Illinois Beach State Park in Zion is my escape. Over 6 miles of beaches, many of them empty even on a summer weekend, and definitely peaceful on a rare 80+ degree day in October.
Check the place out, and if you like it, tell your Illinois representative about how lousy they're maintaining the place. I'm willing to pay to get in, if that would spruce things up. The north unit of the park has been mostly closed for 2 years because of repaving, and now a broken water pipe supplying the drinking fountains -- of all the lame excuses.
It's a wildflower wonderland, including prickly pear cactus, yes cactus in Illinois.
Today was only OK, as it was much cooler by the lake, and the water was too chilly for a swim. The sun kept ducking behind thin clouds.
Plus, cheap gas in Lake County (about 17 cents cheaper than near home), and some good food in the area including Captain Porky's, with excellent fried fish, BBQ pork and homemade goat cheese.