Mini Summer Vacation: Starved Rock

Do you ever forget about special places that are located near you? I know I do. I decided to rectify this by visiting nearby places that I’ve neglected over the years. Even a day trip can feel like a mini summer vacation. So last weekend we went to Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois – about an hour and 15 minutes from my house.

Starved Rock Lodge in Utica, Illinois


Today is the first Saturday of the month which means it’s Cozy Living Saturday. I’m joining blogging friends to share some of what we like to do during the month of September. For me, that means milking the last bits of summer before fall wisps its way into town!

Starved Rock State Park is known for its miles and miles of hiking trails, along with gorgeous views of the Illinois River and several canyons. It also has a hotel type lodge and individual cabins. Here’s a view of the boardwalk on the bluff overlooking the river.

Boardwalk Trail Along the Illinois River


Here’s another view from atop the bluff. The park is called Starved Rock due to a local legend that says the Illinois Indian tribe was surrounded by the Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes while up on the bluff. They eventually starved to death and only a few members of the Illinois tribe survived.

Rocky Bluff Overlooking Illinois River


Some of the trails are sandy and rocky, while others are embellished with wooden boardwalks and steps like this.

Long Wooden Boardwalk at Starved Rock State Park. A Great Place for a Mini Summer Vacation.


Trails are rated for their level of difficulty so it’s easy to choose which fits your level of physical fitness. Dogs are welcome and it’s very family friendly. It’s hard to believe these canyons are located in Illinois just a couple hours southwest of Chicago.

LaSalle Canyon at Starved Rock


LaSalle Canyon at Starved Rock


Hubby took a picture of me on one of the large rocky bluffs next to a sandy path. The park wasn’t too crowded which made it perfect for a mini summer vacation – even if it was just a day trip.

Sitting on a Rocky Bluff During a Mini Summer Vacation


I wanted to get people in the photo so you can see how large the rocky bluffs are.

Sandy Trail Near a Rocky Bluff on a Mini Summer Vacation


I’ve never been to Starved Rock during the fall but I’m sure the colors are amazing. We’re going to come back in October and probably spend a night here at the lodge with its charming gift shop.

The Gift Shop and Dining Hall at Starved Rock Lodge


The entire lodge and state park are really quite charming.

Old Wagon At Lodge During Mini Summer Vacation


Hubby and hiked about 8 or 9 miles and then stopped at the lodge for lunch on the deck. The sign behind Robert says “danger of falling.” That’s how high up we were.

Outdoor Dining on Rocky Bluff


Several cabins are available to rent at the park. Or you can bring a tent or camper and stay overnight at the campground.

Cabin at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois


An outdoor fireplace and pavilion provide a place for gatherings. I love the moss on the roof.

Outdoor Pavilion with Fireplace


Inside the lodge is a grand hall with a stone fireplace.

Indoor Fireplace at Starved Rock Lodge


In addition to the main restaurant is a cute little cafe with a chalkboard menu sign.

Chalkboard Menu at Cabin Style Lodge


Chalkboard Menu at Cabin Style Lodge


Taking a mini summer vacation can make you forget about your worries for a while. It’s so great to get outdoors and enjoy a little exercise.

Boardwalk Trail Along the Illinois River

On the way home we stopped at the new Heritage Harbor community in Ottawa. I shared adorable waterfront cottages from there last Wednesday and will share some more this coming Wednesday.

See what my cozy living friends have to share for the month of September!


September Cozy Living Series 2020

Town and Country Living / Vinyet Etc. / Duke Manor Farm


September Cozy Living Series 2020

Finding Silver Pennies / Creative Cain Cabin / Making It In the Mountains



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  1. This is my kind of nature! Living as I do in the UK, where our largest wild creature is the inoffensive badger, I read with horror about Americans who are bitten by rattlesnakes, attacked by bears, savaged by wolves, stung by swarms of vicious wild bees, (or poison ivy) not to mention mutilated by sharks. I get the impression that if I lived in the US I would hardly dare venture outdoors. So it’s good to know that if by some strange turn of fate I should be obliged to relocate to America I could still enjoy peaceful woodland and lakeside trails.! Thank-you.

  2. What a wonderful place. That is a great picture of you. Thanks so much for sharing, and for sharing a pic of your hubby, so now when you say “Hubby,” we can put a face to him. Hope you are having fun in the Mountains this weekend.

  3. What a fun day you both must have had, it is a beautiful place to visit and get outside. I love places like these , good pictures of you and your husband, thanks for sharing and have a great Labor Day holiday.

  4. What a great place to visit!! LOVED the picture of you!!! It cooled me off just looking at the pictures- the heat index here (Ocala, FL) is 103, so… seeing your pictures was a real delight. The bluffs and canyons made me think of the foothills in North Georgia. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