Four Relaxing Spots to Visit near Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a quick forty minutes west of Chicago, is centrally located for getting back to nature. By all means, enjoy the attractions of Chicagoland, but if you like your RV camping in more natural settings, here are four relaxing spots to visit near Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Glen Ellyn Area Attraction #1: Moraine Hills State Park

Just an hour north of Glen Ellyn, near the town of McHenry, you’ll find Moraine Hills State Park, Moraine Hills State Parkwhere a pristine glacier lake, a vast marsh and the chance to see a lock on the Fox River make this our first pick for your trip. Hike the trails for an intimate look into nature and bring your fishing equipment, too. There’s no camping at the state park, but there’s plenty of camping nearby at Chain O’Lakes State Park or in Union, IL campgrounds.

Glen Ellyn Area Attraction #2: Chain O’Lakes State Park

We mentioned great camping at this next state park, also just an hour north of Glen Ellyn, but there’s so much more to draw RV camping fans! Chain O’Lakes State Park gives campers access to no less than ten lakes, making this a top pick for camping families who plan to fish, paddle or water ski while on vacation. Four lakes within the park’s boundaries, as well as the scenic Fox River that leads to six more, open up endless possibilities for fun on the water. Tip: fishing for walleye, muskie and crappie is particularly good, so bring along your favorite lures, an Illinois fishing license and your fishing boat of choice to navigate the Fox Waterway.

Glen Ellyn Area Attraction #3: Burnidge Forest Preserve

Does the thought of camping in a lush forest, with plenty of trails and stocked fishing ponds nearby, appeal to your family? If so, add the Burnidge Forest Preserve, an hour north of Glen Ellyn near Elgin, IL, to your itinerary. A nicely developed campground that doesn’t take away from its forest surroundings makes this beautiful area a favorite of local campers, so make your reservations early!

Glen Ellyn Area Attraction #4: Big Rock Forest Preserve

Once you’ve picked up your RV rental in Glen Ellyn, head west on I-88 forty miles to discover Big Rock Forest Preserve. That’s where you’ll enjoy not only excellent RV camping in a woodland setting, but catch & release fishing in Siegler Lake, as well. Give the kids a lesson in geology with a hike along the lake trail or to the sandy bluffs formed by ancient glacier movement. With hardwood forests, meadows filled with birds and wildlife and a rock quarry turned lake to explore, the whole family can relax and celebrate nature year-round. Tip: bring your clubs if golf is a passion—an excellent public course is right next door!

Glen Ellyn, Illinois may seem like a gateway to Chicago, and it truly is a great place to start that visit. But if you’re hoping to enjoy RV camping in a natural setting, try these four spots next time you’re in the area. And let us know if we can help with an RV rental!

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Springfield, Illinois RV Adventures for the Whole Family

Travel to the Land of Lincoln on an exciting Springfield, Illinois RV vacation! This is the perfect way to understand some of the historical aspects of the founding of our great land, as well as enjoy the sights and outdoor activities available. You can discover the true America by exploring Route 66 and visit the neighborhoods that made this country what it is today. And of course, there are many RV campgrounds around Springfield where you can stay. You may really enjoy the Double J Campground & RV Park just outside of town.

First stop is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum where you can see collections all about this most famous President. An audio-visual collection is one that will truly lend a realistic feel to the history you will absorb. There are over 400,000 photos which visually portray life through the decades. An experience you shouldn’t pass up.

Another spot where you can find the past becoming a thing of the present, the Clayville Historic Site. The Clayville Trader General Store will fascinate young and old. If you are visiting in May, the Clayville Spring Festival will show you what the pioneer experience is all about. At the Lincoln Home National Historic Site you will want to tour the Lincoln Home, explore the exhibits in the historic neighborhood of the Lincoln era, and see the film which highlights Abraham Lincoln’s life and home.

Visit the final resting place of our great past President at the Lincoln Tomb. His wife and three of his sons are also buried there. This tomb is 117 feet tall and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a marvelous memorial to a great man.

