Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park is perfect for your next RV vacation with the family. Located in southern Illinois, right next to Rend Lake and its reservoir, you’ll find the 3,300 acres that make up this wonderful park. And, there’s lots of fun stuff to do here. You can go camping in your RV, go fishing, go for a hike, and even go horseback riding on the trails.
In fact, nearly 2,000 acres of the park has been set aside for activities such as these, as well as for boating and picnicking. And with Rend Lake being right here, it makes for some pretty great fishing experiences. There are lots of different kinds of fish you can catch here, including catfish, bass, bluegill, and crappies. There are plenty of opportunities for birdwatchers as well - the other 1,000 acres or so of the park is dedicated to the wildlife so that you can watch, observe, and even sometimes hunt.
During your stay, you’ll get to enjoy one of the great 243 modern RV sites at the campground. Each site is kept well-maintained and level, and will give you plenty of room for all your needs. You’ll also have access to a number of amenities, while enjoying a wonderful view of the lake. There’s just so much to see and do here, and it’s all thanks to Wayne Fitzgerrell, a state representative who was a huge advocate for building Rend Lake in the first place.
The park is located near Benton, IL, but the closest city is actually St. Louis, MO, which you can reach in about an hour and a half. The park is right off I-57 and other local highways so you shouldn't have any trouble navigating the area in your rig. There are entrances to the north and the south. If you are coming into the park from the south, off IL-154 you get to cross over Rend Lake on a bridge which offers gorgeous views, but it might be a bit narrow for larger RVs. Most destinations of the park from the campsites to the hunting areas are off one main road so you don't have to worry about getting lost. You'll find parking lots dotted around the park. If you're staying overnight it will be easiest to park your trailer or camper at the campsite and use a bike or tow vehicle to get around.
Thirty-three of the campsites in the Bay Area are open for reservations. You can enjoy electric hookups, a picnic table, and fire pit at your campsite. Pets are welcome.
The park features 243 RV campsites and 17 primitive tent sites spread across several camping areas along the lake including Shady Rest, Lookout Point, Lake View, Hickmans Point, and Bay Area. 210 of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis only. Not only will you enjoy breathtaking waterfront views, but you will have access to electric hookups at the RV campsites. Each campsite features a picnic table, fire pit, and fire ring or grill. Restrooms and showers are centrally located throughout the camping areas. RVs, campers, and trailers up to 44 feet long can be accommodated. Plus, you're welcome to bring your pet along too!
If you want to go hiking, or have brought your bike along with you on this trip, there is a four-mile long trail that was built not that long ago, just for hikers and bikers. It is located near the South picnic area, so you can go right after a nice picnic with the family. On the trail, you’ll get to see all kinds of beautiful wildlife and scenery - from wetlands to prairie grasslands.
Wayne Fitzgerrell, with three-quarters of the park’s boundary being taken up by Rend Lake, is the perfect place to go fishing. You definitely don’t want to miss out on your chance to make some great catches, so be sure to bring your fishing gear with you in your RV. If you find yourself visiting in early spring, you can easily catch a lot of black and white crappie. Other types of fish at the lake include catfish, bass, and even bluegill. So once you have parked your RV, you can relax and go fishing at one of the most beautiful lakes in Illinois. With some luck, you might just pull a big crappie out of the lake.
For those who love the excitement of horseback riding, they will definitely enjoy the nine-mile bridle trail that goes around the wildlife field. Before heading out though, be sure to grab your camera, as there are lots of great spots to take pictures of the wildlife and scenery, and you won’t want to miss out. Keep in mind though that while this bridle trail is open most of the year, it does close from mid-September to mid-April for hunting.
One factor that adds to the beauty and appeal of the Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park is the wildlife that is present within the area. Birdwatchers love to come here to see all the varieties of waterfowl and shorebirds. Just make sure you have your binoculars safely tucked in your campervan, and you might get to see a hawk or a heron, or even a bald eagle if you’re lucky. Other animals you might catch a glimpse of include opossums, squirrels, deer, raccoons, and turkeys.
Birders and RV campers who happen to visit the area have higher chances of seeing majestic bird species like the red-tailed hawk, American Blue Eagle, or the great blue Heron. In fact, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park is home to ring-necked pheasants, a species that is hard to find anywhere else. Birding in the park is an interesting activity that you can share with the entire family. With about 272 species of birds documented in the area, you definitely won’t get bored searching and identifying all of them.
One of the best ways of capturing unforgettable camping moments is by taking pictures of the places and faces you meet, and create wonderful images of the breathtaking waterfront views that make Wayne Fitzgerrell state park a must for your every RV vacation. Or you can just choose a site that is close to the end point, where you can be closest to the lakeshore and enjoy the magnificence of watching the sun set in the west.