It's a long way to the beaches in Florida, but Southern Illinois has some great ones right in our back yards.
Some of them like Sandusky Beach at Rend Lake and the public beach at Pounds Hollow Lake in the Shawnee National Forest. Others will open Memorial Day weekend.
Cedar Lake - Poplar Camp Beach (Jackson County) south of Carbondale opens Friday, May 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.
State certified lifeguards are on duty during beach open hours. Admission is $2 per person with children under four admitted free. The beach and lake are operated by the City of Carbondale. Passes are available for 10 visits for $15 and 20 visits for $25. Passes are good for the entire esason and can be used by anyone at anytime.
For information on beach closings, call 618-549-8441 or 618-549-5302. Alcoholic beverages, glass containers and fires are prohibited at the beach.
Crab Orchard Lake (Williamson County) - The beach at Crab Orchard Campground will open for the season on May 26. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. There is a lifeguard present. Admission is $2 per person per day. No alcoholic beverages or glass bottles permitted. For more information contact the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge at 618-997-3344.
Lake Glendale (Pope County) - The beach at Lake Glendale opens May 24 with hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Lifeguards are present. Admission is $3.50 for persons 6 and over and $2.50 or persons 5 and under. The admission is for the entire day and swimmers may come and go. No alcohol or glass bottles permitted. The lake and beach is part of the Shawnee National Forest.
The concessionaire at Lake Glendale also offers paddle boat and canoe rentals.
Pounds Hollow Lake (Gallatin County) - This is a free day-use area in the Shawnee National Forest. The beach is open during daylight hours. No lifeguards are provided.
Rend Lake - Sandusky Beach is currently the only beach open at Rend Lake from 8 a.m. to sunset.
No lifeguards are on duty though. Admission is $1 per person up to $4 per vehicle (per day). Children 12 and under are admitted free. No alcohol or glass bottles permitted. Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Sam Dale Lake (Wayne County) is part of the Sam Dale Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area that's open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
The swimming area is a buoy-marked area with a large beach area for sun-bathers. No life guards present. Swimmers under 17 must be accompanied by an adult. No alcohol allowed.