RV Camping Guide to Illinois Beach State Park
With summer coming into view, it is time to think of an escape to the coast. Illinois Beach State Park is located along the shores of Lake Michigan. Reaching from Waukegan to the Wisconsin state line, there is swimming along six miles of beaches. From park campgrounds and a full-service resort to picnic areas, hiking, and biking, visitors will enjoy this magnificent scenery and picturesque horizon. If you are considering a visit to Illinois Beach State Park, check out our complete RV camping guide for everything you need to know before you visit.
Locating just over 50 miles from the Chicago’s city limits, Illinois Beach State Park is the perfect quick getaway for the family to enjoy the beauty of the lake while letting your feet wade in the water. With a full range of recreational opportunities, the vast shoreline is perfect for jogging or bicycling, or you can choose to walk along one of the many trails available to visitors. Consider to be one of the most scenic beaches in the Midwest, Illinois Beach State Park surpasses its grand reputation with one of the only remaining beach ridge shorelines left in the state.
With many natural resources to enjoy, this park consists of sprawling marshes, oak forests, park dunes, and an array of animal life and vegetation. This park is comprised of 4,160 acres broken down into two separate areas. No matter if you are boating and swimming or hiking and fishing, there are ample opportunities to embrace the natural environment formed from glacial advances and retreats in years past along with the winds that breathe over the landscape from Lake Michigan’s expansive shoreline. Read through our complete RV camping guide for more things you need to know before you make your visit to Illinois Beach State Park.
Illinois Beach State Park Facts
This park is located in Lake County, Illinois, along Lake Michigan in Winthrop Harbor, Zion, Beach Park and Benton Township. This park was originally established in 1948 with the purchase of its first parcel by the state and now consists of two areas now referred to as the North Unit and South Unit. With more than 1.2 million visitors a year, here are some interested Illinois Beach State Park facts to know before you make your visit.
• Illinois Beach State Park’s official name is Chiwaukee Illinois Beach Lake Plain and is an internationally recognized wetland of importance.
• The Zion Beach Ridge Plain is 3,700 years old.
• The far southern end of the park is designated as a natural preserve.
• The park was previously an Illinois National Guard training facility named Camp Logan, Illinois.
• Camp Logan was a Union prisoner of war camp during the American Civil War.
• The dunes at the Lake Michigan area were originally part of the “Three Fires” of the Algonquin Nation: the Potawatomi, Chippewa and Ottawa in the 1700s.
• French explorers first visited the area in the late 1600s to take a survey of what was then known as the Northwest Territory.
• At the time Illinois became a state, the area was occupied by transient hunters and trappers.
• Preservation efforts started in 1888 and continued through the 1920s when legislative efforts were made to finally save the area.
Best Illinois Beach State Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
Our handpicked list below gives you some of the best Illinois Beach State Park RV park locations to choose for your next visit.
Illinois Beach State Park Campground
Located in the southern unit at Illinois Beach, more than 241 Class A Premium sites are available with full access to showers, electricity, and sanitary facilities. The campground is open from April 1st through December 30th. Campsites are on a first-come first-serve basis with six handicap accessible campsites located near accessible restrooms.
Address: 39150 Illinois Beach State Park Rd, Zion, IL 60099
Phone: (847) 662-4811
Things to Do in Illinois Beach State Park
With 4,160 acres and more than 650 species of plant and dozens of types of colorful wildflowers, the wet prairielands are full of a variety of grasses and sedges. Large marshes support dense stands with sandy ridges reminiscent of a savanna-like appearance. With an abundance of aquatic plants and fish in this changing environment, there is a rich history resulting in ongoing efforts for conservation of this natural beauty. Here is a look at some of the most popular things you can do with a visit to Illinois Beach State Park.
With more than 200 Class A sites and full facilities, you can rest a campsite for your weekend stay. A camping permit is required from the park staff before your visit. You can make reservations up to 180 days in advance which is recommended for holiday weekends or special events as spaces are rented on a first-come first-serve basis. During the summer season, the campgrounds quickly fill up on Fridays. All visitors have access to electricity, showers, accessible restrooms, a dump station, and sanitary facilities.
Visitors can fish along the beach area in both units except for designated swimming areas and a few small inland fishing ponds, including Sand Pond. No fishing is allowed in the far southern area designated as a nature preserve.
Many hiking opportunities are available with the southern unit featuring 5 miles of trails, including a 2.2-mile loop trail with a gravel surface. In the north unit, Camp Logan trail offers a 1.8-mile multi-use loop that cross country skiers can also use. Cross-country skiing is not permitted in the nature preserve.
Bikers can travel between the North and South units of Illinois Beach State Park on Zion Bike Trail. A section of the trail connects from 29th Street at the south end to 17th Street at the north end.
With the best shoreline in the Midwest, swimming is the top summertime attraction. From the sandy shorelines, both units of Illinois Beach State Park provide ample parking. No on-duty lifeguards are present to please use caution when swimming.
Tips for Visiting Illinois Beach State Park
Before you start on your trip, these final tips on visiting Illinois Beach State Park will ensure you have a smooth and relaxing trip.
• Groups of 25 or more are welcome and encourage to use the park’s facilities. However, you are required to register in advance with the site office to ensure crowding and scheduling conflicts do not arise.
• At least one responsible adult must be present to accompany each group of 15 minors.
• Pets must be kept on leashes at all times. Clean up after you pets.
• Actions by nature can result in road closures and other facilities. Please call ahead to check with the park office before you make your trip during inclement weather.
• Camping reservations can be made online up to 180 days in advance.
• Illinois Beach Resort is available with reservations being made online.
• Park concessions are available to include firewood, gift shop, ice, theater productions, lodging, and restaurant.
RV Rental for Illinois Beach State Park
If you are looking for a fun and easy way to enjoy a quick getaway to this shoreline beauty, check out our fleet of RV Rentals. Our RV lineup is perfect for any budget and loaded with the necessities and conveniences you look for to make your journey as fun as the destination.
Reserve a Illinois Beach State Park RV rental today.