Shabbona Lake State Park is located just minutes away from the sprawling metropolis of Greater Chicago. Conveniently located around a seven-mile drive from Interstate Route 39, Shabbona Lake State Park serves as the perfect natural getaway for anyone coming from Bloomington or Rockford.
Steeped in history, the park owes its name to Chief Shabbona, the leader of the Potawatomi tribe that originally settled here. It was not until 1965 that the state decided the land would be used to create a man-made lake and recreational area, ideal for those needing to escape the hustle and bustle of Chicago.
With ample opportunities to get out onto the water, as well as plenty of beautiful pastures and woodlands to explore, book an RV in DeKalb County and get out and discover Chicago’s countryside.
Shabbona Lake State Park is most well known for the 300-acre man-made lake that sits proudly at the center of the park. With an RV rental at Shabbona Lake State Park head out and see why this state park has become the go-to spot for fishing enthusiasts in Illinois. Teeming with a huge variety of fish, both novice and experienced anglers can expect to catch the likes of black and white crappie, walleye, channel catfish, rock bass, and so much more! Fishing can be lucrative from various spots along the edge of the lake. However, to access some of the deeper waters, home to the bigger fish, consider bringing your boat or renting one from the cabin store. The use of electric motors is permitted, however, keep an eye out for the speed limits and no-wake zones in the lake.
Hiking is another popular activity among those that have chosen to camp at Shabbona Lake State Park. With around eight miles of multi-use trails, all offering a varying level of difficulty, you will find something to suit you. Head to the office at the beginning of your visit to pick up the useful brochure that outlines all of the walks available in the area. Two of the most popular trails are the Arrowhead and Tomahawk trails, both of which are over 2.5-miles long and showcase the best that park has to offer including beautiful woodlands and lakeside views. Pets are welcome on the trails but should be kept on a leash so as not to startle any of migratory birds that call Shabbona Lake State Park home.
For anyone hoping to rent an RV here during the winter months, there are still plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors in this 1,500-acre state park. As well as cross-country skiing, ice fishing and ice-skating, a seven-mile snowmobile trail is open during the winter. Permits must be obtained and snowmobiles registered at the park office before embarking on your winter wonderland adventure.
Camping at Shabbona Lake State Park
Camping with an RV at Shabbona Lake State Park could not be easier thanks to the 150 campsites on offer. Organized within a semi-wooded area, these sites offer the perfect balance of shade and sunshine. Ninety of the campsites can be reserved in advance on the handy online reservation system; the rest can be claimed on a first-come-first-served basis.
Every site is equipped with electrical hooks ups for your RV rental as well as a picnic table, fire pit, and gravel parking space. There is also a dump station as well as a clean washroom complete with hot showers and flushing toilets.
Technically the campground is open all year round. However, it is known to close often during spring due to excessive rainfall and poor road conditions, so make sure to call ahead if you were hoping to camp here during those months. For those that may have forgotten to stock up on supplies in the nearby town of Shabbona, there is also a handy store on site that stocks all of the essentials as well as firewood, ice and fishing tackle.
Exploring the Area
When you rent an RV near Shabbona Lake State Park, take some time to explore the surrounding area. Around a thirty-minute drive north of Lake Shabbona is Sycamore, a quaint town full of independent eateries and interesting attractions.
One of the most popular attractions in town is the Mid-West Museum of Natural History. This unique museum features an impressive collection of mounted animals from around the world in a bid to educate the general public about the importance of the natural world. As well as this permanent exhibition, there are several smaller rotating exhibition spaces that are worth your perusal. For a more interactive experience, check out their weekly schedule of events and workshops, all child-friendly, and a perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon in Illinois.
While in the area of Sycamore, visit Onesti’s Wild West Town, a family amusement park with a cowboy theme. Pan for gold at the Sweet Phyllis Mine, shoot slingshots at Huck Finns or enjoy one of the live performances scheduled throughout the day. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the small museum, which is full of fascinating artifacts, displays, and information that provides a bit of context to the Wild West theme. Even better, all of the rides and museum are included in the admission fee, so kids and adults alike can enjoy limitless hours of fun here!
For those creatives motorhome camping nearby, head into DeKalb to visit the NIU Art Museum. Part of the Northern Illinois University Campus, the gallery is open to the public from Tuesday through to Friday and on Saturdays for tours only. This free exhibition space offers a platform for local and regional artists to express themselves as well as a place of inspiration for budding artists at the university. If possible, try to coincide your visit with one of the gallery talks or artist lectures that provides an interesting glimpse into the world of art in Illinois.