Kickapoo State Park is a 2,842 acre recreation area in East Central Illinois that runs along the Vermilion River. This area is surrounded by farmland and has twenty-two deep water ponds nearby. This park provides a playground for boaters, fishers, and kayakers in the area.
After an adventure-filled day of off-road “Jeeping” at The Badlands in Attica, Indiana, my boyfriend and I camped for one night at nearby Kickapoo State Park. We chose Kickapoo State Park instead of other nearby campsites around Lafayette, Indiana because of the wooded terrain, access to fishing, and availability of rental canoe/kayak gear.
- 184 campsites, about half with electrical hookups, as well as primitive walk-up sites
- $10 for non-electric sites and $20 for electric sites
- Two shower buildings
- Mostly flat land, but more hills than pretty much the rest of the state.
- Semi-clear water in the Vermilion River and small surrounding lakes.
- Tiny sand and rock beaches located at the end of fishing piers.
- Reservations are required seven days in advance, but sites are generally available because this destination isn’t in high demand.
- A ranger is only on duty for check in until 4:00pm, however the campsites are fully accessible after hours.
- Bathrooms are cleaner than those in most state parks I have seen.
- Water spicket areas are working and well maintained.
- Very minimal litter and well groomed and weeded grasslands .
- Primarily families that include small children and a few dogs
- Quiet hours start at 10:00pm, and we noticed the noise level subsided before 11:00pm
- Fishing – Most common fish caught here are bass, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie and sunfish.
- Hiking/Running – The 7.6-mile running and hiking trail is rated “difficult” and designed for experienced outdoor hikers or runners, passing through forests, bottom-lands and the edge areas of abandoned croplands.
- Canoeing and kayaking – Available for rent on this calm water at the concession area seven days a week.
- Mountain biking – Rugged terrain of 12 miles and only recommended for experienced mountain bikers due to narrow passageways and uncleared terrain.
- Hunting – Most common animals hunted include white-tailed deer, quail, and pheasant.
- Scuba Diving – This is one of the very few Illinois waterways that allows scuba diving of any kind.
- Horseback riding – Casual rides and lessons offered 10 miles away at Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area
- Winter activities include ice fishing, ice skating, cross country skiing, and sledding
*My Experience *
I was pleased with the well-maintained fishing and boating areas, as well as the privacy between the campsites. There was plenty of canoes, kayaks, and tubes in great condition to rent from the concession stand.
The concession stand was more like a small restaurant because it was open from 7am to 9pm every day and offered a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu at reasonable costs. We never saw a single park ranger on duty or patrolling the grounds at any time. Because this campsite is very family -oriented, we were periodically disturbed by the screaming children at neighboring campsites. However, the sites were far enough away from each other to make this occasional noise tolerable.
The bathroom and shower facilities were above average in terms of cleanliness and accessibility compared to most campsites that I have seen. Water spickets with safe drinking water were readily available and working well at several places within the grounds. Well-maintained wooden decks and benches lined the waterways to provide stable fishing from the docks.
Although I grew up just a couple hours from this area, I had never visited this particular park or campground before. East Central Illinois is generally a rather dull place with little to no available outdoor recreation. However, I found Kickapoo State Park to be an exception to my familiar perception and enjoyed this small glimpse of nature to tide me over until my next outdoor adventure.