A lovely central-east Illinois day paddle, Kickapoo State Park is in Danville and Oakwood IL, about 35 miles from Champaign-Urbana, and 15 miles from Indiana border. A former strip mine, no remnants now except very deep and clear water--the clearest I have seen in IL. Canoe rentals at Kickapoo Landing, the park is formed by a series of lakes (maps posted in park), some small and some larger.
A great paddle is put-in at Clear Lake (40 acres), and see nature and mid-size bluffs, and then at south end portage across street to Long Lake, which is clear and long and goes under interstate 74 (honks from interested drivers inevitable) and is very scenic (50 acres). About ten lakes and ponds total, each fairly small, but many coves and "crannies" to explore, making for a pleasant paddle for a few hours (day trip). Fishing great from what locals tell me (Little Nuggett Bait shop on Henning road), but bring loads of line; the water is DEEP.
Note: the Middle Fork River crosses through the park, and is a destination unto itself, famous for springtime paddles; Kickapoo Landing in the park rents canoes and provides shuttle service. The put-ins are all gently sloping concrete ramps, very nice. Although this is a heavily used park with playgrounds, picnic tables etc., with the size of the park itself, plus the varied terrain, you can be on the water and feel alone in the world with nature's beauty. Particularly pleasant autumn paddle as the lakes are completely surrounded by trees (uncommon in agriculturally intense central IL. Enjoy!
Campground on site; many local hotels in Danville, Illinois. The park itself has toilet facilities and concessions in summer. Many marked mountain bike trails around lake and horse riding rentals.
No use fees; simply assure that your canoe/kayak is registered in Illinois.
I-74 to Oakwood exit (west of Danville) and follow signs; or I-74 to Henning Road exit. Rest area off I-74 between Oakwood and Danville with information/vending machines/restrooms.
Delore Illinois Gazetteer