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11 Illinois high schools rank among America's best ...

28-04-2022 · 4 hours ago · CHICAGO - U.S. News and World Report released its 2022 Best High School rankings this week, and five Chicago schools were ranked in the top 100. The publication ranked nearly 18,000 public high ...

28-04-2022

CHICAGO - U.S. News and World Report released its 2022 Best High School rankings this week, and five Chicago schools were ranked in the top 100.

The publication ranked nearly 18,000 public high schools by assessing six factors based on their state assessments and how well they prepare students for college.

Eleven Illinois high schools ranked in the top 300.

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They are:

  • Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago is ranked number one in Illinois and number five nationally
  • Northside College Preparatory High School in Chicago is ranked number two in Illinois and number 31 nationally
  • Jones College Prep High School in Chicago is ranked number three in Illinois and number 51 nationally
  • Young Magnet High School in Chicago is ranked number four in Illinois and number 67 nationally
  • Lane Technical High School in Chicago is ranked number five in Illinois and number 84 nationally
  • Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park is ranked number six in Illinois and number 161 nationally
  • Adlai E Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire is ranked number seven in Illinois and number 167 nationally
  • Vernon Hills High School in Vernon Hills is ranked number eight in Illinois and number 238 nationally
  • Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale is ranked number nine in Illinois and number 277 nationally
  • New Trier Township High School Winnetka is ranked number 10 in Illinois and number 285 nationally
  • Lake Forest High School in Lake Forest is ranked number 11 in Illinois and number 292 nationally

The complete ranking is here.

Best Tent Camping In Illinois

In Illinois, there are a few great spots for tent camping. One place is the long-term parking at the Union Station in Chicago, which is open from 11 pm to 5 am and is a perfect place to enjoy a few warm summer nights, a quiet summer day, or a nice, quiet afternoon. If you’re a Chicago resident, then the Jackson Park Zoo is the place to camp.

If you’re looking to go on a camping trip, you’ll want to take a look at tent camping. It’s the perfect way to experience the great outdoors and all it has to offer, and your tent will allow you to be completely self-sufficient. (We’re talking about sleeping and cooking, of course.) While it may seem like tent camping is a fun pastime, it has many benefits. The first thing that strikes you about tent camping is the fresh air. Setting up a tent in the woods, with trees and streams as your neighbors, and the sounds of nature around you will make you feel like an explorer. It’s a great way to see America’s great outdoors and see something different. Another benefit of tent camping is that you will never have to worry about expensive camping fees. You will be able to spend more time enjoying your campsite rather than packing up and moving. You will be close to natural beauty and wildlife. And you will be able to share the experience with your family and friends. Where should you spend your tent camping trip? Tent camping is a great way to camp, but not everyone has the luxury of being able to camp for free for months at a time. That’s where tent camping in Illinois comes in. Illinois has some of the best camping opportunities around, and if you’re willing to drive to some of the great spots around the state, you can have lots of fun in the great outdoors. Tent camping in Illinois is a great way to enjoy a vacation in a scenic, natural setting. Not only is tent camping a cheap and environmentally friendly way to see a beautiful location, but it is also a great way to meet new people, let loose, and relax. As the saying goes, Chicago is the city that never sleeps—but there’s nothing like sleeping under the stars in a tent to make you feel like you’re camping in the wild.

Things to Know About Tent Camping in Illinois

Camping is a popular pastime for a lot of people, but it can be a little pricey. Luckily, there are some places you can go camping for free, including Illinois. Illinois is a great state for camping. It has some great campgrounds that are family-friendly and also some that are not, but all of them are well maintained, clean, and provide excellent services. Most of the state parks allow tent camping, but some of them do not allow it. Is tent camping allowed in the state of Illinois? It is said that the north woods of Illinois is the place for tent camping, but is it really the best place to go tent camping? Well, about 35 state parks allow camping within Northern Illinois. Each state park allows tent camping. In Illinois, there are a few great spots for tent camping. One place is the long-term parking at the Union Station in Chicago, which is open from 11 pm to 5 am and is a perfect place to enjoy a few warm summer nights, a quiet summer day, or a nice, quiet afternoon. If you’re a Chicago resident, then the Jackson Park Zoo is the place to camp. The zoo provides a free campsite. Also, there are a few campsites in the woods of Chicago, such as Pine Knob and Humboldt Park (more on this later). Boondocking sites such as Sand Ridge State Forest, Dutchman Lake, and Turkey Bayou Campground are some places where you can camp for free. Some of the state parks are the best space for RV motorhomes or 5th-there wheel travel trailers. This means that you can tent camp in any Illinois state park that you are allowed to camp in. out of the state parks, only 8 offer camping without a reservation. The rest of them are first-come, first-serve. Camping in Illinois is an experience unlike any other. Illinois boasts dozens of road-accessible state parks, including some that are open year-round. With four seasons in one park, the possibilities are endless.

The Top Places to Camp in Illinois

  1. We stayed over the weekend on site 58 the beaver point primitive site.

  2. "Had the tent camping area all to our selves."

  3. "Best camping site near DeKalb."

  4. "Good coffee d Nice staff"

  5. "Tent and rv camping with cabins."

  6. "Had a great time visiting with family who was tent camping!"

  7. "Great for non tent camping."

  8. "The best campground we've been to!"

  9. "Tent camping was a nightmare."

  10. "Nice, quiet campsite, for both test and RV."

    West Chicago, IL · In Blackwell Forest Preserve

Illinois is a state of great natural beauty with no shortage of beautiful natural habitats. Camping requires a certain amount of preparation and planning, and you must make sure you have everything you need to make the experience enjoyable. One of the biggest factors in making your camping trip go smoothly is ensuring you have the right equipment to assist in the process. Camping is a popular pastime in Illinois, and there are plenty of camping spots to be found around the state. Illinois also boasts a wide variety of traditional and modern camping gear. There are a lot of things that can make a tenting trip better, from getting a great spot, to having a friend or two, to having a good time—but there’s something that’s truly fundamental to a good trip: a good tent. There are a few different styles of tents on the market, and different manufacturers make different styles as well as different materials. But the one thing all tents have in common is that they can protect you from harsh weather and give you a dry, comfortable place to sleep. Also, there are several things you must have for a successful camping trip, including a sleeping bag, a portable stove, torch, camp bed, portable charger, cables, and even spare batteries. You also want to bring along a tent repair kit that includes cable ties, a sewing kit, gaffer tape, paracord, and others.

Planning Your Camping Trip

Best Time of Year to Tent Camp in Illinois

Being a tent camper is a great way to travel around the great state of Illinois. It allows you to spend more time with your family, friends, and loved ones. However, before you pack up and head out, there are some things that you should know that can make the experience very enjoyable, stress-free, and safe. Camping can be great at any time of year, but there are some seasons that are better than others. The summer is blisteringly hot, which means you’ll be uncomfortable in your tent at night, and you’ll most likely be miserable if it rains. Winter is also cold, but it’s also the least crowded time of year for campers, so you might get away with staying outdoors in bad weather. When is the best time to go tent camping in Illinois? Summer is a great time for camping in Illinois, but it can be a nightmare when you’re trying to sleep in a tent. The longest day of the year, the heat and humidity make sleeping in a tent a challenge. But you can use the long summer nights for fun and make friends—if you know what’s happening when the sun goes down. The truth is, the best time to tent camp in Illinois is in the fall and early winter when the weather is cooler and the nights are cool and comfortable.

Average Temperatures By Month in Illinois

Month Avg Low °F Avg High °F
January 17.3°F 33.2°F
February 20.8°F 37.8°F
March 30.4°F 49.2°F
April 40.8°F 61.8°F
May 50.9°F 72°F
June 60.5°F 81.2°F
July 65.1°F 84.8°F
August 63.5°F 83.3°F
September 54.8°F 76.5°F
October 43.3°F 64.3°F
November 33.1°F 50.4°F
December 21.4°F 36.6°F

Learn More Camping Tips for Beginners

40 of the Best Places to Go Camping in Illinois

06-02-2022 · Located on the western shore of Lake Shelbyville, Opossum Creek offers some of the best lakeside tent camping in Illinois. Although the site offers both tent and RV camping with electric hookups, there are some tent-only, non-electric sites available for those seeking a more primitive experience.

06-02-2022

Camping in Illinois is very popular thanks to its thick forests, rolling hills, and beautiful wetlands.

With the Mississippi River running along the western border, Lake Michigan at the northwest border, Shawnee National Forest in the southwestern corner, and six large state forests throughout the state, you’re never far from top-notch camping.

We’ve rounded up our very favorite Illinois campgrounds for tents and RVs (including a few free campgrounds!).

Best Tent Camping In Illinois

Tent camping is hands down my favorite way to camp in Illinois. You have a wide variety of options to choose from, including primitive campsites and more developed campgrounds with modern amenities.

Turkey Ridge Campground, Ferne Clyffe State Park

A truly picturesque, woodland state park with a walk-in campground perfect for those interested in tent camping in Illinois. Amenities include grills, picnic tables, and camp pads, as well as drinking water and restrooms near the parking area. Be sure to explore the Big Rocky Hollow trail to see the park’s breathtaking 100-foot intermittent waterfall.

Gebhard Woods State Park

A tranquil environment without the noise and air pollution motorized vehicles create, Gebhard Woods is walk-in campground, offering tent-camping only. Tent campers interested in fishing and canoeing will especially enjoy the park’s three fishing ponds, the Illinois & Michigan Canal, and Nettle Creek. Hiking is also available on the Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail.

Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park has primitive campsites accessible only by canoe or boat, making it one of the best places for canoe and kayak camping in Illinois when you want to leave the modern world behind. Activities include bank-fishing along the Rock River and hiking through scenic sandstone bluffs, ravines, and rock formations. Don’t miss the Rock River Overlook atop the large rock formation that gave the park its name.

Red Cedar Campsite, Giant City State Park

Tent campers interested in long-distance hiking and scenic views should look no further. This campground is a six-mile hike along the Red Cedar Trail, marking the trail’s halfway point. Head down the Giant City Nature Trail to explore the prehistoric sandstone bluffs and rock formations referred to as the “Giant City Streets”. There are also several other trails to explore, some offering rock climbing and horseback riding.

Blanchard Island Recreation Area

This primitive Illinois campground is under the shading limbs of maple, sycamore and cottonwood near New Boston, IL. Part of the Corps of Engineers Rock Island District, it offers 34 campsites on 6.5 acres, all with river views. Anglers will especially love the gently-sloping banks for relaxing days of shore-fishing. Other amenities include tables, grills, restrooms, and a boat launch.

Kayak Morris Campground

This tent-only campground offers full-sand, wooded campsites on the banks of the Illinois River just one hour from Chicago. Kayak Morris not only offers kayak rental, but guided kayak tours. Children can participate in the Beginner ECO Kayak Tour, introducing them to the sport of kayaking at a leisurely pace. They also offer specialty tours, including the 4 Rivers, 1 Kayak and Starved Rock Kayak Tours.

Opossum Creek Recreation Area

Located on the western shore of Lake Shelbyville, Opossum Creek offers some of the best lakeside tent camping in Illinois. Although the site offers both tent and RV camping with electric hookups, there are some tent-only, non-electric sites available for those seeking a more primitive experience. Children under 12 will love the campground’s small fishing pond with accessible dock.

Pharaoh Campground, Garden of the Gods Wilderness

Within the Shawnee National Forest, this site is a true shutterbug’s delight. Take your camera and head down the Garden of the Gods Observation Trail, a 1/4-mile loop trail with stunning views of sandstone rock formations and cliffs. Twelve campsites available for both tent and RV camping, but dispersed camping within the wilderness area is also permitted.

Best Free Campsites in Illinois

Illinois is home to countless dispersed and boondocking campsites thanks to its abundance of public land. In addition to the lack of a camping fee, these free campsites are generally quite remote and peaceful.

Our guide to finding the best free campsites in the US breaks down everything you need to know about free camping in Illinois in more detail.

Turkey Bayou Campground, Shawnee National Forest

Searching across the canyon in Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest in Illinois

This free campground near Murphysboro sits near a 20-acre oxbow lake that was once part of the nearby Big Muddy River. The site offers both campground and dispersed camping. A boat launch on the Big Muddy is available and anglers can try their hand at landing largemouth bass, channel catfish, and sunfish in either the lake or river. Motorized and non-motorized boats both permitted.

Bear Creek Campground

Adult Bald Eagle (haliaeetus leucocephalus) in flight against a blue sky

Bear Creek Campground offers free primitive camping as well as free use of a boat ramp for launching on the Mississippi River. Just north of the Great River National Wildlife Refuge, it’s an ideal jumping off point for wildlife viewing and photography. Birdwatchers will especially enjoy the wide range of bird species that migrate through the refuge each year, most notably bald eagles.

Salter Park, Waverly Lake

This public park and lake southwest of Springfield offers free overnight camping with a three-day limit. Although swimming is prohibited in Waverly Lake, boating is allowed with proper permits. There is also a playground for the kids.

Jackson Falls Campground, Shawnee National Forest

With numerous high bluffs and rock faces, this beautiful Illinois campground is a treat for rock climbers looking for a free spot to hunker down for the night. Dispersed tent camping in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Hikers and equestrians can also enjoy the forest’s trail system. Head up the Jackson Falls Trail to reach the top of the falls. Although the amount of water falling depends on rainfall, the sandstone bluffs are always a sight worth seeing.

Watertower Park

Watertower Park is maintained by the city of Oakland. While there is a suggested donation for overnight stays, there is no mandatory fee. Signage posted asks no stays lasting longer than one week. Both RV and tent camping welcome, with no vehicle size limit. Provides electric hookup, and some visitors even reported public use Wi-Fi. Attractions near this site include Walnut Point State Park, the Prairie Observatory, and the Independence Pioneer Village.

Kaolin Pit Pond, Trail of Tears State Forest

This forest area near Cobden offers year-round free campsites for those looking for affordable outdoor recreation in Illinois. Although all recreational vehicles must remain in parking areas, there are a number of walk-in sites with fire rings and picnic tables. The state forest also boasts trails for both hiking and horseback riding, as well as two large picnic shelters. There is even a ball field for the kids.

Jumer’s Casino & Hotel

This Rock Island, Illinois casino offers free overnight RV parking in a designated lot. Although it limits stays to one night, it is a perfect stopover location for family camping road trips. Visitors can try their luck at the casino or take a day trip to nearby Wicks Lake, or the Mississippi or Rock Rivers. The casino also offers many nightlife and dining options.

Lock & Dam No. 22 Park-N-Fish

Part of the Army Corp of Engineers Rock Island District, the Park-N-Fish Recreation Area is on the banks of the Mississippi near Hull, IL. It is open year-round and is perfect for those looking for days of boating and fishing.

There are restrooms for public use and campers may stay up to 14 days. Other nearby attractions include the Grubb Hollow Prairie Nature Preserve to the east and the Anderson Conservation Area across the river to the south in Missouri.

Best Lake Camping in Illinois

Not much beats camping by a lake. And, in Illinois, there’s plenty of lake camping to be had thanks to the state’s 155 lakes.

Chillicothe RV & Recreation Area

RV campground in Illinois


With more than 70 acres of water in three separate spring-fed lakes, this Illinois RV park has a little something for everyone. Activities include fishing for walleye or bluegills to swimming or enjoying a game of volleyball in the sand of the park’s private beach. This park even offers freshwater scuba diving.

Illini Campground, Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area, Carlyle Lake

Carlyle Lake Hazlet State Park


This large campground offers 328 RV campsites and 36 tent campsites along the shore of Carlyle Lake. There are a number of sandy beaches and picnic shelters near the lake. It also offers a wide range of non-water recreational activities, including an archery range, hiking trails, horseshoe pits, basketball and volleyball courts, and even a public pool. Youth group camping is welcome at the Osage Youth Group Area.

Arrowhead Lake Campground

This campground in Johnston City welcomes both RV and tent campers wishing to enjoy scenic Arrowhead Recreation and Wildlife Area. Fish for bluegill, channel catfish, or sunfish in the stocked lake. A nature trail rings the lake, ideal for walking or nature watching. Amenities include a rustic, on-site general store, laundromat, concession, bath-house, and Wi-Fi.

Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area

This lakeside Illinois camping destination offers RV, tent, equestrian, and youth group camping. The 40-acre lake is a hub for fishing, boating, and swimming. Visitors also enjoy more than eight miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding as well as cross-country skiing in winter.

Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area

Although swimming is prohibited, this 318-acre lake is one of the best campgrounds in Illinois for fishermen. The lake boasts more than ten different species of fish in its waters, most notably muskies. The campground offers 150 RV campsites, all equipped with electricity, fire rings, and picnic tables. Other recreational activities include hiking, hunting, winter sports, and nature watching.

Chain O’Lakes State Park

As its name implies, this Northeastern Illinois state park possesses several natural lakes, most connected in a chain by the Fox River. RV camping is available in the park’s Honey Suckle Hollow and Fox Den campsites. A further three campsites offer tent camping. Youth group campers are welcome at the park’s Mud Lake West campsite. Other features include seven picnic areas, nature and equestrian trails, showers, and bicycling trails.

Argyle Lake State Park

The Twisted Oak, Big Oaks, and Twin Oaks campgrounds within the Argyle Lake State Park offer all types of campsites, including primitive tent campsites without amenities. Nature enthusiasts will love the park’s more than five miles of hiking trails. Equestrian campsites and a 7-mile horseback riding trail are also available. With 200 different species of birds, Argyle Lake is also a treat for birdwatchers.

Illinois Beach State Park

This Illinois state park isn’t just lake camping—it’s Great Lake camping! On the shores of Lake Michigan, Illinois Beach has more than 200 RV campsites, all equipped with electricity and located near restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets. In addition to lakeside activities, Illinois Beach also offers biking on the Zion Bike Trail and as well as hiking along the Camp Logan Trail.

Best RV Campgrounds in Illinois

I love RV camping in Illinois because it allows you to enjoy this beautiful state while still enjoying modern comforts.

Check out our extensive RV camping resources for more great RVing tips.

Double J Campground

This campground and RV park outside Springfield on Route 66 in Chatham, provides everything a modern RV camper needs. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, full hookups, open rec room, swimming pool, and an on-site store. It’s also conveniently located near the many historic sites and attractions the town of Springfield has to offer, including the Lincoln Library & Museum and the Henson Robinson Zoo.

Hickory Holler Campground

Hickory Holler Campground provides fun for the whole family in a peaceful country-living atmosphere. Family activities offered at Hickory Holler include paddle boats on a lake, putt-putt, shuffleboard, and a playground. This RV campground also provides coin laundry, a bath and shower house, fire rings, and a camp store. Off-site attractions located nearby include more than one thousand acres for hunting, horseback riding, and hiking.

Sycamore RV Resort

Kids playing on a beach in Illinois

This DeKalb County resort offers a perfect blend of recreation and relaxation. Visitors can fish the day away in one of two spring-fed lakes within the park, rent a paddle boat, play a game of volleyball, or take a dip at the sandy swimming beach. At the end of the day, enjoy the peace and quiet as the park observes quiet hours between 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. Amenities include Wi-Fi, campground store, restrooms with hot water showers, and a covered pavilion.

Archway RV Park

Located in the town of Mount Vernon, Archway RV Park is family owned and operated and geared towards family fun. Even the family dog can share the fun in the park’s dog run with exercise field. There are both pull-through and back-in sites available, all with full RV hookups. Among other amenities, the park offers showers with access for the physically disabled, Wi-Fi, laundromat, and pavilion with a fire pit for group activities.

Fort Massac State Park

Journey back through history while enjoying the comforts of modern RV camping. Located on the banks of the Ohio River in southern Illinois, Fort Massac and the adjacent Massac Forest Nature Preserve boasts both historic and recreational attractions, all enjoyed from one of fifty Class A vehicular campsites. Visit the replica fort as it was in 1802, or spend the day fishing, boating on the river or hiking the trails.

Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort

Just northwest of Chicago in the town of Volo, this cozy RV resort offers RV camping May 1st through October 15th, whether travel trailer, motorhome or fifth wheel. The resort also offers both lake and heated pool swimming, watercraft rentals and boating, fishing, and even putt-putt. Convenient amenities include Wi-Fi access, restrooms with hot showers, concession, and coin laundry. It’s around a 25-minute drive to Six Flags Great America. Tent campers are also welcome.

Mill Point RV Park

Sunset over a lake in Illinois

This top-rated Illinois RV park on the Upper Peoria Lake on the Illinois River boasts 80 full hookup RV campsites, a riverboat launch, showers and bathhouse facilities, and a private spring-fed lake. The park offers not only daily and weekly rates, but monthly rates as well. Campers can enjoy the park and water or venture into Spring Bay Fen Nature Reserve adjacent to the park.

Sunset Lakes RV Resort

This RV resort near the Quad Cities in Hillsdale is one of the largest, most activity-packed places to go RVing in all of Illinois. Five fishing lakes, tennis and basketball courts, outdoor pool, and a fitness center are just a few recreational attractions at Sunset Lakes. The resort also offers on-site canoes and paddle boats, as well as kayak access. All campsites are full-service.

Best Illinois State Park Camping

Illinois is home to 309 state parks – most with camping. Although we’ve already mentioned a few on this list, we wanted to highlight a few of our additional favorites for the perfect Illinois state park camping experience.

Cave-in-Rock State Park

Explore a naturally-occurring, water-carved limestone cave while simultaneously enjoying stunning views of the Ohio River. There are more than 50 campsites for RV and tents as well as four playground areas, five picnic areas, and several parking areas throughout the park. For those interested in boating and fishing, there are two boat ramps or the nearby Golconda Marina to launch from.

White Pines Forest State Park

This scenic state park has miles of trail systems to explore in the Rock River Valley. It boasts more than 100 vehicle-accessible, campsites plus restroom and shower facilities as well several picnic areas and playgrounds. The campground sits near Spring and Pine Creek, the babbling waterways that meander through the park.

Mississippi Palisades State Park

Mississippi Palisades State Park has a wealth of scenic views, historic trails, and year-round recreational activities. The park features more than 200 Class A and B campsites, restroom and shower facilities, picnic areas, and six picnic shelters. Explore 15 miles of hiking trails or rock climb in the Sentinel, Twin Sisters, or Indian Head areas. Bring your camera and visit one of the park’s several scenic overlooks which all boast incredible views of the Mississippi River.

Kankakee River State Park

Kankakee River State Park is home to several campgrounds for RVs, tent campers, and even backpackers. Along with fishing and boating on the Kankakee River, the park also boasts many non-river related activities, most notably the extensive trail system for hikers. Trails north of the river are for hiking, cross-country skiing, and biking while those south of the river are equestrian and snowmobile trails.

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park is one of my personal favorite places for camping in Illinois. In addition to countless campsites with lots of amenities (including RV hookups and flush toilets), I love this Illinois state park because of its fourteen beautiful waterfalls and eighteen sandstone canyons.

Rock Cut State Park

At just over 3,000 acres, Rock Cut State Park has a little something for everyone. Most notable are countless hiking and horseback trails as well as fishing and boating in either Pierce or Olson Lake. This state park also offers winter activities, such as cross-country trails and ice-skating on the lakes. Equestrian camping is available in a designated area. Spring and summer campers will enjoy seeing more than 100 kinds of wildflowers.

Lincoln Trail State Park

The Plainview and Lakeside Campgrounds at Lincoln Trail State Park have RV campsites that offer all the creature comforts, including electricity, showers, water, and toilets. Lakeside Campground also has an area set aside for tent camping. Popular activities include fishing, boating, and hiking as well as ice fishing and cross-country skiing in winter.

Jubilee College State Park

Jubilee College State Park offers both RV and tent camping from April 15th to November 1st. There is also a winter camping area with electricity. Key features of this state park include more than 40 miles of trail and several large picnic areas. Each area has a shelter equipped with electricity, charcoal grills, and playgrounds.

Where’s Your Favorite Place to Camp in Illinois?

Now, that you know our favorite places to camp in Illinois – we want to hear from you!

What’s your favorite Illinois campground? Is it one we included on our list? Or is it one that we didn’t include this time? Let us know in the comments below!

More Best State Camping Resources

Find awesome camping in other states with our other best state camping guides:

Happy Camping!

