Pere Marquette State Park is an outdoor playground set on the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. Whether you're paddling on the river, admiring the fiery fall foliage, or marveling at hundreds of migrating bald eagles, Pere Marquette State Park promises outdoor adventures for the whole family. The park occupies more than 8,000 acres and features a patchwork of hiking trails, hunting grounds, and picnic sites.
On the banks of the Illinois River, historic Pere Marquette Lodge is a handsome building constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. You're welcome to warm up by the enormous 50-foot-high fireplace, enjoy a meal at the restaurant, and sip moscato at the winery. Want to escape to the forest? Book an RV in Jersey County and you can sleep under the stars at Pere Marquette State Park.
Scenic trails wind through Pere Marquette State Park and are fantastic for stretching your legs. As you hike, watch for deer, hummingbirds, lizards, and other wildlife. The park also rents one-speed cruisers that are great for cruising along the 20-mile Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail. If you don't want to work up a sweat, the Scenic Drive takes you deep into the park and past a handful of lookouts. On the banks of the river, a marina makes it easy to launch a boat and cast a line for bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. Thrillseekers love gearing up and exploring the rock climbing routes within Pere Marquette State Park.
Housed within Pere Marquette Lodge, the restaurant serves authentic American cuisine, including a legendary fried chicken dish. The enormous timber beams and limestone walls create a cozy and rustic atmosphere. Also located within the lodge, Mary Michelle Winery pours local, award-winning wines that are perfect for sipping around the campfire. The adjacent visitors' center features educational exhibits on the local history of the park, as well as unique flora and fauna.
Pere Marquette State Park hosts dozens of events and activities throughout the year, ranging from bird walks and bonfires to Sunday brunches and horse-drawn trolley rides. Every winter, birders flock to watch the annual bald eagle migration. Fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit the park, when the trees explode in a sea of reds, yellows, oranges, and golds. In spring, Pere Marquette is blanketed in a carpet of colorful wildflowers. Spring also sees morel mushrooms pop up throughout the park. They're delicious when breaded and fried in butter. Hunters will jump at the chance to target deer, turkey, squirrel, raccoon, coyote, and waterfowl in the park's 5,000 acres of public hunting grounds.
Camping at Pere Marquette State Park
The Pere Marquette State Park Campground enjoys a picturesque setting under a canopy of mature trees. Choose from around 80 Class A sites with electrical hookups and access to modern bathroom blocks with flush toilets and hot showers. A sanitary dump station caters to RV rentals with services onboard. Like most state park RV campgrounds, sites here feature picnic tables and grills for enjoying your meals outdoors.
Some sites are available to reserve online, while others are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. There's also a Class B tent camping area if you need extra space. Dogs are welcome when RV camping at Pere Marquette State Park, so rent a pet-friendly motorhome and bring along the whole family on your trip. The largest sites can accommodate RVs of up to 60 feet in length, making Pere Marquette State Park a good option for big rigs. If you need more space, try the St. Louis N.E./I-270/Granite City KOA.
Exploring the Area
RV camping at Pere Marquette State Park provides a fantastic base for exploring the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, which hugs the banks of the Mississippi and stretches across ten states. You'll love exploring charming riverside towns like Alton, where you can shop for treasures on Antique Row, visit Lewis & Clark historic sites, and stroll around the blufftop Christian Hill Historic District.
Fuel, snacks, and other motorhome camping supplies can be found in the town of Grafton. It's a short ten-minute drive from the campground and offers a good selection of cafes and diners. Further south, St. Louis is home to attractions like the Gateway Arch and Six Flags. Baseball buffs will jump at the chance to watch the St. Louis Cardinals hit home runs at Busch Stadium. St. Louis also offers a huge selection of RV rentals near Pere Marquette State Park, making the city a fantastic place to kick off a Midwest road trip.