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state park, illinois, Carlyle Lake at Eldon Hazlet State Park Illinois, Eldon Hazlet
Photograph: Jason Patrick Ross via Shutterstock

60 beautiful Illinois state parks reopen to the public

Just be sure to follow the rules, okay?

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen

If you're craving a change of scenery from your daily neighborhood walk, consider heading to a nearby state park—60 of which reopened to the public on May 1.

These wide-open green spaces are working hand in hand with state officials, which means there are new guidelines and regulations that visitors must follow. Campgrounds, beaches, visitor centers, playgrounds and concessions remain closed during this time (be sure to pack water and snacks if you're making an afternoon of it). So what can you do? Here's a rundown of approved activities:

  • Wildlife observation
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Equestrian use
  • Fishing (from banks and by boat with a limit of two people per boat)
  • Mushroom hunting

Guests are asked to practice social distancing throughout the parks and stay home if they're feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms. Officials also request that visitors come alone or with members of their household (no park meet ups just yet!). If you arrive at a park where crowds are gathering, either move to another area of the park or come back another time.

And finally, stick to parks that are closest to where you live. Below are eight that reopened in northeastern Illinois, the area that encompasses Chicago city limits. If you live elsewhere in Illinois, keep reading for more parks scattered throughout the state.

Northeastern Illinois

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park / North Point Marina
Chain O' Lakes State Park
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area
Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail (includes Buffalo Rock, Channahon, Gebhard Woods, and William G Stratton)
Kankakee River State Park
Moraine Hills State Park
Silver Springs State Fish & Wildlife Area
Volo Bog State Natural Area

Listed below are even more state parks throughout Illinois that reopened to the public on May 1. For the latest information on park openings and closures, check out the Department of Natural Resources's website.

Northwestern Illinois

Argyle Lake State Park
Black Hawk State Historic Site
Franklin Creek State Natural Area
Hennepin Canal State Trail
Illini State Park
Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area
Jubilee College State Park
Lowden State Park
Mississippi Palisades State Park
Morrison-Rockwood State Park
Prophetstown State Park
Rock Cut State Park
Rock Island Trail State Park
Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area
White Pines Forest State Park

East Central Illinois

Clinton Lake State Recreation Area
Eagle Creek State Park
Fox Ridge State Park
Kickapoo State Park
Lincoln Trail State Park
Moraine View State Recreation Area
Walnut Point State Park
Weldon Springs State Park
Wolf Creek State Park

West Central Illinois 

Beaver Dam State Park
Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area
Fort de Chartres State Historic Site
Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish & Wildlife Area
Lewis & Clark State Historic Site
Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
Nauvoo State Park
Sangchris Lake State Park
Siloam Springs State Park
Washington County State Recreation Area

Southern Illinois 

Beall Woods State Park
Cache River State Natural Area
Cave-in-Rock State Park
Dixon Springs State Park
Ferne Clyffe State Park
Fort Massac State Park
Giant City State Park
Hamilton County State Fish & Wildlife Area
Horseshoe Lake-Alexander State Fish & Wildlife Area
Kinkaid Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area
Lake Murphysboro State Park
Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area
Red Hills State Park
Saline County State Fish & Wildlife Area
Sam Parr State Fish & Wildlife Area
Stephen A Forbes State Recreation Area
Tunnel Hill State Trail
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area

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