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Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park © Gayla Hunley
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11094 Ranger Road
Whittington, Illinois   62897

Phone: 618-629-2320
Email: park email button icon
People interested in water sports, horseback riding, picnicking or hiking will find that Wayne Fitzgerrell has plenty to offer. The site also provides ample opportunities for birders, wildlife observers and photographers, fishing tournaments, pleasure boaters, water skiers and anglers.

Overlooking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers? 19,000-acre Rend Lake Reservoir, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area is a gateway to Southern Illinois? biggest outdoor playground - a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and interests. The park offers outstanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, hiking and other outdoor recreational pursuits.

You?d be hard pressed to find a recreational complex with more activities than Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area.
Nature of the Area
Birders visiting the area have an excellent chance of seeing great blue heron, American bald eagle, red-tailed hawk and a variety of shorebirds and waterfowl. The resident population of ring-necked pheasants that Wayne Fitzgerrell supports is unique in southern Illinois. White-tailed deer, raccoon, opossum and squirrel are among the mammals wildlife enthusiasts are likely to see.
History of the Area
Dedicated in 1975, just five years after the Rend Lake reservoir was constructed, the park encompasses 3,300 acres of former farmland leased to the Department of Natural Resources by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The site is named in honor of the late Wayne Fitzgerrell, a state representative from nearby Sesser who was an advocate for the construction of Rend Lake.

Approximately 2,000 acres of the site are developed for picnicking, boating access, camping and other activities, while another 1,000 acres have been set aside for hunting, field trials, wildlife observation, hiking and other land uses.

The area contains many fence rows, abandoned crop fields and cleared farmsteads interspered with small oak-hickory woodlands. Three quarters of the site?s perimeter is Rend Lake shoreline. This varied topography provides excellent habitat for a variety of upland and woodland wildlife, as well as waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors.
The beautiful waterside resort on Rend Lake offers first-class accommodations in one of southern Illinois? finest recreation areas, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area. All 105 rooms and cabins have balconies or decks with lakefront views, full baths, TVs and telephones. Some rooms have fireplaces, sleeping lofts and spas, and some are wheelchair accessible. Although cabins do not have cooking facilities, they are equipped with refrigerators.

Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, Windows Restaurant at Rend Lake features a lounge and casual outdoor deck dining. House specialities include pork chops, catfish and steak, plus excellent homemade salads and desserts. The restaurant also offers a kid?s menu.

Amenities include a conference center that will accommodate groups from 25 to 600, an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, playground, golfing packages, a convenience store and gift shop, gas for boats, courtesy boat docking and rental of pontoon boats and wave runners.

For more information on hunting, fishing and golfing packages or to make lodging reservations, call (618) 629-2211 or (800) 633-3341.
Wayne Fitzgerrell has 40 tent sites to accommodate primitive campers who relish a rustic outdoor experience. Those who want a few more amenities will want to take advantage of the 243 modern campsites, which offer electrical hookups and sanitary facilities. Three shower buildings are available for campers.

Campers should register with the Campground Host upon arrival. The fee for camping is $15 per night for sites with electricity, or $6 per night for a primitive site. The campground remains available on a first-come, first-served basis which gives everyone equal opportunity for campsites.
1. Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park offers a designated swimming area on Rend Lake's shoreline.
2. Lifeguards are not provided, so swim at your own risk.
3. Swimming is only allowed from sunrise to sunset.
4. No diving or jumping off the docks into the lake is permitted for safety reasons.
5. The park does not provide any equipment rentals like floaties or snorkels; bring your own gear if needed.
6. The beach has restrooms and picnic areas nearby for convenience after swimming activities.
7. Pets are prohibited in the swimming area of this state park.

The park offers a variety of boating options with two marinas, boat rental services and multiple launching ramps. It accommodates boats up to 25 feet long for fishing or pleasure cruising on Rend Lake. The lake is known for its crappie, catfish, white bass and largemouth bass populations making it popular among anglers. Sailboating is also permitted in the open water areas while personal watercrafts are allowed within designated zones only.
Enjoy fishing in a park that offers two lakes teeming with largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill. Catfish are also abundant here. The larger lake is ideal for boat fishing while the smaller one suits bank anglers perfectly.

Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park is located near Benton, Mount Vernon and West Frankfort

With more than 150 picnicking sites situated throughout the park, Wayne Fitzgerrell visitors should have little problem finding the perfect spot for a summertime picnic. There are three major picnic areas and several small areas equipped with shelters, tables, fireplaces and playground equipment. Reservations are accepted at four of the five shelters. Shelter 1 in the south picnic area and Shelters 2 and 3 in the north area offer a protected cove for the convenience of boaters looking for a picnicking spot. Shelter 4, located in the County Line Picnic Area, is the largest shelter in the park. This shelter has a nice shaded setting, is handicapped accessible and has electricity and water with a large fireplace for cooking.
Visitors can explore 3.5 miles of multi-use trails, ideal for biking enthusiasts. Be aware that these paths are shared.

The park's terrain is diverse with both flat and hilly areas; cyclists should proceed carefully on uneven surfaces.

Biking at night isn't advised due to limited visibility in the wooded area surrounding the trail system.

Helmets are strongly recommended while cycling within this recreational site as safety precautions against potential accidents or falls.

Cyclists must respect all posted signs regarding restricted access zones and wildlife conservation efforts throughout their ride.

Remember: it's important not to disturb local flora during your bike rides - stick strictly to designated pathways only!

For those seeking a leisurely experience, there's an option of paved roads which offer smoother riding conditions but less challenging routes.

During peak seasons, expect higher foot traffic along popular trails - always maintain safe speeds when sharing space with pedestrians.

Winter months may present icy conditions making certain parts inaccessible or dangerous for bikers so plan accordingly before visiting then!
Wayne Fitzgerrell is noted for its extensive sporting dog field trial programs. The site annually hosts more than 25 field trialing events, in which some of the best trained beagles, retrievers and bird dogs compete for regional and national honors. Many of the competitions are equestrian trials, with dog handlers and observers following the action from horseback.


For hikers and bikers, a newly constructed 4-mile hiking/biking trail is in place which runs from the day use areas through the campgrounds to Rend Lake Resort, and then connects to the Rend Lake College Bike Trail.

Equestrian Trails:

For horseback riders, a 9-mile bridle trail encircles the wildlife/field trial area, and opportunities to see and photograph wildlife abound. The trail is open to all equestrians for most of the year. From Sept. 15 to April 15, the bridle trail is closed during the hunting and designated field trial seasons.
The park offers diverse birding opportunities with over 200 species recorded. It's a hotspot for waterfowl and shorebirds during migrations. Raptors, songbirds, and woodpeckers are also common sightings year-round. Birdwatchers can explore various habitats including forests, grasslands, wetlands or the lake area itself.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
August 22 2017 Solar Eclipse by Mary Jane Hansen
park review stars; one to five Thank you for such a wonderful place to view the eclipse!! The park was clean and beautiful. The rangers provided eclipse glasses and that was really appreciated. I cannot thank you enough for providing such a wonderful place for viewing the eclipse, picnicking, and relaxing.
May 9 great place to camp by beck55@ccrtc,com
park review stars; one to five I think the people that live in indiana and come to camp should be able to reserve the site,with out drivng there a week ahead of time just to put a tent on the site. We love the campgrounds but with the cost of fuel. Come on guys
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Area Campgrounds
Archway RV Park
4810 Broadway Street
Mount Vernon, IL
Whittington Woods Campground
14297 State Highway 37
Whittington, IL
Benton KOA
1500 N DuQuoin Street
Benton, IL
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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Cottages and Cabins
Enjoy a getaway to nearby Southern Illinois with Shawnee National Forest Cabins. Rustic log cabin rentals with modern comforts such as hot tubs, Wifi and satellite TV located near Garden of the God in the Shawnee National Forest.
47.3 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

Located 6 miles north of Benton on Illinois Route 154, Wayne Fitzgerrell is a 1 1/2-hour drive from St. Louis via Interstate 64, or 5 hours from Chicago on Interstate 57.

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Illinois State Parks