I’m not entirely sure if it is really considered a staycation, because we actually didn’t stay anywhere overnight or anything. But my roommate, her sister, my daughter, and I all went to Devil’s Lake this weekend for a little get out of town vacation for the day. We really needed to get out of town, and with the budget the way it is, we had a hard time justifying much of anything so we thought going to a state park might be a good way to get out and have a good time.
We have been to Devil’s Lake many times, it is one of our favorite parks to go to. The park is a big lake with no rivers or other lakes connecting it, so it is kind of a strange lake actually. It was created from the glaciers receding and it is surrounded by big bluffs. The water is generally clear, though I have noticed in recent years it hasn’t been quite as much as usual. Still, it is fairly clear for a lake and the park has many awesome trails going up the bluffs, and has vultures circling overhead as this is a summer roosting area for Turkey Vultures.
The one thing Devil’s Lake also has is people… lots and lots of people. It is a very heavily trafficked park by Illinois people. But it also tends to bring about lots of foreigners, I’ve never personally understood that honestly, but every time I go there are bound to be a bunch of different languages being spoken of tourists in bathing suits enjoying the area.
Because of the enormous amounts of people, it is often difficult to enjoy yourself. There would undoubtedly be someone right next to you smoking, or drinking, or being obnoxious in some fashion. And in the water was even less chance, often times standing room only, no real chance to swim or throw a frisbee or anything particularly fun.
The one thing about Devil’s Lake though is that there are two beaches. There is the North Shore and the South Shore. Well most people, us included, visit the North Shore. This is because it has easier access to the more leisurely trails, and has a nicer sandier beach. I think it tends to be easier to figure out how to get to as well. The South Shore however tends to be kind of rocky, but has a huge beach.
This time, we decided to bring some comfy lawn chairs that lay down and sit on the beach on the chairs so that we aren’t in the rocks. It turned out to be a wonderful idea, we spent the entire day there (about 6 hours). The beach was busy because it was a really hot day, but we didn’t feel stuffed in at all. We don’t even recall many smokers or even drunkards ruining it for everyone the way that we were used to on the North Shore.
We packed a picnic and moved into the grass under the shade of a giant tree and enjoyed that. It really was a nice little vacation and all for the low cost of a $7 day pass.1 This averages out to be just a little more than $1/hour which considering there were 4 people cost us $0.29 per person per hour. A really nice sum. We did stop for ice cream on the way home but that wasn’t too expensive either. A worthy staycation I think.
- We have gotten season tickets in previous years, but last year we didn’t really go to the state parks as much largely because we were overly busy and didn’t have the time to, but also because we needed breaks. We still enjoy state parks but we didn’t find it to be prudent to buy a season pass when we didn’t expect to be going more than 1 more time this season, if that. When you are strapped for cash, you really don’t want to overpay for anything. ↩