The 15 Best Picnic Spots in Illinois!

Illinois offers a diverse landscape with endless opportunities for experiencing unspoiled nature. With so many parks and beautiful areas available throughout the state, picnickers have abundant options for enjoying a relaxing picnic. Most parks have picnic tables and shelters available, but visitors can throw down a blanket anywhere to experience up-close wildlife and nature. 

Starved Rock State Park, Utica, IL

There’s nothing like a relaxing picnic surrounded by nature. Starved Rock offers developed picnic areas with tables, drinking water, and nearby restroom facilities. Either shelters are available for larger groups of people. 

Giant City State Park, Makanda, IL

Known for its giant sandstone rock structures, Giant City State Park offers unlimited exploration through stunning natural landscapes. Numerous picnic facilities are available throughout the park and they include fire grills, tables, and water. Large groups can reserve one of the five shelters, as well. 

Millennium Park, Chicago, IL

Millennium Park downtown Chicago offers pristine landscaping, gorgeous urban gardens, and fascinating architectural exhibitions. With so many places to picnic, you’ll always be surrounded with beautiful urban views. You may even catch a live music performance at the park. 

White Pines Forest State Park, Mt. Morris, IL

As one of the most serene locations in Illinois, White Pines Forest State Park is the perfect picnic spot for nature lovers. Picnickers can relax at the shaded picnic areas or under the gorgeous white pines for a peaceful day of wildlife watching. 

Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, IL

Meadowbrook Park is newly restored park featuring recreated native tallgrass prairie landscapes, paved and unpaved walking trails, organic garden plots, creek corridors, tree groves, and even a farmstead. This park also features a large play structure for kids. Pavilions, grills, restrooms, and drinking fountains are available for picnickers. 

Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, IL

Although closed in winter months, the Anderson Japanese Gardens offers a tranquil and serene picnic experience surrounded by Zen-like natural beauty. This inspiring outdoor setting features lush gardens, waterfalls, and Japanese-inspired structures. 

Margaret T. Burroughs Beach and Park, Chicago, IL

The Margaret T. Burroughs Beach and Park is the perfect spot for a white sand beach picnic. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. Swimming, walking trails, food concessions, and restrooms are available for picnickers. 

Matthiessen State Park, Oglesby, IL

Picnic in a geological paradise at the Matthiessen State Park. View the beautiful rock formations, abundant wildlife, and unusual vegetation around the park. Picnic tables and shelters, water fountains, restrooms, and playgrounds are available at the Dells and Vermillion River areas. 

Mississippi Palisades State Park, Savanna, IL

The Mississippi Palisades State Park is known for its limestone caves, intriguing rock formations, and steep cliffs. Visitors can utilize the many picnic tables and six shelters, three of which can be reserved. This park is also rich in Native American history. 

Garden of the Gods, Herod, IL

Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee Hills formed 320 million years ago from the Earth’s natural movement and erosion. Visitors can now marvel at the rock formations and panoramic views. A picnic area is available with a nearby campground and observation trail. 

White Pines Forest State Park, Mt. Morris, IL

White Pines Forest State Park is a scenic haven and perfect picnic spot. With magnificent trees and moss-covered cliffs, this colorful park is ideal for wildlife-watching. Four shelters and several shaded picnic areas are available near Pine Creek and include fireplaces, water, and tables. Playgrounds are nearby, as well. 

Kankakee River State Park, Bourbonnais, IL

The unspoiled setting of Kankakee River State park makes it one of the most treasured areas in Illinois. The clean Kankakee River flows through the park and is a popular fishing destination. Visitors can picnic anywhere in the park and enjoy nature as it was hundreds of years ago. 

Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton, IL

Enjoy spectacular views of the Illinois River at Pere Marquette State Park. Visitors can also view up-close wintering bald eagles and take hosted tours of the woods or river bluffs. Plenty of convenient picnic areas are provided with tables and grills. 

Illini State Park, Marseilles, IL

With plenty of picnic areas to choose from, Illini State Park offers beautiful river views and ample wildlife. This park is also rich in history as it was once inhabited by Native Americans. 

Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve, Galena, IL

Experience stunning views of the Mississippi River from an archaeologically significant site. Not only is Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve beautiful, hundreds of pottery fragments have been produced from the mounds at the location. Although there are no picnic tables, it’s a peaceful and interesting picnic spot. 

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4532 North 725 East Road, Mc Lean, IL
Mission: The mission of Sugar Grove Nature Center is to provide a place where individuals can experience, study, and enjoy the environment and his... Read More
27374 Moraine View Park Rd., LeRoy, IL
With fully developed facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, horseback riding and hunting, the 1,687-acre Moraine V... Read More
4734 Weldon Springs Rd, Clinton, IL
Located just southeast of Clinton in DeWitt County, Weldon Springs State Park is a 550-acre park for all seasons. Weldon Springs' recreational agen... Read More
15470 Nelson Road, Mackinaw, IL
Area Bisected by the picturesque river whose name it bears, Mackinaw River State Fish & Wildlife Area provides hunting, fishing, canoeing and a... Read More
7251 Ranger Road, DeWitt, IL
If you're looking for the ideal place to drop your line, enjoy a day on the boat, or a weekend camping, visit Clinton Lake State Recreation Area in... Read More
1366 1010th Avenue, Lincoln, IL
Edward R. Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Area, a 974-acre site along Salt Creek just south of Lincoln in Logan Co., is an ideal destination for th... Read More
705 Spitler Park Drive, Mt Zion, IL
The Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park and Memorial is a 162 acre (0.65 km²) state park located on the Sangamon River in Macon County near Har... Read More
2218 N Prospect Rd, Peoria, IL
Glen Oak Park was designed by the legendary Landscape Architect Oscar F. DuBuis and dedicated in 1896. Glen Oak Park is the former home of the Dist... Read More
8327 North Galena Road, Peoria, IL
This massive park is a popular multi-use destination for Peoria area residents who enjoy golfing, soccer, volleyball, hiking, birding, and many oth... Read More
1314 Park Road, Peoria, IL
This large park, located adjacent to Bradley University, was established in the late 19th century. It traverses a high bluff woodland that grades d... Read More
236 State Rt. 26, Lacon, IL
AreaMarshall State Fish and Wildlife Area, located along nearly 10 miles of scenic Illinois River backwaters, bottomlands and bluffs, lies in the h... Read More
Rte 178, North, Utica, IL
Canyons, streams, prairie and forest combine to delight visitors at Matthiessen State Park. Located in central LaSalle County, approximately 4 mile... Read More
2668 East 873 Road, Oglesby, IL
Starved Rock State Park on the Illinois River bluff in La Salle County is one of Illinois'‚Äč most beautiful destinations.  The park's 18 canyon... Read More
25779 E Co Rd 2300 N, Forest City, IL
For those who think central Illinois is one big corn field, Sand Ridge State Forest will come as a pleasant surprise. The forest is an island in a ... Read More
13921 U.S. 150150, Brimfield, IL
Jubilee College State Park is a 3,200-acre facility, located in Peoria County between the towns of Kickapoo and Brimfield, just off U.S. Route 150.... Read More
2660 East 2350th Rd, Marseilles, IL
Illini State Park is the type of park you think of when you think of big picnics and family gatherings. With its rustic Civilian Conservation Corps... Read More
19721 U.S. 24, Canton, IL
Providing a stop-over area for migrating waterfowl, Rice Lake and the surrounding areas provide an excellent opportunity for wildlife observation. ... Read More
19721 N. US 24, Canton, IL
Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area is located approximately 25 miles southwest of Peoria on U.S. Route 24 and is protected from the Illinois... Read More
2341 Eagle Creek Rd, Findlay, IL
In east central Illinois--just minutes from Springfield, Decatur, Champaign, Effingham and surrounding communities--the Eagle Creek/Wolf Creek site... Read More
401 Ottawa Street, Morris, IL
Hikers, campers, picnickers and canoeists frequent Gebhard Woods State Park, making the 30-acre site one of Illinois’ most popular state park... Read More
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