We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“What a gem !”
Review of Pearl Lake

Pearl Lake
Attraction details
Reviewed 26 August 2013

If you are a scuba diver and your stuck living here in the mid west. Pearl lake is just what you need to get away. Cant find a better place where you can dive all day for $20.00. Very cool stuff to look at under water sub, boat, truck ect. Very clean lake and great visability.Very clean and well kept lake and property. The after 6pm dining is great. Very good value for the $. Like stepping back in time large portions salad soup potato ect. Glass of water at the table even basket of crackers. I recommend the fried chicken,and the onion rings for an appitizer. The appitizer will fill you up so share with a couple friends. Had a great day and look forward to our next trip to Pearl lake.

Thank Buzz22365
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (50)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

42 - 46 of 50 reviews

Reviewed 19 August 2013

Recently, my husband and I completed our Advanced Scuba Diving Certification. It culminated with the deep dive portion achieved diving a shipwreck in Lake Michigan. The experience convinced us we’d like to do a lot more wreck diving, but our next time on the Great Lakes we’ll be on our own, with no instructor to watch over us.

So we took the recommendation of our Milwaukee dive shop, The Scuba Diver Store/Great Lakes Diving, and went to Pearl Lake to further hone our skills. It was the perfect choice and an unexpected treat. Located in South Beloit, IL smack on the Wisconsin/Illinois border, it’s only an hour drive from Milwaukee, Madison or Chicago.

Beginning it’s life as a quarry, Pearl Lake has been owned by the same family since 1963, when they began developing a lovely 35 acre paradise where you’d least expect one. It now features a campground, seasonal park homes, a restaurant and bar, (only open on weekends) and a well-laid out swimming area and beach with a large deck, snack bar and DJ entertainment on the weekends.

All this is cordoned off from the bulk of the lake, though, so none of it intrudes on the diving experience. This small diving paradise has obviously been set up by people who know and love scuba.

One of it’s most appealing aspects is that there are four distinct areas to dive, each with numerous fascinating things sunk at varying depths. Each of these, like an airplane or sub, are marked by buoys at the surface with descent lines down to each. Most are large and open enough to swim through to practice wreck penetration. You can dive them individually or explore one after the other by swimming at a depth of 15 to 20 ft. — a great way to practice underwater navigation.

The east shore, where we dove in early August, has a number of small boats and dive platforms and a 33 ft. replica of a WWII U-boat sub. Also, “a Lake Michigan patrol boat can be found on the sandy slope in about 25 feet of water and a bit further to the south, the lake’s largest wreck, the 45 foot long “Thora Ann”, a classic Great Lakes fishing tug, rests at depths of 30 – 40 feet.”

“Every area of the lake represents a healthy natural habitat and an ideal freshwater ecosystem to be explored. Huge smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye and yellow perch and rainbow trout cruise through lush weed beds. On occasion, one of the lake's 20-30 lb. channel catfish will add an extra heartbeat or two for the diver surprised by one approaching out of the gloom.”
I quote directly from the Pearl Lake website because I highly recommend you check it out under the “DIVING” area of the site. Very well written, it has a plethora of information and photos to give you a complete picture of what to expect not only in sunken attractions, but seasonal water temps, thermocline levels, rules and regulations, etc.
Other areas and highlights are the north shore, featuring a 33 ft. school bus, 30 ft. cabin cruiser, statues, and underwater railroad tracks left over from the lakes’ days as a quarry. The west shore offers more small boats and another cabin cruiser, a “steam shovel” and a Beechcraft twin-engine airplane. The south end is where the deepest part lies, ranging from 60 ft. to an 85 foot “hole” with platform at the bottom used for deep dive training by dive schools who frequent the lake with their students.

Since we didn’t take advantage of getting a tank refill on premises, which is another big plus, we have three more trips to look forward to before we’ve experienced them all. We dove on a Tuesday and had the lake pretty much to ourselves. I can’t attest to how crowded it may be on the weekends, but as described, there are enough areas to explore that there should be room for everyone who has found this inland diving paradise. Be sure to bring your certification card.

2  Thank MardiMilwaukee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2013

Been going to Pearl for 23 years diving. Started camping and hitting the beach last few years. The staff and the rules and regulations can be a bit over burdensome. The check in was fine but the limits on people, tents, autos, passes at beach, items allowed on beach, pets, areas kids can swim, overhead crawl swim required, etc was difficult to keep up with. We get 4 plus campsites and 16 people so some frustration is to be expected.
The beach and lake are the gem of the facility, very clean and safe for all ages. Showers snack bar and restaurant are well kept. The crowd and permanent residents were very friendly and enjoyable to be around.
We are going back but only once a year..

1  Thank 922Todd_A922
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2013

This 4th of July we decided to do a camping trip with two other families. We choose Pearl Lake camp grounds in South Beloit, IL. We had three camp sites together which included electricity, water spiket, a fire pit and picnic table. In addition there was a very clean and well kept bathhouse with electricity for hot showers and hair care. The camp grounds were clean and we had alot of space for our three family to spread out and play ball, bags and nighttime flashlight games. The owners of this place take great care in making sure there is no loud obnoxious behavior going on and all families are ensured a safe and enjoyable adventure. The beach that is next to the camp sight is awesome fun! Restaurant, Tiki Hut with DJ and house special drinks. We had a blast. Something for the adults and alot for the kids to do.

1  Thank LauraBertolini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2013

This is a nice place to go to but the morale of every employee is horrific. My entire family was treated badly from check-in, to food order, to asking where the restrooms are located. Management here must not be good.

5  Thank Jarzymj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Pearl Lake also viewed


Been to Pearl Lake? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing