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Illinois Fun in the Sun: Illinois State Beach Park

Lake MichiganIllinois State Beach Park in beautiful Zion, Illinois. If you’re planning on visiting this park for the beach, just don’t. I went in June and between the freezing water, thousands of dead minnows along the shoreline and biting flies, I wish I would have skipped the trip.

It was pretty, though. I’m dune obsessed and they had some nice dunes. I know I’m a little beach spoiled. I grew up going to the Emerald Coast of Florida, which region rightly claims to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I’m used to the Gulf of Mexico, which feels a lot like bath water. But I don’t see how anyone could put any more than a toe in that water. Even in June, I think it may have frozen over if it weren’t salt water. Okay, maybe it isn’t that cold, but it’s definitely cold.

Dead FishThe deceased fish were another swimming concern of mine. I don’t know if pollutants from the city affect the area or what, but something fishy is going on for there to be that many Pimephales promelas along the shore.

There is a resort and a snack bar available at the beach. In addition, I know there are cycling and hiking opportunities but I didn’t have the chance to do either on this trip. Maybe next time. I’m sure in packing for either of these you would still need to take your Deep Woods Off. Those flies terrorized me.

The park is located north of Chicago at 1 Lakefron Drive, Zion, Illinois.