Whether you look forward to enjoying a quiet afternoon fishing or relaxing on a tube on the water, Illinois offers something unforgettable for everyone. For your upcoming getaway, book a stay at one of many lakefront Illinois vacation rentals. Start planning your next trip to the lake with this guide of 10 must-see destinations in Illinois.

1. Lake Michigan, Chicago

A vacation rental near Lake Michigan not only puts you in the heart of Chicago, but also on tranquil waters within the windy city. Take a dip in the water when accessing the lake from Beach State Park or head to North Lake Shore Drive to rent a boat from Chicago Boat Rentals. While in the big city, check out the tourist spots such as Navy Pier and Millennium Park.

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2. Lake Decatur, Decatur

Originating as a source of water for the city, Lake Decatur has quickly evolved into a tourist hotspot for fun in the sun. This lake spans 21,000 acres with a depth of approximately 8 feet. Head into the waters at the main beach, spend your day floating on the waves, and then head into Decatur to explore the Rock Springs Conservation Area or the 400-plus animals at the Scovill Zoo.

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3. Devil’s Kitchen Lake, Marion

Enjoy the scenery and the cool waters when booking your vacation rental near Devil’s Kitchen Lake. This 800-acre lake is surrounded by steep slopes and deep sandstone valleys, offering a picturesque view as you’re fishing for rainbow trout that heavily populate the waters. Located in Williamson County, just south of Marion, this lake is within close proximity to attractions such as Castle Park and the Panther Den Wilderness.

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4. Horseshoe Lake, Granite City

Explore the 20 miles of shoreline available at Horseshoe Lake, ideal for fishing or floating. This lake is surrounded by swamp cottonwood and bald cypress trees, offering shade on those humid summer days. With close proximity to St. Louis, you can enjoy the quiet and serene scene of the lake and then find adventures in the big city when opting for a tour of the St. Louis Arch or Forest Park.

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5. Lake Shelbyville, Shelbyville

Plan your next getaway in Shelby County and make a splash in an Illinois lake that borders both Wolf Creek State Park and Eagle Creek State Park. This man-made lake with beaches near the dam area evolved after the damming of the Kaskaskia River, and has since been home to forested shorelines ideal for some quiet time in the shade. Once you get enough fun in the sun, take a hike on the multipurpose trails that surround the lake or get in a game of golf at the Eagle Creek Golf Course.

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6. Lake Mattoon, Mattoon

Located right near the college town of Charleston, Lake Mattoon is easily accessible and open to the public for winter ice fishing or summer splashing. Put in your fishing rod to catch bluegill, crappie, or bass, or let the kids jump into the lake off the docks at the visitor’s access area. Continue your outdoor adventures with a hike on the trails of the Douglas-Hart Nature Center or perfect your golf game at Meadowview Golf Course.

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7. Little Grassy Lake, Carbondale

Walk outside of your lakeside vacation rental to see the crystal-clear waters of Little Grassy Lake. This lake, run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is surrounded by cliffs, grass, and trees, and is known for its prime supply of largemouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie. After a day on the lake, let the kids tackle the playgrounds at Boo Rochman Memorial Park, or catch a sporting event at the SIU Arena.

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8. Lake of Egypt, Marion

Just six miles outside of Marion, Illinois, rests a haven for lake enthusiasts. Lake of Egypt was created in 1962 and continues to house private areas for fishing and public access for swimming, water skiing, and jet skiing. If you’re an avid fisher, then you can get your fill of crappie, channel catfish and bluegill on this lake that sits adjacent to the Shawnee National Forest.

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9. Lake Springfield, Springfield

Head to the capitol of the state to enjoy the 92 kilometers of shoreline, public parks, beaches, and boat docks on Lake Springfield. Rent a boat from the Lake Springfield Marina and take the family on a scenic trip with views of the capital building. After a day of swimming, water skiing, and fishing, set out to tour the historical spots in the city that include the childhood home of Abraham Lincoln.

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10. Rend Lake, Benton

Take a trip to southern Illinois and find yourself in the Wayne Fitzgerald State Recreation Area that surrounds Rend Lake. Known as a prime spot for fishing, Rend Lake is home to crappie, carp, channel catfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass for you to catch and release on a warm summer day. As one of the largest lakes in the state, Rend Lake sits in close proximity to an on-site artisan shop and antique shops where you can get in some retail therapy after the sun goes down.

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