RV Travel with Kids

Illinois National Parks

and Illinois State Parks

This Illinois National Parks and Illinois State Parks list will help you decide which of these terrific adventures will be right for your road trip vacation planning. Come see what the national and state parks in Illinois and see what the Prairie State has to offer!

You may be looking for the history and cultural explorations that you would expect in Illinois, but there have been no Illinois national parks declared by the government to this day. The good news is there are many Illinois state parks that offer outdoor adventure and historical teaching for the state.

Fuel up the RV and follow this convenient guide to the best Illinois state parks.

Illinois National Parks

While road trip vacation planning there are no Illinois National Parks. However, Illinois does have one National Historic Site and three National Trails run through the state.

Illinois National Parks - Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Located in Springfield, Illinois, you can visit the home of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.

You can take a tour of the home, including an audio cell-phone tour, visit his neighborhood, and even watch a film about his life.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Illinois National Trails
The following National Trails travel through the great state of Illinois. A fun adventure for the kids, try hiking a portion of one or more trails and learning the history that surrounds them on your visit to Illinois.

Lewis and Clark Trail

Mormon Pioneer

Trail of Tears

Illinois State Parks

Argyle Lake State Park
Although there are no Illinois national parks, there is an abundance of state parks for your pleasure. Located just a short ride from Macomb, Illinois, this is the perfect park for relaxing with the family and catching some fish. This is one of the best places in the state for fishing, but you can also enjoy camping, hiking, and just taking photos of the peaceful natural surroundings.

Argyle Lake State Park

Castle Rock State Park
illinois-national-parks-01; castle rock From rock formations that boggle the mind to beautiful leaves changing colors with the seasons, there is a lot to see at this state park.

Study up on the rich Indian history of the area and you could turn this visit into an educational experience for the entire family.

You will find the park just a few miles south of the city of Oregon.

Castle Rock State Park

Rock Cut State Park
This is one of the best state parks if you want to pull up your RV for a bit of camping in any season.

You can hit up the lakes for fishing during the warm months and ice fishing and skating during the cold months. There is also an extensive trail system that will give your legs some recreation and exercise. It is located in a town called Loves Park.

Rock Cut State Park

Shabbona Lake State Park
This is where you head when you want to get away from the big city. This state park is located just miles outside of Chicago and there is a definite contrast from the city to the meadows and woodlands of the park.

You can go hunting, fishing, or enjoy a variety of winter activities here. They even have fishing classes and fishing opens here...so make sure to bring the poles and hooks.

Shabbona Lake State Park

Starved Rock State Park
illinois-national-parks-02; starved rock This do-it-all park is located in Utica, Illinois.

You can do all of the typical outdoor stuff in this park, but it is known for its numerous scenic hiking trails.

Start at the visitor's center so you can pick up maps and get acquainted with the lay out of the park before you head out to get lost on the trails.

Starved Rock State Park

Buffalo Rock State Park
While road trip vacation planning if you're trying to coordinate your visits to the best Illinois state parks and Illinois national parks, put this one right with Starved Rock State Park because they sit right next to one another as you move through the state.

After exploring the trails and exhausting the children at Starved Rock, hit Buffalo Rock to enjoy the animal sculptures and learn about the history of the buffalo in this state.

Buffalo Rock State Park

Moraine Hills State Park
This is the place to go for intense cross country skiing on natural trails that have not been groomed for the journey. This is a family-friendly park for the winter, offering ice skating and other fun activities for those who aren't into cross country skiing.

This is also a great place to go fishing when the weather is right. You can access the park from the town of McHenry.

Moraine Hills State Park

William W. Powers State Recreation Area
While road trip vacation planning this park can be visited along with Shabbona Lake State Park since it is in Chicago. In the winter you can go ice fishing and hunting waterfowl is allowed in the fall. The rest of the year you can enjoy fishing in the lake or just spend some time out of the RV in the sunshine.

