Lake Shelbyville

Sponsored by the Land of Lincoln Regional Tourism

Lake Shelbyville is certainly the center of central Illinois’ outdoors paradise. And the opportunities surrounding the massive area provide anglers, hunters, bikers, birdwatchers and everyone else a year-round playground.

For example, sitting along the Kaskaskia and West Okaw rivers near Sullivan, the Shelbyville State Fish and Wildlife Management Area offers some of the best hunting, river fishing and nature study opportunities in the state. The area contains more than 6,000 acres of mixed habitats including forests, prairies, restored grasslands,wetlands, rivers and streams in the upper reaches of the 34,000-acre Lake Shelbyville project area.

Lake Shelbyville itself is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility, built as part of a general comprehensive plan for the development of the Kaskaskia Basin. The 11,000-acre lake extends nearly 17 miles from the dam at Shelbyville to its limits above Sullivan and Bethany. Development of the shoreline has been intentionally kept to a minimum, allowing uninterrupted views of the lake’s natural features throughout its length.

Important to outdoors fans, Lake Shelbyville has five federal campgrounds and two state campgrounds with over 1,000 campsites from tent camping up to full hookup. There are several recreational areas with picnic areas and pavilions and two wildlife management areas. The lake has many launching ramps that are available for boats, and three marinas. Many hiking trails also encompass the lake such as the

General Dacey which also includes fitness stations, the Chief Illini trail and others.

Lake Shelbyville offers some of the best mountain biking at the Camp Camfield section of the General Dacey Trail with 10.5 miles of trail currently available with a designated bike route connection to the City of Sullivan. A four-mile section in the City of Shelbyville to Forest Park and Dam West is currently being developed and will provide an opportunity for winter sports such as snowmobiling as well as warm weather activities. In addition, Wolf Creek State Park provides the only Equestrian Trail on Lake Shelbyville with 15 miles of trail conveniently located adjacent to an equestrian campground. Other trails include the Illini Trail, Okaw Bluff, and Coon Creek Trail.

Some of the area’s highlights:

  • Lake Shelbyville

The northern entrance to beautiful Lake Shelbyville is located in Sullivan. Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, mountain biking, camping, as well as, swimming at the public beach at this recreational hot spot. 

Sullivan Marina and Campgrounds Resort, also located on the lake, offers paddleboat rental, hiking trails, playgrounds, swimming pool, boat rental, restaurant, motel suites and more. 

  • Eagle Creek State Park (four miles southeast of Findlay)

The park features native water and woodland ideal for camping, hiking, hunting, picnicking, fishing, snowmobiling, water skiing, boating, windsurfing or just relaxing. Visitors can also enjoy the large herds of deer. 

  • Findlay Marina

Guide service is available along with boat rentals of pontoon and fishing boats. Fishing licenses are available along with bait and other fishing supplies.  

  • Coon Creek Recreation Area (Route 128)

This area offers visitors the opportunity to boat, hike, fish, hunt and relax on the beach. 

  • Lithia Springs Recreation Area (northeast of Shelbyville)

Lithia Springs is a great place for camping, with 113 electric sites, 67 of which are available for reservation. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting and boating on Lake Shelbyville. Lithia Springs Marina is located adjacent to the recreation area.  

  • Lone Point Recreation Area

Located north of Shelbyville on the west side of the lake, the camping area features 63 electric sites and one non-electric site, 60 of which are available for reservation. 

  • Opossum Creek Recreation Area (Route 128)

The camping area features 51 electric sites and 28 non-electric sites, 66 of which are available for reservation. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting at Lake Shelbyville.  

  • Bo Woods Recreational Area (south of Sullivan)

The camping area features 138 sites with 36 full hookup sites, 71 of which are available for reservation. 

  •  Wolf Creek State Park

This 2,000-acre park offers camping, fishing, equestrian camping and riding trails, hiking trails, hunting, swimming and picnicking. 

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