Camping In Illinois Pinterest
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Discover the Best Tent Camping Sites in Illinois ...

10-06-2021 · Discover the Best Tent Camping Sites in Illinois Starved Rock State Park. The most well-known camping and recreation area in the entire state are Starved Rock State Park. Garden of the Gods. Although Illinois is usually described as a mixture of …

10-06-2021

One of the greatest ways to truly connect with the outdoors is tent camping. This puts you right in the heart of the wilderness and gives you a perspective that cannot be paralleled by other forms of camping.

So, today we will be talking about the best places to tent camp in Illinois. The first step for planning any camping trip is picking the best spot. This is also the most important step because you want to be in a good position for camping success. Here are the best places to tent camp in Illinois as well as a quick tips section for beginning campers!

Starved Rock State Park

Camp in Style - Starved Rock State Park

The most well-known camping and recreation area in the entire state are Starved Rock State Park. Less than 100 miles from downtown Chicago, in Oglesby. There are many people that make weekend trips to this location.

This is a spot that provides incredible hiking, beautiful campsites, and great sites. Waterfalls, creeks, and dense forests pave the way for an authentic wilderness experience. There are about 130 campsites with full hookups, but you can also pitch a tent!

Be sure to take advantage of Starved Rock and the nearby Matthiessen State Park to see what this part of Illinois can offer you!

Garden of the Gods

Camp in Style - Garden of the Gods

Although Illinois is usually described as a mixture of Chicago and flat prairies, there is one area that really sticks out. This is the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area. This is a rugged area that makes you feel like you are in a completely different place. The jutted rock formations coupled with dense woodland provide an oasis of sorts in an area that is known to outsiders as being urban.

Now, there are just 12 campsites available at any one time, so making a reservation early is a must. However, it is so worth it because you will have access to great sites without the heavy foot traffic that can be found in places like Starved Rock.

Rock Cut State Park

Camp in Style - Rock Cut State Park

The next location on our list is Rock Cut State Park. This is a fairly large place, at least compared to the Garden of the Gods, and it has plenty of camping opportunities to be taken advantage of.

With over 250 great campsites, there is plenty to go around for you and other tent campers. There is also a good mix of different activities to take part in. With two lakes and a whole mess of hiking trails, you can hike, horseback ride, fish, and many other options.

Having a plethora of options to partake in is a very big perk to consider when weighing your options. You can even take a dip in one of the lakes and cool off during those hot days.

Castle Rock State Park

Camp in Style - Castle Rock State Pa

Located in Oregon, IL, Castle Rock State Park has some camping options that are fairly unique. This spot provides one of the more exclusive camping opportunities in the entire state of Illinois. This is a primitive spot that offers tent camping only to those who want a more intense experience.

This uniqueness comes in the form of being secluded from the outside world more than the others. The only way to access the tent camping sites is by boat or canoe. So, you cannot drive to your campsite which definitely brings the experience up a notch.

Because the means of camping is far more simplistic, you will have to account for that with what you bring. You cannot just pack a car full of gear and go. So, visit Castle Rock State Park for a really unique camping experience.

D&W Lake Camping and RV Park

Camp With Style - DW-Lake-Camping-RV-Park

To finish off our list, we have one of the highest-rated campgrounds in the state of Illinois. The D&W Lake Camping and RV Park is an excellent choice if you are camping in the Champaign area.

With a number of tent and RV campsites, the different number of options is a nice touch. There is also a lake on the premises, so fishing, canoeing, and boating are all options right outside of your tent.

In terms of other things to do, you are in a great area of restaurants and smaller activities to take part in. So, whether you stick to the campsite or venture out, there are plenty of things to do.

Tip Guide for Tent Camping Newbies

● What type of pre-planning is required?

There are a number of things you must plan for when tent camping. First and foremost, you need a place to camp. Secondly, you need the proper gear to do so. These are the two biggest factors that need to be planned out right away.

Once those two factors are set, you can move on to the secondary and smaller details that still need to be thought out. This includes planning for food, activities, and anything else that comes up.

● What do you do for meals while tent camping?

Cooking while tent camping is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the entire experience. This is where you can get creative and make some delicious meals out in the wilderness. Many first-timers think that you are roughing it and eating a diet of canned tuna and granola bars. This could not be further from the truth!

As long as you have the necessary tools, such as a camp stove and utensils, you can create incredible meals.

● Where should you tent camp?

The spot where you choose to pitch your tent should depend on a few key things. Firstly, you need to find a safe, legal place to camp. As long as you have permission and there are no giant issues or safety concerns, you should be good to set up.

If you need a source of water, this is yet another factor to keep in mind. Weather is a big variable whenever camping. Choose a campsite that is on high ground and can be safe when the weather takes a turn for the worst.

For more helpful hints on the best tents to purchase, please visit our article on Best Tents for Camping in Colorado!

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And if you’d like to share our list of the best Illinois campgrounds with your camper friends, share away! Last update on 2022-04-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Emily Trostel. Emily is an adventure travel professional, writer, and former educator. Growing up in northeastern Pennsylvania, Emily’s ...

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Find & reserve the best campsites in Illinois. Tent, cabin & RV camp on private & IL State Parks, on local farms, vineyards & nature preserves.

Here Are 15 Of The Best Places Campgrounds In Illinois

12-04-2021 · These 15 Amazing Camping Spots In Illinois Are An Absolute Must See 1. Starved Rock State Park, Utica Township. There are 129 campsites available here that have electricity, showers and... 2. Kayak Morris, Morris. Kayak Morris will camp with you at multiple sites throughout northern Illinois, but ...

12-04-2021

Posted in Illinois Accommodation April 12, 2021 by Laura

Marshmallows? Check. Tent? Check. It’s all about priorities. Anyway, it’s getting to be that time of year when you want to get out in nature and sleep under the stars. Illinois has some awesome places to camp, whether you’re into those oh-so-rustic sites or prefer to glamp. Here are 15 of the best campgrounds in Illinois.

During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.

1. Starved Rock State Park, Utica Township

There are 129 campsites available here that have electricity, showers and flush toilets. Bring your tent or park your RV or camper on the cement pad provided at each site. There are also seven sites for people with disabilities. Buy firewood from a local gas station or the campground store which also sells items like ice and batteries. For more information on the Starved Rock State Park Campground, visit the webpage.
2. Kayak Morris, Morris
Kayak Morris will camp with you at multiple sites throughout northern Illinois, but they have their own private campground that abuts William G. Stratton State Park. Their campground offers both wooded and sandy beach campsites. For more information on the Kayak Morris Campground, visit the website.
3. Camp McCormick, Stillman Valley
This place has 400 acres of wilderness to offer you. This is a Girl Scouts camp, so unless you're a girl, the only way you're camping in this sweet campground is to go for family camp. For more information on Camp McCormick, visit the webpage.
4. Cave-in-Rock State Park, Cave-in-Rock
This ultra-scenic campsite offers 34 Class A sites and 25 Class B/S tent sites on the north side. There's also a lodge in case you forget how to pitch a tent. It features four duplex guest houses with eight suites. For more information on camping at Cave-in-Rock State Park, visit the webpage.
5. Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach, Zion
You can camp at the southern unit of the Illinois Beach State Park. There are 241 Class A Premium sites. You will have access to electricity and showers. For more information on camping at Illinois Beach, visit the webpage.
6. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area, Shabbona
This state park covers over 1,500 acres, and camping couldn't be more enjoyable in its semi-wooded area. This is one of the most scenic camping spots in Illinois. There are 150 campsites for you to choose from. They come with electricity and showers. There is also a playground, two rustic cabins available for rent, and a camp store. For more information on camping at Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area, visit the webpage.
7. Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort, Volo
Located in Volo, this is a camping resort. There are many camping options for you here, whether you are planning on camping in a tent, RV, or rental unit. There is a beach, pool, playground, and other activities to enjoy while you're here. For more information on Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort, visit the website.
8. Giant City State Park, Makanda
This well-kept, varied campground keeps campers coming back for more. There are 85 Class A campsites. This includes access to water, electricity, showers and sanitary facilities. There is also a separate equestrian campground. For more information on camping at Giant City State Park, visit the webpage.
9. Rock Cut State Park, Loves Park
There are 210 premium Class A sites and 60 Class B sites. The campground has showers, toilets, and playground equipment. There is also a primitive cabin for rent. For more information on camping at Rock Cut State Park, visit the webpage.
10. Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton
If you want a rustic camping experience, Pere Marquette has many options for you. There is a Class A campground with 80 sites, two of which are handicap accessible. There is a youth tent camp area as well as three organized group camps for larger groups. For more information on camping at Pere Marquette State Park, visit the webpage.
11. Moraine View State Recreation Area, LeRoy
This well-maintained park also has a nice, well-maintained campground. There is a concessions area, open for both hikers and campers. The campground is quiet and serene. For more information on camping at Moraine View State Recreation Area, visit the webpage.
12. Pharaoh Campground, Herod
After spending all day enjoying Garden of the Gods, relax at Pharaoh Campground. You are really right by the action. There is a small picnic area for you, too. For more information on Pharoah Campground, visit the webpage.
13. Castle Rock State Park, Oregon
If you are looking for primitive camping in Illinois, this area is super cool because it is only accessible by canoe or boat. That means you'll have to pack light. However, since it is so hard to access, you won't have to compete with a lot of people. For more information on camping at Castle Rock State Park, visit the webpage.
14. Mississippi Palisades State Park, Savanna
There are 241 Class A and B campsites. They are available in shaded and open areas. 110 sites come with electrical hookups. There is also water and two sanitary dump stations. For more information on camping at Mississippi Palisades State Park, visit the webpage.
15. Lake Shelbyville, multiple camping locations

Have you been to any of the best campgrounds in Illinois? What did you think and are there any others you would add?

If you prefer to go glamping instead of camping, check out this luxury glampground at Kinnikinnick Farm. 

Address: Utica Township, IL, USA

Address: 801 Kayak Morris Rd, Morris, IL 60450, USA

Address: 9995 N Girl Scout Rd, Stillman Valley, IL 61084, USA

Address: IL-1, Cave-In-Rock, IL, USA

Address: 39150 Illinois Beach State Park Rd, Zion, IL 60099, USA

Address: 4201 Shabbona Grove Rd, Shabbona, IL 60550, USA

Address: 32223 N US Hwy 12, Volo, IL 60073, USA

Address: 235 Giant City Rd, Makanda, IL 62958, USA

Address: 7318 Harlem Rd, Loves Park, IL 61111, USA

Address: Visitor Center Pere Marquette State Park, 13112 Visitors Center Land, Grafton, IL 62037, USA

Address: Moraine View Park Rd, Dawson Township, IL, USA

Address: Herod, IL 62947, USA

Address: 1365 W Castle Rd, Oregon, IL 61061, USA

Address: 16327a IL-84, Savanna, IL 61074, USA

Address: 2341 Eagle Creek, Findlay, IL 62534, USA

Address: 1837 N Wolf Creek Rd, Windsor, IL 61957, USA

Address: 2438 700 N, Strasburg, IL 62465, USA

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The OIYS Visitor Center

Best Campgrounds In Illinois

April 17, 2021

Melissa M

Where can I go primitive camping in Illinois?

You don’t have to camp at a traditional campground. There are plenty of places to rough it out in the wilderness without the amenities around Illinois. In fact, some of the most beautiful state parks allow primitive camping. So, go ahead, pack your backpack and all your camping gear and head out to find a camping spot at Mississippi Palisades State Park, Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, Ferne Clyffe State Park, Shawnee National Forest, and many more!

Are there any glampgrounds in Illinois?

For those who don’t want to stay in a tent, glamping is quite the upgrade. Sankoty Lakes is a newer glampground with gorgeous cabins, RV spots, and lake views. Surrounded by 200 acres, there are countless opportunities for outdoor activities like fishing, boating, scuba diving, bird watching, hiking, biking, and more! A stay here will be time well spent.

What are some of the best hiking trails in Illinois?

Some of the best hiking trails leading to the most scenic spots in Illinois happen to be places where you can also go camping. Hiking and camping go hand-in-hand nicely, don’t they? We put together a handy list of some of the most incredible hikes you can take in our previous post, 15 Marvelous Trails You Have To Hike In Illinois Before You Die.

Address: Utica Township, IL, USA

Address: 801 Kayak Morris Rd, Morris, IL 60450, USA

Address: 9995 N Girl Scout Rd, Stillman Valley, IL 61084, USA

Address: IL-1, Cave-In-Rock, IL, USA

Address: 39150 Illinois Beach State Park Rd, Zion, IL 60099, USA

Address: 4201 Shabbona Grove Rd, Shabbona, IL 60550, USA

Address: 32223 N US Hwy 12, Volo, IL 60073, USA

Address: 235 Giant City Rd, Makanda, IL 62958, USA

Address: 7318 Harlem Rd, Loves Park, IL 61111, USA

Address: Visitor Center Pere Marquette State Park, 13112 Visitors Center Land, Grafton, IL 62037, USA

Address: Moraine View Park Rd, Dawson Township, IL, USA

Address: Herod, IL 62947, USA

Address: 1365 W Castle Rd, Oregon, IL 61061, USA

Address: 16327a IL-84, Savanna, IL 61074, USA

Address: 2341 Eagle Creek, Findlay, IL 62534, USA

Address: 1837 N Wolf Creek Rd, Windsor, IL 61957, USA

Address: 2438 700 N, Strasburg, IL 62465, USA

traveltips.usatoday.com

20-03-2018 · Camping Near Moose Lake in Albion, Illinois Tent campers may disagree about what makes a campground great. Some prefer rustic privacy and a clean bathhouse while others want amazing amenities.

20-03-2018

Tent campers may disagree about what makes a campground great. Some prefer rustic privacy and a clean bathhouse while others want amazing amenities. Publications that rank campgrounds such as Woodall's and camping clubs like Good Sam provide some guidance for campers in search of the best.

D&W Lake Camping and RV Park (dwlake.com) in Champaign, one of only 32 parks nationwide to earn an "A" in Good Sam Club's customer-satisfaction survey, has lakefront tent sites with no hookups. The small campground, with a total of 32 tent and RV sites, has a fishing lake and offers canoe and kayak rentals. A play area has swings and a slide, and wireless Internet service is available. Chain restaurants and a miniature golf course are nearby.

O'Connell's Jellystone Park Resort (jellystoneamboy.com) reserves 50 sites in its huge campground for tents. Tent sites, removed from the big rigs in a private area, have no hookups. The Woodall's five-W resort has three heated swimming pools, hot tubs, kiddy pools and a flume waterslide. A fishing lake has a beach for swimming and sunning and paddleboat rentals. The resort has a miniature golf course and hiking trails. The family-friendly campground in Amboy hosts daily events like hay rides and candy-bar bingo. Five bathhouses and two laundry rooms are scattered across the grounds.

Best All Around

Sunset Lakes Resort (sunsetlakesresort.com) in Hillsdale has earned five Ws for both facilities and recreation every year since 2005. The resort, formerly a members-only campground, offers large, grassy tent sites with mature shade trees. Lifeguards are on duty at a spacious swimming pool and a boat ramp provides access to the Rock River. Sports amenities include miniature golf, tennis and shuffleboard. Sunset Lakes rents paddleboats and canoes for use on the five lakes surrounding the campground. The resort has a general store and snack bar, and wireless Internet access is available at an additional charge.

Starved Rock State Park (starvedrockstatepark.org) in Utica calls itself "the most beautiful place in Illinois." The park, the most visited in the state, offers waterfalls that appear in the spring and after heavy rainfall the rest of the year. Thirteen miles of hiking trails wind through the park, and the Illinois River provides fishing and boating opportunities. Park Superintendent Tom Levy says, “It’s the geology, the shape of the canyon. Mix that with a big rain and a waterfall, and you have one of the most beautiful spots in the Midwest.” The campground has private, shaded tent sites with picnic tables and barbecue grills.

Award Winning

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) gives President's and Founder's Awards to member campgrounds for outstanding operations and facilities, and that receive top scores from their guests. The Lena KOA (lenakoa.com) won both awards in 2010. Sites have sand tent pads, picnic tables and fire rings. A jumping pillow and "hey" rides entertain young campers. Pancake breakfasts include a full meal and evening campfires feature marshmallows, hot chocolate and sing-alongs. The campground has wireless Internet access, and a heated outdoor swimming pool has a double tube slide.

10 Best CAMPING Sites in ILLINOIS to Visit

26-04-2021 · There are options for any type of camping you may be interested in at Blackwell Family Campground. There are wooded and semi-wooded spots with a gravel parking pad, a firepit and a picnic table. Each site offers electricity hook-up. The sites are close together; in a busy season, it might be hard to get some peace, but this is usually not the case.

26-04-2021

When you think of Illinois, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is Chicago. The big, bustling city is the country’s third-largest, and it houses millions of citizens; it makes sense that is what you would think of when planning your vacation in this state.

Illinois, though, has much more to offer than just skyscrapers by the lake. There are so many sites to see and things to do in Illinois that don’t center around the big city.

Namely, there are plenty of fantastic campgrounds, both state-owned and privately-owned that should draw you to this beautiful area. If you’re looking for a getaway and you’re sick of the noise and crowd of the big city, these gorgeous campgrounds could be just what you need.

Whatever activities you enjoy on vacation, you can find them in Illinois, from kayaking to hiking and more. Be one with nature, enjoy the Illinois wilderness.

Here are the eight best campgrounds in Illinois.

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Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort

Phone: 18475462228
Address: 32223 N US Hwy 12, Volo, IL 60073
Activities:

Bearing the name of the adjacent Fish Lake, this family-friendly campground is boosted with amenities. Sports lovers can engage in softball, volleyball, basketball, or mini-golf. Then, they can relax in the heated pool or hot tub. 

The lake offers various water activities, such as swimming, boating, kayaking, and paddle boarding. The beach features swings, picnic areas, playgrounds, and grills. Whereas fishing enthusiasts can catch bluegill, crappie, bass, northern pike, catfish, striper, carp, and more. There is also a leash-free dog park.

Kids will like the kiddie pool and themed activities organized on a weekend basis.

Campers can choose from water and electricity or full hook-up RV and tent sites. Each of those has its own fire ring and a picnic table. Park model rentals are available too.

Giant Goose Ranch – Best for Fishing

Phone: 13093384595
Address: 25369 N Goose Ranch Rd, Canton, IL 61520
Activities:

This unique family-owned vacation destination in the Midwest is a hybrid of a campground, a sportsman’s club, a vacation resort, a working ranch, and a private recreational farm. Surrounded by more than 50 lakes, this place was developed into Sugar Knolls campground in 1954. Blessed with a plethora of fish and tradition, it has been a popular fishing spot in the area ever since.

Spend a night in one of the cozy cabins with spectacular lake views, or rent a water and sewer RV site with 30/50 amp service. All sites are padded and have a picnic table. Unfortunately, tent camping isn’t available anymore.

You can also borrow a boat and a golf cart. Should you get tired of the water activities, you can set off to explore the area’s Wildlife Prairie Park, Luthy Botanical Garden, or Caterpillar Museum. You simply can’t get bored around this campground.

Matthiessen State Park

Phone: 18156674868
Address: 2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL 61348
Activities:

  • Archery Field
  • Geocaching
  • Hiking and equestrian trails

The area surrounding Matthiessen Park is probably the most beautiful in the state. Canyons, waterfalls and hiking trails spot the land around the campground and offer many opportunities for visitors to explore and become one with nature.

Although camping is mostly limited to rustic sites, this greatly appeals to some. Campsites are also very inexpensive each night, so if you’re looking for a cheap place to stop for the night or if you’re looking for a way to budget your vacation, this could be the campground for you.

Visitors will have a picnic table and a grill and are welcome to bring their generator.

Visitors are in awe of the beauty and peacefulness of the land around Matthiessen State Park, and it shows in the reviews. Many visitors enjoy the peace of the land and the amazing landmarks. The cleanliness and the relatively empty campground also appeals to visitors

Blackwell Family Campground

Phone: 16309337200
Address: West Chicago, IL 60185
Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Programs for kids and adults
  • Fishing

Although the campground is close to the big city of Chicago, there are still plenty of ways to get involved in nature. This campground is situated inside the Blackwell Forest Preserve, which includes the beautiful Spring Brook, many nearby hiking trails and an expansive lake. It may be close to Chicago, but there are no signs of the city for miles.

There are options for any type of camping you may be interested in at Blackwell Family Campground. There are wooded and semi-wooded spots with a gravel parking pad, a firepit and a picnic table. Each site offers electricity hook-up. The sites are close together; in a busy season, it might be hard to get some peace, but this is usually not the case.

Reviews boast of the peacefulness that can be found at that campground, and the cleanliness and availability of amenities. It isn’t a perfect campground, but it’s pretty close.

Castle Rock State Park

Phone: 8157327329
Address: 1365 W Castle Rd, Oregon, IL 6106
Activities:

  • Hunting
  • Boating
  • Hiking and Geocaching

The surrounding area is rustic, to say the least. There are many trails untouched by cars or other vehicles. Although there are small businesses in the general area, you can’t find any in the campground. It’s beautiful and austere.

This campground is not for the people who like amenities. The campsites can only be reached by kayak or canoe. It means that there are no RVs, no cars, no noise at the site. Campsites are rustic, but those who visit like it that way. It certainly is unique.

There is a lot of love in the reviews for the trails at this park, which is no surprise. Many visitors enjoy the peace and quiet of the small towns around this park and the many walking paths. Although there are a lot of bugs, this quaint area is just plain charming. Many reviews will also urge visitors to check out the small antique shops on their way out.

Whittington Woods Campground

Images by enjoyillinois.com

Phone: 6184353401
Address: 14297 IL-37, Whittington, IL 62897
Activities:

  • Shopping just minutes away
  • Water activities on and around Rend Lake
  • Golfing

Not only is this campground surrounded by nature, but there are also lots of opportunities to get out of the sun nearby. There is beautiful Rend Lake, complete with watersports and bike trails that surround the campground, but minutes away are shopping centers, golf courses, dancing halls and wineries.

Whittington Woods Campground offers both cabins to rent and spaces for tents and RVs. They have a wide range of options, so it doesn’t matter if you like rustic or glamping, there is an option for you. If you really love the campground, you have the choice to rent by the month.

While the reviews often mentioned the kind hosts and clean campground, the most boasted thing was the chickens. Most people don’t see free-range chickens on a daily basis, but you can at Whittington Woods Campground. The novelty of it is thrilling, and the eggs taste fantastic.

Ferne Clyffe State Park

Phone: 6189952411
Address: 90 Goreville Rd, Goreville, IL 62939
Activities:

  • Rock Climbing
  • Hiking and Equestrian Trails
  • Metal Detecting

Here is another pristine campground with a beautiful surrounding area. Waterfalls and scenic trails surround Ferne Clyffe State Park.

Sites provide shade, and there are waterfalls and unique plant communities that grow along the hiking trails. If you love to explore, then this might be the campground for you.

There are so many types of camping that you can do here: modern, primitive, youth groups, backpack or equestrian are all allowed and encouraged. There are many different regions of the campground that offer different amenities. There are options for RV hook-up to electricity, but if a camper wanted a more rustic experience, that’s an option, too.

Many reviews of this campground mention the beautiful trails that cut through the surrounding nature preserve. Dog walking, hiking, horse riding and biking are all popular in this area. Visitors love the nature found around this campground.

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Crazy Horse Campground

Phone: 2178862089
Address: 2113 Crazy Horse Rd, Ashland, IL 62612
Activities:

  • Fishing
  • Participating in planned crafts and activities
  • Visiting Historical Sites

There is plenty of nature surrounding this campground, including a lake, but most campgrounds have a lake. What they don’t have are the historical monuments that Crazy Horse has.

Crazy Horse has a wide variety of Abraham Lincoln historic sites for visitors to explore and learn about history through.

There are tent sites, RV sites and cabins for visitors to rent. There are also amenities, but if you aren’t interested, you don’t have to pay for them. Prices are low, and you’re sure to find a site the fits in your budget easily.

