Illinois State Park Fun Facts & Statistics | 5 Things You Never Knew

The Illinois DNR can trace its history back to the very origins of the state’s creation as the first game law was put in place in 1853. These fun facts show how far Illinois conservation has come over the last 200 years!

5. (Almost) No Fees!

Illinois is one of the only states that do not charge entry fees for their state parks! Other than some parking fees at state park beaches, every state park is free to enter and enjoy!

4. First Illinois State Park

Along the Ohio River, Massac State Park was first established in 1908 to preserve the history behind this French-Indian war encampment first built in the mid-1700s

3. Most Popular Illinois State Park

In 2020, the most popular state park in Illinois was Starved Rock State Park. A longtime Illinoisan favorite, over 2.3 million people visited in 2020.

2. Least Popular Illinois State Park

With less than 4,000 visitors in 2020, the Fall Creek Scenic Overlook was the least popular state park in Illinois. A small park with limited activities, this park sees about 300 people a month throughout the year for archery hunting.

1. Largest Illinois State Park

The largest State Park in Illinois is Pere Marquette with over 8,000 acres to explore at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

Illinois State Park Statistics

Number of Visitors (2020)34.9 million
Number of State Parks*117
Northern Illinois49
Central Illinois39
Southern Illinois29
Largest State Park8,000 Acres
*Includes recreation areas, state trails, fish & wildlife areas, conservation areas, and forests

About the Author

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Robbie is a Co-Founder and editor at Midwest Camping. Robbie has backpacked over three hundred miles of the Appalachian trail, visited seventeen national parks, and camped regularly for the last two decades.

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