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Enjoy the Natural Beauty of Lakes and Rivers in Illinois
Enjoy the abundance of lakes and rivers around Illinois for your next fishing or boating adventure. You’ll find several destinations, including nature conservancies and beautiful creeks, where you can enjoy the great outdoors and see some of the most beautiful natural sites of the Midwest. The Rend Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area is one of the most pristine lakes in the region, located on Interstate 57 in southern Illinois. It’s the idyllic destination for boating, fishing, and hunting. You can also hunt for waterfowl here and it’s been named one of the Illinois Seven Wonders.
Make your way to Illinois Beach State Park on Lake Michigan, a U.S. National Natural Landmark that encompasses more than 4,000 acres of land. It’s another popular spot for hiking, bird watching, picnicking, and cycling. The National Scenic Byway is the intersection of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois rivers and is surrounded by Pure Marquette State Park and the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site. Take a tour of this region to see the Hagen Family Orchard, Jacoby Arts Center and Nan Elliot Memorial Rose Garden.
Rend Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area
Nestled on 38,900 acres, the Rend Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area is set on Interstate 57 in southern Illinois – just 30 miles north of Marion. Ideal for hunting, boating, and fishing, the Rend Lake area features the Rend Lake Refuge, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, and the Rend Lake Conservancy District.
Hunt for waterfowl near Big Muddy River, Whistling Wings Access Area, and Casey Fork Creek, while fishermen may reel in large crappie, channel catfish, Hybrid striped bass, and more. One of Illinois’ Seven Wonders, Rend Lake also features an 18-hole golf course and tennis courts.
Illinois Beach State Park
Set on Lake Michigan, Illinois Beach State Park is set in northern Illinois near the city of Antioch. A member of the Illinois state park system, Illinois Beach State Park is a U.S. National Natural Landmark.
Opened in 1948, the park covers over 4,000 acres, and features boating, fishing, and swimming – plus land activities like hiking, cycling, bird watching, and picnicking. The Illinois Beach State Park is open throughout the year.
Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway
Designated a National Scenic Byway in 2000, the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway is located in southern Illinois along the Mississippi River, Missouri River, and Illinois River. Spanning 33 miles, the byway is bookended by Pere Marquette State Park and the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site.
Passing cities like Alton, Grafton, Hartford, and Elsah, the route is one of Illinois’ Seven Wonders. Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway also neighbors Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail and the Confluence Bike Trail. As you tour the Great Rivers Scenic Byway, check out some top spots like the Hagen Family Orchard, the Nan Elliot Memorial Rose Garden, and the Jacoby Arts Center.