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Enjoy Illinois

  Washington County State Recreational Area   

West-Central Region

18500 Conservation Dr.
Nashville, IL 62263
618.327.3137

E-mail

Site Map Directions Hunting
Boating Fishing Hiking
Camping History Picnicking


Wildlife abounds in the Washington County State Recreation Area located four miles south of Nashville in southern Illinois. Visitors will marvel at the sight of rabbit, quail, squirrel, dove, deer and woodcock among the stands of pines, brushy draws and fallow fields. The beautiful Washington County Lake makes this site a special place for relaxing or fishing. Whether boating on its 248 acres, or fishing or hiking its 13-mile shoreline, the lake offers a perfect opportunity for family fun. This natural area has more than 900 acres for hunting, making it a paradise for shotgun or bow and arrow sportsmen. Whether camping, hunting, fishing, boating, hiking or picnicking, you will find Washington County State Recreation Area has what you are looking for.

History

In 1959, the State of Illinois purchased 160 acres of natural area near Nashville which provided excellent cover and food for upland game. Additional acreage has been added in succeeding years, currently totaling 1,440 acres. In 1960 the Department of Natural Resources constructed the lake in the areas between two small creeks. This long, thin lake is surrounded by fields and woods. With the addition of picnic and camping areas, this site has become a popular visiting site for outdoorsmen and nature lovers.

Picnicking

For a special afternoon get away, the seven picnic areas scattered around the lake provide a perfect setting. They are located in heavily wooded, grassy areas and have tables, outdoor stoves, drinking water and playground equipment. Whether you choose Ponderosa, Lazy L, or one of the other picnic sites, you will be assured of scenic surroundings. Bring your own picnic basket, or purchase sandwiches and soft drinks at the concession stand.

Camping

Enjoying the out-of-doors is easy with tent and trailer spaces readily accessible. Electricity and disposal are available for trailers. A shower building is also located in the camping area.

Two Campground Cabins are available in the campground. There is no cooking, pets, or smoking in Cabins. Fire grill, table, and BBQ grill are provided outside. A full size bed, two sets of bunk beds, table and chairs are provided inside. The Cabins have heat and a/c available with two ceiling fans. You must provide your own bedding. A $45.00 reservation fee is needed in advance to hold the Cabin for a particular date, then $45.00 per day after that. The $5.00 reservation fee is non-refundable.

Fishing

Fishermen will delight at the possibilities for catching their limits of largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, channel catfish and carp.

boat docksBoating

For boaters, two launching ramps are available as well as boat docks. There is a limit of 10 horsepower for motorboats. Both boats and motor boats are available for rental for fishing or just a ride on the lake.

Hiking

For an invigorating walk, a seven-mile-long, marked trail is available. This trail circles the lake and hikers can enjoy viewing the majestic trees, beautiful wildflowers or the numerous birds and animals residing in the area.

Hunting

Acre after acre of wildlife habitat will challenge all levels of sportsman. Shotgun and archery hunting are allowed, with an abundance of deer, turkey, and small game available. All hunters must check in at the check site. Contact the site ranger for game species, hunting times and regulations.  Hunter Fact Sheet

Directions

Interstate 64 runs east and west across the state and passes 7 miles north of Washington County State Recreation Area. Get off of the interstate at exit 50 and this puts you on Illinois Route 127 and go through the city of Nashville. Continue on 127 for 4 miles and a large sign on the east side of the highway 127 will be the entrance to Washington County State Recreation Area.


  • While groups of 25 or more are welcome and encouraged to use the park's facilities, they are required to register in advance with the site office to avoid crowding or scheduling conflicts.
  • At least one responsible adult must accompany each group of 15 minors.
  • Pets must be kept on leashes at all times.
  • Actions by nature can result in closed roads and other facilities. Please call ahead to the park office before you make your trip.
  • We hope you enjoy your stay. Remember, take only memories, leave only footprints.
  • For more information on tourism in Illinois, call the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Tourism at 1-800-2Connect.
  • Telecommunication Device for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Natural Resources Information (217) 782-9175 for TDD only Relay Number 800-526-0844.

Parks & Recreation

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Office of Land Management
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
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