The people have spoken! With so many fantastic lakes in the Land of Lincoln, it can be hard to choose a favorite, so we polled our readers on our
Only In Illinois Facebook page. Now you know where 10 of the most beautiful lakes in Illinois are. Let’s make a plan to visit them, again and again, as soon as we can!
1. Lake Michigan
In Illinois, Lake Michigan extends from the Wisconsin border, down through Hosah Park in Zion here, to the Indiana border. Bring your own boat, or reserve a sunset dinner cruise out of Chicago. Walk or ride your bike along the shoreline, swim, or just soak up the sun on one of the many beaches.
2. Lake of Egypt
Lake of Egypt is a reservoir six miles south of Marion. Come for the fishing, or admire the 93 miles of shoreline by boat or from land, especially at sunset. Camp near the lake or explore the Shawnee National Forest too.
3. Carlyle Lake
Carlyle Lake is the largest man-made lake in Illinois, located in the southwestern part of our state. Be here during the sailing regattas to watch the boats go by. Rent a boat at the marina, visit the dog-friendly beach at Coles Creek, or camp in one of the campgrounds outfitted with boat launches.
4. Clinton Lake
Clinton Lake is located in central Illinois. It is known as an excellent fishing lake, complete with a fishing pier and boat launches. There are family-friendly hiking trails, playgrounds, a beach, and more than 200 campsites.
5. Pierce Lake
Pierce Lake is in Rock Cut State Park, near Rockford, in northern Illinois. Take your kayak out on the calm waters. Hike the 3.7-mile loop trail around the lake or some of the other trails. Camp, fish, and bring your canine companion if you like. Visit the concession stand for boat rentals and bait.
6. Lake Katherine
Lovely Lake Katherine in Palos Heights includes a nature center and botanic gardens. Walk the trails, rent kayaks, admire the man-made waterfall, and watch for birds and turtles. Outdoor recreation at its finest in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.
7. Lake Glendale
Lake Glendale sits at the heart of the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. Surrounded by a pine forest, hike the 2.9-mile loop trail around the lake. Rent a boat, fish, check out the bike trails, enjoy a picnic at the beach, or reserve a campsite.
8. Lake Storey
Lake Storey is found in Galesburg. You will likely see kayaks on the water, along with beautiful foliage and sunbathing turtles. Hike or bike the trails along the shore. Fun fact: This man-made lake was created for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF) to provide a water supply.
9. Newton Lake
Newton Lake graces southern Illinois, offering you respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Bring your kayak, or make use of the boat launch to do some bass fishing. Twenty-two miles of trails follow the shoreline for hiking, cross-country skiing, and equestrian use.
10. Griswald Lake
Griswald Lake is near Island Lake, Illinois. Fish for bluegill and more, and stay for a most spectacular sunset. Make a stop at Moraine Hills State Park while you are in the area.
Let’s get ready to explore these 10 most beautiful lakes, selected by our readers, that are scattered throughout our great state. There is extraordinary kayaking, swimming, fishing, and fun to be had. Join our
Illinois Nature Lovers Facebook group to discover more epic photographs like these and share your own. For more of the most beautiful lakes in Illinois, read our articles about Horseshoe Lake and Lake Le-Aqua-Na.
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