Take a deep breath and inhale the fresh, clean, cool air. Hear the crisp leaves rustling and the gentle ripple of the water. Feel the stress and tension leave your body as you exhale. This is the vacation you need.

Knox County, Illinois is just far enough from the bustle of the big city to be a quick getaway that feels like a true vacation. Southwest of Chicago, it is in West Central Illinois between Peoria and the Quad Cities. Galesburg, the county seat, offers the modern amenities of a contemporary small city among beautiful rural Illinois.

Home to Spoon River, Snakeden Hollow State Fish and Wildlife Area, and Lake Storey, Knox County is known for its fishing. Spoon River totals 147 miles in length, while Lake Storey and Snakeden together offer well over 400 acres of lake and pond water.

Spoon River, also known as “The Spoon,” runs through Stark, Knox, and Fulton Counties. Fishing The Spoon tends to result in Carp, Channel Catfish, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Bullhead, Crappie, Bluegill, and Sunfish. It is also home to the annual Spoon River Drive, or Scenic Drive, which occurs the first two weekends in October in towns adjacent to the river. Scenic Drive is a fall festival with arts and crafts, food vendors, family activities, antiques, garage sales, and more.

If you’re looking to connect with wildlife, you’ll want to venture to Snakeden Hollow. Named for the small creek that snakes through the 2497 acre property, it is known for more than just fishing. With 2100 acres of grassland, bushy draws, briers, shrubs, cropland, and forest, it is home to numerous mammals, birds, reptiles, and is a nesting spot for Canada Geese. Dove, Teal, Goose, Archery Deer, and Upland Game are hunting prospects on the land. A baited hook is likely to catch Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Rainbow and Brown Trout, Muskie, Bluegill, Sunfish, Walleye, Black Crappie, Channel Catfish, and Bullhead.

Located on the north side of Galesburg, Lake Storey not only offers fishing in 132.5 acres of water up to depths of 32 feet but also camping, picnic areas, and paved and unpaved trails. High density fish include Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Muskie, Channel Catfish, Walleye, Crappie, and Redear Sunfish. When you’re done with the rod and reel, head into town for a good meal or a craft beer. Galesburg is known for its locally owned restaurants and bars.

Knox County also has three campgrounds for those who enjoy roughing it. Allison Campground is located right at Lake Storey. Galesburg East Campground offers cabins in addition to RV and tent camping. Woodland Hills Camping and Recreation is under new ownership and has new and improved amenities.

For more information, contact the Galesburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (visitgalesburg.com).

*Proper licenses, permits, and credentials must be obtained to meet Illinois requirements.

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