Pere Marquette State Park
With nearly 8,000 acres of scenic beauty, Pere Marquette State Park is one of the most picturesque and beautiful locations on the Illinois River. As the largest state park in Illinois, visitors love coming to the park for hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding and scenic drives. The centerpiece of the park is the massive lodge and cabins. Built in the 1930s, the lodge has a distinct flavor of native stone and rustic timbers. The most prominent feature of the lodge is the 700-ton fireplace in the Great Room Lobby along with the life-size chess board and pieces. Elegant dining services are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lodge is famous in the area for their family-style fried chicken dinner and Sunday brunch buffet. The lodge works great with groups during the busiest seasons of the year - fall colors and eagles.
The Pere Marquette Visitors Center is located at the entrance of Pere Marquette State Park. The Visitors Center has several displays telling the story of the famous explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet. Visitors can also learn about the evolution of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. Maps of hiking trails and reservations for the campgrounds can also be obtained at the center. In the winter, the center is the starting point for numerous eagle tours from late December through February.