No visitor to Springfield can pass up an opportunity to see the Illinois State Capital, or stop in across the street at the Capitol Complex Visitors Center. Grab some brochures of other sights to take in around the city, and perhaps have a picnic at one of the picnic tables available to the public.

Now it is time to get outside and really soak up some of that summer sun. Walk the trails at Adams Wildlife Sanctuary where you can see the beautiful wooded home to many small animals and a wide variety of birds. This was once a farm now abandoned to nature. Make a trip to Henson Robinson Zoo to see an amazing variety of native and exotic animals.

Of course, the Washington Park Botanical Garden is a must-see for all nature lovers. In this lovely oasis, you will find incredible displays of color. Stroll through the gardens to enjoy the tranquility. Once leaving here, you can get over to Lake Springfield for some boating. If you haven’t brought your own boat, you can always rent one. You can also enjoy windsurfing or water skiing. Try your luck at fishing in the sparkling waters.

A Springfield RV vacation provides many adventures, from historical events to outdoor fun. It is a place you will want to return to again and again for a special getaway.

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An RV Vacation to Chicago for Entertainment, Culture and a Load of Fun

Chicago MontageChicago attracts visitors from all over the world. It is a city that buzzes with energy and excitement. Chicago, Illinois is a perfect destination for a fun-filled RV vacation for you and your family. Summertime is the best time to go, since you won’t want to miss the water fun available along the shores of Lake Michigan.

RV camping is simple to find around Chicago. The closest campground to the city is the Chicago Northwest KOA, with lots of attractions right next door. Settle in and then get ready to explore Chicago and all the sights just waiting for you. You have the towering skyscrapers, waterfront walks, and plenty of festivals and events to keep you entertained.

Start out with a short trip to the Brookfield Zoo. This nature park covers 216 acres and offers incredible views of the animals that you will get no place else. To get there you just need to drive west of the city for about 12 miles. There is nothing like enjoying the antics of the bears and dolphins. See polar bears dive for fish through windows specially made so you can marvel at these marvelous animals.

Once getting your taste of the wild, you can return to the city and climb to amazing heights to take in the views. At Skydeck Chicago you will be at the top of the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building. In one sweeping view you will see four states and Lake Michigan’s lovely waters, as well as skyscrapers and parks and more. From there, head over to the Chicago Cultural Center where you can take in the many free exhibits and wander through the stained glass domes.

If you love a lively gathering spot where you can bike, listen to concerts, find activities for the whole family and meet other like-minded folk, be sure to stop at Millennium Park. There are festivals and music presentations going on at any given time, and you’ll end up allowing a bit of extra time to relax and explore. If you didn’t bring a bicycle, you can rent one and get some exercise during a bright sunny day.

Speaking of exercise, there is no better place to walk, jog, bike or skate than along the Lakefront Trail. Here you will find a wonderful 18-mile trail, paved and flat where you can move along the lakefront. Stop at one of the parks or beaches to rest and have a snack.

You don’t have to be visiting the coast in California or Florida to enjoy the beach, either. Chicago has lakeside beaches that offer plenty of water fun. At Calumet Park and Beach you will discover all sorts of things to do, including swimming, boating, picnicking and visiting the model train exhibit. Loyola Park is another favorite, and kids love all the various recreational activities offered here, as well as swimming in Lake Michigan.

The Shedd Aquarium is one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world. You should make it a point to stop here to view the more than 1,500 species of aquatic animals. You will see dolphins, sea lions, otters, beluga whales and penguins. It is an experience you really shouldn’t miss.

If kids are with you on this trip, you must go to the Field Museum. There is a wide array of interactive activities to keep even the most curious and active child entertained. Taking a tour of the museum is the best, so you can learn all about some of the amazing treasures on display. No kids with you on this trip? It doesn’t matter. This museum provides exhibitions, programs and events for all ages.

Another kid-friendly activity is visiting the Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze. The young at heart also will enjoy this delightful fun house. Lose yourself in a wild labyrinth of tunnels, mirrors and more. Then make your way over to Navy Pier. This is one of the most popular attractions in Chicago. For those who love to get some culture, you can visit the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier and see some impressive productions from the Bard. The Navy Pier also has a six-story IMAX Theater where you can see some exciting movies in 2D or 3D.

