When you need a simple escape from everyday life, nothing is more relaxing than a day in nature. Find peace and tranquility at each of these 12 hidden lakes in Illinois that you’ll never want to leave.
Tucked away in various pockets across the state, these little-known lakes are the perfect oases for any vacation. Now is the time of year to start exploring these bodies of water again. Scroll on for more details.
1. Sangchris Lake
Located in Christian and Sangamon counties near the town of Kincaid, this lake is just more than 3,000 acres. It was created in 1964 by the damming of Clear Creek, which is off the Sangamon River. The shoreline is so jagged that it measures 120 miles all together, and most of it is surrounded by forestry.
2. Arrowhead Lake
This quiet little lake is located in Johnston City in Williamson County, which is part of south Chicagoland. It is situated within a recreation and wildlife area and is popular for fishing, boating, and camping. Nearby is another of the most hidden lakes, Hambone Lake.
3. Rend Lake
Stretching 13 miles long and three miles wide, this hidden lake is located in Franklin and Jefferson counties. It provides water to thousands of people in about 60 communities, and it was created in 1962 with the damming of Big Muddy River. The lake shore provides ample opportunities for swimming, boating, and more.
4. Lake of Egypt
This is a privately-owned lake that covers about 2,300 acres and sits near Marion in Williamson and Johnson counties. It was created in 1962 by damming the south fork of the Saline River.
5. Mallard Lake
Home to a plethora of wildlife like beavers, bullfrogs, hawks, and blue herons, this DuPage County lake is located in Hanover Park in west Chicagoland. The lake is 85 acres of a 948-acre forest preserve that is filled with forests and wetlands, trails and creeks, and the most scenic views in the area.
6. Hidden Lakes
There is a forest preserve in Downer's Grove in DuPage County off the east branch of the DuPage River that actually consists of two hidden lakes: Round Meadow Lake and Eagle Lake. They are 15 and 10 acres respectively and are located on a 390-acre preserve.
7. Shabbona Lake
This man-made lake is about 320 acres and resides within a 1,550-acre prairie land. It is ideal for camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting, and is a lovely place to go for scenic views.
8. Argyle Lake
This branch-shaped body of water is surrounded by a 1,700-acre park with about five miles of trails throughout. The lake is about 93 acres and is located near Colchester in McDonough County, which is in the west central part of the state.
9. Devil's Kitchen Lake
One of the deepest lakes in the state, this one spans 810 acres and is located in southern Illinois near Marion. It was created by the damming of Grassy Creek and is an ideal place for fishing and boating.
10. Lake Le-Aqua-Na
This 40-acre lake sits within a park area that is 715 acres in total. It is located in the northernmost part of the state in Stephenson County near the town of Lena, which is near the Wisconsin border. The area is great for picnicking, hiking, and camping.
11. Little Grassy Lake
This gorgeous lake is located near Carbondale. It is a 1,200 acre reservoir created by the damming of Little Grassy Creek in 1940. It is surrounded by a marvelous natural area with hills, trees, and wildlife, and it is ideal for fishing and boating.
12. Lake Murphysboro
This star-shaped lake is located in a 1,022-acre state park in Jackson County in southern Illinois. Locals love this 145-acre lake for boating, fishing, hiking, and camping opportunities, and you'll definitely love the peaceful views.
For more fun on the water, check out eight lakeside restaurants in Illinois you must visit this time of year
What other hidden lakes do you enjoy? Share your favorites with us in the comments below!