The area around Peoria, Illinois’s largest city, is home to many state parks. These fascinating parks offer access to a diverse range of wildlife and wildflowers. What’s more, they also offer a variety of recreational activities.
If you enjoy camping, wildlife watching and photography, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor activities, you must give these state parks a try. They allow you to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy nature in all its glory.
But where do you begin? With so many great options available, choosing one park can be tricky. This is where we can help. Here are the top state parks you can visit when you visit Peoria, IL.
Map of State Parks Near Peoria IL
Here is a map of the Illinois state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Peoria
These state parks offer a range of recreational activities and camping opportunities for the perfect weekend getaway from Peoria.
1. Apple River Canyon State Park
Location: 8763 E Canyon Rd, Apple River, IL 61001
The Apple River Canyon State Park, which spans 1907 acres, is home to limestone cliffs, springs, streams, steep ravines, and animals. Campers can hunt in specific areas as long as they have proper licensing and meet other requirements.
The Apple River is home to a variety of fish, including crappie, smallmouth bass, carp, suckers, and keeper-size trout (during the seasonal trout fishing season), so make sure to bring your fishing gear when you visit.
The park has picnic areas and shelters with amenities like tables, grills, drinking water, and restrooms if you’d rather sit back and relax.
Walk through one of the five trails that wind through the woods to test your hiking skills and discover the wonders of nature. These paths can be tough and dangerous, so stay on the trail for a safe hike.
The state park has class ‘C’ campsites that are somewhat basic due to the lack of showers. If you’re looking for great amenities, park your RV at Apple Canyon Lake Campground, which has several campsites with electric, water, and sewer hookups.
The campsites also offer laundry facilities, modern restrooms with hot showers, and other amenities.
2. Fox Ridge State Park
Location: 18175 State Park Rd, Charleston, IL 61920
Fox Ridge State Park offers 8 rugged, scenic paths, lush valleys, and 18 picturesque thickly wooded ridges on its 2,064-acre site.
Be prepared to hike the huge network of interconnecting paths and the staircase to Eagle’s Nest (144 steps) set between the rolling hills. You will be rewarded with some spectacular views full of vibrant colors, no matter what time of year you visit.
Anglers can fish for catfish, bass, bluegill, and other species at the park’s well-stocked Ridge Lake. To access this lake, you will need a reservation.
Alternatively, visitors can fish without a permit on the Embarras River or go canoeing using one of the park’s two canoe launches.
The park also has a 1,129-acre hunting area, but you’ll need a windshield card to hunt for pheasant, rabbit, deer, and other game animals.
Day visitors will find dedicated picnic spots with restrooms and sanitary dumping locations, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, and sand volleyball courts. The park also offers a huge, brick outdoor pavilion and shelters appropriate for group outings.
There are 42 RV sites in the park that can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet long with 30-amp or 50-amp electric service. Two of these locations are wheelchair accessible.
They have a dump station, modern facilities, picnic tables, a fire ring, flushing toilets and showers, and other amenities. They permit pets as long as owners restrain them with a leash no more than 10-feet long.
3. Kankakee River State Park
Location: 5314 IL-102, Bourbonnais, IL 60914
Kankakee River State Park consists of approximately 4,000 acres of treasured land. The Kankakee River envelopes it on both sides. The park provides a variety of popular recreational possibilities in an unspoiled setting.
Anglers of all levels can fish for smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, and channel catfish in the Kankakee River and Rock Creek.
If you don’t want to fish from the banks, the park also has boat ramps that can launch motorcraft with a horsepower of 10 or less. However, the river is shallow and rocky, so this is not the safest experience, but you can canoe here easily.
Hunters will enjoy the park’s abundance of animals and seasonal hunting opportunities. During the season, you can bow hunt for deer and firearm hunt for duck, rabbit, squirrel, fox, and coyote, among other animals.
Outdoor enthusiasts can explore trails and experience the beauty of nature and pause for a photo op beside a stunning waterfall.
The park has 2 campgrounds that accommodate more than 200 campsites. Most of these campgrounds provide electric hookups and amenities like picnic tables, camp grills, and potable water.
One campground, Potawatomi, offers shower facilities. If you’re camping in a larger RV, Kankakee South KOA offers full hookups with top-notch modern amenities.
4. Illini State Park
Location: 2660 E 2350th Rd, Marseilles, IL 61341
Illini State Park, which spans a 510-acre area, has a rich history. It is home to hickory, walnut, ash, elm, oak, and maple trees, blooming flowers, and abundant wildlife.
You can catch crappie, bluegill, catfish, carp, and a variety of other fish species here. Visitors can also boat on the Illinois River and use the park’s boat ramp, but they must watch out for barges coming out of Marseilles.
The park offers picnic areas, shelters (some with functioning fireplaces), and both tent and trailer campsites with electric and sanitation facilities for a top-tier camping experience.
You can also stretch your legs and hike through lovely trails like the short Marasattowa Trail or the Riverfront View Trail known as Country Ski.
You can also go birdwatching. If you’re lucky, you’ll see white-tailed deers, opossums, groundhogs, raccoons, beavers, and other wildlife as you walk through the park.
The park’s campground features 45 back-in RV sites with 30-amp electric hookups that can accommodate 50-foot RVs. They have 55 tent sites that can fit in standard-size campervans. These sites come with picnic tables, fire rings, a dump station, and other campsite facilities.
The park permits pets as long as owners supervise them and keep them on a leash of about 10 feet long.
5. Green River State Fish and Wildlife Area
Location: 375 Game Road, Harmon IL 61042
Green River State Fish and Wildlife Area is a 2,565-acre area popular with outdoor enthusiasts. The park has a multi-use 10-mile long equestrian-friendly trail you can use between April 15 and October 31 every year to explore nature.
You’ll need to bring your own horse on the self-guided trail because the park does not rent out horses. You can also explore moderate to difficult hiking trails on foot and delight in viewing amazing flora and fauna.
Except for a 50-acre restricted area, you can hunt for opossum, pheasant, rabbit, quail, raccoon, and other animals throughout the park.
The campground includes various parking places for your vehicle as well as a hygienic dumping station. These campsites are a fantastic spot to unwind and rest.
The park doesn’t offer shower facilities, so you might want to check out Crystal Lake RV Park for modern amenities including 20, 30, and 50-amp power, water, and sewer hookups.