There won’t be any other RV vacation that can quite match this one in Chicago. You will find you have been making memories that will linger many years after you get home. When you want to experience a city that has everything, it is no doubt that Chicago is the place to go.

Picture credits: The Chicago Montage is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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The Fun of an RV Adventure along Illinois River Road

Take off in your RV come late spring for a wonderful adventure along the Illinois River Road. You can also enjoy the trip in the fall when the trees are turning color. But no matter the time you pick, this is a wonderful trip through some of the best of Illinois landscapes.

Stop at any wineries you see along the way. The rich wine making traditions of this state will impress you with some of the finest. Your embarkation point will be in Ottawa, Illinois. Here the Illinois and Fox Rivers meet and Lincoln’s career began. Lots of natural beauty here and plenty of outdoor activities all around. You should remember that binoculars are to be included in your travel gear so you can get great views of river wildlife.

Buffalo Rock State Park is a must for your RV vacation itinerary. See two bison that make this their home, and visit the observation decks so you can look out over the river. Walk through the park on the Woodland Trail and just absorb that wonderful nature. Catlin County Park is another one not to miss. You can get out and stretch, taking in the amazing forest of hickories and maples. See if you can identify the many different species of trees and plants. Of course the wildlife is awesome, and if you love bird watching, you will be in your element here.

Princeton will be your next stop. This lovely place provides many activities for young and old. Woodlands you can visit nearby are Miller-Anderson Woods Nature Preserve and the Warnecke Woods. You’ll find RV camping at Condit’s Ranch Campground overlooking the Illinois River. Enjoy swimming, hiking and fishing at Condit’s Ranch.

If you like lakes, you’ll like Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area, with more than a dozen lakes scattered throughout the area. This is prime habitat for birds of all kinds. Hike the trails to see the wide variety of aquatic vegetation along the shores.

When you reach Peoria, stop to take in the rich beauty of this area. Outdoor lovers won’t be able to resist hiking along the river, fishing or biking along a forest trail. Go to Peoria Zoo for a relaxing visit to the animals there. One must-see is the Apple Blossom Farm. When visiting in the fall, you’ll find it open from August through December. Stock up on apple cider, jams or doughnuts. Yes, the bakery is stupendous.

Visit the home of Abraham Lincoln at New Salem State Historic Site when you come to Havana, Illinois. Again, if here in the fall months, there is nothing better than driving along Spoon River Drive to marvel at the autumn colors. Then it is time to get over to Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge. A paradise for bird lovers, this refuge boasts amazing numbers of species. Bald eagles come here because of the wetlands, and you’ll see everything from Great Blue Heron to songbirds and sandpipers.

Even if your journey along the Illinois River Road is done for now, this is a wonderful place to return again and again. There is always more to see and do, things you may not have had time for on this trip. So anticipate packing up that RV once again and taking off through the varied landscapes of Illinois again next year.

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Plenty to do in Galena and Jo Daviess Counties in Illinois

This post was kindly provided to us by the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau. All of the photos in this article were provided by them.

Experience the vintage charm and contemporary spirit of Galena and Jo Daviess County… the region’s natural beauty, charming farmsteads, well-preserved historic sites, first-class golfing, regional cuisines, eclectic shops and tranquil spas. Located in northwest Illinois, three hours from downtown Chicago and 90 minutes from Madison, Wis., the destination affords visitors plenty of opportunities to relax, rejuvenate and recharge.

Pucture of the U.S. Grant Home

Ulysses S. Grant Home

The area’s 19th-century history and how it shaped the destination’s architecture continues to be a draw for visitors. The historic architecture here ranges from Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate, Galena Traditional, and Vernacular. Galena also produced nine Civil War generals, including Ulysses S. Grant, who later became the country’s 18th president. Both his home and that of Grant crony Elihu B. Washburne are now state historic sites. If you want to learn without walking, let our world-famous trolleys point out the notable local points of interest.

