Let me just jump right in (so to speak) by saying my family has NEVER had a bad day at Clinton Lake Beach.
If you’re not familiar with this destination — which is a quick 40-minute drive through the country from Champaign-Urbana — the lake it’s situated on is man made for the purpose of cooling the nuclear power plant in Clinton. Because of what it is and how it works, the water is always warm. This means that you’ll probably not want to visit on the hottest day of the year; even air temps in the upper 80s might be too high for a beach day if your gang is warm blooded and your goal is to cool off.
On the flip side, on a moderate summer day (which we’ve had plenty of this year), Clinton Lake Beach is a great spot for soaking up rays and splashing in the low-key waves tossed off the speedboats which cruise the area. The beach itself is perfect for all sorts of sand play.
Here are a few key things to know about visiting Clinton Lake Beach:
- Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
- Admission is $2 per person.
- No lifeguards are on duty; the swimming area is roped off from the larger lake.
- Pets are not allowed.
- Coolers are allowed (no glass containers); leave your liquor at home.
- There are restrooms/changing rooms with showers adjacent to the beach and also showers located on the beach for rinsing off sand.
- Ice cream novelties are for sale at the beach itself (think ice cream Snickers bars), but you may want to save your money and get a yummy frozen treat from Boondocks Grill, which is adjacent to the beach. You can’t go wrong eating lunch there, either.