The grand majority of the reviews can’t resist saying something about the water sports available at the campground. It’s true, the pond is stocked with fish, and there is swimming for all. That’s not the only attraction, though. The Bluegrass Festival draws people from all over to participate in the food, music and fun.

Starved Rock State Park

Phone: 8156674726
Address: 2678 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348
Activities:

  • Boating and Kayaking
  • Hunting
  • Hiking and Exploration

Although very similar scenery to Matthiessen State Park, there are a few key differences. Both parks feature beautiful scenery, including waterfalls and canyons. Starved Rock State Park is less rustic. If you are interested in a nearby tourist center as well as the gorgeous landmarks, this may be the park for you.

Here is one of the aspects in which this park differs from Matthiessen. Matthiessen offers very rustic sites for less while Starved Rock offers gravel parking pads and an RV hook-up at every campsite. If you were disappointed to learn that you could not bring your camper or RV to Matthiessen State Park, this is the park for you.

Reviews mostly center on the beauty around the campground, and it isn’t hard to see why. The land truly is beautiful. Any visitor would enjoy a hiking experience or to gaze out at the waterfalls here.

Hebron Hills Camping

Image by Roverpass.com

Phone: 2173463385
Address: 14349 N Co Rd 2350 E, Oakland, IL 61943
Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Concerts
  • Badminton, Volleyball and Basketball

Hebron Hills sits right next to the gorgeous sites of Brush Creek. Campsites are wooded, but there are wide open spaces to explore and feel at peace in; the quiet wilderness is everywhere. Although the creek is small, it offers fishing, swimming and paddle boats. The open spaces are perfect for field sports.

They offer anything from primitive sites up to full hook-ups. RVs or tents are welcome. If you’re interested in a cabin, that is available, too. Cabins are one room with no running water, but they are clean and well-kept.

The kindest reviews talk about how clean the campground is and how kind the owners are. There are plenty of activities and scenic views, but even these can’t compare to the kindness shown at this campground. If you’re looking for a clean, relaxing campground that is as welcoming as can be, you’re looking for Hebron Hills Camping.

So, don’t put Illinois in a box. It isn’t just for lovers of the urban scene and young college kids looking for a start in a big city. Illinois is the perfect state to vacation in. From very rustic sites that could leave you feeling like a wilderness survival to glamp sites that feel like a home away from home, Illinois is here for everyone.

The scenery and activities are for everyone, too. Illinois is home to many rivers, lakes; it even borders Lake Michigan! Water sports are not only available, but they are also encouraged. Swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing: Illinois has it all.

The many reserves and forests boast scenic and well-kept hiking trails that can tempt any woodsmen if you aren’t so interested in water activities. Most importantly, people welcome campers of all ages to participate in fun activities. Many reviews mention the kind workers that made the stay so fun and relaxing, and it’s no wonder why.

The people of Illinois make a difference in your vacation location.

Are you interested? Book your spot in the campground of your choice today, and enjoy the vacation of a lifetime in beautiful and scenic Illinois.

8 Oddly Named Campsites To Park Your Tent In Illinois ...

10-11-2017 · 8 Oddly Named Campsites To Park Your Tent In Illinois. 1. Garden of the Gods Recreation Area – Shawnee National Forest. 2. Kickapoo State Park – Oakwood. 3. Starved Rock State Park – Oglesby. 4. Cave In Rock State Park – Cave-In-Rock, Hardin County.

10-11-2017

For those of you campers who live in Illinois or live near the Midwestern State, there is good news for you! The state is scattered with numerous state parks and campsites for you to park your tent and be with nature for the weekend.

Today, we’re going to go through some of the places that have the best tent camping in Illinois so you can plan out your next weekend camping trip with your friends or family.

Getting ready and knowing what to expect in these campsites is important so that you can be well prepared for whatever may come and enjoy the whole experience without any major bumps and tumbles along the way. So if you’re taking a trip to the beautiful Midwestern State, here are some parks you can check out as well as what to expect.

  • Perfect for people looking for some peace and quiet, rest and relaxation, with no activities to ruin their silent time with nature.

What better way to immerse yourself in nature than by visiting a place called the Garden of the Gods? Found in the Shawnee National Forest, this recreational area will allow you to set up your campsite and explore the beauty around you.

There are no fancy amenities here or activities, but there is an endless supply of beautiful scenery and peace and quiet that you probably need from long and endless hours at the office. There are unique rock formations found there that will make you wonder if the gods really did sculpt this by hand during their free time.

  • Perfect for those who enjoy various recreational activities or who have a certification in scuba diving.

Apart from its pretty unique name, this state park has a lot of recreational activities that you can immerse yourself in. You can choose activities ranging from horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, all the way to canoeing and fishing, although one of its more unique activities is the option to go scuba diving.

The Inland Sea and Sportsman’s Lake offers deep, clear waters that you can dive in and explore. There are showers available in the facility as well as electricity in the sites on ground.

  • Perfect for those who enjoy the sound of flowing water and enjoy a glass of wine in their hands.
FRENCH-CANYON-Western-End-of-Starved-Rockjpg

One must wonder how a rock becomes starved, when you visit this park. This hungry rock is a favorite place to visit amongst many outdoor enthusiasts. It has a beautiful waterfall, which you can hike up to and enjoy the sound of flowing water.

There are activities available as well, many of which are common camping activities such as fishing, kayaking, horseback riding and more. For those of you who want to give your tent a rest for a while, there is a lodge available as well. But another great place to visit in this park is the winery, where you can sit back, enjoy the fresh air and taste crisp, juicy wines.

  • Perfect for those who enjoy exploring caves and admires limestone rock formations as well as scenic river views
4754244982_89a949f65b_b

Via Flickr.com

While quite expected that a cave, would be found in a rock, this state park is another favorite among many campers, travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. It is most known for its enormous limestone cave with a 55-foot mouth.

It is a heavily wooded park with a scenic view of the Ohio River. You can set up your tent in the campgrounds or make use of their amenities such as a shower, restroom and electricity.

  • Perfect for those who enjoy going on a long hike
16963107709_fea541d045_b

While more tamely named in comparison to its competitors on the list, this state park is actually a popular state park that is in high-demand among tourists and travellers alike. It is roughly 2,500 acres and has a 15-mile trail for hiking with various difficulties.

There are about 241 campgrounds in the site, some with showers and electricity while others offering a more primitive way of camping. It is aptly named of course, as it also boasts a very beautiful view of the Mississippi River and “Palisades”, refers to the steep cliffs that run beside the river.

  • Perfect for those who want to experience canoeing or want a little more seclusion from the outside world
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It’s a mystery if the name of the Lannister’s stronghold, Casterly Rock from Game of Thrones comes from the name of this park. While it may seem a bit far-fetched, this park boasts 2,000 acres filled with sandstone that was formed during the Middle Ordovician period.

What makes this campsite unique and quite amazing as well is that it can only be accessed by a canoe or a boat, truly giving you a secluded castle feel.

  • Perfect for those who want to release their inner monkey and climb some rocks as well as those who have a trailer they want to take out camping.

Named because the giant boulder formations make it feel like a giant city for children, this park has a campground that is very well kept. Naturally, hiking and rock-climbing are favorite activities in this park.

The campground also has water, electricity, toilets and showers for those who don’t really want the complete camping packaging. You can pitch your tent or park your trailer if you prefer. There is also a cabin in the case that you don’t have either of those.

To top it all off, there is a restaurant, a bar and lounge, an outdoor pool and a gift shop so you can bring back some mementos for friends or family from your trip.

  • Perfect for hunters and fishermen alike, or those who generally are fond of wildlife and all kinds of creatures.

Interestingly enough, the name, “Kankakee” is believed to have been derived from the Miami-Illinois word “teeyaahkiki” which means “open country” or “exposed land”.This state park is home to various wildlife such as deers, ducks, doves, rabbits, turkeys, foxes, squirrels, coyotes and more and are allowed to be hunted during their open season.

All kinds of fish also call this park home and horses can be rented to take out on a trail. You can either get the full, primitive camping experience here or go for the campgrounds with more modern amenities such as electricity.

So there you have it. Those are the oddly named but wonderfully beautiful parks and campgrounds you can visit this weekend for your next camping trip.

Armed with this information, you should be ready and well prepared for whichever park you choose to visit and at least have an idea as to what to expect when you get there.

There is a lot to see in the great state of Illinois so if you’re from somewhere else, make this one of your stops to visit. Don’t forget to pack your tent along with you so that you can enjoy some time with Mother Nature.

If you enjoyed this article, tell us below! Or if you have a friend who’s thinking of visiting Illinois some time soon, share this article with them so they too know the places they can visit!

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From camping near Chicago to heading deep into the great outdoors, camping in Illinois should be on every traveler's bucket list. With some incredible options for accommodations and camping, Illinois is home to some outstanding areas of natural beauty. Campgrounds in Illinois with cabins can be difficult to find, especially at the right standard.

Looking for secluded campsites near me and the best camping? Illinois is a great outdoor destination with many top places to camp and private campgrounds in Illinois to choose from. Create awesome memories at one of these secluded camping in Illinois spots! Whether you're tucked away in the Shawnee National Forest in your charming tree house or chilling with a good book in your beautifully-furnished vacation cabin, this collection of secluded campsites and Illinois campgrounds is sure to make your vacation to Illinois one you'll never forget. Hit the snooze button a few times while you're catching some rest and relaxation in your antique cottage and enjoy all the unique amenities these equally unique accommodations have to offer. And when you're ready to start exploring all the beautiful sights and sounds around you during your time secluded camping, Illinois has a variety of adventures to chose from. You can go for a hike in one of the many secluded parks near me, or go for a horseback ride at sunset. From campgrounds in Southern Illinois to tent camping in Illinois state parks, a good time is guaranteed on these excellent and secluded campsites for rent. Take your pick from the best campgrounds in Illinois, state parks with cabins, or find secluded parks near me. When it comes to finding the best places to camp in the Midwest, Illinois secluded camping near me is where to look! The best tent camping sites in Illinois is just a click away, so book today and don't miss out.

Searching for secluded camping near me? Illinois campsite rentals make it easy to get outdoors. From camping near Chicago to heading deep into the great outdoors, camping in Illinois should be on every traveler's bucket list. With some incredible options for accommodations and camping, Illinois is home to some outstanding areas of natural beauty. Campgrounds in Illinois with cabins can be difficult to find, especially at the right standard. However, this page will supply you with all the best options. Book one of these incredible rentals for the best camping in Illinois! If you're searching for the best places for secluded camping, Illinois vacation rentals on Glamping Hub are a great place to start! Book a spot of luxury cabin camping in Illinois today and don't miss out on a single moment of enjoyment. Camping in Southern Illinois simply doesn't get better than this.

Locations in Illinois

The Top 10 Places to Go Fishing in Illinois + Nearby Camping

24-05-2019 · Located in northern Illinois, Pierce Lake is a popular destination for vacationers and city-dwellers seeking refuge from the city limits in the warmer months. Open year-round, this 162 acre lake (about .25 square miles) is a small yet fishy spot located a mere 20 minutes from Rockford and just two hours from Chicago.

24-05-2019
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This article is brought to you by Wenzel, whose chest waders are 100% windproof and waterproof—the perfect item for your next Illinois fishing adventure.

There are plenty of things to love about Illinois. The Land of Lincoln is not only the birthplace of the most famous American president, but is also home to one of the most historic baseball teams in the world (go, Cubs!).

For the outdoor enthusiast seeking a reprieve from the skyscrapers and giant bean, the Prairie State also offers many opportunities to indulge in midwestern wilderness.

Fishing in Illinois can be one of the best ways to experience this popular state’s array of outdoor terrain, and as one of the best states in the midwest to fish, the potential spoils of your wet line adventures can be quite large.

Illinois is full of natural lakes that are brimming with bass, catfish, bluegill, walleye, and a variety of other species. With easy access to water all around the state, fishing in Illinois is a prime way to experience the diverse range of terrain and scenery the state has to offer. With over 2,300 square miles of water, there’s guaranteed to be a spot that’s perfect for anglers of all levels and ages.

For those eager to get their fish on, we’ve identified the best places for fishing in Illinois, and a couple of easy places to stay nearby.

1. Rend Lake, near Benton

Sunset reflecting on Rend Lake.

At 13 miles long and 3 miles wide, Rend Lake plenty big enough to host a wide variety of visitors, from boating enthusiasts to inner tubers to fishermen craving some catfish, sunfish, and largemouth bass. The lake itself has three branches, each of which provides its own unique shoreline and haven to wildlife and visitors alike. The lake also includes Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, 75% of which is shoreline.

Camping near Rend Lake

Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park offers 17 primitive tent sites that are perfect for anglers seeking an up-close fishing experience. For car-campers, the state park offers 243 developed campsites, complete with electrical hookups and bathroom and shower facilities. Campsites are reservable on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The campground offers a wide variety of sites from RV to primitive. For a tent camper, spots were level and nice. The facilities are clean and well maintained. The camp is close to the lake and offers several places to throw your pole in. There is a short hiking trail that will take you to the resort. All in all a nice place to stay.” –The Dyrt Camper Chad K.

2. Pierce Lake, near Loves Park

People sitting by a dock over Pierce Lake

Image from The Dyrt camper Robert S.

Located in northern Illinois, Pierce Lake is a popular destination for vacationers and city-dwellers seeking refuge from the city limits in the warmer months. Open year-round, this 162 acre lake (about .25 square miles) is a small yet fishy spot located a mere 20 minutes from Rockford and just two hours from Chicago.

At just over 11 feet deep, the lake is a great place for beginning anglers to test out their fishing skills, and catfish, largemouth bass, walleye, and even muskie can all be caught from the lake’s waters. There are no recreational water sports and no motor boats allowed on this lake, which makes it perfect for families or kayakers hoping to fish while they paddle. Dedicated anglers and boaters should note that this lake has encountered populations of zebra mussels in the past, so all parties should take the appropriate measures after fishing in the lake.

Camping near Pierce Lake

Pierce Lake is located in Rock Cut State Park, which offers close over 260 campsites, 200 of which include electrical hookups. With of 3,000 acres of land, Rock Cut State Park is an excellent choice for anglers seeking the full outdoor experience. Sites can be reserved between May 1 and October 31, and are available on a walk-in basis throughout the offseason. The park is open year-round, making Pierce Lake a viable ice fishing destination for campers willing to brave the cold.

“We always make our first trip of the year to Rock Cut State Park. For us it’s close to home, shopping and an RV dealership so it’s perfect to “shake out” the camper and we can easily get anything we forgot or get stuff to repair anything that’s not working. The park is very good sized with nice camping sites, pet friendly, loads of trails to hike and bike and a lake for quiet water sports, no motor boats allowed.” –The Dyrt Camper Lisa H.

3. Lake Michigan, near Chicago

Dock ramp on the edge of vast Lake Michigan at sunset.

By far the largest water for fishing in Illinois, Lake Michigan offers the amenities and comfort of an ocean coastline in the midwest. As the sixth largest lake in the world, the opportunities for fishing on this massive body of water are nearly abundant, and anglers can expect to encounter hundreds of types of fish depending on the season and type of trip.

Fishing within city limits or just outside of Chicago, anglers can catch lake trout, brown trout, coho salmon, king salmon, and steelhead, all of significant size and weight. Of all the fishing in Illinois, Lake Michigan offers the greatest variety of seasonal fishing and guided experiences.

Camping near Lake Michigan

Illinois Beach State Park runs 6.5 miles along the shore of Lake Michigan just south of the Wisconsin border. With miles of trails and a sprawling natural forest, this area is the perfect way to escape the city limits in favor of more natural terrain. The campground at Illinois Beach State Park offers 241 campsites with electricity and full restrooms and shower facilities. Reservations are available up to 6 months in advance.

“We had a phenomenal time at Illinois State Park camping facilities! Space was clean, nature was alive, and the neighbors so friendly! Thank you to the folks that work there for helping us find firewood too. Will be back soon!” –The Dyrt Camper Rachel N.

4. Lake of Egypt, near Marion

Lake of Egypt at sunset with buildings and factory stack in background.

Located at the very southern tip of the state, Lake of Egypt is a large, sprawling body of water that offers more of the best crappie and bass fishing in Illinois. Due to its size and variety of bays, fingers, and nooks, the Lake of Egypt provides substantial opportunities to fish for both beginners and advanced anglers. For those interested in the winter fishing in Illinois, Lake of Egypt is a prime location for crappie fishing when the weather is cooler.

Camping near Lake of Egypt

Buck Ridge campground features around 30 sites, some of which offer direct views and access to the lake. All campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and each of the sites are equipped with tent pads, picnic tables, and grill tops. While there are few developed trails in the region, the Lake of Egypt does allow boats, with a boat launch stationed very near the campground at Hickory Point.

5. Clinton Lake, near Clinton

Young boy fishing in Clinton Lake.

Image from The Dyrt camper Melissa B.

Clinton Lake is a long, thin 7.5 square mile lake in southern Illinois that offers excellent fishing conditions year-round. While largemouth bass and crappie make up the main populations, striped bass, walleye, catfish, and white bass may also be caught throughout the year.

Clinton Lake is a popular destination for anglers seeking one of the many nooks and crannies the lake has to offer, and with an average depth of just 15 feet, the fish are never too far away. With unrestricted boat fishing and recreational water sports permitted on the lake, it is a popular destination for residents of the Prairie State throughout the warmer months. Due to the lake’s popularity, the state has put in place limits of the number of fish anglers are allowed to keep. Limits change occasionally based on season or annual population counts, and updated fishing limits can be found here.

Camping near Clinton Lake

The Clinton Lake State Recreation Area offers a campground that includes over 300 campsites, the vast majority (around 275) include full hook-ups. Sites are reservable online year-round, and are available between 6 months and 3 days prior to the trip start date.

“This was the perfect spot for a family get away. We went swimming, and fishing every day off the boat. There is also a beach available to swim at if you don’t have a boat. It was a person to go to the beach. The facilities are well maintained, and we had no issues with bugs the entire trip. (We stayed 4 nights). There is a small store and a concession stand that acts as an indoor/outdoor restaurant. The shower house is serviced several times a day, and always had plenty of hot water for our showers. My family goes every Memorial and Labor Day weekend to this campground as we have found it to be one of the best around.” –The Dyrt Camper Jamie T.

6. Lake Shelbyville, between Shelbyville and Allenville

Aerial image of Lake Shelbyville.

Image from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library on Wikimedia Commons

At just over 11,000 acres Lake Shelbyville is a reservoir that offers some of the best fishing in Illinois. Being a long lake with several smaller “coves,” Lake Shelbyville has been called by Bassmaster one of the best bass fishing lakes in the state of Illinois,and the lake hosts large populations of yellow bass and white bass, with decently-sized developing populations of smallmouth, largemouth, and striped bass. In addition to the large numbers of bass, anglers can expect to encounter carp, muskie, walleye, crappie, and bluegill.

Camping near Lake Shelbyville

Camping near Lake Shelbyville is as easy as the fishing, with several campgrounds spotted along the reservoirs’ shores. Bo Wood campground offers 150 campsites as well as a boat ramp, a bait shop, and a plethora of picnic areas suitable for families and larger groups.

“Great campground, big but didn’t feel “big.” Excellent place to ride bikes; didn’t venture on lake but it was beautiful. Bo Wood is on [the] north end of [the] lake and is the quiet side.” –The Dyrt Camper B P.

7. Devil’s Kitchen, near Marion

Limestone cliff covered in bushy trees beside Devils Kitchen

Image from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters on Wikimedia Commons

Of all the water in Illinois available to eager anglers, Devil’s Kitchen is one of the clearest and the deepest of that lakes in Illinois, and plays host to a flourishing population of rainbow trout and largemouth bass. Sunfish, perch, and bluegill may also be caught from the lake, and a ten horsepower motor limit ensures the lakes stays clear and calm year-round. Given the size, depth, and quality of the lake water, Devil’s Kitchen is a popular location for bass fishing tournaments, with 6 tournaments being held on the water in 2018.

Camping Near Devil’s Kitchen

Camping near Devil’s Kitchen Lake is limited, although given the lake’s proximity to Little Grassy Lake (profiled below), there are a number of sites available for anglers willing to take a short drive to one of the eight boat docks on Devil’s Kitchen Lake.

8. Little Grassy Lake, near Carbondale

Image of forested Little Grassy Lake.

Image from hammer on Flickr, (CC BY 2.0)

Little Grassy Lake is another lake in the southern part of the state that offers some of the top-tier bass, sunfish, and bluegill fishing in Illinois. At 1000 acres, the lake is plenty big enough to offer guests a variety of spots to fish, whether it be from the shoreline or in the middle of one of the lake’s many long fingers. With restrictions against recreational watersports and a 10 horsepower motor limit, the bulk of the lake is open to anglers without the hazard of other high speed boats. Little Grassy Lake, like Devil’s Kitchen, is a hub for bass tournament fishing in Illinois, as it hosted 15 tournaments during 2018.

Camping Near Little Grassy Lake

Camping near Little Grassy Lake is a popular option in the summer months, when visitors to the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge flock to the area for access to fishing waters, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities. Little Grassy Lake campground offers 35 tent sites, 14 full hook-up RV sites, and 54 sites with just water and electric, along with boat rentals, guides for local outdoor attractions, and a general store on site. Reservations are accepted year-round, and can be made over the phone via the Little Grassy Lake campground website.

“This campground is family friendly and right on the lake. We were lucky to come on a cooler weekend and get a more private campsite. You can rent kayaks and canoes for cheap at the marina, it’s close to Giant City, and it is everything I love about Southern IL.” –The Dyrt Camper Shelby B.

9. Lake Springfield, near Springfield

Wooded trail beside the Springfield Lake.

Image from Matt Turner on Flickr, (CC BY 2.0)

One of the more urban lakes on the list, Lake Springfield is located just southeast of the city of Springfield, IL, and offers a decent-sized lake (4,260 acres or 6.6 square miles) in a relatively populated location. Like much of the fishing in Illinois, anglers can expect a hefty population of bluegill, catfish, and largemouth bass, along with sporadic catches of crappie and white bass. The lake offers unrestricted boat fishing year-round, and was home to 91 tournaments in 2018.

Camping Near Lake Springfield

The Springfield KOA is located just a few minutes drive from Lake Springfield, and offers a highly developed campground for RVers and car campers alike. With a pool, mini golf, and wifi onsite, this campground is an excellent summer destination for families and anglers alike.

10. Crab Orchard Lake, between Carbondale and Marion

Crab Orchard Lake surrounded by forest and dispersed with lily pads.

Image from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters on Wikimedia Commons

At nearly 11 square miles, Crab Orchard Lake is the crown jewel of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, offering visitors a vast selection of fishing territory and nearly a dozen boat ramps for easy watercraft access. When it comes to fishing in Illinois, particularly the southern portion, Crab Orchard’s populations of catfish, bluegill, crappie, and white bass are unparalleled by other lakes in the area. Anglers should note that, while large and perfect for bass fishing in one of the lake’s many small coves, the lake is open to recreational water sports in the summer, meaning this area sees a bit more traffic than its nearby smaller companions (Devils Kitchen and Little Grassy).

Camping Near Crab Orchard Lake

Crab Orchard Campground offers 70 sites with electrical hookups as well as recently upgraded water pumps, grill panels, and sewer hookups. With sites right on the shores of Crab Orchard Lake, this campground is a perfect option for anglers seeking to hit all three lakes in the region without much hassle.

“What a nice find in southern Illinois just outside of Marion. Very big roomy and grassy sites. Some right on the lake shore. This is a national conservation area so our national park passes are accepted meaning only a night for electric and water. Full hookups .50. (Double the fee if you do not have a pass.) Boat ramps available. Very friendly and accommodating management.” —The Dyrt Camper Greg M.

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Shawnee National Forest camping in Southern Illinois

Each site has water and electric hook-ups at both 50 and 30 amps. The campground is 19 miles from Garden of the Gods, and shopping is available in town for last minute food and supplies. Firewood is available at the campground, and there is a convenient dump station. The site also has a boat ramp and lighted children’s playground.

The Shawnee National Forest offers visitors over 280,000 acres of prairies, rivers, meadows, lakes, ponds, and waterfalls, perfect for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, swimming, and more. Visitors to the park will enjoy the variety of camping and lodging options available including primitive camping, RV camping, and horse camping, with many locations near the famed Garden of the Gods, the second most photographed spot in all of Illinois.