The destination is also known for a wide variety of other attractions. Experiential, hands-on tourism continues to grow, with jewelry making, knitting, crocheting and cooking workshops regularly available. Moreover, art galleries and many studios throughout Jo Daviess County are open to the public and often feature free demonstrations.

You can’t miss the outdoor recreational opportunities that await you around every curve. Breathe the fresh air while hiking or biking our trails. There are a number of state parks and preserves throughout the county that offer hiking and nature trails; some offer fishing and camping. Challenge yourself on the greens of our 10 championship golf courses or take a hot air balloon ride to get a bird’s eye view of the treetops. Afterwards, gallop along on a horseback ride through wooded trails and deep valleys.

The region’s wineries, Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Massbach Ridge Winery, and Rocky Waters Vineyard/Winery, offer tastings of their award-winning wines for a nominal fee. All three vineyards hold events throughout the year. For those who love to tickle their taste buds, visit the Galena Brewing Company on Galena’s Main Street. Their craft brews are manufactured on-site and tours are available for those interested in their operations.

Most importantly, you need a place to call home while in Galena and Jo Daviess County. Visitors who travel here by RV have four primary options to call home.

Apple River Canyon State Park is located in the northern part of Jo Daviess County near Apple River and the Wisconsin border. The park resides in a scenic canyon area that was formed by the winding waters of the Apple River. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife populate this area which was once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. This state park has seasonal camping for roughly 25 RVs, but does not have any electrical or water hookups.

Blanding Landing Recreation Area is on the east bank of the mighty Mississippi River near Hanover. The weather in this area runs from warm and humid in the summer to dry in the fall. The Mississippi River draws crowds of anglers each year to Blanding. The most popular species to catch are channel catfish, bluegill, walleye, crappie and northern pike. Other activities include boating and nearby hunting. The area is open May through October and has 30 sites with electrical hookups and seven sites without any hookups.

Palace Campground was founded in 1848, therefore making it the oldest operating campground in the state of Illinois. Situated on 50 quiet, wooded acres just outside of Galena they are equipped to handle more than 100 RVs at any time between April and November. They have a heated swimming pool, playground, outdoor movies, hayrides, a miniature golf course, arcade building, free Wi-Fi and much more. Sites are all equipped with a variety of hookup combinations.

Vel Terra Ranch and Family Campground is based on more than 165 acres near Elizabeth. With rugged hills, picturesque scenery, abundant trees, wildlife and natural rolling terrain, their campground is a perfect launching pad for your expedition to Jo Daviess County and the surrounding area. They have electric and water hookups at their seven RV campsites, which are open April through November.

Those traveling by RV to Galena/Jo Daviess County should always be aware of the parking and traffic patterns as many of our streets can be difficult for large vehicles to comfortably pass through. For more information on visiting northwest Illinois, call the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1.877.464.2536 or visit the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau Web site for information on lodging, events, tours, dining, historic sites and much more.



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An RV Trip to Visit Illinois Wineries

Here’s a delightful combination for an autumn RV vacation – Illinois’ fertile, scenic vineyards and friendly, affordable RV campgrounds! Why not take full advantage of Illinois’ gorgeous autumn vistas with an RV trip to the state’s award-winning wineries?

Here’s a sampling of Illinois RV itineraries to the state’s wine regions:

Northern Illinois Wineries include August Hill Winery at Utica, Famous Fossil Vineyard in Freeport and Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery in Galena. These are only three of the picturesque vineyards located west of Chicago. As you plan which wineries you’ll visit, why not book a campsite at Illinois’ oldest campground, the Palace Campground in Galena? It’s within two hours of Northern Illinois’ entire collection of award-winning vineyards.

Shawnee National Forest isn’t the only attraction in the southernmost tip of Illinois! There’s also a marvelous selection of wines awaiting your palate. Owl Creek Vineyard in Cobden, IL is just one of the delights of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, highlighting twelve distinctively American wineries. Taste not only the wines but also the unique grapevine-smoked barbeque at Von Jakob Vineyard in Pomona. Enjoy a delicious boutique wine in the beauty of StarView Vineyards. And when you’re ready to step off the Wine Trail for the night, watch the sun set over the lake at Little Grassy Lake Campground near Makanda, just minutes from these Southern Illinois wineries.

