Illinois Beach State Park - stretching 6.5 miles along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan in northern Illinois - offers a full range of recreation opportunities at one of the most unique and beautiful natural settings in America.
Illinois Beach is the only remaining beach ridge shoreline left in the state, with dunes and swales, sprawling marshes, forests of oak and vast arrays of animal life and vegetation.
More than 650 species of plants have been recorded in the dunes area alone, including dozens of types of colorful wildflowers. Prickly pear cactus thrives in large colonies in the dry areas, and the wet prairies are carpeted with a wide variety of grasses and sedges. Large expanses of marsh in the swales support dense stands of cattail, grasses, big bluestem and sedges.
The sandy ridges are crowned by black oak forests with an open, savanna-like appearance. Several kinds of fragrant pines, introduced a century ago, also prosper in the southern area. Just north of the pines is the Dead River, a stream blocked by sandbars much of the year, features an abundance of aquatic plants and fish that belie its name.
The 4,160-acre park, consisting of two separate areas (North Unit and South Unit), offers ample opportunities for swimming, boating, picnicking, hiking, fishing, camping and simply appreciating nature.
In addition to swimming beaches, trails and campgrounds, the Illinois Beach Resort and Conference Center is the perfect place to get away for a weekend or a weeklong vacation.
Camping reservations can be made online at www.reserveamerica.com
Illinois Beach Resort reservations can be made at http://ilresorts.com/