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Visit one of Eastern Illinois' hidden gems: the 671-acre Walnut Point State Park, where camping with an RV is every nature lover’s dream. The state park got its name from the first settlement of Douglas County that was originally formed in the 1830s, only two miles from the current location of the park. More than a century later, in 1968, Walnut Point State Park's magical landscape was opened to the public. Make sure you bring your camera, because you'll want to capture the magnificent oak woods and many other awe-inspiring areas of this state park.
Walnut Point State Park campers can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities. Birdwatchers can spot Canadian geese, wood ducks, and herons along the six-mile-long shoreline of Walnut Point Lake. Spreading across 59 acres, this lake has an average depth of just over 12 feet, and it can be accessed only with an electric trolling motor.
If you're eager to discover all the features of Walnut Point State Park, search for an RV in Douglas County and start your adventure from there. Even if you forget to pack something, you can always hop over to Newman (11 miles from the park) or Kansas (17 miles from the park) and get what you need. Also located 19 miles from the park is the town of Arcola, which is another great place to resupply near the park.
Camping at Walnut Point State Park provides an amazing opportunity to marvel at the wonderland that is Upper Embarras Woods. The 65-acre nature preserve features black, white, and red oaks that shelter an array of animal and bird species. The preserve is located north of the Embarras River and can be easily reached by following the trails in the park.
Walnut Point Lake is an ideal location where any professional or amateur angler can enjoy a unique fishing experience. However, the fun doesn’t stop at the lake. Although the lake offers a chance of catching black crappie, red-ear sunfish, channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, and more, there's also the Embarras River just waiting to be explored.
Campers who want to keep up with their daily exercise routine are free to jog or walk down the two-plus miles of trails that wind through the beautiful wooded areas of Walnut Point State Park. You can take the main park road and continue down the Gray Squirrel-Twin Points trail if you want to explore every nook and cranny of the park. The Lakeside Nature Trail is accessible for guests with disabilities.
Take a moment to relax with your friends and family by enjoying an extraordinary picnic at any of the eight picnic areas alongside the lake. Prepare your meal right there with the help of the outdoor grills. Afterward, burn some calories by taking advantage of the available playground equipment or horseshoe pits.
There are several options available for anyone who wants to go RV camping at Walnut Point State Park. If you're camping in an RV rental, then you should know that electric hookups are provided at Class A campground sites, as well as a bathhouse with flush toilets and hot showers, drinking water, and a dump station. The shower buildings are usually closed from early November until early May, though closing dates may change depending on the weather.
There are over 30 RV-friendly sites, but if you prefer rustic camping, there are plenty of walk-in tent sites, too. Why not make the most of your Walnut Point State Park camping experience and bring your furry friend along? Pets are allowed at RV campsites, but they must be leashed and supervised at all times.
While visiting the park, hit the road and explore this area of east-central Illinois. If you're tired of cooking and you want to pamper your palate with the flavors of the region, there are several bars and restaurants that offer Italian, Mexican, and American food around the clock. No matter which direction you're headed for your meal, you'll find a gas station to fill your tank within 15 minutes of the park.
After your belly and your tank are full, you can continue your adventure and go wildlife watching from the comfort of your vehicle! Around 30 minutes from the park, you can drive through Aikman Wildlife Adventure, where you'll spot animals like bison, llama, alpaca, fallow deer, Chapman’s zebra, and many more. There are different types of tours, some of which even allow you to feed and pet some of these animals.
If you have some time left and you're still eager to learn something more about this area, after visiting the animals, you can take a five-minute drive from the wildlife park (around 40 minutes from Walnut Point State Park) to one of the oldest Amish heritage sites in Illinois. See the oldest Amish house in Illinois and visit the 10,000-square-foot museum loaded with bits and pieces, as well as state-of-the-art exhibits on the Amish way of life.
A short 10-minute drive from Walnut Point State Park is a very peculiar and unique village. In the 1980s, the creator of Independence Pioneer Village came upon many log cabins that were gradually decaying and wanted to do something about it. He purchased the cabins, dismantled them, numbered every log, and transported them to his family farm. One cabin after another, a little village was formed, which is now very popular due to its uniqueness and historical significance.