From Devil’s Lake to Starved Rock, to Maquoketa Caves, to Hocking Hills, the Midwest is loaded with quality state parks. Here is our list of 10 really amazing parks we know you’ll love!
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Matthiessen State Park
Matthiessen State Park is located just 2.5 miles south of the famous Starved Rock! Matthiessen is a paradise for those interested in geology, as well as recreation. Visitors can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. The main hiking trails are separated into two sections by a 45 foot drop from the upper dells to the lower dells. The trails navigate you through the limestone canyon, and feature stunning sites, including a cave, towering bluffs, and several waterfalls. Come visit Matthiessen State Park and find out why it’s considered one of Illinois’s best kept secrets! Matthiessen State Park is an Illinois state park located a few miles south of the more famous Starved Rock State Park. The main entrances to both parks are located on Illinois State Route 178, the entrance is located at 2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL 61348 For more information, click here.
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Starved Rock State Park
When its comes to beautiful scenery, very few parks in the Midwest can compare to Starved Rock State Park. Whether you enjoy hiking along the nature trails or viewing the many spectacular overlooks along the Illinois River, recreational opportunities abound. In 1966 Starved Rock State Park was named a National Historic Landmark, and now boosts more than 13 miles of well marked hiking trails, 18 canyons, and 14 different waterfalls! From picnicking to fishing to boating, from horseback riding to camping to enjoying winter sports, there’s so much to do that you’ll want to come back again and again. Starved Rock State Park is situated along the south bank of the Illinois River, less than 100 miles from Chicago, at 2668 E 875th Rd., Oglesby, IL 61348. For more information, click here.
Devil’s Lake State Park
Devil’s Lake is a 10,000 acre state park, that stands out high above the rest! The lake is the center attraction at Devil’s Lake State Park, which has over 3 million visitors each year. The park boasts, an incredible 29 miles of trails, ranging from easy to challenging. Many of the trails offer unforgettable views of the lake. This park is truly gorgeous, offering unique views and some of the most interesting topography in the state. Devil’s Lake State Park is located at S5975 Park Rd., Baraboo, WI 53913. Admission is $13 for a day pass or free with the State of Wisconsin annual vehicle admission sticker. More information can be found by clicking here.
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Turkey Run State Park
Turkey Run State Park is a gorgeous treasure nestled within Marshall, Indiana. Turkey Run State Park is home to many historic sites, like the ravines that lead you to the stunning sandstone gorges, that are hundreds of millions of years old. Turkey Run State Park has 11 gorgeous trails spread throughout the park, spanning around 14 miles in total. With so many miles of trails, caverns, bridges, and fantastic historical sites, Turkey Run State Park is the ideal place to go for the best hiking trails the Midwest has to offer. Turkey Run State Park is located at 8121 Park Rd, Marshall, IN 47859. For more information, click here.
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Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills is an amazing place and there is so much to see and do you need to plan an extended visit if you hope to see it all. Within the park are over 25 miles of hiking trails, rock formations, waterfalls, and recess caves. The trails are open from dawn to dusk, all year round, including holidays.The park contains seven separate hiking areas: Ash Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, Cedar Falls, Conkle’s Hollow, Old Man’s Cave, Rock House, and Hemlock Bridge Trail to Whispering Cave. There are many activities you can enjoy during your visit. Including, kayaking, hiking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, ziplining, and so much more. Cabin rentals are also available. For more information, click here.
Maquoketa Caves State Park
This beautiful state park is one of the most popular in the entire state. Located in Jackson County, sitting just Northwest of Maquoketa. The park rests on more then 360 acres of rough, hilly terrain. The trail system, offers a beautiful hike, that links together the caves, rock formations, and scenic overlooks. The park features 16 accessible caves, which offer great caving for experienced and inexperienced cavers alike. The hiking trails are just over 6 miles in length, and are a great way to see the park. There is also a campground with 29 campsites, 17 of which have electrical hookups. Maquoketa Caves State Park is located at 9688 Caves Rd, Maquoketa, IA 52060. For more information, click here.
Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry Falls is one of Minnesota’s most popular state parks due to its easy access to several scenic waterfalls! This park provides 70 non-electric camping sites that are available year-round. There are 18 miles of hiking trails, including 8 miles of mountain bike trails. The trails connect to the Superior Hiking Trail. There are popular picnic and swimming spots found throughout the park. Gooseberry Falls is located at 3206 MN-61, Two Harbors, MN 55616. For more information, click here.
Mackinac Island State Park
This is Mackinac Island State Park, a landscape characterized by high limestone bluffs, beautiful vistas of sparkling water, vibrant forests, and mystical geological formations. With automobiles banned since 1898, here exists a quieter way of life away from interstate noise of cities. Over 80 percent of Mackinac Island is within Mackinac Island State Park—free of charge and open year round—where you’ll discover the true natural gems of Mackinac.
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Roaring River State Park
The Roaring River at Roaring River State Park in Barry County is a wildly popular spot for outdoor recreation. The gorgeous river is nearly opaque blue in places, and in other spots the water is so clear you can easily see the scores of giant trout swimming past. Among other things, Roaring River State Park offers some of Missouri’s best hiking! But the main thing that everyone comes to see is the gorgeous Roaring River Spring. This beautiful spring is more than 200 feet deep. Roaring River State Park is located at 12716 Farm Rd 2239, Cassville, Missouri. For more information, click here.
Ha Ha Tonka
Ha Ha Tonka State Park is one of the most amazing state parks you will find in the Midwest. The park rests on more than 3,700 acres of rough, hilly, Ozark terrain. Ha Ha Tonka is a popular destination for hikers looking to enjoy the 15 miles of pristine hiking trails. The park is easy to navigate with a series of trails and boardwalks. The park has been referred to as a geological wonderland, with sinkholes, caves, a natural bridge, and one of the largest natural springs in the state, it’s easy to see why. One of the park’s most popular attractions is the ruins of a turn of the century stone castle. With so many amazing natural features, Ha Ha Tonka is one state park you will want to visit again and again. The park is located on the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, approximately 5 miles south of Camdenton Missouri. For more information, click here.
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