The world as we know has undergone many changes. Needing a getaway from our new normal, we thought a trip to the Starved Rock area would give us a change of scenery that we craved, while providing a way to stay “socially distant.”  Our stay at Kishauwau’s Starved Rock Area Cabins provided that and more! Located on 68 acres of wooded property, Kishauwau’s Starved Rock Area Cabins offers a chance to unplug and be one with nature as well as reconnect with your loved ones..safely.  Read all about what you can expect when you stay here then learn a little bit more about the owners.

Disclosure: Our family was provided a complimentary stay at Kishauwau’s Starved Rock Area Cabins. I was not required to express a particular point of view, and all opinions are my own.

History of Kishauwau’s Starved Rock Area Cabins 

The cabins have been a family-run business from the very beginning when the Kings purchased the property from the Boy Scouts of America, originally called Camp Ki-Shau-Wau. (Fun fact: If you watch the movie Fracture with Ryan Gosling, you’ll see that he’s wearing a Camp Ki-Shau-Wau (Starved Rock Area Council T-Shirt) in the last quarter of the movie.) The King family gutted and renovated 4 of the original cabins, then over the next 20 years with the help of friends and family built 13 more cabins. How amazing! Currently, Terisa and Jamie King own the cabins. 

Illini Cabin Highlights at Kishauwau’s Starved Rock Area Cabins

Our home away from home for our 3-night stay was the Illini Cabin, a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom cabin.


Surrounded by tall mature trees, each cabin is well spaced away from other cabins giving you a sense of peace and quiet as well as privacy. 

A peaceful and serene stay at Kishauwau's Starved Rock Area Cabins located close to Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park.

Spacious and cozy

As we stepped into our Illini cabin we were surprised at how much room we had. The living room was inviting with 2 fold-out futons and a cool wood stove. A major plus — two separate bathrooms with showers.

The charming wood stove

The rooms were cozy with comfortable beds. Definitely something we looked forward to after a long day hiking and sightseeing.

Cooking essentials

Everything we needed to make a few home cooked meals was available in the cabin: a stovetop/oven, microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, refrigerator, cooking utensils, dishes, pots, and pans, coffee, and coffee filters.  The patio out back also had a charcoal grill. It was peaceful and quiet backing into the woods.

Personal firepit

You can’t have a cabin adventure without s’mores, and what better way to end the day than by roasting marshmallows by the fire? That and enjoying a glass of wine, of course. 

A peaceful and serene stay at Kishauwau's Starved Rock Area Cabins located close to Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park.


Kishauwau’s Starved Rock Area Cabin Property Highlights:

  • Fantastic location. The popular Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park were no more than 10 minutes away. The adorable town of Ottawa was less than 30 minutes away and made for the perfect day trip. (Find more than 10 things to do while you are in the area.)
  • A variety of cabin rentals. Choose from 17 different cabins. They cater from couples to families — it all depends on what you’re looking for. Reunions are really popular here and I think that would be really fun! Some cabins are even dog-friendly!
  • Swing away! The kids were in absolute heaven swinging away on their tree swings. If we had a spare minute, the kids would beg to go to the swings. The property has a tire swing, bench swing, regular red swing, and a saucer swing. 

A peaceful and serene stay at Kishauwau's Starved Rock Area Cabins located close to Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park.

  • Run around.  With so much space, kids could be kids and could run around.

  • Take a walk.  A hiking trail is nearby. Just ask the staff for directions.
  • DVDs galore. Since there is no reception, the Kings made sure to keep guests busy with a huge library of DVDs. My kids were all very excited to pick up a few new-to-them movies.

  • Everything you might have forgotten. Forgot something? No problem. There office is open 24/7 has items that you might have forgotten saving you a trip to the grocery store.  Here you’ll find ice cream treats, frozen pizzas, pop & water, s’mores items, charcoal & lighter fluid, toasting forks, microwave popcorn.  Some personal items like toothbrush, toothpaste, little deodorants, razors, little bottles of shampoo or conditioner.  Bring your cash –  everything is paid on the honor system.
  • Say hi to the frogs. One of my favorite things to do was checking out the pond behind the office. Here we found frogs leaping from lily pad to lily pad, and more tadpoles than I’ve ever seen. What was even cooler, was hearing the frogs’ banjo-like ribbit. Listen up.