William W. Powers State Recreation Area

William G. Stratton State Park
There may not be any Illinois national parks to enjoy, but you can do a lot of the typical national park activities in the many Illinois state parks. This one is located in the town of Morris and allows you to hit the water by boat or Jet Ski after having a peaceful picnic under the trees. There are also some trails that you can explore.

William G. Stratton State Park

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area
This is a great place to kick back, relax, and perhaps get out on the water for a boating or Jet Ski adventure. You can also go fishing or explore the trails through the woods. Make sure to check on this one before driving up, since there have been some recent closings to the public. You can typically still go for hunting events and contests.

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area

Harry "Babe" Woodyard State Natural Area
Make sure to hit the bathroom before you head out to Georgetown for this relaxing park adventure. Illinois national parks would probably offer restrooms, but there are no public facilities at all in this park. Hunting is a big event in these woods, but there are also some hiking trails and water which can be used for fishing only.

Harry "Babe" Woodyard State Natural Area

Lincoln Trail State Park
If you are interested in adding some educational moments to your trip through Illinois, this state park is a must-visit destination. It memorializes the trip Abraham Lincoln took through the area with his family many years ago. While you can get outdoors for some sunshine and do all of the typical park activities, you will also learn a few things about American history.

Lincoln Trail State Park

Lincoln Trail Homestead State Memorial
This is another park dedicated to the memories of Abraham Lincoln. This park in the town of Mt. Zion marks the location of the first home he occupied in the state. Fishing and hiking are the outdoor activities available, but note that camping is restricted in this park.

Lincoln Trail Homestead State Memorial

Beaver Dam State Park
This is one of the best state parks in Illinois for parking the RV and camping out for a while. Fishing is a popular activity here, but you can also give your legs a good stretch on the walking trails. Great addition to your road trip vacation planning.

Beaver Dam State Park

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area
Add sailing and a large swimming pool to the hiking and fishing that you can do in any state park, and you have the wonderful Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area. You will find a huge man-made lake here and some beautiful trails through the woods, but you will also find a nice sized swimming pool safe for smaller children and the opportunity to catch sail on the lake.

Plus, this is a huge camping park so you can easily slide the RV in and enjoy your time.

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area

Horseshoe Lake State Park
Are you into birds? Head out to Madison County to find a beautiful world with every imaginable bird present. This is a big destination for birdwatchers, but you can still go hiking and fishing like in any other state park. Another great addition to your road trip vacation planning.

Horseshoe Lake State Park

Sangchris Lake State Park
If you're in the Rochester or Springfield area and need a place to park the RV and camp out for a while, this is the state park to head to. It is a popular stopping point for those traveling in RVs and gives access to a beautiful park ready for hiking boating, and a variety of other relaxing activities.

Sangchris Lake State Park

Trail of Tears State Park
This is one of the most educational Illinois state parks. If you were interested in Illinois national parks so you could learn about the history of the state, you can still do just that by visiting this park in Union County.

It was named after the journey the state's Indians were forced to make when they were driven from the land by colonials. Study up on this history on your way to the park and the entire family will learn something about this history of the country.

Trail of Tears State Park

Giant City State Park
Go a little south of Carbondale, Illinois and you will find one of the more exciting and heart-racing Illinois state parks. This park more than makes up for the lack of Illinois national parks!

The usually camping, fishing and picnicking is offered here, but so are some other activities that are a bit more exciting. What about horseback riding through the trails? How does rock climbing or rappelling sound?

Giant City State Park

Tunnel Hill State Park
This is an amazing state park if you like to walk or bike. There is a bike trail that goes on for close to 45 miles along with ample opportunity to stretch your legs and get in a bit of walking or jogging. The hill here is by far not a mountain, but it is large enough that a tunnel was placed underneath it for railroad tracks to pass through.

Tunnel Hill State Park
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Related Pages

  • Fun Facts About Illinois
  • Top 10 Illinois Tourist Attractions
  • Tell Us Your Favorite Illinois Family Vacations
  • Treasure Hunting in Illinois
  • State and National Parks in Illinois
  • Illinois Travel Books
  • Illinois Campground Reviews
  • Illinois as an RV Domicile

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