THE BEST CAMPING NEAR
Alhambra, ILLINOIS
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Beautiful

Great picnic area

Best COE to date

Clean. Friendly staff. Beautiful area

Best COE campground

Very, very clean. Beautiful area. Friendly staff

Nice

We just stayed one night so didn’t take advantage of most of the amenities but very nice people, clean sites. Sites a little close but overall we would stay again.

The bonus is the fried chicken

Great little campground just outside of Grafton, Illinois, on the Mississippi River. The campground is located in an open grove of old trees. There were owls when we were there. In winter there are a lot of eagles feeding in the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers which meet at the park. The Lewis & Clark expedition started nearby. Most of the sites were fairly level, but I didn’t see any pull through sites. Lots of hiking trails, and the lodge has one of the best fried chicken dinners around on Sunday.

Lakeside camping

Ranger Review Primus LiTech Trek Kettle at Dam West Campground

Campground Review

What a great campground on the shore of Carlyle Lake! Right next to the marina and with many sites right on the lake, you can’t go wrong here. Sites looked a bit more level on the inside of the loop than the lakeside sites, but I guess that’s the price you pay for real estate. My site was not the most level, but only steps from the beach with a few trees that might work for hammocking. The site was really clean and had plenty of space, with a nice paved parking pad, fire pit, picnic table, and electric hook up (all sites have electric!). Across the drive was a nice amphitheater and playground and a basic bathroom. The fairly clean shower house for the whole campground is up near the entrance (it also has a laundry room, but I did not check it out). The campground host for this summer is super nice and is likely to visit for a bit as he buzzes around on his scooter. There is a bike path that goes right past the campground that was busy all weekend with bikers, runners, and walkers, and takes you from the shower house to the marina in just a short walk.

Gear Review

Primus LiTech Trek Kettle As a Ranger for The Dyrt, from time to time I get new gear to review. On this camping trip I tested out the Primus LiTech Trek Kettle. I have to say, this may be my new favorite cooking pot. It is the perfect size for one person (which works well as I frequently camp solo). I used it to heat up some frozen chili for dinner and then used it again in the morning to heat water for oatmeal. Here’s what I liked:

  • The kettle holds just a bit more than a liter of water (or chili), which is about all you need to make coffee, heat large single servings of food, or just about anything
  • It’s non-stick, so clean-up is a breeze and doesn’t retain odors
  • The handles fold out and are easy to grip, and fold around the pot for easy out of the way storage
  • Its super light weight (perfect for backpacking)
  • Even though it was taller than wide, water heated up in it very quickly
  • My little fuel canister fits inside perfectly with almost no rattling
  • Primus included a nice carrying bag that fits the pot and has a small bit of room to spare Here’s what baffled me:
  • The lid doubles as a tiny nonstick frying pan. But it is big enough for maybe one egg. It is so small that I am not exactly sure what you could make in it. I understand the desire to make the lid “usable”, but maybe a regular lid with a colander built in would have been more useful.
  • The lid is not a great fit, and when packing up for storage, it kept sliding off.

Despite the weird frying pan lid, I am really happy with the LiTech Kettle. It meets all of my needs in a lightweight package. It is easy to clean up, packs small, has good handles, and is a great addition to my camp cooking arsenal.

Dark sky, great stargazing

This is a small lake management by the state of Illinois. The campground is usually not crowded, but some weekends do get busy. There is a shower/bathroom that was clean each time we were there. Water and electric is available at most sites. The campground is pretty far from any big metro area, so the sky was real dark, great for picking out constellations. We listened o Whip-por-will calls around the campfire.

Beautiful family campground

Family friendly atmosphere, big inground pool, 18 hole putt putt, lots of outdoor games, planned activities on the weekends, shaded sites, and air conditioned cabins! This place is a campers dream with great staff always happy to see you.

Not good!

Not very well maintained by the State of Illinois. Restrooms are horrible! So many better places to camp in the Carlyle Lake area.

Location is king

No frills here. But everything you need. 30/50 amp, water, sewer. I was very skeptical, so naturally I booked 3 nights. Fully fenced, police very close. Never once felt unsafe.

Downsides. Kinda noisy. Kinda bright at night (I’ll take it for the safety) No privacy (no trees)

Very worth the stay. Great location. People very nice.

So close but plenty far away....

All campsites are on the lake. Very clean and spot on! Open all year. 24/7 security. Close to civilization but inside the river levy so also very peaceful.

