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Illinois’ Top 5 State Parks for Summer Camping

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Outdoor enthusiasts planning a summer camping trip to Illinois may want to consider reserving a campsite at one of the state's fantastic parks. I have found that the camping fees are reasonable and the recreational opportunities are plentiful. With that said, here's a quick peek at five of the best Illinois State Parks for summer camping:

Giant City State Park

Giant City State Park is located in Makanda. It has drive-in, walk-in and equestrian friendly campsites. Some of the campsites are partially developed. It is a great place to camp if you enjoy rock climbing, rappelling, horseback riding, hiking and fishing. I'd recommend that campers check out the water tower's observation deck and the Devil's Standtable Nature Trail.

Pere Marquette State Park

Pere Marquette State Park is located in Grafton. It has drive-in campsites, some of which have been moderately developed. What I like about this park are the abundant trails. There are trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. There are also ample opportunities for fishing and bird watching. I'd suggest that summer hikers consider taking the Oak Trail and the Dogwood Trail. The park also has an amazing lodge onsite that contains a wine tasting room, saunas, an indoor swimming pool and a whirlpool.

Weldon Springs State Park

Weldon Springs State Park is located outside of Clinton. It has drive-in and hike-in campsites, some of which are partially developed. In my opinion, the sites are better suited for tent campers and small camping units due to their modest size. Families with small children will undoubtedly appreciate the park's kid friendly interpretive center. There are also opportunities for fishing, boating and playing horseshoes.

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park is located in Zion. It has partially developed, drive-in campsites. The swimming, fishing, biking and hiking trails are among the park's best attributes. The only downfall is that there are no lifeguards on duty.

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park is located in Utica. It has drive-in, partially developed campsites. This park is well suited for campers that enjoy hiking, photography, hunting and fishing. The trails are rugged in nature but those that accept the challenge are rewarded with spectacular, sweeping views. There are a whopping 18 canyons onsite. Hikers that want a long walk should try the Illinois Canyon Trail. It is over 4 miles long and features a great waterfall. Speaking of waterfalls, the LaSalle Canyon Trail has an amazing one that you can actually walk behind and peer through the spray.

Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.

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