Below is a list of a few of the camping options for your next stay at the Shawnee National Forest. Whether you’re looking to camp under the stars, with your equine family, or in the comfort of your RV, the Shawnee National Forest has a place for you.

It is important to note when planning your trip to the Shawnee National Forest that the forest is divided into two sides along I-24. The Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District of the Western Shawnee National Forest campgrounds boasts the Little Grand Canyon, Pomona Natural Bridge, Larue-Pine Hills, and other breath-taking areas. On the East side of the Shawnee National Forest, the Hidden Springs Ranger District hoasts Garden of the Gods, Indian Kitchen, Millstone Bluff, Pounds Hollow, Rim Rock, Burden Falls, Jackson Falls, and more.

Camping in the park is the perfect way to ensure that you will have enough time to experience all that this beautiful wilderness has to offer. Wherever and however you camp, you’re sure to enjoy all that the Shawnee National Forest has to offer. Safe travels, and happy camping.

Tent campers have the option of utilizing the many established campgrounds throughout the forest or the available dispersed camping areas.

Pharaoh’s Campground is ideal for visitors who want to enjoy Garden of the Gods camping because it’s located in the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area. The campground is open year-round, and its 12 sites are first come- first served. This campground features accessible sites, toilets, picnic tables, and drinking water. Although primarily for tent camping, Pharaoh’s Campground can also accommodate small camping trailers, but there are no RV services, and the spaces are small. Sites are a night and typically available during the week. However, summer weekends can fill up fast. The nearest town is Herod, Illinois, 5 miles away. To get to the site, Take Highway 145 south for 5 miles to Highway 34, then take 34 south for 10 miles. Turn east onto Karbers Ridge Road and travel 2.5 miles, then turn north on Forest Road. After 1.5 miles, you will reach the recreation area entrance road.

Another camping option near Garden of the Gods is Pine Ridge Campground at Pounds Hollow. Campers here can enjoy access to the 25-acre Pounds Hollow Lake located just down the ridge from the campground. Pine Ridge offers 13 electric sites and 22 non-electric sites on a first come- first served basis at a cost of per night. This campground, perfect for tents and small trailers, has drinking water, toilets, picnic tables, and accessible sites.

The campground is open March 15th to December 15th, while the beach can be accessed May to September. To access the campground: From Harrisburg take Highway 34/145 south for 6 miles, and then continue on Highway 34 south for 9 miles. Turn east onto Karbers Ridge Road and go 9 miles to the recreation area entrance. Or, from Evansville, Indiana, take Highway 62 west and continue on Illinois State Route 141 to Highway 1. Go south on Highway 1 for about 24 miles to Karbers Ridge Road, and then head west for two miles to the recreation area entrance.

The Redbud Campground is located in the Bell Smith Springs Recreation Area, one of the most unique and picturesque in the forest. This 21-site campground is tucked away amidst the rocky streams and cliffs lined with Illinois flora. There are no reservations at Redbud and sites are a night. This is the perfect area for hiking lovers with direct access to eight miles of trails leading to Devil’s Backbone, Boulder Falls, as well as many scenic overlooks and hidden springs. This campground offers accessible camping, toilets, drinking water, and parking. With no electrical hookups, it is best suited for tents and small trailers. To access the campground: From Harrisburg, take Highway 145 south for 11 miles to Burden Falls Road. Then turn right, go 5 miles to Ozark Rd, turn left, and go to Bell Smith Springs Road. Turn right and travel 2 miles to Bell Smith Springs. Or, from Vienna, take Highway 45 north for 12 miles to Ozark Road. Turn right and go 10 miles to Bell Smith Springs Rd. Turn right and proceed 2 miles to Bell Smith Springs.

Nestled beneath the pines, Pine Hills Campground has 13 campsites well suited for tents and small camping trailers. This is a more remote site with no water or electric hook-ups. The sites are all first come- first served and are a night. Campers at Pine Hills can take Pine Hills Road to the top of the bluffs which offers a beautiful panorama of the LaRue Swamp and Mississippi River Floodplain. To get to the campground from Jonesboro, take Illinois 146 west to Route 127 North, then go north three miles to the State Forest blacktop road. Turn west and travel 9 miles to FR236 or Pine Hills Road. The campground is .07 miles north on Pine Hills road.

Located near Little Grand Canyon, Pomona Natural Bridge, and Larue-Pine, the campground at Trail of Tears State Forest is a secluded option for those looking for car camping and backpacking options. Some campground sites include log shelters with adjacent privies. From December 24th to the end of the spring wild turkey hunting season, the road into the campground is closed, but campers are still welcome to walk into available sites. A standard site is per night with shelters available for . Group camping is also available.

Those looking for a bit more privacy can enjoy dispersed camping in many areas of the park. Primitive camping is allowed Shawnee National Forest except in recreation areas, natural areas, along lake shores, near streams, or on trails. Vehicles should be left at overnight parking areas. Some of the notable dispersed camping areas include:

Campers here can enjoy the tranquility of this 118-acre lake. Anglers might want to try their luck catching the bass, catfish or panfish that populate the lake.

One of the most popular sites in the Shawnee National Forest, the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area is also great for backpackers. There is a backpacker’s lot located within the recreation area that allows access to both the Indian Point Trail and the River-to-River Trail. Once you have hiked beyond the recreation area boundary, you are free to set up camp and enjoy this beautiful wilderness.

Climbers might prefer the bluffs and rock faces offered at Jackson Falls. Camping in the area is free, and there is a vault toilet.

For those looking for hunting and trapping options, the Pennant Bar Ranch is over 100 acres of grasses, shrubs, and lowlands, offering opportunities for both fishing and hunting.

Although not in the Shawnee National Forest, the Rosiclare Campground, settled on the banks of the Ohio River, has 12 riverside sites perfect for campers, RVs, or tents. Each site has water and electric hook-ups at both 50 and 30 amps. The campground is 19 miles from Garden of the Gods, and shopping is available in town for last minute food and supplies. Firewood is available at the campground, and there is a convenient dump station. The site also has a boat ramp and lighted children’s playground. Because it is a city park, reservations are unavailable, but if you call the number listed on their site within 8 hours of your arrival, they are happy to tell you if spots are open.

The Oak Point Campground at Lake Glendale is located near the center of Shawnee National Forest, making it a great basecamp to explore both sides of the forest. This campsite has 34 electric and 59 non-electric spots. It offers bathrooms with showers along with a camp store. At the site, visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, and hiking through the towering pines and hardwood forests. While the campground is 35 miles to the Garden of the Gods, the drive there will take you by other area attractions including Millstone Bluffs, Burden Falls, Bell Smith Springs, Jackson Falls, and Indian Kitchen. Single Electric sites are , and double electric sites are . To get to the campground:

From Harrisburg take Highway 145 south 26.5 miles and turn left into the recreation area off of Hwy 145.

From Vienna, take Hwy 146 east 11 miles to Hwy 145. Go north on Hwy 145 for 2.2 miles and turn right into the recreation area.

From Metropolis, take Highway 145 north 18 miles and turn right into the recreation area.

The campground in Dixon Springs State Park in the Illinois Shawnee Hills is a perfect location just south of the Shawnee Forest. This campground has a dump station along with power and water hook-ups. Tucked beneath soaring elms, oaks and birch trees, is a large, modern swimming pool with a bathhouse and water slide, ideal for cooling down after a day exploring the Shawnee Forest. Reservations should be made at least three days in advance. Rates vary by site type and season from – .

The Shawnee Forest Campground is one of the newest in the state of Illinois, offering 60 RV sites, each with water, sewer, and electric hook-ups, as well as picnic tables and fire rings. Sites are available for a night or per night for tent camping. The campground also has 2 miles of walking paths, laundry facilities, and a catch-and-release pond. This family owned and operated facility is a fully equipped gateway to both the Shawnee National Forest and the Shawnee Wine Trail.

Situated in the Village of Karnak, the Main Brothers Campground offers primitive camping for , tent and RV sites with water and electric for to , and also has available full hook-up sites with sewage at a night. Those making this campground their home away from home may want to check out the nearby hike to Heron Pond.

For reservations, email [email protected] or call (618) 634-9311

Centrally located between the east and west sides of the forest, Little Grassy Lake Campground has sites for tents, trailers, RVs, and groups. This luxury camp features indoor restrooms with showers, on-site boat rentals, a general store, ice and firewood sales, and 24/7 security. Full hook-ups run at per night for 30 Amp electric and for 50 Amp. Water and electric sites are available for per night, and non-electric sites are . Non-electric group sites are per night. Discounts are given for campers who plan to stay for a week or more. The campground is located 7 miles south of Carbondale. Reservations can be made online.

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If you’re traveling with your equine family, the Shawnee Forest has plenty to offer with 100s of miles of trails and wilderness recreation areas to ride. When it’s time to rest, there are two main horse camping options in the forest.

This primitive camp is located on the east side of Shawnee National Forest. The 8 campsites at Camp Cadiz Campground are first come- first served and cost per night. The site is open year-round and offers water and a vault toilet. All of the campsites are level and feature a fire ring, grill, and picnic table. This camp is perfect for those hoping to explore the 160-mile River-to-River Trail, which can be accessed from the trailhead just north of the campground.

Located on the northwest finger of Kinkaid Lake, camping in the Johnson Creek Recreation Area offers riders access to one of the few Forest Service campground equipped with hitching posts and Highline poles. Double and triple sites are available for larger groups. Equestrian trails lead from the campground to Kinkaid Lake trail system but do note that horseback riding is not allowed in the day-use areas. The campground has 20 non-reservable sites at a night.

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Pullman National Monument. Indiana Dunes State Park. Channahon State Park. Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park. Kankakee River State Park. Chain O'Lakes State Park IL. Gebhard Woods State Park. Warren Dunes State Park. Best camping near me.

The Best State Parks and Campgrounds in Illinois, Reviewed

27-09-2018 · 1. Starved Rock State Park. Starved Rock State Park was voted the number one attraction in the state of Illinois. As for campgrounds in Illinois, it’s also a favorite. It’s only about 90 miles from Chicago, but it’s a stark contrast from the bustling city. The ancient sandstone landscape was carved by glacial meltwater.

27-09-2018
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Let’s be honest. When you think about traveling to Illinois, you likely think about hot dogs, deep dish pizza, and baseballs getting lost in that iconic wall of ivy. Chicago is great, but Illinois is more than the beautiful grit and grind of the Windy City.

There’s an entire state outside of Chicago and it’s full of natural beauty and fantastic campgrounds in Illinois. In the land of Lincoln, you can venture from the shores of Lake Michigan to the depths of the Shawnee National Forest to discover a variety of escapes and adventures.

Check out what some avid campers in The Dyrt community have to say about their favorite campgrounds in Illinois to pitch a tent or park an RV:

1. Starved Rock State Park

starved rock campgrounds in illinois

Image by The Dyrt camper Daniel S.

Starved Rock State Park was voted the number one attraction in the state of Illinois. As for campgrounds in Illinois, it’s also a favorite. 

It’s only about 90 miles from Chicago, but it’s a stark contrast from the bustling city. The ancient sandstone landscape was carved by glacial meltwater. The 13 miles of hiking trails showcase amazing waterfalls, and with access to the Illinois River, it’s perfect for boating and fishing enthusiasts. There are 130 class-A campsites with electric hook ups.

“Our family has been camping here for years. Starved Rock State Park and nearby Matthiessen State Park offer beautiful hiking, canyons, and waterfalls along the Illinois Michigan River. I definitely recommend making reservations in advance as it tends to fill up quick! There is a small town close by with lovely little cafes, shops, and gas station.” — The Dyrt camper Sara W.

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2. Rock Cut State Park

rock cut campgrounds in illinois

Image by The Dyrt camper Melissa B.

Rock Cut State Park’s 3,092 acres feature two lakes, hiking and horseback riding trails, and 270 premium campsites. Located near Rockford, also only about an hour and a half from Chicago, it’s a great escape from the city, and an excellent way to experience the naturally rocky northern part of the state.

“Of all of the campgrounds that I have visited in Illinois, I would say that Rock Cut State Park is the best that I have seen.  It has a large lake with almost 40 miles of hiking trails, including equestrian trails and an equestrian campground. There is boating and fishing as well as swimming in the lake.”  — The Dyrt camper Matt S. 

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3. Garden of the Gods Recreation Area

garden of the gods campgrounds in illinois

Image by The Dyrt camper Brittany B.

Those looking for a rugged escape from the hustle of urban Illinois can find what they’re looking for at the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, a part of the Shawnee National Forest. It offers a more primitive option for camping compared to some of the others listed, and a smaller selection of sites, featuring just 12 campsites. Enjoy hiking and horseback riding, and some unique rock formations created by ancient uplifted sandstone. You’ll also get a glimpse into past settlements, with old homesteads, fruit orchards, and historic cemeteries.

“My daughter and I decided on an impromptu weekend camping/hiking trip coming from Western Kentucky. The weather was great, location amazing and scenes are breathtaking. The area was mildly populated so we had time to take pictures without being rushed. We camped at the campsites right down the road which were very clean and well-kept. The hike was very easy and we recommend a sunset hike.  — The Dyrt camper Michelle G.

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4. Coon Creek Recreation Area

coon creek campgrounds in illinois

Image by The Dyrt camper Meg S.

Water lovers can find all their favorite activities in the heart of central Illinois. Coon Creek Recreation Area sits on the western shore of Lake Shelbyville, a little more than two hours from St. Louis. It’s great for kids with a playground and swimming, and the adults will enjoy the shaded campsites during hot summer days. There are over 180 campsites, some offering reservations.

“We’ve been camping at Coon Creek, on a beautiful Lake Shelbyville, for a few years now, the place is perfect for family vacations. And that’s exactly what we do. Gather 10-12 of us, reserve a buddy site, so we can all be on one campsite (big enough to fit 5 tents and an RV). If you have a small group and want to get a small site, there are plenty of those. Some even with lake views. — The Dyrt camper Meg S. 

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5. Ferne Clyffe State Park

ferne-clyffe-state-park_3940c6776e895a089c785e77b720e7f8.jpg

Image by The Dyrt camper Daniel B.

Cliffs, ferns, waterfalls, limestone bluffs, and caves can be found throughout Ferne Clyffe State Park. Trails weave throughout thick forest and moss-covered rock-formations, giving hikers and campers a close-to-nature experience.

The campsites offer a variety of styles, from semi-primitive to gravel pads with electric hook ups.

“Really, this state park is a must for anyone who lives nearby or is driving through. It’s just that gorgeous! There are lots of well maintained trails to hike… hikes that include bluffs, caves, creeks, etc. Our favorite is Hawk’s Cave Trail. It’s an easy hike and the kids explored the caves for hours!” — The Dyrt camper Dani B.

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Related Campgrounds:

  • Clinton Lake Camping, DeWitt, IL
  • Camp Manitowa, Makanda, IL
  • Castle Rock Camping, Oregon, IL
  • Camping near Starved Rock
  • Carlyle Lake Camping, IL
  • Garden of the Gods camping, Derby, IL
  • Camp Covel Creek, Ottawa, IL

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stepoutside.org

Camping creates fond family memories, and Illinois is home to many great campgrounds for your next family getaway. Whether you’re looking for a campground full of amenities and activities, or a more relaxing spot in nature, you’re sure to find the perfect recreational area in Illinois.

www2.illinois.gov

Camping is available at many Illinois State Parks. The most-visited sites are listed below. For camping at other State Parks, consult the park listing page.. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) does not charge an Entrance Fee to any state owned or operated land with the exception of …

Best Camping in Illinois

Redbud Campground and Shawnee Forest Campground are both located within the National Forest and are great for tent camping or RVers. Another option is the private Tall Tree Lake Campground which has waterfront campsites. RV Parks in Illinois

By Alex Murphy

Illinois is full of great destinations to explore, from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan and the bustling metropolis of Chicago. Further afield, visitors will find open plains and the Shawnee National Forest, a lush landscape dotted with historical landmarks.

So whether you're looking for Camping near Chicago or a quiet campsite in a state park, Illinois has a lot to offer guests.

See a map of all camping in Illinois.

Illinois State Parks

There are more than 60 Illinois State Parks that cover everything from waterfalls to fishing and luxury cabins. The best part about camping in the Land of Lincoln is campgrounds in Illinois vary greatly depending on the region.

Starting in the northern half of the state, Rock Cut State Park has miles of trails and is a popular hunting destination. The park is named for the rocky terrain found in the region.

Illinois Beach State Park sits on Lake Michigan with beach access and is only a short distance north of Chicago.

Fort Massac State Park is the oldest state park in Illinois. Visitors can enjoy disc golf and historic sites.

National Parks in Illinois

When it comes to federal land, history is king in Illinois.

The Pullman National Monument in Chicago is focused on the Pullman company, known for building train cars during the Westward Expansion in the late 1800s. The site was later home to a massive riot which led to important changes for U.S. workers.

Nearby campsites provide easy access to other parts of Chicago and include two county parks, Camp Sullivan and Camp Bullfrog Lake.

Another well-known historic site is the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in the state's capital of Springfield. There are a few nearby campgrounds that can provide easy access to the original home of Abraham Lincoln, including Illinois State Fair Campground and the Springfield KOA.

Free Camping in Illinois

Unlike some nearby states, there isn't a lot of free camping in Illinois. Most visitors will have to stick to businesses that allow overnight parking. Other options include highway rest stops like Rend Lake Rest Area found not far from the Missouri and Kentucky state lines.

National Forests in Illinois

Located in southern Illinois, Shawnee National Forest Camping is carved by the flowing water from the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. For hiking fans, the River to River Trail is a 160-mile path connecting the two rivers through the forest. The area is also known for scenic drives for those who prefer to stay in the car.

Redbud Campground and Shawnee Forest Campground are both located within the National Forest and are great for tent camping or RVers. Another option is the private Tall Tree Lake Campground which has waterfront campsites.

RV Parks in Illinois

There are many Illinois RV Parks to choose from in the state, including some that offer camping near Chicago.

Campers can get a free hotel breakfast at the Hollywood Casino Hotel and Resort and have easy access to the casino. Also just over the Indiana state line is Emerald Trails Campground, which is located near a lake.

Outside St. Louis, MO, there are many RV campsites, including Cahokia RV Parque, which is a short drive from downtown St. Louis. Further, into the state of Illinois, you'll find RV and tent sites at Boulder Recreation Area that also have great lake views.

Best Free Camping in Illinois

Turkey Bayou, along the Big Muddy River, provides free camping in the campground itself and potential dispersed camping along nearby forest roads. These are your best bet at finding any type of solitude when it comes to free RV camping areas across Illinois.

By Nathan Swartz

Despite holding the nickname of the Prairie State, Illinois is more likely to conjure up images of the big city as opposed to wide-open spaces. Similarly, free camping is hard to come by–but not impossible to find. The bulk of free RV camping locations to be had in the state will come in the form of private business parking lots, but those are not your only options.

Free Camping in National Forests of Illinois

While primitive tent camping and even car camping opportunities are relatively abundant in the Shawnee National Forest, free campgrounds suitable for RVs are limited. Turkey Bayou, along the Big Muddy River, provides free camping in the campground itself and potential dispersed camping along nearby forest roads. These are your best bet at finding any type of solitude when it comes to free RV camping areas across Illinois. However, as the nearby river's name indicates, doing so is seasonal and getting stuck in the mud is a real hazard.

Always scout ahead before driving down dirt roads, and plan ahead in general. If this is your first time boondocking, you'll want to become familiar with the etiquette and best practices of such an endeavor.

Free Casino Camping in Illinois

If you're the gambling type, Harrah's Metropolis Casino offers free overnight stays in their parking lot. As is typical with casino camping, don't expect much in the way of amenities at your spot–it's simply a free place to stay and at your own risk, more or less.

Still, if playing the slots is your thing, this is a place to find free overnight RV parking.

Free Camping in Private Business Parking Lots

As is true in most of the United States, certain businesses are happy to allow RVers looking for free camping in Illinois to spend a night or two in their parking lots. These include Walmarts, Cracker Barrels across the state, and even a Bass Pro Shop near Peoria.

While you don't necessarily have to check in with the business owners in these locations, it never hurts, and especially if you don't see other RVs doing the same, doing so can help you avoid a knock on the door after nightfall. They do, of course, presume you'll shop their wares, and it is a nice way to say thank you for the spot. It also should go without saying that you are guests of the business and should limit your impact: don't put out your awning and camping chairs. Be discreet and polite so that places like these will continue to offer the same hospitality up for years to come.

More Free Camping in Illinois

Finally, rest stops along the freeway at times allow overnight stays. One specific example in Illinois providing just such a camping experience is near Rend Lake.

Best Camping In Illinois - Parked In Paradise

21-10-2019 · Northern Illinois Primitive And Free Camping. If you want to get away from the crowds, primitive camping is a great option. Buffalo Rock, Channahon, Gebhard Woods, Rock Island Trail, Silver Springs and Woodford are all walk-in campgrounds. Some of them require leaving your car and backpacking a short ways.

21-10-2019

Illinois is known as the Prairie State with over 85% of its land covered in cornfields. But despite its name, you can find large forests, rugged hiking trails, and plenty of camping throughout Illinois.

In this article, we’re going to cover all of the best Illinois campgrounds. Whether you’re looking to do tent camping, RV camping, or free dispersed camping we’ll let you know what to expect from each region. Jump to each section below to find the best camping near you:

  • Northern Illinois
  • Central Illinois
  • Southern Illinois
Fall in Southern Illinois
Fall in Southern Illinois

Camping In Northern Illinois State Parks

There are 35 state parks that allow camping in Northern Illinois. All of the state parks listed below allow tent camping; and 16 of them have space for 5th wheel travel trailers or RV motorhomes.

The most popular campgrounds in Northern Illinois are: Chain O’Lakes State Park, Illinois Beach State Park, Kankakee River State Park, Rock Cut State Park, Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area, and Starved Rock State Park. The most popular parks fill up quickly so you’ll want to reserve a spot ahead of time.

Camping is available year-round in most state parks. But many of the campgrounds shut down water facilities in during the winter season (October 1 – April 30). In Illinois, most of the campgrounds with amenities can be booked ahead of time through ReserveAmerica.com

Chain O’Lakes State Park

Chain O’Lakes State Park is one of the most popular camping destinations in Northern Illinois. Located just 90 minutes north of Chicago, this is the largest concentration of natural lakes in the area making it a boaters paradise. You also can find over 6 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails in the park.

There is RV and tent camping here as well as cabin rentals. The campground has full amenities including electric hook ups, shower houses and a dump station. Pets are allowed on leash.

Chain O’ Lakes State Park has a large number of outdoor activities to do including archery, horseback riding and hiking; so it’s a great place to get away from the bustle of the city. It’s best known for its water activities. Fishing, boating, canoeing and kayaking are popular. Many people even choose to do ice fishing in the winter!

If you don’t have your own watercraft, you can rent paddle boats, canoes and motorized boats at the park.

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park

If you want to go camping right on Lake Michigan, then Illinois Beach State Park is the place to go. It’s 1 hour North of Chicago and located right on the lake; sandwiched between the North Dunes Nature Preserve and the Illinois Beach Nature Preserve.

Illinois beach is perfect for water activities. You can go swimming, scuba diving, windsurfing and sailboarding from the pier. There’s also plenty of hiking trails and fishing opportunities in the area.

The campsites at this park fill up fast; there is a 3 day minimum booking window during peak season and a 2 night minimum stay on weekends between May and September. The campground accommodates tents as well as Class A motorhomes with hookups, dump stations and a shower house. 

Kankakee River State Park

Kankakee River State Park is 1 hour south of Chicago and has two campgrounds on site. The Chippewa campground is tent only with limited electricity and no showers, while the Potawatomi campground is full-service for RV and campers.

Hiking along limestone canyons and waterfalls is just one of the unique things to do in the area. Mountain bike, equestrian, cross country ski, and snowmobile trails are mixed in among the many areas hikers can explore. This is also a cool place to go geocaching, metal detecting (permit required), or bring your pet to experience the fall colors.