Bottom Line:

This is exactly what our family needed. A place to disconnect with most of the world and spend time with nature. 

Tips to enjoy your stay at Kishauwau’s Starved Rock Area Cabins:

  • Bring food so you can have your own feast. Stop at the closest grocery store in Ottawa for other needs. 
  • Bring your four-legged friend. There are 4 cabins specific for those with dogs and it is an additional $15 plus tax per night to the reservation.
  • Bring DVDs. You can bring your favorite DVD since they have DVD players but we found that they had so many to borrow in the Office.
  • Firewood and a firestarter can be bought at the Office as well.
  • No wifi or cell phone coverage. Wifi usage only available in the main cabin and is not open for children and social networking. We will give the passcode if you need to check your e-mail, need it for work or school or want to look up things in the area.
  • Other things to bring: Shampoo, conditioner, body wash. They have well water so we brought bottled water. These items are included: Salt & pepper packets, all linen, (dish towels & washrags), scotch brite scrubbers and dish soap, small liquid body, and liquid hand soap.
  • Extras. Items for S’mores. Marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate. – s’mores items (loved our Stuffed Puffs – marshmallows with chocolate already inside!), charcoal, paper towels. You’ll have to purchase firewood from the General Store.

Get to know the owners of Kishauwau’s Starved Rock Area Cabins

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about the property, take a few minutes to learn about Terisa, the owner of Kishauwau.

Q: Do you have a favorite cabin on the property?
Terisa: A favorite cabin is very hard to say.  Pines cabin is our #1 requested couples cabin on property for the privacy it offers.  Chippewa is a close 2nd and has my favorite back porch.  12 of our cabins offer a covered porch with swing, Chippewa’s faces the woods.  Pines cabin is our only cabin with a covered porch on each side of it.  But, I love the large upper deck and view offered by our Jack’s Deluxe Whirlpool cabin.  Those cabins are all for just 1 couple, no kids, no dogs.  Grandma’s cabin is awesome though and is the reason we are able to cater to really large family reunions.  It is our only 4 bedroom/2 bathroom cabin that will house up to 14 people.

Q: Any recommended places to eat in the area?
Terisa: That depends on the type of food and experience you want.  We are simple people, we love to order from Aces & Eights, the newest bar in Tonica that serves some awesome bar food.  Also, Flo’s on Pulaski, cheap and sooo good.  But if you are looking for something nicer I do love Uptown Grill in LaSalle, Brandy’s in Peru, Tangled Roots/Lone Buffalo in Ottawa or BASH (Burger & Sushi House), also in Ottawa.  There are sooo many good places to eat in LaSalle County so I tell people I am happy to give suggestions if they just let me know what kind of food they want and the dining experience.

Q: Favorite place to hike?
Terisa:   Any local will tell you to go hike Matthiessen State Park.  I go in the Dells entrance and hike down to the wishing well.  That’s my favorite.  You go all the way into the bottom so you must be prepared for the steps.  You will hike along and across a creek bed and come out to large pool of water.  There are also caverns you can walk into down there.  In the rainy season there is a huge waterfall flowing into the pool of water.

Q: What is your favorite thing about owning the cabins?
Terisa: I honestly fully enjoy what it is that we offer our guests here myself. I truly believe that even though I married into this, this is where I was supposed to end up. This place is my passion and I love what we offer and the memories we create for our guests and their families. We have people that have been coming here since the beginning when my in-laws first started renting. Some have been coming since before they got married, continued coming as their family grew, now some of their kids are coming with their own little ones. In my eyes thats AMAZING and I love it.

Nitty Gritty:

Location: 901 N 2129th Rd., Tonica, IL 61370
Check-in and Check-out:  3 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Price range: Cabins at Kishauwau range during the prime season range from $102 – $450 plus tax per night with weekends higher than weeknights. Illini cabin specifically is $185 plus tax per weeknight and $230 plus tax weekend night.  Weekend rentals require both Friday & Saturday nights. 

A peaceful and serene stay at Kishauwau's Starved Rock Area Cabins located close to Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park.

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