Summer in the Midwest is here and we want to do as much as we can outdoors.  Many of us also want to do it on a budget.  But we still want to find something unique and fun for the family.

There is a park with castles, dungeons, dragons, and fun that is available for families to enjoy for free right here in Illinois.

Giant City State Park

Giant City State Park Illinois DNR
Giant City State Park Illinois DNR

Before (or after) you get to the amazing park and playground, there is another beautiful state park nearby.  Only 7 miles away lies Giant City State Park.

The park features one-of-a-kind natural beauty and unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation including camping and horseback riding to fishing and rappelling. There are many hiking trails to check out including the popular Giant City Nature Trail, home of the “Giant City Streets” – huge bluffs of sandstone formed 12,000 years ago.

The state park is located in Shawnee National Forest and has 85 class A campsites, 14 walk-in campsites, and a youth group camping area.

Jeremy "Boo" Rochman Memorial Castle Park

Boo Castle Park
Boo Castle Park

Located just southeast of Carbondale, Illinois Jeremy "Boo" Rochman Memorial Castle Park was created in memory of Jeremy who was a passenger in a deadly car accident on Giant City Rd, in 1993.  The park says,

As a child, he loved to play with toy action figures. As he grew older, he enjoyed painting wizard figures. Several of the original statues found throughout the yard are enlarged versions of the tiny ones Boo painted.⠀

The park is privately owned but open to the public to play from sunup to sundown as long as the weather is nice.

Your kids or you and your kids can enjoy the towers, secret passages, knights, dragons, wizards, and unicorns!

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Boo Castle Park is at 7074 Giant City Road.  With two parking areas on each side of the park, one along No Name Road and the other along Homewood Drive.


The park is free however there is a donation box to help maintain the park. You can also check out the souvenirs to support the park.

Nothing will erase the pain of losing a son and brother to eight siblings but the excitement on kids’ faces and the sounds of amazement and laughter as they run through the park to climb on the sleeping dragon or wind their way through the castle maze go a long way in keeping his spirit and our love for Boo alive.

See more about the park below from Midwest Nomad Family on Instagram.


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