Rend Lake, Illinois, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Rend Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Rend Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Rend Lake

Rend Lake, located in southern Illinois, is a fantastic place to enjoy all sorts of outdoor recreational activities. This reservoir, the second largest artificial lake in the state, covers an area of nearly 19,000 acres and is a perfect place for fishing, boating, and other outdoor sports.

Rend Lake was created in the 1970’s, when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers dammed the Big Muddy River, creating a reservoir three miles wide and thirteen miles long. The lake was completed in 1973, providing flood control, water to nearby communities, fish and wildlife conservation, and recreation.

Rend Lake has much to offer visitors. It is a popular lake for fishing, and has a large population of crappies, channel catfish, bass, and bluegill. Don’t like fishing? There’s still tons to do. You can go jet skiing or water skiing, or simply cruise around the lake on a boat. With a marina and a couple dozen boat ramps, the lake is well set up for all those who want to enjoy its splendors. And, if you’re hankering for a swim, there are several beaches where you can enjoy taking a dip in the cool waves. Lake accommodations include five public campgrounds with close to 800 sites, RV parks, lakefront cabin rentals, and a resort and conference center.

One of the best places to enjoy Rend Lake is the 3,000-acre Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area. There’s nothing better than enjoying a picnic in the great outdoors with friends and family, and the park is well able to accommodate you with over 150 picnicking sites. In addition, the Recreation Area is a haven for wildlife of all types, and nature lovers will enjoy spotting herons, eagles, deer, raccoons, and opossums. There are also several trails on which to walk, bike, or ride horseback. And hunters will enjoy the many hunting opportunities at the Recreation Area and at other locations near Rend Lake.

As if all the lakeside activities weren’t enough, nearby towns contain yet more attractions. Benton has a wide variety of entertainment – movie theaters, an opera house, bowling, and more. The town of Sesser has a family fun park with mini-golf, batting cages, and go-carts. And for the avid golfer, a highly rated 27-hold golf course is nearby.

One thing’s for sure: whether you’re busy with a game of golf, hiking along a nature trail, cruising through Rend Lake’s waters, or fishing for the “big one,” there’s always plenty to do at Rend Lake!

Things to Do at Rend Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Movie Theater

Fish Species Found at Rend Lake

  • Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Sunfish

Find Places to Stay at Rend Lake

If you’re considering a Rend Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Rend Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Rend Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Rend Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 18,900 acres

Shoreline Length: 162 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 405 feet

Average Depth: 10 feet

Maximum Depth: 35 feet

Water Volume: 184,675 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1973

Drainage Area: 488 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Rend Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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