at both the northern and southern units of the park. If you are in the southern section you will find five miles of trails, including a two-mile loop trail with a graveled surface. In the north unit you will find the Camp Logan Trail, which is a multi-use loop trail that is around two mies in length.
Birdwatching in and around Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park is some of the best in the area. The South Unit of Illinois Beach State Park has a very diverse habitat that combines marsh, dune, swale, oak woods, beach and Lake Michigan into one beautiful location. Due to this diverse environment, the park boasts a whole range of migrating and breeding birds that can be hard to find elsewhere in Lake County and all of northeastern Illinois.
Once the snow starts to fall in and around Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park a lot of the popular recreational activities cease. Despite this, there are still options for those visiting the park during this time. Winter kayaking in Lake Michigan is popular for those who can brave the temperatures and the hiking trails are great for snow shoeing and some even allow cross country skiing. If you are planning to visit during the winter make sure you call ahead to the park office to ensure that the road to the park will be plowed.