Off the beaten trail

A Birthday Campout!

Fall is a great time to go camping…if the weather behaves OR if you have a travel trailer!!!

So.  Where did we go for my birthday campout?

Illinois Beach State Park!  Practically in my own backyard but it did take about an hour to get there.  You know what they say about visiting the places near to you, we hardly do it right?  Even though we might live right near some of the most amazing places we just take them for granted!  After awhile we forget that they’re even there because we see them so often!

This is a place that I’ve know about but I’ve never visited!  I’ve seen the pictures on-line and I will say NEVER enticed me to visit.  I think it was mostly the sight of a Nuclear plant that kept popping into the brochure and on-line photos.

What’s up with putting State Parks near Nuclear Plants?  Maybe there’s a plan there with land grants or something…would make sense. 

So anyhoo…this is the 2nd State Park we’ve visited and by no means a coincidence, the 2nd Nuclear Plant we’ve visit on our Travel Trailer Adventures!  (There was a Nuclear Plant down in Dewitt, Illinois on that last trip!)

Coming into the park is fairly typical Illinois topography…


Priarie, Woods, 4 lane roads… DSCF6096

We did not make any reservations before coming to the park.  We figured there’s bound to be an open spot, being October and all.  We checked in at the office and sure enough, there’s plenty of space available.  We were instructed to choose a site and then come back and pay.

Entering the campground we drove first through the sites nearest the lake and then settled on a site on the middle road, site #265…

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The site was level and was fairly large, plus we only had 1 neighbor just across the street…so a bit more private.

The dogs discovered very quickly ACORNS!  Oh were these just little snacks they couldn’t get enough of!  What is with these dogs?  I think they look at the squirrels and think if THEY eat them then it must be something good!

Crunch, crunch crunch!!!               DSCF6176

A nice quiet spot!   DSCF6179

A nice fire pit!              DSCF6193

Looking toward the road from the back of the site.  I’m impressed!  And the weather is just gorgeous! DSCF6194

From across the road, the site looks HUGE!  (really, it’s a nice size but looks bigger because of no neighbors!)… DSCF6195

Coming down the road is a little camp store shop wagon!…   DSCF6198

I’d not seen one of these before!  Great idea!  The camp store was selling ice, firewood, pop, water and of course, ice cream! DSCF6199

We took a walk along the path but no dogs were allowed on the beach.DSCF6126

The path winds its way along the shore for several miles.  It would be a great path for a bicycle ride! DSCF6125


More signs reminding us not to bring pets, glass, fires or alcohol onto the beach.  Plenty of warnings not to feed the birds and animals and if you swim you could drown…etc… DSCF6139

Here’s the walkout to the beach… DSCF6140

Looking back from the walkout towards the path you see a dilapidated old unkept bathhouse and concession stand.  A throwback to a time gone by.. DSCF6141

Looking North you can see the Nuclear plant… DSCF6142

Looking South, a clear view… DSCF6143

prairie and sand scrub grasses.  Watch out for the sand burrs!  Holly stepped in a patch and got a burr stuck in her paw between pads.  It was a real ordeal to get it out.

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The buildings are sadly abandoned so I see some irony in the threats not to bring your dog on to the beach.  But further up the road, outside of the park, north of the marina is an unmarked patch of beach JUST FOR DOGS!!!!

Here’s the entrance…


…and finally a place a pup can romp in the sand and splash in the waves!


We let Holly loose right away.  She loves chasing the waves…  DSCF6102

Jamba has to be attached to us and isn’t allowed at dog parks.  We were the only ones there for the first 20 minutes.  Being October there were not that many visitors…

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We eventually brought out the long rope so he could run out to the water and chase some balls.  The two pups were pooped come bedtime!  I love being able to wear them out! DSCF6121

Dinner was an Orange Ginger stir fry using lots of leftover vegetables.  The pans and stove worked perfectly. DSCF6122

It was a great trip and unfortunately just when we are getting the hang of this trailer camping it is now time for us to get the trailer ready to be stored for winter.   We’ll just have to settle for dreaming and planning for our next trips come Spring!