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park near Rockford, Illinois is filled with wildlife and trails. There are over 40 miles of hiking trails and 23 miles of mountain bike trails in the park for active campers. 

In the summers, you can take a kayak, canoe or boat on one of the park’s two lakes. There’s also campgrounds with electricity and showers on-site where you can take your RV or tent. 

Rock cut state park in Northern Illinois
Rock Cut State Park in the fall

Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area

Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area is a cool mix between lake, wooded forest, grass covered meadows and marshland. There is 8 miles of hiking and nature trails as well as plenty of opportunity for fishing, boating and hunting.

As far as camping goes, you can find both tent and RV sites. Electricity, showers, dump stations, boat rentals, and there’s even a restaurant on-site. 

Shabbona lake state park in Northern Illinois
Shabbona Lake State Park

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park might be the most popular state park in Northern Illinois. It has 18 vertical wall canyons and stunning waterfalls cutting through 13 miles of trails. Camping, fishing, kayaking and hiking are the activities this park is known for.

Starved Rock has started to get more crowded–especially during the peak summer season. So if you plan on camping, it’s important to make a reservation ahead of time. The campground has full amenities for RVs and tent camping.

The park itself has a nature center, restaurant and aquarium display. You can book a trolly or boat tour to take you near the canyon which goes to show just how popular this place has become. If you’re looking for something a little quieter, Matthiessen State Park is only 2.5 miles down the road and has its own gorgeous waterfalls with significantly less foot traffic.

Tonti Canyon Falls in Starved Rock State Park in Northern Illionis
Tonti Canyon Falls in Starved Rock State Park

Northern Illinois Primitive And Free Camping

If you want to get away from the crowds, primitive camping is a great option. Buffalo Rock, Channahon, Gebhard Woods, Rock Island Trail, Silver Springs and Woodford are all walk-in campgrounds. Some of them require leaving your car and backpacking a short ways. There are no electric hook ups or shower facilities. Some of these sites have pit toilets.

Unfortunately, there is not much free camping to be found in Northern Illinois. The primitive campsites require permits which you can pick up at the park office. Prices vary, but most offices charge between – per night.

The Dyrt Campground Finder
The Dyrt Campground Finder

This is our favorite app for finding free campsites & public campgrounds.

Download offline maps with Public Lands, National Forest, and Bureau of Land Management boundaries.

44,000 public and private sites listed. Over 1 million campgrounds reviewed.

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Kayak and Canoe Camping

Castle Rock State Park is unique because there are primitive campsites located here that can only be accessed via kayak, canoe or boat. The campsites are first come, first serve, and the permit costs per night.

This might be the only park within two hours of Chicago where you can go camping and have the area almost to yourself.

Paddling to the campsite is about 2 miles and could take a few hours coming back depending on the water flow. There is a dock at the campground as well as grills, picnic tables and a porta potty. Be sure to pack some water in your canoe because there is no water on site.

Canoe and kayak camping in Castle Rock State Park, Northern Illinois
Castle Rock State Park

Equestrian Camping

Matthiessen State Park is an equestrian only campground. Located just a few miles from the famous Starved Rock State Park, this is an excellent place to settle for the night and get ready for a morning ride. Matthiessen has 9 miles of multi-use trails for horseback riding and mountain biking. It’s particularly beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing colors and the humidity has dropped.

Campsites are per night and have restrooms (but no showers), picnic tables and a grill.

Waterfall in Matthiessen State Park
Waterfall in Matthiessen State Park

Northern Illinois RV Camping

If you own an RV or plan to rent one for your family, Northern Illinois has lots of places to stay. There are private RV parks surrounding the Chicago area and many of the Illinois State Parks have campgrounds with full amenities.

Illinois Beach State Park is located the closest to the Lake. You can go camping, fishing, hiking and boating as well as get great views of Lake Michigan. 

Camping In Central Illinois State Parks

Central Illinois RV and Tent Camping Sites

Central Illinois is packed with RV friendly campgrounds and most of them have full hookups. Of course, you can find tent camping sites at all of these campgrounds as well.

Kickapoo State Recreation Area

Kickapoo State Recreation Area is an outdoor playground for campers. It’s one of the few parks in Illinois where you can go scuba diving. There’s also single-track mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, boating and fishing to be done in the area.

Two large campgrounds are available to campers for both tent and RV travelers. There are also primitive walk-in sites if you want a more secluded destination.

Kickapoo State Park in the fall
Kickapoo State Park in the fall

Pere Marquette State Park

Pere Marquette State Park in western Illinois near St. Louis is known for its spectacular fall colors. This is the place to go if you want to go rock climbing along the river bluffs. There is 20 miles of paved bike trail to cycle through and lots of opportunities for bird watching with over 230 species identified in the park.

You can also go tent or RV camping here. The campgrounds have electricity and shower houses.

Drive through Pere Marquette State Park
Drive through Pere Marquette State Park

Central Illinois Primitive And Free Campgrounds

Just like in Northern Illinois, free camping is hard to come by in central Illinois. Most campgrounds have full amenities on-site for RV travelers. If you want to get away from the crowds, consider camping at: Hidden Springs State Forest or Middle Fork State Wildlife Area. These places have minimal amenities so the cost per night will be the cheapest around and you’re less likely to be crowded with other campers.

Kinkaid Lake, which is located in the northern portion of the Shawnee National Forest has free primitive camping just outside the Johnson Creek Campground. You can set up your own campsite and fire ring as long as it’s at least 150 feet off the trail. You can stay for a maximum of 14 days.

The further south you travel in Illinois, the more opportunity there is to find free camping.

Camping In Southern Illinois State Parks

The best camping in the state can be found in Southern Illinois. This is the place to go if you love outdoor adventure. Activities like camping, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, climbing and hunting are popular in the area. There are a variety of state parks with campgrounds ranging from basic tent sites to full-featured RV campgrounds.

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is one of the largest campgrounds in Illinois. More than 800,000 people visit this park per year. There are over 300 campsites with full amenities plus cottages to book.

Eldon Hazlet is not the place to go if you’re looking for a primitive camping experience. But it is a great place to bring families, and spend time in the outdoors with lots of nearby amenities.

Boating and sailing in the lake is popular, and visitors like to go tubing and water skiing as well. Within 10 miles of the campground you can go antiquing, shopping, or take scenic drives. It’s truly a unique location to visit.

Carlyle Lake near Eldon Hazlet State Park, Southern Illinois
Carlyle Lake near Eldon Hazlet State Park

Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake State Park in western Illinois will feel like visiting a different region of the US. It has bald cypress, swamp cottonwood, and tupelo gum trees rising out of the shallow lake. The main activities at this park are boating, fishing and hunting.

You will find 38 campgrounds here equipped with electricity for an RV and shower houses.

Horseshoe Lake State Park in Southern Illinois
Horseshoe Lake State Park

Shawnee National Forest

The Shawnee National Forest spans a large portion of southern Illinois. Whether you’re looking for primitive camping, tent camping or RV camping, there are a wide variety of places to spend the night.

The most popular hikes in the Shawnee National Forest are:

  • Garden of the Gods (eastern Shawnee)
  • Cave in Rock (eastern Shawnee)
  • Heron Pond (central Shawnee)
  • Pomona Bridge (eastern Shawnee)

Garden Of The Gods Recreation Area

Garden of the Gods Recreation Area is not a state park, but an area located in the Shawnee National Forest. There are 12 campsites located here that cost and have fire pits and toilets. 

Garden of the Gods has popular rock formations and tall bluffs. The most famous trail is Observation Point; a 5.5 mile hike along the naturally sculpted landscape. 

Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois
Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois

Heron Pond

Heron Pond is a hike along a floating boardwalk over a swamp filled with Cypress and Tupelo trees. It’s a truly unique experience in the state of Illinois. The easy hike is only 1 mile round trip so it’s perfect for bringing families or small children. This is a bucket list destination if you’re planning on camping in central Shawnee.

Southern Illinois Free And Dispersed Campgrounds

Free, dispersed camping is permitted in many areas throughout the Shawnee National Forest. You won’t find amenities like water, dumpsters or toilet facilities at these campsites. They are walk-in and first come, first serve. Each area is going to have it’s own rules so you’ll want to look up the specific regulations ahead of time. Most places allow year round camping with up to 14 days of continuous stay. Camping is generally permitted 150 feet off the trail, and 150 feet away from the lakeshore.

Here are a few areas dispersed camping is permitted:

Discount Camping Clubs

Because Illinois has so few free campgrounds, joining a discount camping club is worth consideration. Camping clubs charge a yearly fee upfront and give steep discounts on campsites in the area. In many cases, they will pay off with just a week of camping.

Our favorite discount camping clubs are:

  • Harvest Hosts
  • Passport America
  • Escapees RV Club

RV And Camper Van Rentals

Renting an RV is a great way to experience the outdoors without missing out on comforts like a kitchen or television. If you already own an RV or camper, you can rent it out for some extra cash during the off season. Renting an RV yourself is also a good way to ‘try before you buy’ or cut down on hotel expenses that you would otherwise have to pay.

Our favorite RV rental companies are:

On Outdoorsy, you can rent small camper van conversions and custom campers to try out van life as well.

Get up to off rentals when you use the code parkedinparadise at checkout

Other Things To Do In Illinois

rvshare.com

Boondocking Sites in Illinois Apple River Canyon State Park. Near the Wisconsin state border, Apple River Canyon State Park offers 49 RV sites. Enjoy hiking along one of their five trails, where you might spot a family of deer. Or go fishing for carp in the Apple River. Keep in mind that alcohol is not allowed.

10 Of The Best Rustic Camping Spots in Illinois

29-05-2016 · 3. Shabbona Lake (Shabbona) EarlRShumaker/Flickr. This state park is a 1550 acre park located off of a nice lake. It has been called Illinois' best fishing lake as well as the Muskie Capital of Illinois. Camping is in a semi-wooded area …

29-05-2016

Posted in Illinois Accommodation May 29, 2016 by Laura

Nothing says summer like going camping. While there are plenty of places to go “glamping,” you might want to “rough it” a little more. There are plenty of scenic (but still safe) places in Illinois to do so. Here are the top 10 rustic camping spots in Illinois.

During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.

1. Cave in Rock State Park (Cave in Rock)

Famous for its large cave with a 55 foot mouth, this park is an incredibly scenic place to go camp. You have an awesome view of the Ohio River. The north side has camping. There are 34 Class A sites and 25 Class B/S sites.
2. Mississippi Palisades State Park (Savanna)
This state park has an incredible view of the Mississippi river. Palisades refers to the steep cliffs along the river. These bluffs are part of a 2500 acre state park. Camping is great here. There are 241 Class A and B sites.
3. Shabbona Lake (Shabbona)
This state park is a 1550 acre park located off of a nice lake. It has been called Illinois' best fishing lake as well as the Muskie Capital of Illinois. Camping is in a semi-wooded area of the park, and there are 150 Class A sites.
4. Starved Rock State Park (Oglesby)
Starved Rock is gorgeous with its canyons, caves and waterfalls. There are so many places to hike here, you might just want to stay a night. There are 133 Class A premium campsites. They come with electricity, showers and flush toilets.
5. Hennepin Canal (Sheffield)
This is an abandoned waterway in northwest Illinois. The entire canal is on the National Register of Historic Places. The canal is about 75 miles long. There are numerous campgrounds located along the canal. They are Class C campgrounds.
6. Ferne Clyffe State Park (Goreville)
This scenic spot has been visited for the past 100 years. Strange rock formations and incredible ferns make this place almost like something out of a fairytale. This is an awesome place for campers. There is a a well-shaded Class A campground at Deer Ridge. There is a Class C campground at Turkey Ridge. And then there is a Class C campground for horseback riders.
7. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton)
This park is about 8,000 acres and is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. It is a scenic drive up to the park and hiking is even more scenic. There is a Class A campground which has 80 sites. There is also a Class B campground.
8. Rock Island Trail (Wyoming)
This trail goes 26 miles. It offers a tree-canopied corridor. Much of the prairie in this area has returned. There is a Class D (primitive) camping area in the Kickapoo Creek Recreation Area.
9. Giant City State Park (Makanda)
This park is known for its Giant City Nature Trail. It has huge bluffs of sandstone that were formed some 12,000 years ago. Besides the amazing sandstone, there are some incredible plants like ferns and mint. This park has myriad camping opportunities, including a Class A campground that has 85 campsites. There is a separate Class A campground for equestrian campers.
10. Castle Rock (Oregon)
This 2,000 acre park is made out of St. Peter sandstone that was formed during the Middle Ordovician period. It offers gorgeous views of the Rock River. There is a super primitive camping area. What's cool about it is that it is only accessibly by canoe or boat.

Where are your favorite rustic camping spots?

35 Places For Best Camping In Illinois

22-11-2019 · The campgrounds here can be pretty great, and you get to be close to nature with the great outdoors of this state. There is variety to the best camping in Illinois, being part of the Great Lakes region and with stunning natural beauty, this state has several places to offer. Best Camping In Illinois — Cream Of The Crop 1.

22-11-2019

Illinois, the prairie state has most of its land covered in cornfields. Yet, the state has room for large forests, wetlands, and rolling hills. The campgrounds here can be pretty great, and you get to be close to nature with the great outdoors of this state. There is variety to the best camping in Illinois, being part of the Great Lakes region and with stunning natural beauty, this state has several places to offer.

Best Camping In Illinois — Cream Of The Crop

1. Illinois Beach State Park Camping  

Illinois Beach State Park

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park is barely an hour from Chicago and offers camping at the Great Lakes. To be exact, this park is along the shores of Lake Michigan. The sandy shores of Lake Michigan cover 6.5 miles, creating a lovely beach that forms the basis of Illinois Beach State Park camping.

The park is spread across 4,160 acres and being on the shores of the lake, there are a lot of water activities to enjoy. The usual fare of fishing, boating, and swimming is available. There’s even room for Scuba diving! Trails are aplenty, so prepare for your hike or biking adventure. While the shore of Lake Michigan is the biggest draw, there are smaller inland ponds available as well.

This is one of the most popular parks in the state, so it’s a good idea to make reservations for your stay. The campgrounds have 241 Class A Premium sites with access to electricity, showers, and sanitary facilities. Campsites can host tents or Class A motorhomes.

2. Mississippi Palisades State Park

A place with year round recreational activities, this park offers great scenic views, historic trails, and majestic bluffs. Sprawling across 2500 acres, Mississippi Palisades State Park is located at the confluence of Mississippi and Apple rivers. The site has a history going back to almost a thousand years, when Native American pathfinders walked around the rock palisades.

Activities available include hunting, fishing, and skiing. There are also a variety of trails available, including some better known ones like High Point Trail and Sentinel Trail. Rock climbing is available at Twin Sisters and Indian Head areas. Campgrounds at the park include 241 Class A and B sites, with 110 sites getting electric hookups. RV and tent camping is available. All sites have access to showers and flush toilets.

3. Gebhard Woods State Park

Gebhard Woods State Park

Gebhard Woods State Park is spread across 30-acres. Though the area may seem small for a state park, the park itself has enough to keep visitors enthralled. That perhaps explains why this is one of the most popular parks in the state. Nettle Creek flows around the perimeter of the park and offers fishing opportunities. The serene views are a great draw as well. Historic Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail is also accessible from this park and is open year round.

Only primitive tent camping is available and there is no vehicular access. Gear will have to be walked 1/3 mile to the camping area from the parking, so be well-prepared. Fire rings, picnic tables, and grills are available. Showers and pit toilets are accessible as well.

4. Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park offers a touch to camping that is rarely seen in other locations. Campsites here are accessible only via boat or canoe. All campsites are primitive. In a way, you leave the modern world behind to go enjoy the wonders of nature. Located along the west bank of Rock River, the park sports a great view of ravines, bluffs, the river, and rock formations. Take your time to explore and enjoy!

5. Trail of Tears State Forest

Trail of Tears State Forest

Trail of Tears State Forest is situated in Union County, near the town of Jonesboro. The forest is spread across 5000 acres and its lush greens create a serene location for visitors. Camping in the forest is available as primitive camping sites with vehicle access (Class C) or backpacking sites (Class D) with no vehicle access.

Activities available include fishing, horseback riding, hiking, and hunting. Permits are required for hunting and are limited to the spring wild turkey hunting season.

6. Blanchard Island Recreation Area

Blanchard Island Recreation Area prides itself on being “off the beaten path”. The area covers 6.5 acres near New Boston and is located along the river Mississippi. Though all 34 campsites available are primitive, the campground is accessible to motorhomes as well as tent campers. As an added advantage, most of the campsites have excellent river views. Fishing and boating are popular activities in this park, which is a part of the Corps of Engineers Rock Island District.

7. Opossum Creek Recreation Area, Lake Shelbyville

Opossum Creek

Lake Shelbyville is a popular area located right in the heart of Central Illinois. Lake Shelbyville offers a range of activities for people in all age groups. That’s part of the reason why this area is so popular. Available activities range from hiking and camping to water sports, to horseback riding, winter sports, boating, fishing, and touring historical and cultural sites. This area includes 11,100 acres of water and 23,000 acres of land.

Several private and public campgrounds and resorts dot the Lake Shelbyville area. Amongst the eight campgrounds of the lake, Opossum Creek Recreation Area is a particularly nice one. Most of the campsites on this campground have access to electricity and other amenities for tents as well as RVs. There are some primitive campgrounds available as well. An interesting feature is a small fishing pond with its own accessible dock.

8. Bear Creek Campground

Located just north of the Great River National Wildlife Refuge, Bear Creek Campground is a haven for primitive camping. The campground as well as boat ramp river access are free for public use. Its location on the Mississippi River gives the campground more activities. Birdwatchers will enjoy the location for the variety of birds that migrate through the region. A notable sighting is that of the Bald Eagle.

9. Salter Park, Waverly Lake

Salter Park and Waverly Lake

Waverly Lake and Salter Park is a simple and fun location. It is situated southwest of Springfield and offers a nice view of the lake. The campground includes a playground for kids. Camping is free with a three day limit. Swimming is not allowed on the lake, but boating is allowed with an Illinois permit.

14. Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area

Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area is spread across 715 acres, with the lake covering 40 acres. Plenty of activities are available for the winters and summers. These include biking, hiking, boating, skiing, horseback riding, fishing, and swimming, amongst others. The odd-sounding name of the lake is the result of a contest for naming it. It is a combination of the name of the town (Lena) and the Latin word for water (aqua). Thus, Le-Aqua-Na!

The campground of the area offers several sites fit for tent and RV camping. Most sites have water and electric hookups. Some sites are secluded, but most are placed in the open and spacious ground.

10. Watertower Park

Watertower Park is maintained by the city of Oakland. They “suggest” a donation, but there is no mandatory fee for camping here. It is a well-maintained location with space for RVs and tents. Electric hookup is available at most sites, though there are no showers, toilets or RV dump. Notable locations close to the park include Walnut Point State Park and the Independence Pioneer Village.

11. Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is one of the largest campgrounds in the Illinois state park system. Most of the recreation area is built around the state’s largest manmade lake. Carlyle Lake is spread across 25,000 acres. Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area is located three miles north of the lake. Numerous activities are available in the area, including boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, and hunting.

Camping at the ERA is well-developed and popular. Nearly 80,000 people visit this campground every year. It is maintained with amenities to handle the rush of visitors. The campground has 328 Class A campsites available for RV as well as tent camping. These sites are open to RVs and tents and have 30/50 amp hookup. Additional campsites include 36 Class C campsites and two cabins for rent. A large public pool is also available at the campground.

12. Chain O’Lakes State Park

Its beautiful setting and views make the Chain O’Lakes State Park a memorable place to visit. The state park is pretty much true to its name. It is largely a chain of lakes strung together by the Fox River. There are several trails in the park, and activities include hiking, biking, boating, horseback riding, cross country skiing, hunting, and fishing. There are 151 Class A camping sites in the campground, with some Class B and group sites also available.

13. Arrowhead Lake Campground

Arrowhead Lake and Campground

Located in Johnston City off Interstate 57, the campground looks at a 30 acre lake. Arrowhead Lake Campground is a scenic area with the lake affording a beautiful setting as well as several activities for the campground. To build on that advantage, the campground has a paved boat ramp for fishing. Boating is allowed, though only electric motors and canoes can be used. 

A total of 66 campgrounds are located on the site. Electricity and water are available at each site, and the campground also offers a laundromat, WiFi, bathhouse, and general store. Campsites can accommodate tents and RVs.

15. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area

At Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area, visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, cross country skiing, fishing, hunting, and hiking. It’s a great location for camping close to Chicago. The area covers 1,550 acres, including a 318.8 acre man-made fishing lake. Though several water activities are allowed, swimming and wading are strictly off-limits.

The campground has 150 Class A sites with electricity, picnic table, fire rings and vehicle access. Two rent-a-camp cabins for camping in Illinois with cabins. These rustic cabins have two rooms each and can host a maximum of six people.

16. Argyle Lake State Park

Argyle Lake State Park

Located just 7-miles from Macomb, this 1,700 acre park is a heavily wooded area. Though the park is sprawling, its crown jewel is the 93-acre lake. Most activities are centered around this lake, including boating, scuba diving, and fishing. The vast wilderness also offers fun activities, like hiking, horseback riding, and hunting. 

Argyle Lake State Park includes several campgrounds with sites ranging from Class A (water and electricity) to Class D (primitive campsites with backpacking).

17. Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park

This stunning state park is the site of some amazing views and natural wonders. The park boasts 18 sandstone canyons, with 14 waterfalls, many of which are simply breathtaking. These get a lot more interesting in winter, when cycles of thawing and freezing create something of a “natural art” from the waterfalls. It’s a unique experience and a sight to remember. 

Popular activities in Starved Rock State Park are boating, fishing, kayaking, hunting, and hiking. Starved Rock State Park campground is available throughout the year. It has a total of 129 Class A premium sites that are well-equipped for tent and RV camping. 

18. Kankakee River State Park

Kanakee River State Park

Kankakee River State Park covers both sides of the Kankakee River for 11 miles. The park itself covers a sprawling area of 4,000 acres, though the river is the focal point and biggest attraction. Enjoy the great outdoors here by indulging in a range of activities including boating, canoeing, fishing, cross country skiing, snowmobiles, horseback riding, hiking, and hunting. 

Campgrounds in this state park include a range of sites going all the way from Class A sites that offer several amenities to RV and tent campers to primitive Class C camping sites.

19. Lincoln Trail State Park

This park gets its name from the path Abraham Lincoln’s family followed in 1831, traveling from Indiana to Illinois. The park covers 1023 acres and includes beautiful settings of woodlands and a lake. Wildflowers are a particular attraction for the Lincoln Trail State Park. Activities available include winter sports, hiking, 

Lincoln Trail State Park includes several campgrounds in the park. These include Class A campgrounds with access to electricity and water. Class C campgrounds offer primitive tent camping and are located lakeside for a better view! 

20. White Pines Forest State Park

White Pines Forest State Park

White Pines Forest State Park is located across 385 acres on the historic Chicago-Iowa Trail. It is a popular destination for family vacations and an excellent place for camping in Illinois with cabins. Its modern lodge facilities in the backdrop of a beautiful forest present a quaint setting.

Spring and Pine creeks move through the forest and present excellent opportunities for fishing. Other activities include skiing, hiking, and hunting. Several picnic areas and playgrounds are spread along these creeks. Campgrounds at this park include 103 Class B/S campsites. All of these have vehicular access and have access to a shower/ flush toilet building. However, electric hookup is limited to three sites, none of which can be reserved. 

Best Camping In Southern Illinois

1. Pharaoh Campground, Garden of the Gods Wilderness

Shawnee National Forest is spread across an area of 415 square miles. While the entire forest is a treasure unto itself, some locations stand out more than the others. One of these is the Garden of the Gods wilderness. A loop trail in this area is barely a quarter miles long, but it opens up to some amazing and wonderful views of cliffs and sandstone rocks.

Garden of the Gods Recreation Area is one of the most photographed locations in the forest. Though the trail is short and not tiring, there are benches along it to enable visitors to sit down and admire the view. The campsites on the Pharaoh Campground offer setting for tents and camping trailers. Drinking water, parking, and toilets are also available at the campground.