Just up the road in South Central and Southeastern Illinois are nearly two dozen vineyards ready to tempt your tastebuds. Lasata Wines near Westport is a member of the Wabash Valley Wine Trail, a collection of five lush vineyards in a thirty-mile span. Orchard View Winery on a century-old farm near Alma offers a day of relaxation in the country. To continue your back-to-nature experience, enjoy a night or two camping at Stephen A. Forbes Recreation Area near Kinmundy, IL.

One more highly-suggested journey for wine lovers is an autumn jaunt through Central Illinois’ wine country. Plan your trip to coincide with Harvest Fest at Hill Prairie Winery in Oakford. Sip wines with names like “Jasmine’s Moonlight” and “Edelweiss” at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard near Mackinaw. Because you’ll find so many wineries throughout this area, you’ll want to plan several days in Central Illinois. RV campgrounds like Evening Star Camping Resort near Havana make the trip comfortable and affordable. By the way, offers a complete itinerary of Central Illinois wineries, as well as information on all other wine regions in the state.

Are you ready to discover the wines that are making Illinois famous? Map your autumn trip to Illinois wineries for a journey into great wines, amazing scenery and some of the friendliest RV campgrounds anywhere.

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Bird Watching and RV Camping

Love to watch our feathered friends in their natural habitats? RV camping is the perfect companion to an extended bird watching expedition. Here’s why: you can set up camp in the comfort of your RV, close to the forests, meadows and mountain hideaways where you’re likely to find your favorite species. It’s also an affordable way to travel, thanks to well-equipped RV kitchens that allow you to cook your meals rather than finding restaurants along the way.

How to get started planning your next RV camping and bird watching road trip? First, you’ll need to know where to get information on each region’s bird watching hot spots. Here are four places to look online for clues:

The second step to planning the perfect bird watching road trip is to find RV campgrounds near your destination. We can help with that! Our RV Campgrounds page lets you search US campgrounds by state.

Then all you need to do is grab your binoculars, pack the RV and get ready for great bird watching action. Don’t own an RV? Don’t forget, we have dozens of RV rental locations ready to serve.

We thought we’d share just a few destinations where bird watching is hot and the RV camping is excellent. Use our clues or map your own avian adventure soon!

Bird Watching Itinerary #1: Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area, South and East Osceola, FL
Central Florida According to Central Florida Bird Watchers, this eight-thousand-acre refuge promises sightings of bald eagles, red-headed woodpeckers and other rarely-seen species! Just an hour north of Orlando near Kenansville, FL, this bird watching haven also offers campsites in three lakeside areas.

Bird Watching Itinerary #2: Malibu Lagoon State Beach – Malibu, CA
Located on Pacific Coast Highway just west of Los Angeles, this state park gives bird watchers the chance to see brown pelicans and a wide variety of other shore birds. Camp at the only RV campground in the City of Malibu, Malibu Beach RV Park, and enjoy premium beachside campsites close to first-rate bird watching.

Bird Watching Itinerary #3: Fermilab Preserve – Chicago, IL
The US Department of Energy’s Fermilab Preserve facility in Chicago’s western suburbs plays host to a surprising variety of birds. By hiking through the site’s ecological reserve (open to the public) birders may sight bay-breasted warblers, osprey and Cooper’s hawks, just to name a few of the species that call this six-thousand-acre, ecologically diverse habitat home. Consider traveling north one hour to Burnidge Forest Preserve for even more birding opportunities, as well as scenic RV camping!

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Top 10 State & National Parks near Villa Park, IL

The Chicago suburb of Villa Park not only boasts an El Monte RV Rentals location, it’s also within easy driving distance of many state and national parks. Here are our top ten favorites:

  1. Apple River Canyon State Park – Fish for trout in this scenic canyon about three hours west of Villa Park. With campgrounds in the forest, five easy to moderately challenging trails and plenty of wildlife watching opportunities, it’s a great place to play with the kids and grand kids!
  2. Chain ‘O Lakes State Park – An hour north of Chicago at the Wisconsin border you’ll discover a camping and boating paradise. Lakes Marie, Grass and Nippersink have shoreline within the park and the Fox River also runs within its boundaries. Plan to take advantage of the Class A-Premium campsites and the park’s hiking and equestrian trails.
  3. Illinois Beach State Park – Six and a half miles of Lake Michigan beach front showcase an outdoor wonderland just an hour north of Villa Park. Swim, explore the dunes, hike the trails, fish in the inland ponds or Lake Michigan and be sure to reserve a campsite at the large on-site campground.
  4. Kankakee River State Park – Travel an hour south of Villa Park to Bourbonnais, Illinois to experience Kankakee River State Park. Fish the clean waters here for smallmouth bass, or paddle the eleven mile stretch of the Kankakee within the park’s boundaries. Take advantage of the nicely-maintained campgrounds while you’re here, and don’t forget to pack the mountain bikes!
  5. Lincoln Home National Historic Park – Prior to becoming President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln and his family lived in Springfield, Illinois. Visit this charming home and neighborhood where interpretive centers, National Park Service rangers and innovations such as cell phone tours help make history fascinating for you and your family. Less than two hundred miles south of Villa Park!
  6. Mississippi Palisades State Park – Where the Mighty Mississippi flows into Spring Lake on the Iowa border is a place highly-rated by rock climbers. Camp in nicely-wooded campsites and spend your time here hiking the rugged trails, climbing limestone bluffs or catching catfish on the Mississippi River.
  7. Rock Cut State Park – Two lakes within this gorgeous green space near the Wisconsin border mean more than enough recreation for your RV camping crew. Rent a boat and discover the joys of Pierce Lake or go for a swim at Olson Lake. You’ll also find forty miles of trails waiting to stretch your legs.
  8. Shawnee National Forest – Southwest of St. Louis, MO in the southern tip of Illinois, Shawnee National Forest unwinds between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Campgrounds abound in this southern Illinois national forest; consider staying at more than one on your trip. Take a hike on the River-to-River Trail or ride your horse beside the picturesque lakes tucked among dunes and forests.
  9. Weldon Springs State Park – With plenty of short, easily hiked trails, a hands-on historic interpretive center and a campground named one of America’s best by Family Circle Magazine, Weldon Springs is the perfect site for your family RV vacation.
  10. White Pines Forest State Park – Go west about two hours from Villa Park to find pristine white pine forests and high limestone bluffs through which lively streams crisscross. Fish or hike, enjoy RV camping in the forest and explore the lands once treasured by the Blackhawk Native American tribe.
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RV Camping and Fishing at Illinois’ Clinton Lake

When you’re planning this year’s fishing and RV camping expeditions, consider the exciting lake fishing available at Clinton Lake State Recreation Area in Illinois. This Central Illinois lake is prized by anglers for its catfish, crappie and striped bass fishing. With scenic campgrounds and hiking trails throughout the state park, there’s really no reason not to bring the whole family for an RV camping and fishing expedition to Clinton Lake.

RV Camping Tips for Clinton Lake SP
As we mentioned, the scenery is fine at Clinton Lake State Recreation Area’s campgrounds. There are almost three hundred RV campsites at the lake, all with at least electric hookups and nearby showers. With more than nine thousand acres of splendidly colorful lake, woods and prairie as a backdrop, you’ll find camping in a motorhome at Clinton Lake an enjoyable time, indeed.

All campsites at the lake are reserved through the ReserveAmerica system. It’s a good idea to book yours early, because reservations open in July for the following summer at this popular fishing spot!

Traveling to Clinton Lake State Recreation Area
Now that you’ve booked your Clinton Lake RV campsite, it’s time to start planning your route. The state recreation area lies just east of the town of Clinton, IL, and is easy to find from any direction. It is straight north of Decatur, IL, straight south from Bloomington, IL and lies midway between Lincoln and Champaign, going east to west. Chicago is also only three hours north, and you’ll notice on Google maps that several major Interstates (I-55, I-72 and I-74) will bring you within a short distance of the lake.

