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Just eight miles southeast of McLeansboro, Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area spreads across 1,683 acres of breathtaking nature. One of the biggest attractions is the 75-acre Dolan Lake, perfect for water sports enthusiasts camping with an RV. You can search for an RV in Hamilton County and enjoy any of the park's outdoor activities, such as horseback riding, hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, and picnicking.
Three miles of shoreline surrounded by gently rolling hills make Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area an ideal getaway for any Norris City or Carmi camper. If you're planning an RV camping trip in Illinois, Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area should be one of your go-to destinations, since it's loaded with fun activities all year round.
RV camping at Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area is an ideal opportunity for fishing and hunting enthusiasts to enjoy their favorite activities. Make sure you pack your fishing rod — Dolan Lake is loaded with various fish species such as crappie, sunfish, channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, and bullhead.
Make sure to revisit the RV camping rules as well as the hunting regulations before heading over to Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area. A hunting license and a windshield card are required, but the latter can be obtained online. The hunting areas are open fields surrounded by scenic greenery. As far as the game is concerned, hunters should expect to encounter deer (bow and arrow only) and turkeys. Practice your aim with the help of a manual trap clay thrower at the park.
McLeansboro campers can have a fun and memorable time with their friends or family members while camping at Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area. Whether you prefer primitive or full-service camping, or even glamping, this park has it all. Explore the farthest corners of this park on horseback by following an eight-mile-long equestrian trail. Or, organize a picnic by the picturesque lake, and just relax and soak in the tranquility of this beautiful park.
Motorhome camping is available year-round at Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area. There aren't any water or sewer hookups, but electric hookups, drinking water, showers, and dump stations are available. Upon arrival, the first thing that you need to do is get a camping permit from park staff.
There are around 60 campsites of various sizes, with the largest site accommodating rigs up to 67 feet long. Pets are allowed in the campground, but the owners are completely responsible for their furry friends. However, if you'd prefer not to camp in an RV, you can reserve one of the park's five cabins that come equipped with all the comforts of home.
Provisions and gas stations are conveniently located within 15 minutes of the park. If you're tired of cooking at the campsite, you can always take a short 20-minute drive and visit any of the Italian, Mexican, or fast-food restaurants in the area.
If you have some extra time or you'd like to see some of the attractions outside the park, take time to explore the surrounding area. If you're craving more time in the great outdoors, you're not too far from some of Illinois' most popular state parks, including Harmonie and Ten Mile Creek.
History buffs eager to learn about the region's pioneer past will want to see Matsel Cabin, located in Carmi. This beautifully restored 19th-century cabin offers a glimpse into the life of the Matsel family, who called this quaint cabin home back in the 1850s.
The White County Historical Society also maintains other historic sites in the area, including the Ratcliff Inn, which hosted Abraham Lincoln before he became president. This former inn is now a museum that exhibits artifacts on local history and prominent figures within the community. The L. Haas Store Museum also displays photographs as well as Native American art and tools.
The closest urban center to Hamilton County State Fish and Wildlife Area is Evansville. Here, you'll find yet more museums to explore, but if you're keen to get outdoors, you won't want to miss the Hartman Arboretum. This privately owned garden is maintained by volunteers and protects an array of colorful flora species. Alternatively, treat the kids to a fun day meeting the 700-plus animals at Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden.
When you're ready to hit the road again, you're just a short drive from I-64, which leads east into Louisville. I-57 is west of the park and takes you north toward Chicago.