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Beall Woods State Park, near Mount Carmel, is a government-owned nature preserve that was established in 1966. The area had been owned by the Beall family since the mid-1800s, but only half of it had been farmed while the remaining area was left undisturbed. Following the death of the last family member, the land was purchased by a man who intended to harvest the forest. However, the property was purchased by the state of Illinois after numerous local citizens and groups protested, resulting in a civil lawsuit.
The land is a prairie woodland, a type of ecosystem that was once common across the state; its vegetation includes a variety of grasses, cottonweed, prickly pear cactus, and much more. The woodland areas within the park are predominantly deciduous tree stands; some of the trees are an old-growth forest. Coffee Creek runs through the park before joining the Wabash River, which borders the southeast corner of the preserve. The park also has a human-made lake that was constructed in the 1970s.
Renting an RV near Mount Carmel is one way to introduce yourself to this vibrant area. Fishing is allowed within the park, and the preserve's lake is stocked with trout twice a year; the lake also has largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish. There is a boat ramp on the lakeshore that you can use or, if you prefer, you can also try your hand at angling in Coffee Creek. If hiking is your thing, there are almost half a dozen trails you can use that are simple to moderately easy for most people.
While you're on the trail, you can try to identify the various flowers and plant life before you, or practice photography and see if you can identify them later on. Staff at the refuge's visitor center can answer questions and provide you with information about the park and its plant and animal residents. If you'd like to enjoy a picnic lunch, there is a picnic area behind the visitor center and another picnic area near the lake. The lake picnic area has outdoor toilets and a playground for younger kids.
The refuge's visitor center has exhibits you can browse and occasionally offers interpretive programs explaining specific facts and details about the park; this includes its resident wildlife, ecology, and geography (some of the hiking trails will take you past rock outcroppings and other structures). Behind the visitor center, you'll find a wildlife viewing area where you can observe smaller mammals attending the feeding stations left out for them. Some amphibian species might be spotted enjoying the sun; raccoons, white-tailed deer, and other larger mammals may also make an unexpected appearance on occasion.
Search for an RV rental near Mt. Carmel, Illinois, and you will have access to everything the area has to offer. Beall Woods State Park has an established camping area with primitive facilities you can rent on a first-come, first-serve basis. You also have the option of camping in an RV near Beall Woods, and there are several in the area to choose from. Mt. Carmerriel RV Park rents sites by the day, week, or month, has full hookups including 20/30/50 amp electricity and city water, and has basic cable TV.
Rest Up Camping & RV Corral is a family-friendly RV campground with a pavilion and numerous on-site activities, including bocce ball, horseshoes, and a miniature golf course. Individual campsites have full hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings for you to enjoy. Many of the campsites have pull-through access to make setting up your rig as easy as possible. Rest Up Camping is just a short distance from the city of Crossville, where you can stock up on groceries and other supplies or gas up your rental RV.
RV camping near Beall Woods will also open up other cities you might want to visit, such as West Salem. Here you can find a local vineyard that has a tasting room and an outdoor covered area where you can sit and relax. The winery offers a variety of fruit-based wines and has several hard ciders too.
If you're starting to feel hungry, you can head for Albion, which has a handful of cafes and diners on hand to meet your needs. If you just want to chill out, one of the coffee shops has a variety of coffees plus hot chocolate and apple cider, pastries, and breakfast items. They serve home-made ice cream year-round and have an upstairs area plus an outdoor patio.