Fringed by just under seven miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, Illinois Beach State Park is popular with beach bums, avid hikers, and nature lovers of all types. The park is a breath of fresh air and treats you to sandy beaches, clear water, and pristine shoreline. It occupies more than 4,000 acres and is a fantastic place to soak up the Prairie State sunshine, with swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and camping just some of the outdoor recreation activities on offer.
As you explore the park, you'll discover a diverse ecosystem of rolling dunes, lush marshlands, sun-drenched prairies, and black oak forests. Illinois Beach is an important habitat for local flora and fauna, with more than 650 species of plants found within the park, including rainbow-colored wildflowers and prickly pear cactus. Illinois Beach is also a sanctuary for shoreline birds and aquatic wildlife.
Planning a road trip in the scenic Midwest? Book an RV in Lake County and you can enjoy a getaway to Illinois Beach State Park. You'll love serene morning paddles on the lake and stargazing by the campfire after dark. With a home on wheels, you can discover other Illinois recreation areas like the Shawnee National Forest and Starved Rock State Park. Extend your adventure and add iconic recreation areas like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan and Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota to your itinerary.
Swimming and sunbathing are big draws at Illinois Beach, with parkgoers flocking to bask on the sandy foreshore and cool off in the clear water. The southern end of the park is well-developed with campsites, picnic areas, and nature trails. The well-trodden Dead River Trail takes you to a scenic overlook that's a favorite with birders. Keep an eye out for solitary sandpipers, willow flycatchers, brewer's blackbirds, and whip-poor-will nightjars.
The Dunes Trail is another favorite, winding for two and a half miles through marshlands, boulders, and sandhills. At the northern end of the park, the Illinois Nature Preserve is also laced with hiking and biking trails. If you'd like to know more about the unique history, wildlife, and geology of Illinois Beach State Park, don't miss the visitors' center, where you can check out colorful exhibits.
Offering access to one of the largest marinas in the Midwest, Illinois Beach State Park is deservedly popular with boaters. You can also launch kayaks and canoes from the sandy beaches and enjoy a scenic paddle along the undeveloped shoreline. Sand Pond offers excellent fishing, with the chance to reel in rainbow trout.
Camping at Illinois Beach State Park
Illinois Beach State Park offers a unique chance to camp in an RV on the shores of Lake Michigan. The campground is in the Southern Unit and features 241 premium sites. Most include 20-amp electric hookups, though a handful of sites offer 50-amp connections. The largest sites are back-in and can accommodate RVs of up to 62 feet in length. As a developed state park RV campground, Illinois Beach treats campers to modern showers and restrooms, in addition to a dump station for RV rentals.
Reservations are recommended in the summer months as the park fills up fast. A handful of campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but generally fill up by Friday mornings. Dogs are welcome at Illinois Beach State Park, so find a pet-friendly camper rental and bring the whole family for your Illinois Beach State Park camping adventure. The campground is closed from January through March, when Illinois endures icy cold winters.
Exploring the Area
At just an hour from downtown Chicago, RV camping at Illinois Beach State Park provides a fantastic opportunity to explore the Windy City. You'll love picnicking on the grass in Millennium Park, taking in panoramic views from the top of the Willis Tower Skydeck, and admiring masterpieces at the Art Institute of Chicago. Sports buffs can score tickets to watch the Chicago Cubs hit home runs at Wrigley Field. Chicago also offers a huge range of rental RVs, making it a great place to kick off a Midwest road trip. Another option to rent a camper near Illinois Beach State Park is Milwaukee, an hour's drive north.
If you don't want to drive into the city, you can find all the motorhome camping essentials you'll need in the town of Zion, a five-minute drive from the campground. For more choice, head to nearby Waukegan, a satellite city that’s part of the Chicago Metropolitan Area. The city is home to a handful of unique attractions, including the historic Genesee Theatre and BMX racetrack. Golfers can also take their pick of several public courses.
Illinois Beach State Park, IL is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Illinois Beach State Park. Outdoorsy's Illinois Beach State Park RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.