Turf to Surf:
Illinois Beach State Park

For the past month, I’d wanted to visit Illinois Beach State Park. However, for any number of reasons, we weren’t able to make the trek to Zion, Illinois. Well – not this weekend!

My Trail Tracing partner and I got a somewhat early Sunday morning start in order to beat the heat since it was close to 100 degrees in Chicago the day before. However, for our Trail Tracing day, it was actually quite temperate; if 85 degrees is your idea of temperate!

So, we’re driving north on Interstate 94, and I realize that we’re passing exits for so many places where we’ve visited in the past: LaBagh WoodsHarms WoodsWatersmeet WoodsErickson Woods/Skokie Lagoons, and the Chicago Botanic Garden, just to name a few. Wow, we are so fortunate to live in an area with so many gorgeous places!

Just so you know, when arriving at Illinois Beach State Park, you have a choice. Head north, and you’re in the resort and marina area. Camping is also available. Head south and you’re in the Nature Center area. As you might expect, we went the Nature Center route.

We practically had the place to ourselves! We headed off on one of the nature center trails, and before you know it, we came upon so many monarch butterflies (I’m only showing you five in the pictures below!). I was also lucky to capture a picture of a bird I haven’t seen too many times. The body shape and orange color on the throat area in the picture below say “Eastern Bluebird” to me. If I’m wrong, I hope that someone will correct me (nicely!).

ILB Butterflies1
ILB Bird
ILB Butterflies2

The trail to the beach is a loop and begins and ends with some wooded and meadow areas.

And, the beach is lovely. And, yes, I like to take pictures of rocks! (It’s more about the patterns of things I see in nature; not just because there were rocks on the beach!)

ILB Beach

And here’s the video proof of our Illinois Beach State Park Trail Tracing experience.

FYI – If you visit Illinois Beach State Park and want to get to the beach quickly, park in the Nature Center parking lot, and then, from the southern end of the parking, which is the only place to access the paths, take the path to the left that goes over the bridge and you’ll be on the beach a lot quicker than taking the path to the right (but the path to the right was where we saw the monarch butterflies). Decisions, decisions!

find a trail ~ find your path

~Trail Tracing

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