Advice From Little Hikers

August 04, 2022

What do kids like best about Starved Rock Lodge?

With just a few weeks left before school starts, this is the perfect time to plan a quick getaway to Starved Rock Lodge. In a recent interview with several children who were staying at Starved Rock Lodge with their parents, we’ve gained some insider tips on what kids like best about staying here.

First of all, spending quality time with parents or grandparents creates lasting memories for children of all ages. Enjoying breakfast in the rustic Main Dining Room and spending time coloring (free crayons are provided) or playing Tic Tac Toe, sharing laughs while enjoying a delicious stack of pancakes is the best way to start the day. The children I spoke with said they loved sleeping in a cabin in the woods (sorry, we don’t have kitchens in our cabins, but we did recently install a mini-fridge and microwave in each cabin room). One of the most interesting comments was how much the kids like getting to know their server or one of our friendly staff members. JoJo (Main Dining Room Server is pictured here). We’re proud of that!

We discussed hiking and the children agreed it was fun to explore the park with Council Overhang being named the favorite place to go and run around in the great outdoors. After hiking, there was a tie of what was best to do next. Going swimming in the indoor pool and splashing around in the kiddie pool was awesome but the Artisan Ice Cream in the Café (especially strawberry) were the top suggestions. Pool toys, swimwear and a wide variety of novelty candy are also kids’ favorite finds in the Café. Surprisingly, the suckers with ants in them were mentioned as well as the “It’sSodasgusting” drinks with names like “Swamp Juice” and “Toxic Slime.”

Having lunch on the Veranda combines the best view in Starved Rock Country with several fantastic photo spots (don’t miss the arrow carved out of limestone on the east end because it points directly at Starved Rock). Little Hiker’s menus feature cheeseburger, hot dog or pizza and include chips or a fruit cup.

When asked about Trailheads Concessions (located in the Visitor Center) and the Starved Rock Gift Shop, the souvenir selection of books for young readers, bags of rocks and “stuffies” makes it hard for kids to choose their favorite thing to take home. Corn dogs, ice cream and the “smashed penny” machine were mentioned by many kids as their must-have item!

All of the children we spoke with screamed “YES” when asked if they wanted to come back again. This one-of-a-kind destination is worthy of a one or two-night stay. It’s a chance to see wildlife, leave the electronics and SmartPhones behind and enjoy nature’s playground—a place that changes from season to season but, in many ways, remains the same.

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