2. Giant City State Park

The natural beauty and unique geographic features of the Giant City State Park make this a worthy destination. The park gets its name from massive sandstone structures in an interesting formation called the Giant City Streets. These stones were formed some 12,000 years ago and today provide a view that is unique to this state park.

It’s a landscape lush with towering trees, wild flowers, ferns, and moss. Hiking trails go through several parts of the state park and are immensely popular. Apart from the attraction of the Giant City Streets, the general view and flora of the region are immensely gratifying. Other activities include horseback riding, fishing, rappelling, hunting, and rock climbing. 

Campgrounds here have 85 sites rated Class A with clear to electricity, water, shower, and sanitation. Similar sites are available on the equestrian campsite as well. Some sites also offer Class C primitive camping.

3. Turkey Bayou Campground, Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest is one of the best locations for camping in Southern Illinois. There are several amazing campgrounds in this forest, some of which we’ll see on this list. Turkey Bayou Campground is located next to a 20-acre oxbow lake. The lake offers opportunities for boating and fishing. Dispersed camping is also available with the campground.

4. Jackson Falls Campground, Shawnee National Forest

Camping at the Jackson Falls Campground, Shawnee National Forest is free, but limited to a maximum of 14 days in a month. That should be more than enough time to explore the bluffs and rock faces. This campground is a haven to rock climbing enthusiasts, and several trails have been marked for that exclusive purpose. Jackson Falls, which gives this campground its name are a sight to behold as well.

5. Benton KOA Journey

Benton KOA

A KOA is generally an excellent place for RV camping, and this one in Benton, Southern Illinois is no exception as well. Benton KOA will house RVs up to 98-feet in length and offers up to 50 amp hookup, WiFi, cable TV, dump station, playgrounds, and fishing, along with several other amenities. Deluxe cabins and activities for families are available as well.

6. Cave In Rock State Park

Cave-In-Rock State Park

Cave In Rock State Park gets its name from the stunning water-carved limestone cave. The park has some high bluffs that overlook the Ohio River. That combination is a key to very scenic and memorable views. Add in the unique experience of the cave, and you’ve got a memory of a lifetime.

Several picnic and playground areas dot the park. The campground hosts 34 Class A sites with enough room for 60-feet RVs and electric hookup. Some class Class B/S tent sites are available as well.

7. Ferne Clyffe State Park

Ferne Clyffe State Park

Exquisite woodlands of the Ferne Clyffe State Park make it a wonderful natural scenic spot. The unique geological features of the park and its vegetation are a big draw. Campgrounds at the park include several Class A sites with gravel pads and electricity. Primitive Class C campsites with parking and similar sites for backpackers are available as well. An equestrian campground is placed close by. 

8. Horseshoe Lake (Alexander County)

Horseshoe Lake in Alexander County or the Horseshoe Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area is well packed with bald cypress, tupelo gum and similar tree varieties. Activities available here include boating, fishing, and hunting. The campground here includes 38 Class A sites with camping and shower, 40 Class B/E camping sites with electricity only, and a few Class C primitive camping sites.

9. Whittington Woods Campground

Whittington Woods Campground is a great site for RV camping in Illinois. Visitors to this park can make use of a swimming pool, 30/50 amp RV hookup, dump station, pool, playgrounds, showers and restrooms, and several other features. The campground is located in Whittington, northern Franklin County. 

10. Dixon Springs State Park

Dixon Springs is another of the beautiful locations in the Shawnee Hills. Camping is available in a Class B trailer camp area  which has a dumping station and electricity. Primitive camping sites are available for tent camping.

Best RV Campgrounds In Illinois

1. Double J Campground

Double J Campground

Located in Springfield, Double J Campground is built as a rewarding and fun destination to enjoy. This campground has Big Rig friendly sites and can handle all sizes of RVs. The campground offers 120 full hook-up sites with full hookups (electric, water, sewer), cable TV, WiFi, fire ring, and picnic table. Other facilities on the campground include a playground, swimming pool, game room, and dog walk area.

2. Sycamore RV Resort

Sycamore RV Resort

Sycamore RV Resort is a wonderful site built over 30 acres. The resort has several sites of different sizes to accommodate different RV sizes. Water, electric, and sewer hookup are available. The resort is close to Chicago and several other key locations in the area including Northern Illinois University. Amenities available include WiFi, laundromat, rest room with hot showers, and dump station. The lakes are spread over 30 acres and offer paddle boats, paddle karts, and swimming.

3. Fort Massac State Park

In 1908, Fort Massac became the first state park for Illinois. This 1500 acre park is steeped in American history, and even includes a replica fort from 1802. But the real draw is the beauty and stunning visuals on offer in this state park. 

Activities available here include boating, hiking, water skiing, hunting, and fishing. The campground has 50 Class A campsites for RVs. All of these sites have electric hookup, and easy access to dumping station and shower building. Group camping and tent camping sites are also available in the state park.

4. Hickory Holler Campground

Hickory Holler Campground is a nice, relaxed campground that gives visitors access to several popular destinations located nearby. These include hunting areas, equestrian trails, and golf courses. Coming back to the campground itself, it offers 30/50 amp hookup for RV camping. A dump station and bath/shower house is also available. Some recreational activities are also available, including playgrounds, lake with paddle boats, and outdoor games.

5. Sunset Lakes RV Resort

Sunset Lakes RV Park

Sunset Lakes RV Resort has grassy and sites with full hookups for RVs. Amenities include 20/30/50 amp hookup for vehicles with a maximum length of 45 feet. Restrooms and shower facilities are available. Other amenities include fishing, WiFi, biking, hiking, and several other activities. 

Camping In Illinois — The Epilogue

Illinois is home to some amazing camping locations, many of which are open throughout the year. Even so, remember the swing of the seasons and make sure you are well-prepared for the weather. Best camping in Illinois can be both convenient and enjoyable, given the large number of developed campgrounds in the state. But that doesn’t mean you should deny yourself the pleasure of primitive camping, or backpacking and hiking!

amazon.com

The Best in Tent Camping: Illinois: A Guide for Car Campers Who Hate RVs, Concrete Slabs, and Loud Portable Stereos (Best Tent Camping): Schirle, John: 9780897326438: Amazon.com: Books. Flip to back Flip to front. Listen Playing... Paused You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.

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Best Tent Camping: Illinois presents 50 private, state park, state recreation area, forest preserve, and wildlife area campgrounds, organized into three distinct regions. Selections are based on location, topography, size, and overall appeal, and every site is rated for beauty, privacy, spaciousness, safety and security, and cleanliness―so you’ll always know what to expect.

RESTRICTIONS:
  • PETS: On leash only
  • QUIET HOURS: 10 p.m.–7 a.m.
  • FIRES: In fire rings only
  • ALCOHOL: Permitted
  • VEHICLES: 2 per site
  • OTHER: 14-day limit; 1 RV and 1 tent, or 2 tents per site; 4 adults or 1 family per site

When I was a kid, I never understood how my great-grandfather could sit fishing for hours, even with nothing biting. I realize now that fishing was just an excuse to enjoy the outdoors, and whether the fish cooperated or not was immaterial. I’m reminded of that because Sam Parr State Fish and Wildlife Area is just a few miles from where my great-grandfather lived most of his life and is just the sort of peaceful place he loved. The terrain is typical of central Illinois―a mix of low timbered hills and prairie, with a narrow V-shaped 183-acre lake at the center. The park doesn’t have a lot of amenities, but the separate tent-camping area offers quiet lakeside camping and a good place to enjoy fishing, boating, and simply relaxing.

As you enter Sam Parr off IL 33, go 0.3 mile, to the second road on the right, and follow the signs for tent camping. The walk-in tent area is at the southwest corner of the lake and has 21 sites spread out over a large grassy lawn sloping gently toward the lake. Though all the sites are visible to one another, most are spacious and widely separated. Some are close to parking, so you don’t have to carry your gear very far at all, while those on the lakeshore require a short hike of 300–450 feet. Most of the time you should have plenty of choices. The walk-in area is busy on holidays, but other weekends may only see two or three parties camping, and it’s rarely even half full.

Site 1 is attractive but too close to the parking lot for my comfort―you’ll see and hear everyone who drives in. If you want to be close to your vehicle, try sites 2, 3, 11, or 14, which are a bit farther away and shaded by pine or maple trees. I prefer the sites on the fringes (out of the line of foot traffic) and closest to the lake. Sites 6, 8, 9, 10, 16, and 20 all fit the bill. Site 8 is on a bit of a slope but is pretty and well shaded. My two favorites are site 9―not much shade but a beautiful view of the lake, and right by a little fishing dock―and site 20. They’re the farthest from parking but well worth the extra steps. Most nonholiday weekends you’ll have few if any neighbors in this area.

Each site has a table and a fire ring or a ground grill; vault toilets and a water spigot are located near the parking lot. Only the water spigot at the park office is open in winter. Once you’ve selected a site, register at the office if it’s open, on the first road to the right as you enter the park. Otherwise, just set up, and staff will come by the next day.

The RV campground, with 33 electric sites, is at the end of the park road, to the north and around the lake. The location is beautiful―a wooded peninsula between the arms of the lake―but the sites are small, with gravel pads and not a lot of tent space. On most fairweather weekends this campground will be busy to full.

Sam Parr has 2 miles of foot trails, and the nicest section, along the lakeshore, begins at the dam on the southern end. There are two boat ramps, but no boat rental or concession.

If you enjoy natural history, check out Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, about 10 miles southwest of Sam Parr. These 4,100 acres of tall prairie and marsh are the last refuge of the once-abundant prairie chicken and home to numerous other state endangered or threatened species. From late March–April, you may be privileged to witness the loud “booming” of the male prairie chicken’s courtship dance. Limited access means roadside viewing, except around the office and in the portion owned by the Illinois Audubon Society. To get to the Prairie Ridge office from Sam Parr, take IL 33 for 2.5 miles into Newton, then turn left onto Liberty Street (1100 East). Drive 3.8 miles south to 600 North, turn right, go 1 mile west to 1000 East, turn left, and travel 1.75 miles south to the white house with the wire fence. The Robert Ridgway Nature Preserve of the Audubon Society, with trails and an observation deck, is located 0.25 mile farther south, then 0.6 mile east. For more information, see bit.ly/ILAudubonRidgeway.

For more conventional history, visit the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, 30 miles north of Sam Parr. The site includes a replica of the log cabin in which Abe Lincoln’s father and stepmother lived when they moved to Illinois in 1837, as well as a working period farm. Costumed site interpreters present pioneer life, and on a given day you may witness shearing sheep, carding wool, harvesting wheat, making brooms, or maybe even the visit of an itinerant 19th-century physician. The site is open daily except for holidays, from 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. Living history programs of various sorts take place between May 1 and October 31. From Sam Parr, head 23.5 miles north on IL 130 to 1200 North―watch for a “Lincoln Cabin” sign. Turn left, go 4 miles west to 1450 East, then turn right and follow the road 2.6 miles north to the main entrance. Check lincolnlogcabin.org for more information.

GETTING THERE

From I-70 at Greenup, take Exit 119 and drive 17 miles south on IL 130 to IL 33. Turn left and go 0.75 mile to the park entrance, on the left.

GPS COORDINATES: N39° 00.750' W88° 07.602'

25 Best Campgrounds Within Two Hours of Chicago IL

08-06-2016 · LaSalle/Peru KOA: North Utica, IL. A great getaway within two hours of Chicago. Weekend hayrides, candy bar bingo, creek fishing, pedal karts, wifi, and cable are just a few of the many amenities offered at LaSalle/Peru KOA. There are both sunny and shaded campsites for tents and full service 30amp and 50amp hookups for RVs.

08-06-2016

The daily grind of life can be taxing on your mind, body and soul. We know how crucial it is not to waste time doing unnecessary research when you only have one free weekend in who knows how long. That’s why we’ve gone and researched 25 awesome campgrounds within two hours of Chicago.

When you only have a weekend to get away from home, it’s critical to avoid wasting hours driving to your campground or RV park. Your valuable time should be spent relaxing and recovering in the great outdoors–not fighting traffic. So whether your choice is in a cabin, tent, or RV, we made sure to find many locations that will fulfill your desires for a weekend away.

You’ll find that the Chicago area of the Midwest offers great outdoor activities such as hiking and biking trails, fishing, and even horseback riding if that’s your thing. The southern shores of Lake Michigan, where the corners of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan converge, offer many opportunities to get outside and enjoy this unique area of the Midwest.

Wanna have some fun in the car? Here are our favorite road trip games:

Good ol’ Mad Libs.

Everyone loves Travel Bingo.

Games On The Go is pretty cool. It’s 50 games clipped to a little carabiner.

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Camp Sullivan : Oak Forest, IL

Right outside Chicago in the suburb of Oak Park, Camp Sullivan is a relatively new campground. It is ideal for large groups or families and has rentable bunkhouses so everyone can camp together. In addition, there are 15 primitive tent sites, 10 sites with RV hookups, and 8 small cabins available for rent. It is located in Tinley Creek Woods, 612 acres of beauty. Turtlehead and Arrowhead lakes are also nearby for all the water activities you could imagine. Camp Sullivan has an indoor rock climbing wall for those who are up for a challenge.
Camp Sullivan
14630 Oak Park Ave.
Oak Forest, IL 60452 Tent $ RV: - Cabin: -0 Bunkhouse: 0-0

Contact Camp Sullivan


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Illinois Beach State Park : Zion, IL

If sandy shores along Lake Michigan is more your thing, you definitely want to try out one of these 241 camping sites on your next weekend trip. Illinois Beach is 4,160 acres of ridge shoreline. The only one left in the state that still has natural dunes and swales, not to mention additional land with oak forests and a large swath of vegetation and animal life. Don’t feel like you’re limited to hiking and camping, because this park has SCUBA diving, swimming, geocaching, the Zion Bike Trail, and more! When planning a short weekend getaway, you might want to keep this gem front of mind.
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LaSalle/Peru KOA: North Utica, IL

A great getaway within two hours of Chicago. Weekend hayrides, candy bar bingo, creek fishing, pedal karts, wifi, and cable are just a few of the many amenities offered at LaSalle/Peru KOA. There are both sunny and shaded campsites for tents and full service 30amp and 50amp hookups for RVs. There are also cabins available for those that are interested. There are 13 miles of trails for hiking and biking at nearby Starved Rock State Park to keep you busy all afternoon. Peru Mall isn’t far either and offers excellent shopping and dining options. 
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Kankakee South KOA: Chebanse, IL

An hour south of Chicago, Kankakee South KOA is a quiet retreat for anyone looking to relax. This campground has a pool for swimming, a playground for the kids, and basketball and volleyball courts for a little friendly competition. Kankakee River State Park is just down the road and offers hiking, biking, fishing, and canoeing for those that want to spend their time in the scenic wilderness. We love this KOA because of the tall oaks that provide shade among the campsites. All sites are suitable for both tents and RVs and have 50amp hookups.
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Starved Rock State Park: Oglesby, IL

Voted as the number one attraction in the state of Illinois, this state park has 129 Class-A Premium campsites and is popular for its hikeable bluffs and canyons. The moss covered walls of the 18 canyons in the park were naturally formed by glacial meltwater into the sandstone and waterfalls can be seen at 14 of the 18 canyons.  Along with all the campsites, there are 72 affluent hotel rooms in a newly added wing of the Lodge that was built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Along with the 13 miles of well marked hiking trails, enjoy trolley tours, art in the park, and summer educational programs for the kids.  
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Chicago Northwest KOA: Union, IL

This is a perfect place if you’re camping with kids. Chicago Northwest KOA has planned weekend activities for the kids including wagon rides, face painting, movie nights, flashlight candy hunts, and more. If you want to sightsee in downtown Chicago, the “Metra” train stops at nearby Crystal Lake and Woodstock and can bring you too and from the big city. This KOA has shaded tent sites, pull through RV sites, rustic cabins and fully equipped trailers for rent. Free wifi and a mini golf course are also available onsite. 
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Matthiessen State Park: North Utica, IL

Originally a 176 acre canyon and small stream, Matthiessen State Park has grown to 2000 acres filled with canyons, streams, prairies, and forests. The canyon is the main park attraction and was formed by water erosion – the minerals carried in the water contribute to the unique coloring of the canyon rocks. Matthiessen State Park also has a field archery range and a radio-controlled model airplane field for those that want to practice their hobbies. The park accommodates equestrian enthusiasts as well with many trails for riding. 
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Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area: Morris, IL

Animal lovers will be in awe of the wildlife sightings here. Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area is about 65 miles from Chicago and is home to deer, coyote, red fox, cottontail rabbits, muskrat, badgers, and several endangered species. Archery is a unique recreational opportunity offered at this park, as well as other common activities including boating, fishing, and hiking. Campers cannot stay overnight at Goose Lake Prairie but it is a must-see day stop for picnicking and enjoying the great outdoors.
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Gebhard Woods State Park: Morris, IL

This small 30-acre park is one of Illinois’ most popular state parks. Gebhard Woods State Park is a little over an hour from downtown Chicago and the definition of picturesque perfection. It is bordered by the Illinois and Michigan Canal to the south and Nettle Creek on the north side, making it an awesome spot for fishing. This park is only suited for primitive tent camping and has no vehicle access. Each site comes with a fire ring, picnic table, and grill, and drinking water and pit toilets are located nearby.  
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Chain O’ Lakes State Park: Spring Grove, IL

If you’re a water lover, Chain O’Lakes State Park is calling your name. It is located in the heart of Illinois’ largest concentration of lakes, just an hour and a half north of the Chicago area. This park is made up of seven lakes, seven picnic areas, four trail systems, and 230 campsites. As you can probably imagine, fishing, swimming, boating, waterskiing, and kayaking are only a few of the popular water-oriented activities offered at Chain O’Lakes State Park. Each campsite accommodates both tents and RVs with hookup services. There are also three cabins available for rent.
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Channahon State Park : Channahon, IL

“Channahon” is the Indian word for “the meeting of waters”, which fits this state park quite well as it is the joining point of the DuPage, Des Plaines, and Kankakee rivers. Anglars love Channahon State Park and often catch a variety of bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, and bullheads. The tall trees among the grounds provide a shaded setting perfect for volleyball, soccer, frisbee or baseball. Primitive tent camping is allowed in this park and each site is equipped with a grill, fire ring, and picnic table. Stop by the information center for a camping permit before setting up camp.
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White Pines Forest State Park : Mt. Morris, IL

A prime location for a weekend family trip. The two hour drive from Chicago will be worth it once you enter the park grounds – the concrete fords that line the creeks allow you to literally drive through the flowing streams on your way in. If you’re more interested in glamping than camping, White Pines Forest State Park has 16 cabins available for rent that include a shower, gas log fireplace, air conditioning and heat, and a TV. If you’d rather stay outside, there are 117 campsites for tents and RVs with hookups.
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Kankakee River State Park : Bourbonnais, IL

Anglers, hunters, campers, hikers, canoeists, cyclists, and other outdoor enthusiasts will love Kankakee River State Park. The park stretches along the Kankakee River for 11 miles and is home to beautiful wildlife. There are two different campgrounds (closed for the 2016 season for updating) with a total of over 200 sites, some with electricity, electricity and showers, and others with neither for a primitive camping experience. There are also two cabins available for rent and a campground for those traveling with horses.
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Lowden State Park : Oregon, IL

Lowden State Park has a lot to offer. Located two hours west of Chicago, this park is situated on a bluff that overlooks the Rock River. It is home to the Black Hawk Statue – a 50-ft wonder that is considered the second tallest monolithic statue in the world. Hiking on the four miles of trails, boating, and fishing are popular river activities, however swimming is not permitted. Lowden State Park has 80 Class A campsites that include electricity hookups and nearby showers. There are also 38 sites with shower-only access and 8 sites for primitive tent camping.
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Thomas Woods Campground : Marengo, IL

This area was created over 24,000 years ago by the Wisconsin glacier. Only an hour from Chicago, Marengo Ridge is one of McHenry County’s most treasured areas. The ridge is made up of rocks, sand, gravel, and other sediments that were pushed ahead of the ice sheet and left behind when it melted. The ridge sits at 1,050 feet above sea level and offers breath-taking views of the woodlands below. There are non-electric sites for both tents and RVs at Thomas Woods campground, as well as RV only sites with electric hookups. Your dog is welcome on the grounds too!
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Emerald Trails Campground : Crete, IL

Only thirty minutes from Chicago but gives off the feeling that you are totally secluded from the big city. Emerald Trails Campground is located on Lake Jewel and allows for a multitude of water activities.If you’d prefer to stay dry, the campground also offers various nature trails, a playground, pool tables, and a basketball court. There are 140 sites scattered across the grounds, varying from primitive tent sites to full RV hookup sites. Emerald Trails has bathrooms, full showers, and a laundry facility as well to keep you feeling fresh.
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Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort : Volo, IL

Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort can accommodate any camper’s style. From tent sites near the lake, to full hookup RV sites, to rentable park models, this campground has it all. Camping at Fish Lake Beach includes full access to the beach, pool, playground, amenities, and scheduled activities. Some of the activities include a bean bag toss tournament, kids crafts, family bingo, a camper flea market, country hoe down night, and more. Don’t forget to call ahead and make a reservation!
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Sycamore RV Resort: Sycamore, IL

A great place to enjoy a quiet, relaxing camping experience. Sycamore RV Resort is only an hour and a half from downtown Chicago. This lakeside campground offers a beach for swimming, fishing, boat rentals, tennis courts, and many other camping amenities. There is also a campground store with live bait for fishing, a laundry facility, and restrooms with showers. Each campsite has a full hookup option and comes equipped with a picnic table and fire ring.
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Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort: Marengo, IL

A perfect way to escape the city chaos without even leaving town. Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort is nestled between Chicago and Rockford, Illinois, right off Interstate I-90. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, this campground offers plenty of recreational water opportunities including fishing, swimming, paddleboating, and beach volleyball. Free wifi, cable TV, storage, and a laundry facility are also available on the grounds. Most campsites have a lakeview and have full hookups with 30amp and 50amp service. Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort is open year-round too!
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Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp Resort: Newark, IL

Yogi Bear’s resorts are scattered all over the United States and focus on giving young kids fun filled camping memories. Located less than an hour and a half west of Chicago, this resort features everything imaginable; golf, fishing, horseback riding, a heated outdoor swimming pool, a playground and outdoor amphitheater for live events.  With over 400 campsites, ranging from primitive to full hookups, and 13 cabins also for rent, you’re sure to find the campsite that is best for you.  
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Warren Dunes State Park: Sawyer, MI

Situated on 2,000 acres, Warren Dunes State Park rises 260 feet above Lake Michigan and offers breath-taking views from all angles. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, this spot is awesome for hang gliding. There are two different campgrounds throughout the park, one with full RV hookups and the other designated for more primitive camping. In addition, there is a group day use area and 6 miles of hiking trails to take you throughout the grounds. This park is open year-road and offers winter recreational activities too.
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Van Buren State Park: South Haven, MI

Another park on the shores of Lake Michigan and a favorite within two hours of Chicago. Van Buren State Park has 220 campsites that aren’t too far from the lake. Each site has electric hookups, a picnic table, and a fire ring for your camp cooking. Updated restroom buildings are dispersed throughout the grounds as well. Popular activities at this park include swimming, boating, hiking, biking, and searching for treasure with metal detectors on the beach. Cross country skiing and snowmobiling are allowed if you venture here in the winter.
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Fullers Resort and Campground: Buchanan, MI

Just an hour and thirty minutes from Chicago in southwest Michigan, Fullers Resort and Campground is inviting to all. It is located on Clear Lake and has 400 feet of sandy beach to swim, kayak, canoe, fish, boat, and more. There is also a playground onsite for the kids. Fullers Resort and Campground has a camping spot to fit your every style, whether you would like to stay in a cabin, cottage, RV, or tent. Some sites have full service hookups while others are primitive for those who want a traditional camping experience.
Fullers Resort and Campground
1622 East Clear Lake Road
Buchanan, MI 49107
Tent & RV: -
Cottage: 5-0
Cabin: -5
Click here to learn more tweet
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Potato Creek State Park: North Liberty, IN

Potato Creek State Park is located in North Liberty, Indiana, just a little over an hour and a half from Chicago. Open year-round, this park has a variety of different habitats including a lake, woodlands, prairies, and wetlands for many outdoor activities. There are also plenty of hiking and biking trails for scenic nature viewing. Potato Creek State Park has 287 electric hookup sites as well as 70 sites that accommodate those traveling with horses. To enjoy all of the facilities at the park it is suggested that you make a reservation beforehand.
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Indiana Dunes State Park: Chesterton, IN

A perfect weekend getaway to relieve your stress. Indiana Dunes State Park is comprised of over three miles of shoreline on the south end of Lake Michigan. The large sand dunes located beyond the shore rise almost 200 feet above the lake and offer awesome views if you can climb your way to the top. This park also offers Sunset Beach Yoga quite often – a relaxing way to unwind from your day. Indiana Dunes State Park has 147 sites that accommodate both tents and RVs with 50amp full hookups. Don’t forget to bring your pet because they are welcome too!

