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The Chicago Traveler

Rend Lake

by Matt B on March 19th, 2008

rend lake

Despite what many Chicagoans would like to believe, there is more to Illinois than just the Windy City. Rend Lake is one of Southern Illinois’ foremost vacation spots, offering an incredible array of outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy golfing, hunting, fishing, boating, waterskiing, horseback riding, hiking, biking, swimming or just relaxing on the beach.

Rend Lake is actually an artificial lake, a reservoir created by the Illinois Department of Conservation, the Rend Lake Conservancy District, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction began in 1965, but the lake was not completed and filled until March 1973. It contains 18,900 acres (76 km2) of water, providing a dependable domestic water supply to over 60 communities.

golf' The Rend Lake Golf Course is one of the best in the Midwest, rated as the number one public golf facility in the Gateway PGA. The 27-hole complex can be enjoyed by all levels of experience and features a large, lighted driving range. The full-service Pro Shop carries the latest in apparel and equipment. Professionals offer individual or group lessons.

' Hunting enthusiasts and wildlife viewers are drawn to the area's ducks, geese, deer, turkeys, and other game. Hunting information, regulations, zone maps, seasons, and other information are explained in a free booklet available at local bait shops and license vendors. (A hunter fact sheet is available [click here] from the Department of Natural Resources.)

fishing' Four of Illinois' fishing records have been caught at Rend Lake. Eager fishers can find bass, crappies, catfish, muskies, bluegills, and sunfish worth bragging about.

' Two main areas in the Rend Lake region are perfect for horseback riding: Rend Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area and Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park. Each provides over 7 miles (11 km) of level terrain and plenty of picturesque scenery. The latter also has horses available for rent.

biking' Eight different hiking and nature trails give wildlife voyeurs unique opportunities to see birds, aquatic creatures, and furry woodland animals. The Blackberry Nature Trail is a nice, leisurely stroll all year round while the Ryder's Bottom is perfect for the more adventurous hiker, with no established trails along the route.

Also nearby is the Southern Illinois Art & Artisans Center, where the works of more than 850 Illinois artists are displayed and sold. Windows Restaurant at the Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center offers a wide range of cuisines all with a waterfront view. Finally, the lake is only five minutes away from Benton, where you can find all your small-town conveniences, including restaurants, hotels, and movie theatres.

With so many activities and attractions, Rend Lake can always offer something new and fun for even its most frequent visitors.


Photo credit (via Flickr and SXC): edcrowle, Steve Woods, Wojtek Piekutoszczak, greefus groinks, rampics, choban214, frackers23, granola eater

Rend Lake: Whittington, IL; 618-439-7430

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POSTED IN: Architecture & Attractions, Museums, Sports and Recreation

1 opinion for Rend Lake

  • Dan Huebel
    Dec 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm


    Nice website and very informative infor on the Rend Lake Area for visitors. Just thought I’d mention that you could also tell your visitors about the nice dance hall located at 200 Franklin Street, Whittington next to Rend Lake. We have Live Country Music every Friday evening and a variety of dancing on Saturday evenings. Please visit our website.


    Dan Huebel

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