It may be tempting to spend all your time relaxing in your Starved Rock State Park cabins but there is so much to see and do. The park features 13 miles of hiking trails and 18 canyons, many of which feature spectacular waterfalls. You can follow the paths yourself, or take a guided hike with a local ranger to learn more about the area's natural history as you walk.
The five-mile trail from the visitor center to Illinois Canyon is completely natural - no man-made paths or steps to help you on your way. Wait for wet weather before you make this hike, as the waterfall in this canyon only appears after rainfall.
The hike to LaSalle Canyon is as popular in the winter as it is in summer; when the weather gets colder, this canyon's pretty waterfall often freezes and becomes an icefall!
Take the steep staircase from the visitor center to the Lover's Leap viewpoint, overlooking the Illinois River and much of Starved Rock State Park. The rocky outcrop is named for a local legend about the doomed love affair between two members of rival Indian tribes.
While many of the hiking trails are suitable for little legs, there are lots of other activities that families and children of all ages can enjoy while staying in Starved Rock State Park hotels.
Rest your legs and take a tour of Starved Rock State Park on a historic trolley car. Themed tours are available at different times of the year, such as the Eagle Tour in winter and Fall Colors tour in autumn.
Many of the Starved Rock State Park trails are suitable for horseback riding; a relaxing and unusual way to explore the canyons and waterfalls in the park.
The Illinois River itself is another great way to explore Starved Rock State Park. Older children and teenagers will love the excitement of a rafting trip on the water, or you can hire kayaks and canoes if you want to travel at your own pace.