Spacious campsites, beautiful fall color, on the edge of a cornfield

Quiet midweek in tent camping area except for heavy equipment in field nearby. Large campground with open space and playground for kids. Short walk to beautiful lake.

Corps of Engineers

Great campground well maintained. Expertly managed

Lots of trees, shades, great campsites, friendly hosts and clean facilities

This campground qualifies for the senior pass for reduced rates. It is directly on Carlyle Lake, ,the largest lake in Illinois. It has activities for children on the weekends. The campsites have sewer and water on some sites, as well as other sites with electricity available. There are a lot of mature trees in the campground that provides plenty of shade int he summer. Many of the sites are blacktopped and large RV's will fit on the sites. There is a beach very near the campground that is within walking distance. There are also pools located near to the campground that can be used by the public.

Quaint Campground

This is a small quaint campground that allows you to get a feel for the state park. There are plenty of walking trails, rec areas and fishing available around the park which makes it for the perfect weekend getaway for the family.

Fires are allowed and you are able to drive to your campsite.

If you're military this is the place to go.

This campground is clean and convenient to the St Louis area. The Outdoor Recreation unit is very responsive to needs of campers. The nearby lake is scenic and peaceful. The campground has occasional airplane noise but it's not bad for a Air Base.

Great trails, historic lodge

Pere Marquette has many options for your stay. The campground may need a little attention and some lots are not level, but the area is worth the hassle. If you prefer, The Lodge has great character and a wonderful great room. There is a restaurant inside the main building with decent food. I prefer to stay in a cabin room which sleeps 4-6 and affords you more privacy. Outside, the hiking is worth the effort. The views from the bluffs are gorgeous.

Great family campground

We LOVE Hazlet! We have a popup camper and camp here often. It's a huge campground with a smaller reservable section and an extensive first come, first serve section. There are usually always spaces available. Sites are pretty level, are gravel, wooded, and spacious. There are several 'loops'' of sites that extend out and have water views. The shower houses are clean and air conditioned, there's a nice camp store that serves breakfast and basic lunches, and there is a nice large zero entry pool for a $5 fee on weekends. The campground hosts are sprinkled througout the grounds and are always friendly and accommodating. They have a huge Halloween event every year where people decorate their sites (pretty extensively) and there's a haunted house, then kids trick or treat from site to site. The campground also provides pumpkin painting contests and other fun activities. Better get there at least a week in advance for the halloweeen festivities- it fills up!

Nice spot just off the interstate

This is my camping spot of choice when visiting starved rock state park. They have great walk in camp grounds only a couple hundred yards from your car! Makes for a more secluded feel but everything you need is only a short walk away!

Relaxing

Go early to get good spots

Bring a boat!!

My wife and I stayed at this campground for two nights along our cross-country road trip. We wanted to hit up a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game and this campground was close enough. We were there during the weekday so there was barely anybody around. The lake is enormous and there are plenty of fishing access points including a large dock so bring a boat!!

Lake, wilderness, always clean bath houses

We camp here every summer with my sons shooting team. Huge campground with a lake to boat, kayak or fish from the bank. Quiet but can be dry and hot in the summer. Fun place to gather with friends.

Shad cap sites

Biggest draw back is no electricity in equestrian sites. There’s is water and toilets trails aren’t marked real well but very wide nicely maintained to.

Good because of location

A true RV Park where concrete is king and trees don’t exist. This RV Park has a pool but its biggest benefit is how close to the attractions it is.

Nice little campground

We did a little weekend getaway to do some geocaching near Utica, IL. Nice pool and great owners!

Hidden Gem in Rural Illinois

Best Lake, Marina, campground and all around scenery.

Absolutley love it!

Great hikes! Very strenous in some locations, but well worth the effort for the views! Overall well kept and have have an incredible lodge! Just down the road from Grafton IL

Cabin rental Washington County Lake IL

It is overcrowded all through the week in the RV area with no great views of the lake, sadly. 2. cabins.but overpriced due to no running water or nearby ttoilet but more private and great lake views Awesome fishing here and boat rentals

Pretty views for days

This park is beautiful. Located about 25 minutes from St Louis. They have paddle boats and bikes and group bikes for rental. Located right next to a lake with a lot of RV and tent camping spots. Kids had a blast riding bikes. Even finding a few little frogs jumping around and fireflies at night.

Pretty good for a state park

Has electric sites only. Water and dump at the entrance. Shower houses. Very nice pool and camp store. Hosts scattered and occasionally hard to find to pay for your spot. Wildlife galore. Next to largest lake in Illinois. Fishing good with a boat. Worth the trip.