Lake Murphysboro State Park
RV & Trailer Guide

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Introduction

Featuring stunning rolling hills, the star-shaped Lake Murphysboro and numerous recreational activities, Lake Murphysboro State Park is a fantastic destination for RV travelers. Located in Jackson County, the 1,022-acre state park is the perfect place to get out in the great outdoors with boating, fishing, picnicking, camping and hiking available for visitors to enjoy. The history of the park dates back to the Old Woodland and Paleolithic Native American cultures with archaeological evidence for both being found in and around the park. By the early 1800s there were no Native American settlements in the area. In 1818, the federal government gave Illinois three saline lands after they were admitted to the Union. One of these pieces was located less than a mile southwest of the park and it was leased to the Illinois House and Senate member Dr. Conrad Will. Dr. Will opened a salt works, and the town of Brownsville was alive until the saltworks closed in 1840. All that remains of the town is the cemetery.

Interest in the area as a public recreational park began in the 1930s and the park land purchased by the State in 1948. The highlight of the park is the 145 acre Lake Murphysboro, which was built in 1950. The lake is home to some great fishing and boating. You will also find some impressive natural features within the park, with patches of native wild orchids known to be found in the wooded areas of the park.

Camping in Lake Murphysboro State Park is provided through 62 sites. 43 of the sites feature either 30 or 50 amp connections and the other 19 are non-powered. Peak season in Lake Murphysboro State Park runs from the beginning of April until the end of November.

Camping Accommodations

40’
Max RV length
40’
Max trailer length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Lake Murphysboro State Park

Transportation in Lake Murphysboro State Park

Lake Murphysboro State Park is located in Jackson County in south-west Illinois on the north side of Route 149, around two miles west of Murphysboro. The park can only be accessed via the southern and western area of the park due to the forest that surrounds it to the north and east. A great feature about Lake Murphysboro State Park is that there are roads that take you all the way around the lake, which is great for those who want to see the whole lake from the comfort of their RV.

The roads in and around the park are heavily wooded but the trees should not prove to be a problem for bigger RV's. During the winter time the park can get heavy snowfall so make sure you check in at the park office before you begin your journey if you plan on coming to the park in winter. The most popular way to access the park is either through the town of Murphysboro or from Route 149 traveling eastbound.

There is plenty of parking available for visitors to Lake Murphysboro State Park.

Unfortunately there are no public transport options that will take you to Lake Murphysboro State Park.

Campgrounds and parking in Lake Murphysboro State Park

Campsites in Lake Murphysboro State Park

Lake Murphysboro State Park Campgrounds

Lake Murphysboro State Park has some very impressive camping facilities that are spread over three camping areas within the the park. The main camping area in the park has 23 sites that are RV friendly that all feature either 30 or 50 amp electrical connections. This is the only camping area available in Lake Murphysboro State Park that have electrical connections for your RV so it is the most popular of the three.

Along with offering power hookups all sites are also pet friendly and can accommodate RV's up to 40 feet in length. If you need an ADA accessible camping spot you will find three of them in this part of the camping area. Vault toilets are available within the park along with a water collection point. Reservations are available six months in advance. There is a two night (Friday/Saturday) minimum stay required during Memorial Day, Independence Day (when July 4th falls on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday) and Labor Day weekends. There is also fee increase during those holiday weekends.

Shady Rest Camping Area

Shady Rest Camping Area is the mid sized campground in the park. It has 15 sites that are RV friendly that are all non-powered. Sites at Shady Rest Camping Area are also pet friendly and can accommodate RV's up to 45 feet in length via the back-in sites. If you are looking for quieter camping experience Shady Rest Camping Area will be a better option than the main camping area.

If you need an ADA accessible camping spot then you should stay in the main camping area of the park where three are available. Vault toilets are available within the park along with a water collection point and a dump station is located near the main camping area. Reservations are available six months in advance. There is a two night (Friday/Saturday) minimum stay required during Memorial Day, Independence Day (when July 4th falls on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday) and Labor Day weekends. There is also fee increase during those holiday weekends.

Water Lily Camping Area

Water Lily Camping Area is the smallest campground within Lake Murphysboro State Park. It has 5 sites that are RV friendly that are all non-powered. Sites at Water Lily Camping Area are also pet friendly and can accommodate RV's up to 40 feet in length. If you are looking for quieter camping experience we recommend choosing Water Lily Camping Area as it is the smallest spot for RV camping in the park.

If you need an ADA accessible camping spot then you should stay in the main camping area of the park where three are available. Vault toilets are available within the park along with a water collection point and a dump station is located near the main camping area. Reservations are available six months in advance. There is a two night (Friday/Saturday) minimum stay required during Memorial Day, Independence Day (when July 4th falls on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday) and Labor Day weekends. There is also fee increase during those holiday weekends.

Seasonal activities in Lake Murphysboro State Park

Fishing

Featuring gentle hills and shady shores, Lake Murphysboro is a very popular destination for people who like to fish via the banks. There are many different varieties of fish available within the lake, including bluegill, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, channel catfish and crappie. An accessible fishing pier is also available for visitors to the park. There is also a smaller lake known as Little Lake in Lake Murphysboro State Park that you can also cast a line in.

Boating

While bank fishing is popular in the park boating is also allowed for both fishing and other activities. There is a boat transfer station and a boat launch that is available for visitors to the park wanting to use the lake. Before you get your boat ready to go make sure you come motor-less as motorized boats are not allowed on Lake Murphysboro or Little Lake. There are no guarantees that rentals will be available so make sure you bring your own watercraft if you plan on going boating during your stay.

Picnicking

People visit Lake Murphysboro State Park for many reasons, but no matter why you are in the park you must check out the shaded picnic areas. These areas are located in tranquil locations around the lake for you to use during your stay in the park. If you are wanting to host a larger groups there are two shelter houses, with one of these shelters featuring drinking water and playground equipment. Parking areas are available at both shelters along with ADA accessible restrooms.

Hiking

For those looking to explore the area there is a three mile trail available for use in Lake Murphysboro State Park. The trail offers hikers the opportunity to enjoy the animal, plant and bird life of the park. If you complete the trail and want to do go do some more exploring there are also some other options available for you. There are several paths that criss-cross through the park's wooded hills that will be fun to explore for people of all ages.

Archery

Are you a fan of the bow and arrow? An awesome activity to do at Lake Murphysboro State Park is to go to the archery range and get some target practice. Located in the north-west section of the park, the archery range is available for use all year round. The range is quite impressive and is very popular with visitors. Make sure that you bring your own archery equipment if you want to use the range as rentals may not be available during your stay.

Birding

Southern Illinois is home to some fantastic birds and Lake Murphysboro State Park is a very popular place to see these amazing creatures. The chuck-will’s-widow is a southern Illinois breeding specialty that you can find within Lake Murphysboro State Park during the warmer months. The best place to hear this unique birds call is beginning at dusk and through the night. Other birds that are popular to spot in the park include warblers, summer tanager and orchard orioles.