Illinois' Best State Parks


Pere Marquette State Park (West Central Illinois<o:p>)
A nature lover’s paradise, Pere Marquette is famous for its bald eagles during the winter and exceptional beauty of its fall colors. The park of 7,895 acres overlooks a wide expanse of the Mississippi River and was named for Father Jacques Marquette, a French missionary who, in 1673, was among the first group of Europeans under the leadership of Louis Jolliet to reach the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. A large white cross stands just east of the park entrance commemorating their historic landing.

The natural splendor of the region and its rich history of animal and human habitation goes back eons. Fossils found in the strata stripped bare by thousands of years of river current reveal its history. Prehistoric use of the park dates back at least 10,000 years. During this time, Native American lifeways changed from nomadic hunters and gatherers to sedentary agriculturists. The park has been the subject of numerous archaeological studies including the present location of the park lodge. Although no historic Native American sites are documented in the park, it was known that the area was occupied by the Illini Confederacy when Marquette and Jolliet traveled the Mississippi River in 1673.

The park offers a variety of year-round recreational opportunities such as horseback riding, camping, fishing, boating and hiking.

Chain O’Lakes State Park (Northern Illinois)
Located in the heart of Illinois’ largest concentration of natural lakes, the park is a water-oriented recreation area with outstanding opportunities for boaters, anglers and skiers. The park borders three natural lakes - Grass, Marie and Nippersink - and the Fox River that connects the other seven lakes - Bluff, Fox, Pistakee, Channel, Petite, Catherine and Redhead which make up the chain. In addition, the park contains a 44 acre lake within its boundaries.

The 2,793 acre state park and adjoining conservation area are located in the northeastern corner of the state in both McHenry and Lake counties. The Chain O’Lakes area was inhabited by central Algonquian Tribes when Europeans first arrived in the mid-1600s. The predominant tribes in the region at the time were the Miami, Mascouten and Potawatomi. These tribes led a semi-mobile lifestyle and grew corn, hunted, fished and gathered wild plant foods. Jolliet and Marquette passed through what is the park today in 1673 as they traveled the Fox River during their Illinois explorations.


Pere Marquette State Park (West Central Illinois<o:p>)
A nature lover’s paradise, Pere Marquette is famous for its bald eagles during the winter and exceptional beauty of its fall colors. The park of 7,895 acres overlooks a wide expanse of the Mississippi River and was named for Father Jacques Marquette, a French missionary who, in 1673, was among the first group of Europeans under the leadership of Louis Jolliet to reach the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. A large white cross stands just east of the park entrance commemorating their historic landing.

The natural splendor of the region and its rich history of animal and human habitation goes back eons. Fossils found in the strata stripped bare by thousands of years of river current reveal its history. Prehistoric use of the park dates back at least 10,000 years. During this time, Native American lifeways changed from nomadic hunters and gatherers to sedentary agriculturists. The park has been the subject of numerous archaeological studies including the present location of the park lodge. Although no historic Native American sites are documented in the park, it was known that the area was occupied by the Illini Confederacy when Marquette and Jolliet traveled the Mississippi River in 1673.

The park offers a variety of year-round recreational opportunities such as horseback riding, camping, fishing, boating and hiking.

Chain O’Lakes State Park (Northern Illinois)
Located in the heart of Illinois’ largest concentration of natural lakes, the park is a water-oriented recreation area with outstanding opportunities for boaters, anglers and skiers. The park borders three natural lakes - Grass, Marie and Nippersink - and the Fox River that connects the other seven lakes - Bluff, Fox, Pistakee, Channel, Petite, Catherine and Redhead which make up the chain. In addition, the park contains a 44 acre lake within its boundaries.

The 2,793 acre state park and adjoining conservation area are located in the northeastern corner of the state in both McHenry and Lake counties. The Chain O’Lakes area was inhabited by central Algonquian Tribes when Europeans first arrived in the mid-1600s. The predominant tribes in the region at the time were the Miami, Mascouten and Potawatomi. These tribes led a semi-mobile lifestyle and grew corn, hunted, fished and gathered wild plant foods. Jolliet and Marquette passed through what is the park today in 1673 as they traveled the Fox River during their Illinois explorations.