Fishing at Clinton Lake SP
When fishing fans arrive at Clinton Lake, they’ll notice some features that promise a great time fishing. First, Clinton Lake Marina is open Memorial Day to Labor Day to provide pontoon boat rentals, fuel, bait and boat repairs. On the north side of the lake, near the small town of DeWitt, there’s also a great bait shop called Soupy’s Shack that’s popular with area fishermen.

Anglers will also notice the lake’s heavily-wooded banks, providing cover for fish as well as making the lake easy on the eyes. Local fishing reports advise heading for the lake’s spillway to find trophy-sized walleye and stripers. There are also bridges and wheelchair-accessible fishing piers where bank fishing promises channel cats, crappie and bass.

Just in case you’ve brought along some campers who don’t care to fish, the hiking trails around Clinton Lake get high marks, as does the wildlife watching. Be sure to keep an eye out for the osprey fishing the lake alongside the boaters! There’s also a white sand swimming beach open every summer.

We think this scenic lake in Central Illinois is just the spot for a memorable week of RV camping and fishing! Here’s a brochure from Illinois’ Department of Natural Resources with more information about Clinton Lake (PDF). Dive in and learn more about why you should be taking your next RV camping and fishing trip to Central Illinois’ beautiful Clinton Lake.

If you need an RV rental for your trip please check out our Chicago RV Rentals location.

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RV Road Trip to Lake Michigan Lighthouses Near Chicago

Without ever leaving the Chicago area, it’s possible to visit, photograph and learn more about four historic lighthouses. Your first order of business, before starting your road trip along the Lake Michigan shoreline, is to find comfortable RV camping. Staying in one of the many suburbs of Chicago is a great option; you’re outside the busy city but close enough to see all the attractions. Here are a few suggestions for RV camping within about an hour of the Chicago shoreline:

  1. Empress Casino/Hotel/RV Resort: Joliet, IL
  2. Jellystone Park/Resort Chicago: Millbrook, IL
  3. Chicago Northwest KOA – Union, IL

Chicagoland Lake Michigan Lighthouses
Now, to the Chicago area lighthouse itinerary – start by driving to Navy Pier in Chicago and getting a good look at the Chicago Harbor Light. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see it easily from the pier; you might also consider a cruise with one of the charter services that operates in the area.

Look south from the same pier and you’ll be able to see a good example of a “structural light,” the Chicago Harbor Southeast Guidewall Light. The still-functional light sits atop a metal structure on one of the breakwaters in Chicago Harbor. It is also visible either from the pier or by boat tour.

To experience picturesque Grosse Point Lighthouse, travel north from Chicago to the city of Evanston, IL. Near the campus of Northwestern University stands this tower built in 1873, as well as the keepers’ dwelling, in a beautifully-landscaped park operated by the city. Arrive for one of the summer-only tours and you’ll be challenged to climb the 141 steps to the top of the light!

One more Lake Michigan lighthouse on the western shore near Chicago can be found at the end of Government Pier in Waukegan, IL. According to Terry Pepper’s comprehensive Seeing the Light – Lighthouses of the Western Great Lakes, the original lighthouse installation included a keepers’ dwelling, but a fire in the 1960s destroyed much of the structure. What remains is a white iron tower topped with an acrylic lens, which can be reached by walking out onto the pier.

That covers the four lights found in Chicago Harbor and north to the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Immediately south across the Indiana border, you can easily visit a half dozen lights, from Calumet Lighthouse to the nicely-restored Old Michigan City Lighthouse, by adding just a couple more days to your Chicago-area RV trip. If you’re interested in ranging farther north, there are more than a dozen lighthouses along Lake Michigan’s western shore within Wisconsin’s borders.

You may soon start to see RV camping in Chicago in a whole new light, thanks to the abundance of lighthouses illuminating Lake Michigan. Use these tips to start planning your next RV camping vacation to Chicago; it just might be the beginning of a lifelong love affair with Lake Michigan’s historic lights.

Photo credits: The picture of the Chicago Harbor Light is by Richard C. Drew from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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