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Little Grassy Lake in southern Illinois is a great option to consider for a motorhome camping trip. Created by the damming of the Little Grassy Creek, Little Grassy Lake is located very close to the city of Carbondale and is easily accessible from Giant City Road outside of Carbondale. The 1200-acre reservoir flows into two separate counties and is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a part of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Renting an RV in the area is convenient, giving you access to the lake from various points. You’ll find a range of affordable RV rentals in Williamson County, or you could choose to book an RV in Jackson County, IL, and cruise around the area.
While Little Grassy Lake was built in 1940 as a part of relief efforts for recovery after the Great Depression, its popularity as a recreational lake increased over the years. Today, it’s a great lake to visit for fishing, and it’s also the only catfish hatchery in the state. In addition to fishing, outdoor enthusiasts have much to look forward to at Little Grassy Lake, including paddling, boating and swimming, hiking, biking, horse riding, and wildlife observation. Camping with an RV is the best way to make the most of Little Grassy Lake and its surrounding areas.
Primarily serving as a fishing lake, anglers look forward to excellent fishing in Little Grassy Lake. Popular with sport fishers, the lake abounds in populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, redear and of course, channel catfish. There is a size restriction on fish, and fish caught between 12 and 15 inches must be released back into the lake.
Bring your watercrafts along on your RV rental vacation since boating at Little Grassy Lake is a good experience. Maximum horsepower of 10 is permitted for motorboats, in order to allow for better fishing in the lake. Take out your boats, pontoons, kayaks, and canoes from one of the many boat ramps around the lake.
The surrounding Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge presents lots of opportunities for hiking and exploring the forests. When you go camping at Little Grassy Lake, you’ll have miles of hiking trails and horseback riding trails to enjoy, so put on your hiking boots and set out.
If you enjoy hunting, thousands of acres of forest area is open during hunting season, with a variety of small and large game, including wild turkey, rabbit, deer, waterfowl, squirrel, and coyote.
If you’re looking to enjoy RV camping at Little Grassy Lake, opt to stay at Little Grassy Lake Campground and Marina. With 105 campsites available, facilities at the campground include full hookups, 30 and 50 amp electric, big rig access, tent camping, water spigot, sewer, water, and limited cell phone reception. Restrooms and showers are available for campers, and there’s a camp store for last-minute camping supplies, and a snack bar too. There’s plenty of recreation for everyone, as the campground is located right by the lake. Pets are welcome here, so don't forget Fido.
Another option to consider near Little Grassy Lake is Giant City State Park Campground in nearby Makanda. The campground has 85 campsites, and facilities here include pull-thru sites, big rig access, tent camping, full hookups, 30 and 50 amp electric, a dump station, and water. Restrooms and showers are also available. There are a picnic shelter, café and a playground for kids to run around in. Explore the recreational trails around the campground, or go fishing to unwind.
Jackson County campers have much to explore in the areas surrounding Little Grassy Lake. The city of Carbondale is a short drive from Little Grassy Lake and worth checking out. With two national parks, four public golf courses, a great downtown area, museums, shopping, and dining, you’ll have a tough choice with what you want to include on your visit to Carbondale.
Museum-lovers should stop by at the African American Museum of Southern Illinois. It’s dedicated to identifying and preserving the outstanding achievements of the African American community. Permanent exhibits at the museum include African art collections, slave artifacts, rotating displays of underground message quilts, and local artwork.
Visit the Boo Rochman Memorial Park with your kids. Dedicated to a young man who lost his life tragically in an accident, the park is fantasyland that includes orcs, dueling wizards, brave knights, nymphs and sleeping dragons worked into the design of this unique park.
The Science Center of Southern Illinois is another great spot for the kids. The science museum features several interactive, hands-on exhibits that deal with the basic concepts of science.
Watch a play or musical performance at the Varsity Center for Arts, a thriving powerhouse of performing arts in the city. They host a weekly Friday night movie series, and other times of the year they host plays and live entertainment.
Carbondale is home to great food, vineyards, breweries, cafés, and pizzerias. Eating out in Carbondale is fun as you have so much to choose from. Stock up on supplies at a local convenience store and fill up your rental RV in town before you hit the highway on your next expedition.