Illinois State Parks' Lesser-Known Treasures
Discover the wonders of Illinois' state parks and natural areas, where warm weather calls for outdoor exploration and appreciation of nature. With a sprawling network of 70 parks, including wildlife areas, forests, and nature preserves, that draw up to 44 million visitors each year, Illinois' state parks offer an amazing experience in any part of the state. Take in the stunning beauty of lush greenery, waterfalls, and other natural attractions while enjoying a plethora of recreational activities, from hiking and biking to relaxing amidst breathtaking scenery.
The state parks' hidden gems offer some of the best activities you can partake in. These are the features that are off the beaten path or require some exploration to uncover, and they're well worth the effort. Here are some of the finest hidden gems you can find in Illinois' state parks.
At Giant City State Park in Makanda, find some of the most fantastic wilderness trails in Illinois. The park's Giant City Nature trail dates back over 12,000 years and displays mesmerizing sandstone bluffs, getting to see towering trees and lush foliage. Horseback riding, fishing, and rappelling are just some of the fun activities you can enjoy.
Stay overnight or for a couple of nights at Giant City Lodge and choose from three types of cabins. The lodge offers a dining room, lounge, and an outdoor pool, so you don't have to leave the park for basic amenities.
Make your way to Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna to witness awe-inspiring limestone caves created by nature. These sinkholes descend deep into the earth, surrounded by magnificent rock formations formed by erosion. Don't miss Twin Sisters and Indian Head!
Mississippi Palisades State Park itself boasts numerous hiking trails, a swimming beach, and boat launch ramps so that you can take your pick of activities that suit your style.
Before setting out for the park, spend some time in Galena, which features charming B&Bs and other quaint lodgings.
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The Time of Year for VisitorsThe primary season for visitors takes place from late-May until early-September, with the most popular month being July. While the park remains open throughout the rest of the year, visitor services are extremely limited during this time.Climate and AttireDuring the summer,
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