SHABBONA LAKE STATE RECREATION AREA
Just miles west of Chicago, off U.S. 30, urban sprawl gives way to 1,550 acres of rolling prairie and features a 318.8 acre man-made fishing lake. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area provides a convenient, natural haven from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
A unique mix of grass-covered meadows, upland mesic woods, bottomland woods, and a native, undisturbed fen, make this an ideal location for natural relaxation and outdoor activity. You can see sedges, cattail, marsh marigolds, horsetail, skunk cabbage, turtlehead, iris, blue joint grass and bulrushes. Also enjoy the areas of prairie restoration throughout the park which features prairie grasses such as Big Blue Stem and prairie flowers such as purple cone flower.
With facilities for picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and winter sports, Shabbona Lake is a convenient and comfortable retreat where you can refresh and reinvigorate yourself in a rare, unspoiled environment.
In addition, Shabbona Lake contains a 15-acre seasonal nesting area for migratory waterfowl such as Canvasback, redhead and pintail ducks and Canada Geese.
Originally home to tribes of Native Americans, the park derives its name from Chief Shabbona. Pioneer settlement of the area began in the 1830's. From Shabbona Grove, in the southeast corner of the park, homesteaders spread over the region and began farming the rich soil.
In 1965, it was decided to develop a lake and recreation area on the site, and land acquisition was begun in 1969. By 1978, 1,550 acres had been obtained. In 1973, the lake area was cleared of trees, the shoreline was modified and earthen fishing piers and fish congregators were erected. By 1975, a 3,000-foot-long earthen dam with a concrete spillway was completed and the lake was formed. Day use facilities were constructed in 1976 and continue to serve the public today. In 1995 a restaurant, boat rental and bait and tackle facility was opened for business. This facility provides a sit-down eating area serving breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a fully stocked bait and tackle shop. Boat rentals include boats with and without motors.
Two camp cabins are available at the park. The cabins have no water or toilet facilities but have two rooms and will accommodate a maximum of 6 people. There is electric baseboard heat so they can be used year-round. The cabins can be reserved for a fee. Contact the park office for further details.
The campground has 150 Class A sites with electricity, vehicle access, a sanitary dump station and a shower building with flush toilets. All facilities are handicapped accessible. Reservations are accepted for certain sites. Alcohol is prohibited in the campground. One family per campsite or four unrelated adults with up to two tents are allowed. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring. You must have your camping equipment and be ready to camp when you arrive; you cannot hold a site. Campgrounds may be closed during the spring thaw due to road conditions and shower facilities close during the winter. To check on campground status or for further information, phone the camp station at 815-824-2565 or the park office 815-824-2106.
Facilities are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, bait and tackle sales, and boat rental on a seasonal basis. Call 815-824-2581 or visit the concession website for further information on concession facilities.