If you're going to visit the Illinois Beach State Park, then you have to begin by having REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. I disagree with other reviews who seemed to represent the place as a dump. But, on the other hand, it isn't a place that I would go to frequently. Here are a few tips:
1. Parking is free. This is a nice perk.
2. The beach space is small and packed on what might be deemed a popular day.
3. Don't expect shade. Bring an umbrella or fight for space under the few trees on the edge of the beach.
4. If you can help it, don't use the bathrooms. (There was human excrement on the floor when we went to use it.)
5. Beware of the rocky beach. It's more like gravel than sand.
Now, with all that said, we really did have a nice time as a family. But, a lot of that has to do with the fact that we have terrific kids who are very resilient and aren't expecting to be spoiled. We brought a picnic lunch, sat under a tree by the edge of the beach, and built gravel sandcastles. And, we really enjoyed it.
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