Clear Water, Family-Friendly Activities, And Food Trucks Make This Illinois Beach A Must-Visit

When thinking of lakes in the Midwestern state of Illinois, Lake Michigan is likely the first one to come to mind. After all, it is one of the Great Lakes and makes Chicago all the more unique. However, the rest of the Prairie State should not be written off too quickly. Just a few miles south of the Illinois border with Wisconsin is Pearl Lake. Near the town of South Beloit, Pearl Lake may look small on the map, but this Midwest hidden gem natural wonder is packed with outdoor activities.

Pearl Lake features a beach, an RV park, food trucks, and fun for the whole family. Pearl Lake is a wonderful example of a beachy destination with beautiful crystal blue waters in the Midwest, proving that you do not have to go south for a gorgeous aquatic adventure. Such water conditions evoke a sense of tropicality and make it a popular place for scuba diving, too. Despite its location at just over one hour from Milwaukee and less than two hours from Chicago, Pearl Lake's forested surroundings and acres of lake access can make it a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Get out on the water and see what lies beneath at Pearl Lake

Taking a dip in the beautiful water of Pearl Lake can include exploring a floating obstacle course, snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply relaxing on a water lounger. However, only paddleboards are available to rent onsite. Additionally, there are no lifeguards. Because of this, all visitors need to sign a safety waiver to take part in water activities. The waiver can be found (and signed) on the lake's website.

You can also scuba dive at Pearl Lake. If you do not have your scuba license, you can rent equipment and obtain your license through Loves Park Scuba just 11 miles south of Pearl Lake. A certification through this organization takes place in their onsite pool and then into the open water at Pearl Lake itself. Aside from the clear water providing around 40 feet of visibility, what makes diving at Pearl Lake extra special is its unique submerged items. As you swim underwater, you can find a shipwreck, an old bus, a submarine, and even an airplane! Another organization that can help you make the most of a dive at Pearl Lake is Aquatic Adventures. Pearl Lake is one of many dive sites which this organization visits.

Stay overnight at Pearl Lake's RV park

While the beautiful water at Pear Lake is a highlight of the area, there is plenty to do on land here, too. The region used to be a sand quarry, but is now open to the public and still features 8 acres of soft sand. You can spread out a towel and lounge, play sand volleyball, or throw in a line to catch (and release) trout, catfish, and bass. Outside food and drinks are allowed, but on weekends, food trucks arrive at Pearl Lake to serve entrées and desserts. Whether you get in the water or not, daily beach passes are just $20 per person.

A visit to Pearl Lake doesn't have to be just a day trip, either. While there is no tent camping, you can rent a camper or bring your own and book a site with water and electrical connections at the lake's kid-friendly RV park. If you really fall in love with this place, you can buy a customizable lakeside cottage and stay in it any time from April through December every year. Waking up to this lake's peaceful and colorful water definitely sounds like a slice of paradise right in the Midwest.