Illinois Beach State Park - stretching 6.5 miles along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan in northern Illinois - offers a full range of recreation opportunities at one of the most unique and beautiful natural settings in America.
Illinois Beach is the only remaining beach ridge shoreline left in the state, with dunes and swales, sprawling marshes, forests of oak and vast arrays of animal life and vegetation.
More than 650 species of plants have been recorded in the dunes area alone, including dozens of types of colorful wildflowers. Prickly pear cactus thrives in large colonies in the dry areas, and the wet prairies are carpeted with a wide variety of grasses and sedges. Large expanses of marsh in the swales support dense stands of cattail, grasses, big bluestem and sedges.
The sandy ridges are crowned by black oak forests with an open, savanna-like appearance. For much of the year, a stream known as Dead River is blocked by sandbars formed by waves at the mouth of the river, creating a sluggish marshy habitat.
The 4,160-acre park, consisting of two separate areas (North Unit and South Unit), offers ample opportunities for swimming, boating, picnicking, hiking, fishing, camping and simply appreciating nature.
In addition to swimming beaches, trails and campgrounds, the Illinois Beach Resort and Conference Center is the perfect place to get away for a weekend or a weeklong vacation.
- Camping reservations can be made online at
From the South are: I-294 north to Rt 173 east (approx 8 miles) to Sheridan Road. Make a right on Sheridan Road to Wadsworth Road, make a left and you will be in the park.
From the North are: I-94 South to Rt. 173, east on Rt.173 to Sheridan Road, right on Sheridan Road to Wadsworth Road and make a left on Wadsworth into the Park.
- While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
- At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
- Pets must be kept on leashes at all times and clean up after them.
- Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
- We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.