Skip to contents
Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Need Fresh Air? Here’s What You Can Do In Illinois State Parks This Month

Camping and playing on beaches and playgrounds are still prohibited, and not every state park is allowed to reopen this month.

A group of cyclists at Hennepin Canal State Park in Northeastern Illinois in. Aug. 2019.
Hennepin Canal State Park / Facebook / Provided
  • Credibility:

CHICAGO — As the weather warms, Chicagoans are anxious to get outside during the stay at home order and safely enjoy fresh air.

While the lakefront remains closed in Chicago, many state parks are now open from sunup to sundown.

But the parks still have restrictions and not every park is open. For example, Starved Rock State Park, in Ogelsby, is still closed.

View a list of state parks and check for updates here or follow the parks on Facebook.

Here’s what you can do in the reopened state parks this month:

  • Wildlife observation
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Equestrian use
  • Fishing from the bank and from boats, but with a limit of two people per boat
  • Mushroom and morel hunting  

Here’s what’s still closed:

  • Visitor centers
  • Campgrounds
  • Playgrounds
  • Shelter reservations
  • Interpretive educational programs
  • Beaches
  • Special events
  • Concessions
  • Turkey hunting

Officials are asking guests to maintain social distancing and to stay home if they feel ill.

Guests are also advised to visit parks closest to where they live, to leave if a park is crowded and to cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue or their upper arm or elbow.

Dr. Richard Novak, chief of Infectious Diseases at University of Illinois at Chicago, said it’s important people have the chance to get outside for their mental health.

But he also said people should practice social distancing and don face coverings if they are going to visit a park. Expanding one’s “quarantine circle” too early could result in a surge of new COVID-19 cases, he said.

He suggested families and groups of friends who plan to visit a park together agree to stay 6 feet apart and wear masks during their visit.

“There’s no question about it: This causes a lot of anxiety and depression. People are lonely and they’re tired of being cooped up,” Novak said. “It’s OK to go out and still be safe, wear a mask in public and socially distance with other people.”

Credit: Illinois Department of Natural Resources / Facebook / Provided
Prairie Dock

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.