Giant City State Park Revisited

Giant City State Park has plenty of space to ride bikes and enjoy the campground.  It is beautifully shaded and just right for evenings outdoors. 

Our family has visited Giant City State Park in Southern Illinois several times now.  This is a beautiful location for camping and has lots of activities both inside the park and surrounding areas.  Each time we go, I feel like we discover something new to explore.  This is one of the key reasons that we keep coming back.  This is my second review of this Mid-West location.  Why is Giant City State Park a stand out location for camping?

We have loved every visit to Giant City.  This year we were on a back in spot.  While prefer the pull through sites, every site has plenty of space and is shady!

Giant City State Park Revisited

Giant City State Park is a large state park with quite a few activities and things to enjoy while in the park itself.  You can enjoy things like hiking, biking, and horseback riding.  There are even specific sites for equestrians that want to come and bring their own horses.  But, the state park does offer horseback riding onsite as well.  We have participated in this and loved it.  You can check out my previous review of Giant City State Park from a few years ago.  

We use portable water containers to extend our fresh water.

One thing to note about Giant City if you are used to camping in other parts of the country or at least with full hook ups that sites only have electricity.  For some campers, this may pose as a challenge.  We have managed just fine camping here in both our pop up and travel trailer.  You can make it work, and its not a big deal if you come prepared.  I wrote a post recently about camping with limited hook ups.  This could help you if you are planning a trip to this park or another one with limited hook ups.  

If you want to camp at Giant City, it is important to remember that this is a well loved destination for holiday weekends.  You can book your site 6 months in advance.  And, if you plan to travel here for Memorial Day weekend or other busy weekends, book well in advance to secure a spot.  

We have been on both pull through sites as well as a back in site.  I actually prefer the pull through sites at this campground.  The back in sites are a little tighter to get into, and it could totally be user error.  But, I still think that the pull through sites are much better to navigate here.  

Check out to see what activities and ranger talks are going on ahead of your visit.  This year, we arrived on the night that the ranger was giving a talk at the pavilion about snakes.  The kids loved it.  They did one on owls another time we were visiting.  

I would also encourage you to venture out beyond the campground itself.  We went to an amazing barbeque place called 17th Street Barbeque.  The original location is in Murphysboro.  We visited this spot.  They also have a location in Marion that is closer to Giant City State Park.  They boast of the best wings in the country.  I had those, and they were amazing!  The greens are also what might be possibly the best greens I've ever had, and I'm from Mississippi.  So that's a hard feat to accomplish.  If you are looking for a place to eat out while you are there, I would put this on the list.  It was so worth it.

Garden of the Gods has a wonderful observation trail that we took the time to enjoy every lookout along the way.

The views along the hike were majestic!

This was time well spent on a sunny afternoon for our family!

I love a good hike.  This was a highlight of this trip for me!

Another location we visited on this trip was Garden of the Gods.  It was 100% worth the drive over.  Ever person on our trip loved every second of this fun afternoon hike.  We did the observation trail.  While it is a short trail, you want to take your time and enjoy all of the different scenic views and not rush it.  There are several different trails to choose from, but if you only can do one or are limited on time, I recommend the Observation Trail.  It was spectacular.  

Next year, we are talking about renting a boat to go out on the water.  This is one thing that we have not done while we have been in this neck of the woods, but there is a place near the state park that has this as an option.  

There are also wineries in the area that are fun to visit.  You can learn more about the options from the Shawnee Hill Wine Trail site.  You could visit several spots or just check out one for a quick stop.  

The campsites at Giant City are large.  We enjoyed cooking outdoors in our Dutch Oven on our last night!

The weather was perfect on our trip for meals outdoors!

We love hanging out at the campground, throwing up some hammocks and enjoying our time right there.  This state park is lush and green in the spring and summer.  We really love camping there.

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