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50 Campfires

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This Camp Native park is located in North Litchfield, close to both St Louis, Missouri, and Springfield, Illinois. The 10+ acres that this park calls home makes the perfect atmosphere for a family camping trip. And best of all, it’s one of the most affordable Illinois RV parks, with daily rates as low as ! Why You’ll Love Kamper Kompanion

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21-02-2020 · Enjoy romantic glamping in Illinois with your partner by booking Pioneer Tent, which is located on private land in Union, a rural area in Illinois just 88.5 kilometers (55 miles) from Chicago. Your space here features rustic furniture, which includes Adirondack chairs, a double bed, a large fire ring, and a picnic table.

21-02-2020
Airbnb & Vacation Rentals glamping vacation rentals unique accommodations US > Illinois

glamping in illinois

There is no better place to spend your vacation than in Illinois. The state has managed to attract millions of visitors from all over the world just to have a taste at all that it offers, including an outstanding culture, amazing skyscrapers, a unique shopping experience, a mouthwatering food scene, and most importantly, the opportunity to mingle with the friendly locals. Some of the landmarks you will come across while you are here include the Mississippi River, Lake Michigan, Willis Tower, the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and The Art Institute of Chicago. Given the number of things you can do and see while holidaying here, you will need more than a day to fully explore this amazing state. For that reason, check out some of the top spots where you can go glamping in Illinois, the USA.

Come and enjoy the ultimate experience in this Illinois glamping destination, a hidden gem located on the shores of Otter Lake. Your space is basically a wall tent that is furnished with a queen-size bed, a coffee table for two, an armchair, beanbags, books, and board games. Guests also have private access to an outdoor cooking area and an outdoor bathroom—where they will find a flushing toilet and a hot shower. Some of the activities you can enjoy while you are here include boating, bird-watching, skiing, or fishing at Otter Lake. Indeed this is the perfect hideout for those who want to temporarily disconnect from the hectic environment of the modern world.

Hidden Ridge at Otter Lake
Girard, Illinois, United States
72 reviews airbnb-superhost-9cdf53d07bc6dff333b3dd302b59e5591c777205e9f6ee488c6239841037716c.pngSuperhost

Accommodates: 9

the bed is comfortable the view is great - it was hard to leave this special spot
it was also great having a shower toilet and kitchen sink i cannot recommend this place enough
the tent is very spacious and comfortable
clean stay in a gorgeous setting
the place is beautiful and clean
the bathroom and shower are very nice and everything is so clean
they were amazing hosts
kayaking was so fun tarri was such a great host and a great communicator
this was the best rental experience i’ve ever had terri was a wonderful communicator & host
that was very kind
terri was a fantastic host and her property is amazing
great location with access to the lake
location is amazing with the lake right behind the tent
perfect place to get away and relax
perfect place to get away and feel you are in the forest
conveniently located and with an ideal location on otter lake it’s a nature paradise come true
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Enjoy romantic glamping in Illinois with your partner by booking Pioneer Tent, which is located on private land in Union, a rural area in Illinois just 88.5 kilometers (55 miles) from Chicago. Your space here features rustic furniture, which includes Adirondack chairs, a double bed, a large fire ring, and a picnic table. As for fun activities, you will be able to make use of all the facilities available, including a Frisbee golf course, a jump pad, a pool, and minigolf. If you are planning to stay for a couple of days, always feel free to make use of the coin-operated washers and dryers in the laundry room.

Solar powered Pioneer Tent
Union, Illinois, United States
24 reviews  

Accommodates: 2

easy drive from the city/suburbs sylvia and her staff were friendly and helpful
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If stargazing is high up on your agenda when you’re planning a glamping retreat in Illinois, then this bell tent in Lewiston is worth checking out! Sitting on a lush green field, there’s plenty of space to spread out a large blanket so you can spend an hour or two admiring the Big Dipper. This rental is also quite eco-friendly and uses solar-powered electricity. A gas grill is available on-site, so you may want to bring a cooler with food items and drinks.

Glamping Bell Tent overlooking Spoon River Valley
1 review
the owner is very considerate and friendly
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If you are looking for an extraordinary way to spend your vacation, you have to spend at least one night at this camping site in Illinois. Located in a very quiet location surrounded by trees and only a 5-minute walk from Rend Lake, Camp Manitowa is a small village of 10 yurts perfect for camping. Each yurt is spacious and features five bunk beds and a laptop-friendly workspace. There is also a common room where you will find a sound system and a TV. Some of the fun activities you can enjoy at Camp Mantowa include fishing, canoeing, swimming, climbing, zip-lining, hiking, and chilling by campfires. Truly, Camp Manitowa is perfect for all age groups.

Camp Manitowa-Red Yurt #1
Benton, Illinois, United States
30 reviews
we borrowed a box fan and a couple of folding chairs
we had so much fun cooking on the cast iron stove and camping in the yurts
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Grab the opportunity to have the ultimate glamping experience in one of the best camping spots in Illinois. This lovely spot will reward you with stunning views of Spoon River Valley. This impressive rental is situated at Black Sheep Flower Farm, which is only a 10-minute walk from Dickson Mounds Museum, a 5-minute drive from an apple orchard, and 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from Native Grounds Vineyard—where you will find great hiking trails and beautiful landscapes. In your camping tent, you will have access to several amenities, including a hammock, an outdoor shower, solar-powered electricity, a gas grill, and a private fire pit. In addition to hiking, other activities you can enjoy while you’re here include bird-watching, fishing, and kayaking.

"Glamping" on Flower Farm Overlooking Wetlands
Lewistown, Illinois, United States
62 reviews airbnb-superhost-9cdf53d07bc6dff333b3dd302b59e5591c777205e9f6ee488c6239841037716c.pngSuperhost

Accommodates: 2

indoor plumbing and a/c are my friends
the air mattress was a queen (my husband is 6’4’’ and we both felt comfortable on it
the tent had everything and was so comfortable
making us comfortable was clearly a high priority for him
awesome experience everything was clean and orderly
clean well-kept and cared for
the area was well thought out and clean
he has a lot of thoughtful touches and the place was clean for the most part
even through the rain the tent was nice and dry
dennis was the best host he was so accommodating and helpful
dennis was quick to respond to messages - very helpful and accommodating
beautiful place wonderfully welcoming host with a magical atmosphere
dennis was the friendliest easiest going host the set up was truly spectacular as well as the views
a beautiful spot in central illinois
a great cute spot in a very quiet town
this is a little gem of a spot its super close to dixon mounds but very private
quiet and very relaxing
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If you are bored with the usual accommodation options and you are looking for a unique way to spend your vacation, you have to try out glamping. Above are some of the best glamping spots in Illinois. Pick which one seems the best fit for you, and make plans with your partner, family, or friends.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.
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southernmostillinois.com

Giant City State Park is an Illinois state park on 4,000 acres in Jackson and Union Counties, Illinois, United States. Illinois acquired more than 1,100 acres in 1927, and dedicated the park as Giant City State Park. A lodge and visitor center welcome …

The Best RV Campgrounds in Illinois - Where You Make It

15-05-2020 · We've done our fair share of traveling and lots of research on camping in the state - here is our list of the best campgrounds in Illinois. Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort Fish Lake Beach, or FLB as some return guests fondly call it, provides a full resort experience with endless lakeside activities, family events, and comfortable camping options.

15-05-2020

From the shores of Lake Michigan to the Shawnee National Forest, Illinois has so many amazing spots to travel through. If you're in an RV or van, there are a ton of great campgrounds as well. Make sure to plan ahead of time so you know where to park! We've done our fair share of traveling and lots of research on camping in the state - here is our list of the best campgrounds in Illinois.

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Fish Lake Beach, or FLB as some return guests fondly call it, provides a full resort experience with endless lakeside activities, family events, and comfortable camping options. Fish Lake offers opportunities for fishing, swimming, and boating in non-motorized boats. The lakeshore area also features a beach where guests can enjoy the picnic areas, swings, and grills. Themed weekend events at the park include hayrides, movie nights, and dances, so there is always something to do.

double-j-campground

Perfect for those looking to stay in the Springfield area, the Double J Campground offers spacious pull through sites with free cable and Wi-Fi. Guests can enjoy the Route 66 Goofy-Golf mini golf course, volleyball, basketball, pool, and game room. Other amenities at the Double J include a convenience store, propane fill station, and RV replacement parts for minor repairs. Primitive tent sites are also available for those traveling without an RV.

galesburg-east-campground

Open in the summer months starting in April through October, Galesburg East Campground boasts well maintained facilities and generous amenities. The amenities include a propane filling station, groomed walking trails, heated swimming pool, stocked fishing pond, playground, and pedal cars and bikes. The campground also recently added a mini golf course for a little something extra.

camp-lakewood-campground

Located on the northern shores of Lake Pauline in Southern/Central Illinois, Camp Lakewood Campground has you covered if you want a serene and relaxing place to stop and spend a few nights. The lake allows for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, while the camp store can outfit you with canoe and kayak rentals as well as the fishing supplies you might need. Camp Lakewood can be enjoyed year round!

geneseo-campground

Geneseo Campground understands that camping can mean many different things to different people, and they offer several accommodation options with that in mind. You can choose to come with an RV or tent, or you can choose to rent a cabin or yurt from the campground. The rustic log cabins sleep four, and the spacious yurts sleep up to eight! Other perks of staying at Geneseo are the Saturday acoustic music nights and canoe and kayak rentals available.

robin-hood-woods-campground

With multiple different cabin rental options and 250 tent and RV campsites, Robin Hood Woods Campground and Cottage Resort is a large park with lots to offer. Lake Shelbyville, famed for its excellent fishing, which hosts 37 fishing tournaments, is only a couple of miles away for the more serious sportsmen, or guests can also opt to stay at the park and fish in the stocked onsite pond. Additionally, the park features an outdoor pavilion, store, laundry room, swimming pool, and paths for hiking and biking.

crazy-horse-campground

The family-oriented Crazy Horse Campground has everything you need for a stay that is relaxing without getting boring. Fish in the stocked pond, play disc golf, or enjoy the planned activities and live music at Crazy Horse while you are there. The top-notch camp store has you covered for all of the usual essentials, but also offers hot food! Both full RV hookups and primitive tent sites are available.

hickory-hill-campgrounds

Hickory Hill Campground has been showing its guests the beauty of nature and good, old-fashioned fun for the better part of seven decades, and it shows no signs of stopping. The seemingly endless list of amenities includes a basketball court, pavilion, lake, mini golf, creek fishing, and more. Camping options include primitive tent sites, RV sites, and semi-permanent or permanent rate offerings.

kamp-komfort-rv-park

Calling itself "a camping experience much better than normal," Kamp Komfort aims to provide unique and memorable stays to its guests. The campground is located conveniently for access to the interstate and to nearby Bloomington/Normal. Past guests love the clean, level sites as well as the pool and playground for children. The tree-shaded country setting and helpful staff also receive high marks!

dw-lake-camping-rv-park

D&W Lake Camping and RV Park can satisfy even the most adventurous and active campers with the many activities both at the campground and in the surrounding area of Champaign. Onsite, you can find a lake with fishing, playground, and boat rentals. Nearby, there are several mini golf and golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, and walking paths, so it's impossible to get bored here! The otherwise peaceful campground atmosphere makes it easy to relax and wind down at the end of the day.

There you have it! Did we miss any of your favorite Illinois campgrounds? Let us know and we will check them out. For more of our favorite campgrounds, check out our best USA campgrounds page.

The 10 Best RV Campgrounds in Illinois

RV sites: Yes, max length 50 feet. Hookups: Yes. Fires allowed: Yes. Pets allowed: Yes. 2. Rock Cut Campground. You’ll find this large and well-equipped campground around 10 miles to the northeast of the city of Rockford, Illinois. There are between 40 and 50 miles of biking and hiking trails in the nearby area.

Illinois is a hiker’s paradise, with abundant RV campgrounds to accommodate your large mobile home. There’s more to the Prairie State than meets the eye. Venture off the beaten path and explore the RV campgrounds Illinois has to offer in these forested areas for some of the most epic panoramic views and limestone cliffs you’ll ever see. Here are the 10 best RV campgrounds in Illinois to check out this season. 

RV Camping in Illinois: 10 Must-Visit RV Parks

RV camping in Illinois is fun for the whole family! With plenty of nature trails, and access to creeks, lakes, and even beaches, you will never run out of things to do. Read on to learn more about the best parks for RV camping in Illinois. 

1. Starved Rock State Park Campground

Starved Rock State Park Campground
This spacious and popular RV campground is situated in Starved Rock State Park, a stunning natural area that was recently voted among the top attractions in the state of Illinois. The state park was also registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1966, and for good reason: you’ll love the winding trails, refreshing creeks, and rugged canyons surrounding the campground. 

Amenities: There are shower houses, clean restrooms, picnic tables, a camp store, and even a dump station. Campers gain access to more than 13 miles of trails that feature waterfalls, natural springs, and sandstone overhangs.

“Great hiking, scenic views, good playground by the showers. Will definitely be back again and again.” -Rachel C.

Fast Facts: 

  • Price: -35
  • Number of sites: 129
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 50 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes 


2. Rock Cut Campground

Rock Cut Campground
You’ll find this large and well-equipped campground around 10 miles to the northeast of the city of Rockford, Illinois. There are between 40 and 50 miles of biking and hiking trails in the nearby area. 

Amenities: This RV campground in Illinois offers sites with picnic tables, grills, electrical hookups, and access to water faucets, restrooms, showers, and a dump station. For water access, visit Olsen Beach for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming.  

“The campsites offer a spacious escape from the city, with the usual amenities of a fire ring and picnic table, but most had long paved driveways and electrical hook-ups to boot.” -Shari G.

Fast Facts: 

  • Price: -35
  • Number of sites: 270 
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 65 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes 


3. Illinois Beach Campground 

This campground is located along the shores of Lake Michigan, in the north of Illinois. Nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers will relish the opportunity to spot some of the rare wetland birds that feed and nest in the surrounding marshland at Illinois Beach State Park. You can also walk along the dunes that protect the beach and enjoy looking at the hundreds of wildflower species that grow in this habitat. 

Amenities: This is hands down one of the best RV campgrounds in Illinois. It provides flat campsites, with picnic tables, fire rings, and water and electric hookups. In addition, there are showers and restrooms, a dump station, and easy access to the beach. 

“This location is an absolute treasure. The beach is stunning and the trails are awesome. There is a ton of beach space and the beach is a short walk from the campsites.” -Ranko K.

Fast Facts: 

  • Price: -50
  • Number of sites: 241 
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 30 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes 


4. Garden of the Gods Recreation Area

Garden of the Gods Recreation Area
The Garden of the Gods Recreation Area is a stunning campground at one of the most photographed destinations in the state of Illinois. In addition to camping, you can hike, picnic, and bird watch. The Observation Trail is known for its incredible panoramic views and vast sandstone formations surrounding the forested area. The trail is a ¼-mile long with benches along the way for novice hikers to rest and soak in the scenic views.  

Amenities: In terms of amenities, the RV park offers standard ones such as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and drinking water. There is also a camp store and Wi-Fi connectivity. 

“This place really is "Of the Gods.” The Geological formations are very majestic.  It is so different from the rest of the state of IL. AMAZING place to visit.”  - Jade G.

Fast Facts: 

  • Price: -69
  • Number of sites: 191
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 56 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes


5.  Shabbona Lake State Park

Shabbona Lake State Park
Camp near the beautiful shores of Shabbona Lake and enjoy water-based activities like fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and swimming. Shabbona Lake offers memorable orange sunsets and nights around the campfire for individuals who want a classic camping experience.

Amenities: All sites have electricity, a picnic table, a fire ring, and access to restrooms and showers. There is a camp store that keeps firewood, snacks, camping supplies, fishing tackle, and more in stock. Boats are available to rent at the camp store.    

“Love going to this campground. Always nice and clean. Bath/showers are very clean with hot water. Nicely kept grounds with a beautiful lake for dock and boat fishing.” -Meg K.

Fast Facts: 

  • Price:
  • Number of sites: 150
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 40 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes


6. Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area

Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area
The Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area has a massive campground with plenty of space for any size group of campers. Enjoy swimming and canoeing on the lake, or opt for a dip in the pool, a favorite feature of many previous visitors to this campsite. You can purchase firewood on site, and these primitive camp lots cater to walk-in and RV camping. 

Amenities: The Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area offers electric sites with water and sewer hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. There are several playgrounds, a volleyball court, a basketball court, and an outdoor pool during the summer season.

“This is a decent place with quite a few spots with lake views. Well maintained. Plenty of shade. Tents and RVs. Crowded most holidays. Close to grocery. Great Mexican restaurant in town.” -Lynn A.

Fast Facts:

  • Price:
  • Number of sites: 328
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 50 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes


7. Chain O’Lakes State Park

Chain O’Lakes State Park
The Chain O’Lakes State Park campground offers a variety of campsites for all budgets. Soak in the lake view as the sun sets, or rent a kayak and explore the open waters more closely. This is a fantastic campground for fishing enthusiasts with waters full of walleye, catfish, crappie, northern pike, muskie, and bass.

Amenities: As one of the top places to go RV camping in Illinois, this campground has clean showers and restrooms, picnic tables, fire rings, grills, drinking water, and a camp store. Firewood is available for purchase and canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats are available for rental.

“Very impressed with this state park! It was huge, almost 3 miles just to our site! The showers were clean. The spots were large and wooded with nice fire ring setups.” -Ali

Fast Facts: 

  • Price: -35
  • Number of sites: 238
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 42 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes


8. Giant City

Giant City Park Campground
The Giant City Park Campground offers camping spots for RVs surrounded by natural forests and breathtaking rock formations. Avid hikers will love this site for its many trails that cater to all skill levels. Experienced hikers can enjoy the 12-mile Red Cedar Trail loop, while novices can stroll on popular routes like Giant City Nature Trail and Devils Stand Table Trail. 

Amenities: The sites at Giant City Campground have water and electricity, access to clean restrooms and showers, picnic tables, fire pits, and a dump station. There are ponds throughout the park open for bank fishing and a 12-mile equestrian trail for those who bring their own horses.

“Park is extra clean. Pads are level. Lots of shade. You will love this campground. About a dozen wineries nearby. Love this area and camping ground.”  -Glenn C.

Fast Facts:

  • Price:
  • Number of sites: 135
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 40 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes


9. Ferne Clyffe State Park 

Ferne Clyffe State Park
Ferne Clyffe State Park is a stunning Illinois campground located in the Shawnee National Forest that offers hiking trails, limestone bluffs, and caves. Horseback riders can make use of the equestrian trails in the park as well. Outdoor enthusiasts who thrive in rocky terrain will love exploring this campground. 

Amenities: The Class A sites come with gravel pads, picnic tables, cooking grills, access to drinking water, restrooms and showers, and even a dump station. There are trash receptacles in the parking lot and hitching rails at equestrian sites. 

“The campground is wonderful! There are lots of well-maintained trails to hike... hikes that include bluffs, caves, creeks, etc...We will be back again next year. One of our favorites!” -Dani B.

Fast Facts:

  • Price: -20
  • Number of sites: 60
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 70 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes


10. White Pines Forest State Park

White Pines Forest State Park
White Pines Forest State Park is located amidst a vast forest and the gorgeous Illinois bluffs. Up-to-date amenities and stunning local geography make this a dream campground for individuals with an RV rental. A standout feature of the park is a concrete ford across the creeks that allows you to drive through streams and pull your vehicle right up to the creek bed. 

Amenities: This campground offers plenty of picnic tables, fire rings, drinking water, sanitary restrooms and shower houses, as well as a dump station. There are seven marked trails, all less than a mile long for relaxing strolls through the forest.

“Great forests and trails! Nice for camping in that the campsites are not too close together but there are still bathrooms.”  - Caroline R.

Fast Facts: 

  • Price:
  • Number of sites: 100
  • RV sites: Yes, max length 40 feet
  • Hookups: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

Whether you love camping for the opportunity to explore new hiking trails, or you’re searching for the perfect lake to watch the sunset over, Illinois has it all. These 10 RV campgrounds in Illinois are just a glimpse at what this amazing state has to offer. For more ideas about where to take your RV rental from Cruise America in this state, check out The Dyrt’s complete list of Illinois RV campsites.

enjoyillinois.com

Take the scenic route and visit some of the best spots for camping in Illinois. Lake-side to forest fringe, we break down the RV parks and campgrounds available in Illinois. Image courtesy of Vandalia Lake Camping. Vandalia Lake Camping, Illinois. Home.

glampinghub.com

Campgrounds of this caliber simply won't disappoint and guests will be able to sleep soundly at night knowing they have all the best bathroom and kitchen facilities as well as Illinois rentals with hot tub and Jacuzzi facilities to enjoy the following day! Book now and enjoy the best camping in Illinois with Glamping Hub!

campgrounds.rvlife.com

Expert RVers visited 297 RV Parks in Illinois. Access 6376 reviews, 2161 photos & 1303 tips of every rv park & campground in Illinois.

tripadvisor.com

Over the last 30 days, pet friendly campgrounds in Illinois have been available starting from 9, though prices have typically been closer to 0. Price estimates were calculated on October 17, 2020. See the latest prices. Prices are the average nightly price provided by our partners and may not include all taxes and fees.

bestcampgrounds.net

Best Campgrounds in Illinois. Jesse September 26, 2017 Illinois is a state that is popular for its vast stretch of open public lands that includes reserved and protected outdoors. This makes finding a space for that camping trip you have been planning for so long pretty easy while in the state.

survivallife.com

Apple River Canyon State Park – Apple River. Apple River Canyon State Park is in the hilly northwest art of Illinois in Jo Daviess County near the Wisconsin border. This scenic canyon area was formed by the action of the winding waters of Apple River.

Best Campgrounds In Illinois - American Gun Association

06-06-2016 · These are just a few of the things Illinois is known for. You may not believe that there’s great camping to be found in a state where over 80% of the land area is farmland, but there are many beautiful hidden gems in Illinois that make for a great camping trip. Here are 10 of our favorites. 1. Prophetstown State Park – Prophetstown

06-06-2016

Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. Home of the Sears Tower, the tallest building in North America. First state to ratify the 13th amendment and abolish slavery. Birthplace of McDonald’s and the Twinkie.

These are just a few of the things Illinois is known for.

You may not believe that there’s great camping to be found in a state where over 80% of the land area is farmland, but there are many beautiful hidden gems in Illinois that make for a great camping trip. Here are 10 of our favorites.

1. Prophetstown State Park – Prophetstown

Prophetstown State Park, on the northeast edge of Prophetstown along the south bank of the Rock River in Whiteside County, is a scenic and historic area offering a variety of recreational facilities. Once the site of an American Indian village, the 53-acre park derives its name from the Native American prophet Wa-bo-kie-shiek. Learn more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_1Wx5LEco0

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2. Eagle Creek State Recreation Area – Findlay

In east central Illinois–just minutes from Springfield, Decatur, Champaign, Effingham and surrounding communities–the Eagle Creek/Wolf Creek sites, facing each other across the central portion of Lake Shelbyville, provide the perfect setting for outdoor recreation, natural relaxation and luxurious accommodations for a day, a weekend, or even longer. Learn more.

