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Spotlight: Rend Lake, A Southern Illinois Recreation Area and Resort

Spotlight: Rend Lake, A Southern Illinois Recreation Area and Resort

Rend Lake, one of the largest lakes in Illinois with more than 18,000 acres of water and 20,000 acres of parkland.

Rand Lake Sunrise on Rend Lake (Dawn Kovarik)

What You'll Find

Rend Lake, one of the largest lakes in Illinois with more than 18,000 acres of water and 20,000 acres of parkland, an ideal setting to rejuvenate and engage in water sports, hiking or bicycling.

Three primary trails lead around the lake, easily linking the lake’s features. Visitors can walk or bicycle to the beach or to the conveniences of the Rend Lake Marina or the Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center.

Fishing is superb at Rend Lake, and anglers from miles around catch largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and other species. Boat launches, tree-shaded picnic areas and campgrounds round out the list of the lake’s many features.

Getting There

Part of the immense Mississippi River watershed, Rend Lake is on the Big Muddy River in Southern Illinois, less than 100 miles east of St. Louis. Visit the lake’s website for directions and other information.

Stay Here

Visitors to Rend Lake can tent camp in “rustic” campsites, or bring their campers or RVs and get fully hooked up with power and water, or relax in luxury at the full service Rend Lake Resort. Select and book your choice of 800 reservable campsites –many feature water views, and all connect to the Rend Lake Bike Trail. The paved multi-use National Recreation Trail offers over 20 miles that meander through some of the most diverse and scenic habitat that Southern Illinois has to offer.

If camping isn’t your style, relax in luxury at the full service Rend Lake Resort or the Rend Lake Golf Resort’s Seasons Lodge. Midwest Living Magazine named the Rend Lake Resort as a great spot for your next family reunion and the Rend Lake Golf Course as one of the best in the Midwest.

Make Sure You

Stop in and get an orientation to the lake’s many features at the new Visitor Center, just south of the dam at 11981 Rend City Road in Benton. The Visitor Center features displays of live fish and reptiles, provides information about the indigenous peoples of Southern Illinois and offers educational programs. Join “What’s the Buzz?” to learn about the importance of bees and pollination to our food supply. Watch 20,000 bees “come and go as they please” from the center’s beehive.

Try This

On August 24, rangers at Rend Lake will hold a special interpretive event marking the spectacular migration of the monarch butterflies as they travel south to their winter home in Mexico.

Bring your binoculars! Rend Lake is part of the Mississippi Flyway migration route and birders will find some of Illinois’ best birding.

Get Started

Whether it’s a group get-together, day outing, or overnight camping you’re looking for, Rend Lake offers advanced reservations to meet your needs and outdoor recreation galore. Enjoy summer on the lake!

Did You Know?

Rend Lake supplies more than 15 million gallons of water per day to 300,000 persons in 60 communities.