Description - Central western Illinois contains the Mississippi River, which forms the western border, and the Illinois River, which dissects the region. Wetlands and mature forests exist in this region along with the largest state park, Pere Marquette. Four preserves within Mark Twain National Wildlife Refuge lie along the Mississippi River in central western Illinois. A very popular attraction in the area is Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
Copyright: National Park Service
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Farmlands and forests characterize the central eastern Illinois region, which contains several navigable man-made lakes. Small state parks exist throughout the region and preserve natural areas. Most of these parks have modern facilities for camping and hiking.
Southern Illinois contains the only National Forest in the state: Shawnee. This forest contains native American sites, dense forests and swimming and camping facilities. In this region southern wetlands meet the northern forests. Visitors will find cypress and tupelo swamps, as well as pine, oak, dogwood and hickory trees.
- Illinois contains a variety of geographical regions and landforms within its boundaries. The northeastern portion of the state is characterized by glacial lakes, bogs and lakeshore dunes. It contains the metropolitan area of Chicago and is dissected by several Interstates. Small state parks throughout this region preserve wetlands and glacier-carved natural areas. Chicago Portage National Historic Site and Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor commemorate the role of the region in American history.
Northwestern Illinois lies on a bed of limestone, which along with many waterways has formed canyons, caves, cliffs, waterfalls and sink holes. State Parks in the region preserve the most scenic of these landforms. This region is contained on the west by the Mississippi River. Along the river in this region is the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
Recreation - Like every state, Illinois contains diverse recreation opportunities in every region. The Lake Michigan lakeshore of northeastern Illinois, and many man-made lakes, provide visitors and residents with access to water sports. Shawnee National Forest maintains access to hiking, camping, fishing and mountain biking.
Climate - Illinois experiences four distinct seasons with varying weather throughout the year. Winter can be very cold. The highest humidity of the year occurs during this season averaging 70 to 75 percent. Average low temperatures in January dip to 20 degrees F with highs near 35 degrees F. Spring temperatures are mild with humidity below 70 percent. Temperatures during this season average between 32 and 50 degrees F. Summer is usually hot and humid in this Midwest state. Low temperatures remain in the low sixties with high temperatures near 90 degrees F. The highest rainfall of the year occurs during the summer months. Fall is an excellent time to visit the state with low humidity and rainfall and moderate temperatures.