3. Lake Muphysboro State Park – Murphysboro

Beautiful rolling hills and woods surround star-shaped Lake Murphysboro and provide a wonderful backdrop for boating, fishing, picnicking, camping and hiking. Located in Jackson County about 1 mile west of Murphysboro off Route 149, the 1,022-acre state park is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors. Learn more.

4. Giant City State Park – Makanda

Camping, picnicking, hunting & fishing, rock climbing & rappelling, horseback riding, and lodging & dining are all offered at Giant City State Park. Visitors will marvel at the many hiking trails. A sure adventure awaits anyone hiking the Giant City Nature Trail, home of the “Giant City Streets”, formed 12,000 years ago by huge bluffs of sandstone. Learn more.

5. Rock Cut State Park – Loves Park

Chiseled out the state’s far northern region in Winnebago County. Nearby are other “rocky” landmarks – the might Rock River and the place where wagons once forded it, Rockford. It’s an area of rolling plains, interesting history and recreational variety. Learn more.

6. Pere Marquette State Park – Grafton

Pere Marquette State Park is a nature lover’s paradise. In addition to enjoying the spectacular views of the Illinois River and its backwaters from several points atop the bluffs, visitors can take advantage of a variety of year-round recreational opportunities, including horseback riding, camping, hiking, fishing, hunting and boating. Learn more.

7. Apple River Canyon State Park – Apple River

Apple River Canyon State Park is in the hilly northwest art of Illinois in Jo Daviess County near the Wisconsin border. This scenic canyon area was formed by the action of the winding waters of Apple River. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife characterize this area which was once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. Learn more.

8. Clinton Lake State Recreation Area – De Witt

If you’re looking for the ideal place to drop your line, enjoy a day on the boat, or a weekend camping, visit Clinton Lake State Recreation Area in east central Illinois.  Recreational opportunities abound at the 9,300-acre site. Learn more.

9. Kayak Morris Campground – Morris

Kayak Morris is an Environmental Education based Outfitter. We utilize Kayaking, Camping and other disciplines as a vector for teaching kids of all ages about the outdoors. Learn more.

10. Kickapoo State Recreation Area – Oakwood

West of Danville, this park was the first in the country to be built on surface mined land. It offers scuba diving and also an anglers paridise with its 22 deep water lakes. The park offers many types of camping , miles of hiking trails and more that 10 miles of mountain bike trails. Illinois only National Scenic river, Middle Fork of the Vermilion, runs thru the park offering excellent canoeing and fishing opportunities. Learn more.

Do you have a favorite camping spot in Illinois that wasn’t included on this list? Let us know in the comments!

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Best Campgrounds in Illinois

And be sure to check out the rest of our Best Campgrounds in the US series.

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Illinois Best Campgrounds - Illinois Mirror

Illinois is hands down one of the best places to go camping in the United States. Whether you prefer to set up shop on the shores of the Great Lakes or deep in the forest, Illinois state parks and other campgrounds offer everything you need to unplug from reality and reconnect with nature for a few days.

Illinois is hands down one of the best places to go camping in the United States. Whether you prefer to set up shop on the shores of the Great Lakes or deep in the forest, Illinois state parks and other campgrounds offer everything you need to unplug from reality and reconnect with nature for a few days.

If you’re ready to plan your sweet escape to Illinois, check out these campgrounds to find a spot that’s perfect for your trip.

The Best Campgrounds in Illinois

Matthiessen State Park

If scenery is your top priority when you go camping, you won’t find a more beautiful place to camp than Matthiessen State Park.

During your camping trip, you’ll be able to explore the park’s stunning canyons, trails, and waterfalls.

While RV camping isn’t widely available here, this is the perfect place to camp for those who prefer to stake out in a tent or sleep under the stars next to the fire.

Starved Rock State Park

If you prefer glamping over a rough night on the cold, hard ground, Starved Rock offers just as much natural beauty as Matthiessen, but you’ll be able to tuck away in the comfort of your RV each night.

Starved Rock has everything you need to camp easily and safely in your RV, and you won’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with nature during the day.

Kayaking and hunting are popular activities here.

Blackwell Family Campground

Are you and your travel buddies torn between exploring the city or the great outdoors? Wouldn’t it be nice to get the best of both worlds on your visit to Illinois?

If you want to experience the hustle and bustle of Chicago without missing out on Illinois’ natural beauty, rent a campsite at Blackwell. You won’t be far from Chicago, so you can spend a few nights under the stars before heading into town.

The campground has all the amenities you need to camp your way.

Whittington Woods Campground

Rent a campsite at Whittington Woods and spend a few days on Rend Lake.

Whether you want to camp in a tent or an RV, you’ll have everything you need to have a blast at this campground.

The campground is surrounded by nature and beautifully kept, so you won’t have any trouble easing into a state of relaxation after you set up camp.

The most interesting thing about Whittington is the flock of free-range chickens that mosey about the campground.

Best RV Campgrounds In Illinois

17-10-2021 · We have Top-rated & most reviewed campgrounds, parks, resorts & boondocking sites. We help you find the best RV camping spots in your area! Best RV Campgrounds In Illinois - …

17-10-2021

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Casino Queen RV Park is one of the best campgrounds in Illinois near a major city. This park offers great amenities and pulls people into the area because of its location just five minutes from downtown East St. Louis and 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis, MO. The Casino Queen RV Park offers free cable and WiFi and is 30 minutes away from Six Flags Amusement Park and 1 hr 45 min to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania.

The casino also offers entertainment such as live music, comedy shows, ice cream socials, karaoke nights every Monday night at 7 PM for free (with your paid campsite), horse races (March through December), bingo games Wednesday through Saturday nights). There are also two indoor heated pools with hot tubs, a fitness center with showers and laundry facility, a full-service restaurant, the Grand Buffet on Friday nights from 6 PM to 9 PM (over 60 items of food), an outdoor patio area with a variety of carnival games & rides all throughout summer.

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The Driftwood RV Park prides itself on being one of the best campgrounds in Illinois. It is located just off Route 66, which allows you to explore a huge part of America's history while staying at this great campground. The park offers a swimming pool for guests to take a swim in and cable access if needed. The biggest attraction about this place is that it only takes 10 minutes to get to the famous Meramec Caverns from this park, which allows you to experience underground life without having to drive far away from your campsite.

They also offer free WiFi and cable, laundry facility, front desk service, propane sales, and ice available from 9 AM-6 PM from Memorial Day through Day. There are also two fishing ponds and a great restaurant, the Canyon Grill & Bar that has amazing food to eat, and events almost every night such as poker runs on Wednesdays at 7 PM.

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Leisure Lake Resort is the largest and most popular RV campground in Illinois. It's located on one of the state's largest lakes, near a very large forest preserve. They have hundreds of sites with full hookups for both RV camping and camping in tents as well as several cabins available for rent.

The area is great for hiking, biking, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities due to its location within a wildlife refuge so having access to your own vehicle is important - especially since much of the resort property has no cell service and it can be tough to find your way around without directions so getting lost isn't very easy.

Leisure Lake Resort also hosts special events throughout the year including an annual music festival, bike races, cookouts, and more so you'll always have somewhere to go or someone to meet.

If you want the full camping experience without having to leave town, Leisure Lake is also conveniently located near several restaurants and shops within a few miles of the resort property.

Best RV Campgrounds in Florida

Sycamore RV Resort is located only five miles from Sycamore State University, Sycamore RV Resort offers a unique camping experience for everyone in the family. With amenities such as a pool and clubhouse, you can be sure that your stay will be packed with fun activities during the day and then relaxation in the evening.

Located only five miles from Sycamore State University, Sycamore RV Resort offers a unique camping experience for everyone in the family. With amenities such as a pool and clubhouse, you can be sure that your stay will be packed with fun activities during the day and then relaxation in the evening.

Best RV Campgrounds in Florida

Marion Campground & RV Park in Marion, Illinois is one of the best campgrounds in Illinois with gorgeous scenic views of Lake Shawnee. A private lake provides swimming and fishing opportunities to all visitors.

Marion Campground & RV Park's amenities include showers, bathrooms, laundry facilities, sewage hook up, cable TV service, and Wi-Fi access. All spaces include 30/50 amp service for RVs with water and sewage connections as well as a fire ring for each site. Also included are pull-thru sites that accommodate any size vehicle or camper. Pets are allowed at Marion Campground & RV Park if supervised and kept on a leash at all times

The peacefulness of this secluded private campground allows you to relax amidst trees and nature without being too far away from civilization. Marion Campground & RV Park is located just minutes from the Shawnee National Forest and Giant City State Park, which provides many hiking trails and lakes to explore. Nearby Anna Ruby Falls is another great outdoor activity that can be enjoyed

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Mississippi Palisades State Park boasts some of the most breathtaking views in all of Illinois. With its beautiful overlooks, secluded trails, and creek swimming holes, visitors find themselves returning again and again. The camping area is open year-round, though it may be hard to leave your cozy cabin or RV on a chilly winter morning.

Camping at Mississippi Palisades State Park offers much more than just great views. Visitors enjoy fishing opportunities along both sides of the Mississippi River bluffs as well as several hiking trails to explore. Whether you are looking for a place to relax away from the hustle and bustle or want to experience adventure close by - this state park has something for everyone!

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Archway RV Park is located in the American Midwest countryside, just outside of Springfield and Lincoln. The sites are all spacious and well maintained and there is even a pool!

If you are looking for a little taste of small-town Americana, then this is where you should go.

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Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois is a perfect choice for anyone looking to camp without hookups. With over 70 wooded campsites, it can accommodate pretty much any size RV or camper you bring.

The state park offers plenty of activities in the form of biking trails, hiking trails, fishing spots, and picnic areas. If you're interested in seeing some cool wildlife you'll definitely want to check out their bird blinds when visiting Pere Marquette State Park.

If you want a more rustic camping experience, you can choose Pere Marquette State Park. Although not as common, there are campsites for tents at Pere Marquette State Park so you don't have to eliminate camping from your itinerary if you don't have an RV or camper with you.

Best RV Campgrounds in Florida

Starved Rock State Park is one of the most beautiful places in all of Illinois. This state park located only an hour outside of Chicago is home to 129 different campgrounds, with many sites offering full hookups for RVs along with electricity and water. All campsites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis so be sure to visit their website for exact locations and availability before heading out!

The camping area at Starved Rock also has two trails (the nature trail & lucy's loop) that are both wheelchair accessible. They offer tons of activities including hiking, canoeing/kayaking, biking, fishing, and more - there truly is something for everyone here!

Best RV Campgrounds in Florida

Kayak Morris Recreations Area is a beautiful campground with lots of amenities. It's located in Moro, Illinois, and has great reviews from visitors. They offer full hookups for RVs including water, electricity, and sewer.  The campground has a swimming pool and hot tub as well as bathrooms with showers.

Many people visit this park because of its nearby attractions. The area is full of fun things to do, such as biking and hiking trails nearby. There's also a nearby golf course, and the campground even has a mini-golf course on site. Visitors can stay in one place and enjoy lots of activities without ever leaving the recreation area!

Best RV Campgrounds in Florida

Cave-in-Rock State Park in Cave-in-Rock offers big-rig camping options in addition to traditional tent camping, making it an ideal spot for RVs. The park offers 100 sites with electrical hookups and over 25 that are pull-through. Cave-in-Rock State Park is located on the Ohio River just outside of Metropolis Illinois, with easy access to I 64. Enjoy 340 picturesque acres at this waterfront state park complete with hiking trails and rental canoes and kayaks.

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Pharaoh Campground is a great campground in Herrin, Illinois. It has all the good things you want from a camping ground. It has clean bathrooms and showers, well-kept grounds, and it is well located next to a river.

This campground's location next to the banks of the Mississippi River makes it easy for people who like to fish or canoe or kayak to enjoy themselves. The nearby city of St. Louis provides even more fun activities for families on vacation - especially kids! There are many popular attractions nearby such as Gateway Arch National Park, Busch Stadium (the home of the St. Louis Cardinals), Grant's Farm (home of Budweiser Clydesdales), Anheuser-Busch Brewery, and many more.

Pharaoh Campground is a great choice for people who love to be outdoors and enjoy the good life in Illinois!

Best RV Campgrounds in Florida

Lake Shelbyville is a wonderful recreational area. With miles of trails and waterways, it is the perfect destination for those who love being outdoors. The lake's many coves and inlets have been transformed into small campsites, each with its own unique rustic style. Sites along the northern shore offer breathtaking views of the White Pines Forest State Park, while those situated to the west look out over a large marshland filled with wildlife.

Taking Highway 127 south from Dundee will bring you to one of Lake Shelbyville's most scenic campsites - the Island View Campground. Lying adjacent to I&M Canal Lock 24, Island View offers visitors easy access to both water activities as well as land-based sightseeing opportunities throughout Central Illinois.

Best RV Campgrounds in Florida

Castle Rock State Park is a camping spot located in Southern Illinois. Located near the Shawnee National Forest, this campground has been ranked as one of the top 100 campgrounds nationally by Reserve America and Campendium and has received TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence four years in a row. Castle Rock State Park offers visitors amenities such as nature trails, fishing, boating and canoeing, an amphitheater for outdoor movies and performances, volleyball courts and horseshoe pits, plus full hookup RV sites (water/electricity).

The park also offers rustic cabins that overlook both the lake and forest preserve. Visitors to Castle Rock can also enjoy two lodges on site: Castlegate Lodge & Conference Center that offers modern hotel-style rooms with all the amenities and Giant City Lodge that offers rustic cabins, sleeping up to six people.

There are over 40 miles of trails in the 1500 acre park so visitors can enjoy hiking or biking before stopping at Long Point Cottage for a lightly prepared meal. The lodge restaurant is open from May to October and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with an excellent view of the big lake.

Thank you for reading and we hope that this guide will help in your search to find the best RV campgrounds. If you have any questions or if there is anything else that you would like us to cover, please let us know!

goodsam.com

Marengo, IL THE PERFECT CHICAGO BOUND BASE CAMP With a train station direct to Downtown Chicago only 15 minutes away, minutes off I-90, easy spacious full hook-up pull-thru sites, fiber optic WIFI, modern bathhouse, we are the closest NW RV Park to your Chicago adventure! Facility 8.5 Restrooms 10 Appeal 8.5 VIEW WEBSITE LEARN MORE Book Now

Oak Terrace RV Resort
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How to Read Good Sam Directory Ratings

The three-number rating that accompanies each campground listing in the directory gives readers an at-a-glance assessment of a campground's amenities, cleanliness and environment.

How to read the Good Sam Rating 10/10 /10.
All three ratings categories are measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.Less than 1 percent of parks or campgrounds receive the coveted 10 / 10 / 10 rating, which indicates superior facilities that are well maintained, clean, well-appointed restrooms and a highly appealing appearance.Campgrounds are inspected annually by dedicated RVers like you.

Completeness of facilities

10 / 10 / 10
The first campground rating evaluates completeness and quality of facilities.In this category we rate interior roads, sites, registration area, hookups, recreation, swimming, security, laundry, store and building maintenance.

Cleanliness and physical characteristics of restrooms and showers

10 / 10 / 10
The second rating category concerns the cleanliness and physical characteristics of toilets, walls, showers, sinks/counters/mirrors and floor. If a park achieves a full point in each of the above, it receives a star (), indicating exceptionally clean restrooms.

Also rated are physical characteristics of restrooms, including interior construction, adequate supplies/odor free, adequate number of facilities, exterior appearance and location in relation to park spaces, and interior appearance.

Visual Appeal and Environmental Quality

10 / 10 / 10
This category addresses the park's setting and site layout, function and identification of signage, overall exterior building maintenance, noise, trash disposal, litter and debris around the grounds and sites, and appearance of grounds, sites and entrance area.

The 10 Best Places to Camp in Wisconsin

Tucked into the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest in Wisconsin’s Northwoods are four modern campgrounds (Crystal Lake, Firefly Lake, Big Musky, and Clear Lake) with 355 sites total, in addition to more rustic and primitive camping options.

With its rolling hills—the result of the Ice Age skipping over this region 12,000 years ago, avoiding flat-terrain status—Wisconsin’s landscape is a popular camping destination. Bordered by two Great Lakes (Lake Superior and Lake Michigan) and rimmed by the Mississippi River, too, it’s not hard to find a waterfront campsite. It’s also very likely your camp will be shaded, in a forested pocket, as there are many around the state. From state parks to privately owned campgrounds, here are the 10 best camping spots in Wisconsin.

01 of 10

Douglas Rissing / Getty Images

Getting here is half the fun. Travel all the way north up the Door County peninsula—buffered by Green Bay and Lake Michigan—and hop a ferry to Washington Island, then another ferry to this car-free island. Wear comfy walking shoes and pack light because all 40 sites are rustic and carry-in, with a fire ring and picnic table. Also on the island: a series of stone buildings and Pottawatomie Lighthouse.

What’s Nearby: Gift shops at two Washington Island lavender farms (Fragrant Isle and Island Lavender) sell little luxuries for your camping like lavender truffles, sachets, or body-care products.

02 of 10

Matt Sampson Photography / Getty Images

This 3,776-acre park hugging Green Bay is the exact opposite of Rock Island State Park for two reasons: the number of campsites (468) and proximity to civilization. But at the same time, with 8 miles of shoreline, an historic lighthouse you can wander into (Eagle Bluff Light), and a professional theater company performing at Northern Sky Theater, why would you ever leave?

What’s Nearby: Walk into the village of Fish Creek, where Blue Horse Beach Café’s serves morning brew and all-day breakfast (from huevos rancheros to house-made cinnamon rolls).

03 of 10

Steve Prorak / EyeEm / Getty Images

Rock climbers know this is Wisconsin’s best place to climb, thanks to stunning quartzite bluffs (soaring 500 feet in height, such as Balanced Height and Devil’s Doorway) encircling a 360-acre lake for swimming or renting stand-up paddleboards, kayaks or canoes. Thirty miles of hiking trails and 423 campsites provide room to spread out in the 9,217-acre park, Wisconsin’s largest state park.

What’s Nearby: Wisconsin’s known for beer and, more recently, spirits—including Driftless Glen’s restaurant and tasting room, four miles from the park.

04 of 10

Bunk in a 1977 Airstream or 1957 Holly at this new campsite (opened in 2020) adjacent to the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, a former Girl Scouts camp. The Hilton glamping site sleeps up to eight in platform tents outfitted with mattresses. Or, pitch a tent at “The Prairie,” what owners Simona and Jeremy Ebner call a “rustic campsite” for a more remote experience. And don’t worry: glamping is even for the rustic sites, thanks to indoor baths with full plumbing (that’s code for “flush toilets” and there’s also an outdoor shower).

What’s Nearby: Pick up smoked-salmon or smoked-trout spread from Rushing Waters Fisheries (you can even fish for your own catch) for a quick, delicious pond-to-plate snack.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.

05 of 10

Eric O'Dell / EyeEm / Getty Images

Because it’s at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers, you’re treated with bluffs (cue cool views) and opportunities for birdwatching and fishing. In addition to 114 campsites, and in case you’re planning an event, the Hugh Harper Indoor Group Camp’s four dorms hold up to 108 “campers,” sheltered from the natural elements. Between May and October, the Lawrence L. Huser Astronomy Center hosts free programs.

What’s Nearby: Before pulling into your campsite, pop by Sunrise Orchards (August through December) in Gays Mills for apple-cider donuts and Honeycrisp apples.

06 of 10

As the name of this state park implies, waterfalls are the main draw. Located just outside of the Bad River Reservation, the 3,068-acre natural paradise folds in a section of the Bad River and, since 2005, has been on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll need several nights here to see and experience it all, such as trout fishing on Loon Lake and 17 miles of hiking trails. Sleep under the stars at any of the 24 campsites, with electric hook-ups.

What’s Nearby: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, accessible via Bayfield, is only a 50-mile drive north.

07 of 10

Jeffrey Phelps / Getty Images

If you’ve never seen sand dunes, you need to visit this park, rimmed by Lake Michigan to the East. Stroll along the beach’s boardwalks, which undulate among whispering pines. Of the park’s 137 campsites, 52 feature electrical hook-ups. For a glamping-like experience, book the sole canvas-and-pole tee-pee (summers only) or one of 10 accessible cabins with full kitchens.

What’s Nearby: In the company town of Kohler, the plumbing manufacturer’s design showroom features dream kitchens and baths created by celeb designers.

08 of 10

The term “mountain” might baffle frequent visitors to high-altitude destinations like Colorado. Wildcat Mountain is a towering sandstone bluff capped with limestone. Twenty-five campsites offer a picnic table and fire ring each, or cart in your belongings to 21 additional sites. All are close to showers and flush toilets. Twenty-one miles of trails are for horseback riding and hiking. Canoeists flock here, and brown trout spawn within the park’s section of the Kickapoo River.

What’s Nearby: Driftless Books and Music in Viroqua is the sweet indie bookstore you wish every town still had.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.

09 of 10

No need to pitch a tent in Veteran’s Memorial Park, along the spring-fed Jack Lake 15 miles north of Antigo: pick from three 16-by-20 foot cabins (the quirky named Timberdoodle, Ruffed Grouse, and Gobblers Roost) sleeping up to five people each and with a grill, fireplace, fire pit, bunk beds, dining table and chairs, and electrical lighting. The park also has 48 campsites with electrical hookups, if you want to sleep outdoors.

What’s Nearby: Spanning 870 acres, Bogus Swamp State Natural Area is on the other side of Highway 45, just west of Koepenick.

10 of 10

Photos by Michael Crowley / Getty Images

Tucked into the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest in Wisconsin’s Northwoods are four modern campgrounds (Crystal Lake, Firefly Lake, Big Musky, and Clear Lake) with 355 sites total, in addition to more rustic and primitive camping options. From lakeside, beachfront sites in Crystal Lake, you’re rewarded with beautiful sunrises and sunsets while Clear Lake sits on its namesake 846-acre lake.

What’s Nearby: Dinner at Little Bohemia Lodge, a supper club where John Dillinger engaged in a shoot-out with the F.B.I., in Manitowish Waters is an authentic Wisconsin tradition.

Best Campgrounds in Illinois

Our “Best campground in Illinois” rated park in Pittsfield is situated in the gentle rolling hills of Pike County in West Central Illinois. Get ready to enjoy the wooded grounds with shaded campsites and cabins or just relax on the beach. This park also offers a swimming pool, boat and golf cart rentals, planned activities, DJ’s ...

At Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resorts, we believe that we have some of the best campgrounds in Illinois! Each one of our Illinois campgrounds focuses on different camping amenities and accommodations making each campground very special. We think that camping has some great positive effects on families and that camping should be about bonding with your children and enjoying each other’s time together.

If you are planning a camping trip to Illinois with your family or looking for a great place to camp for your family vacation, check out one of our three Jellystone Parks. There is a Jellystone Park™ in Pittsfield , Amboy, and Millbrook.

Our “Best campground in Illinois” rated park in Pittsfield is situated in the gentle rolling hills of Pike County in West Central Illinois. Get ready to enjoy the wooded grounds with shaded campsites and cabins or just relax on the beach. This park also offers a swimming pool, boat and golf cart rentals, planned activities, DJ’s, fireworks, hey rides, playgrounds, a jumping pillow, Cable TV and so much more.

Our Amboy park showcases water park facilities, fishing, a sandy beach, gem mining, and themed weekends in season. Located only 13 miles away from our Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ in Amboy  is the Boyhood home of Ronald Reagan and only 14 miles away is the John Deere Historic Site.

Our park in Millbrook is located close to Chicago and offers 63 acres of rustic shaded camping. Our parks have plenty of cottages and RV spots to choose from so don’t miss out and plan your next family vacation weekend or week with our best campgrounds in Illinois.

No matter which park in Illinois you spend time in, you will be able to experience and enjoy a great family camping adventure! Be sure to make your reservations and you will understand what some of the best places to camp in Illinois are all about.

racemedia.org

Best Tent Camping: Illinois presents 50 private, state park, state recreation area, forest preserve, and wildlife area campgrounds, organized into three distinct regions. Selections are based on location, topography, size, and overall appeal, and every site is rated for beauty, privacy, spaciousness, safety and security, and cleanliness—so ...