7 Best Coastal Towns in Illinois State

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Although Illinois may not be the first state that springs to mind when considering coastal communities, there are plenty of waterfront attractions to discover in the state thanks to its access to many rivers and Lake Michigan. Illinois has what you’re searching for, whether it’s a picturesque location for outdoor activities, a historic town with cultural attractions, or a tranquil beach retreat. These are seven of the state’s top seaside towns that you ought to see.


Located near Lake Michigan, Waukegan is the fifth largest city in the region and the ninth largest in Illinois. It features a marina for boating, a pier for fishing, and a stunning beach with natural sand dunes. Along with boutique stores, fine dining, festivals, and the historic Genesee Theatre, which frequently features well-known acts, Waukegan boasts a thriving arts and culture scene. Only In Your State ranked Waukegan as one of the top seaside communities in the United States.

St. Charles

About 40 miles outside of Chicago, near the Fox River, sits the quaint hamlet of St. Charles. It boasts a riverwalk, a park with a waterfall, and a historic downtown with stores, eateries, and museums. The 1928 historic landmark Hotel Baker, which has a rose garden and a fountain lit by a rainbow, is located in St. Charles. World Atlas named St. Charles as one of Illinois’ most picturesque seaside communities.


Located at the meeting point of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, Cairo is the southernmost town in Illinois. Its distinctive history and architecture come from its days as a prosperous port city and Underground Railroad destination. Cairo is situated in a beautiful area, encircled by trees and bodies of water. You can go to Magnolia Manor, a Victorian estate turned museum, or Fort Defiance State Park, which provides expansive vistas of the rivers. Cairo was highlighted by Only In Your State as one of the Illinois seaside communities that everyone ought to see.


The biggest city along the Illinois River, Peoria was the site of the state’s first European colony. It’s a thriving metropolis with a wide range of cultures and a great nightlife. The Peoria riverside Museum, the Peoria Zoo, the Peoria Civic Center, and the Spirit of Peoria, a paddlewheel steamboat that provides cruises, are just a few of the city’s many riverside attractions. Peoria was also listed by Only In Your State as one of the Illinois seaside communities that everyone ought to see.


Located on the Kaskaskia River and Lake Shelbyville, which was formed by a dam in 1970, lies the little town of Shelbyville. It is a well-liked spot for swimming, boating, camping, and fishing. Additionally, Shelbyville features a historic downtown with murals, cafes, and antique stores. The 1879 Shelby County Courthouse, which features a clock tower and cannon, is another place you can go. World Atlas listed Shelbyville as one of Illinois’s quaint shoreline villages.

Spring Valley

Nestled amidst hills brimming with natural springs lies the small settlement of Spring Valley, which is close to the Valley of Spring Creek. It is a fantastic location for outdoor activities and is close to Ottawa along the Illinois River. Along the river, you may go kayaking, biking, or hiking. You can also explore the Starved Rock State Park, which features wildlife, waterfalls, and canyons. Additionally, Only In Your State highlighted Spring Valley as one of the Illinois waterfront villages that visitors ought to experience.


Named for Mount Zion in Israel, Zion is a town located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Union Jack served as the inspiration for its distinctive design, and other streets bear biblical names. In addition, Zion features a wildlife preserve, a beach, a lighthouse, and a power plant. In addition, there’s the 1901 historic mansion, now a museum, called Shiloh House. Zion was also named by World Atlas as one of Illinois’ most picturesque seaside communities.


There are numerous seaside communities in Illinois that provide a range of activities and attractions. There is something to love about these seven towns: the beach, the river, the history, or the culture. The next time you’re seeking for a beach vacation, think about going to one of these beautiful locations in Illinois. You won’t be sorry!

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