Carlyle Lake, which at 26,000 acres is the largest manmade reservoir in Illinois, is home to South Shore State Park. Located on land leased by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 3-mile-long park is situated on the lake's southeast side, approximately 3 miles east of the city of Carlyle on Illinois Route 50.
Managed to preserve its natural and cultural resources, the park also provides recreational opportunities, including small-boat access, five day-use areas for picnicking, a 3/4-mile hiking trail, as well as outstanding bank-fishing opportunities. Observing wildlife, especially white-tailed deer and wild turkey, is another popular activity.
South Shore State Park is host to many wildlife species. In addition to deer, the park is inhabited by red foxes, raccoons, squirrels, woodchucks, quail, doves and songbirds, including bluebirds. Bluebird boxes, other nest structures have been placed throughout the park. Local wildlife populations also benefit from the restoration of native prairie grasses throughout the park. More than 200,000 waterfowl stop at the lake on their migratory travels north and south each winter. Along with waterfowl, other types of birds commonly seen at the park include herons and egrets, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors.