Compared to other IL campsites, this one is prettier, but versus places I've been in WI or CO, this doesn't have as pretty scenery.
It is well maintained. There are some sites with no privacy, but if you get one in the treed area you will have some. My site could see are neighbor pretty easily but we set up our tent to block the opening in the trees.
P.S. raccoons are very used to humans and came up to us looking for food.
As someone who normally camps in state parks with only electricity hookups, this site was a welcome treat.
Rig: 2020 Micro Minnie 1700BH + Ford F-250
Campers: 2 parents, 3 boys ranging from 7 years old to 2 years old
Campsite Pros: Water + 50amp hookups. Wide, open spaces for kids to ride bikes and explore wildflowers. Duck viewing. Quiet. Almost 100 improved sites. Full bars on Verizon. Amazing sunsets. Sites seem to be mostly level.
Cons: Walkup only - no reservations taken. $35 a night is a bit steep. AT&T signal is spotty at times. Water hookup is far behind camping pad - bring extensions!
Spent a couple nights here (site 3) for Vintage Illinois at a nearby park. Quiet, fairly level, gravel sites. Electric worn but fully functional. Lots of trees and shade. From map it looked like site 3 was isolated at end of loop - weeellll, it IS at the end of a loop - right across from camp host and adjacent to maintenance area for lock & dam - not very picturesque. Didn’t use bathhouse so can’t comment on that. Drink vending machines by bathhouse. Local guy across from entrance to park sells firewood. Site had fire ring and picnic table. One thing to note - trees drop some kinda “nuts” and when you drive over them they pop and it sounds just like you are dragging low hanging branches. I started to backing and swore I was hitting branches (even though I’d looked and knew it was clear) and DW said we were clear….
Just down the street from Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park is the much smaller(and less crowded) Buffalo Rock State Park. It has some trails, camping, a playground and other facilities, and is right next to the I& M Canal Tow Path.
At a leisurely pace, it only took me a couple of hours to walk all the trails. They are nice well-kept trails. Most of the surface is gravel but some parts are just dirt. The trail is wide and mowed at least two feet on either side. I’m not sure if bikes are allowed; I did see bike tracks and did not see any sign that indicated they were not allowed. Very little elevation changes and none that were steep. There are a couple of overlooks that offer beautiful views of Illinois River.
The campsites are directly off of the towpath. The furthest site(the group site) is three miles from the ranger station. There are four sites total. One of the sites is kinda small but big enough for a single tent and two campers. The largest site is the group site which is the only site with a picnic table and shelter. The shelter needed some work but overall was in decent condition. It as a fireplace that was pretty neat. Each site has a fire ring with grill. I did feel a little exposed being right off the trail. I was nervous leaving all my gear behind when I went for a hike. Nobody messed with my stuff though and everyone I saw was very friendly. I did have a visitor around two in the morning my second night. He was looking for a place to rest for a few hours and left at daybreak. The sites are only accessible by walking or biking.
The park has a playground, restroom(with running water), and drinking fountains with spouts. The water tasted funny but it was nice having a source to refill my bottles. Also, there are buffalo and that’s pretty cool.
Went tent camping here and reserved our spot in advance. We bought fire wood from a locals front lawn at the entrance to the state park. Put 5$ in the bin and take a bundle. Its 30 mins away from Starved Rock and Matthiesson State Park. Good hiking. The river spots are all booked by large RVs and the tent spots have grills over the fire pits and picnic tables. lots of tree cover which came in handy when it rained in the morning. Otherwise great weather and not buggy. Dogs allowed.
Beautiful canyons to hike through! Many waterfalls and streams as well!
The campground is pretty basic. For $25-35 per night, you can get a site with electrical hookup. The east loop has better tree coverage and more privacy. The west loop has more site in a large open space, maybe better for groups. I give 3 stars because there is not much to do at the campground itself. You have to get in your car and drive to any hiking at Starved Rock State park, just 10 min away, and battle the crowds for parking. The campground has just 2 real bathrooms, one for each loop. Each has 2 flush toilets and 2 showers. Showers were pretty rough, no temp control and spraying everywhere but your body. Some portapotties are scattered around, but pretty ripe by the end of August. Use the woods. There are 2 small playgrounds, but one is just a swing set. So if you have kiddos, there is not much for them to entertain themselves with at the campground- no hiking trails, no pond or fishing or swimming, no DNR programs, etc. Park has posted signed that there is ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL allowed, so keep it private and quiet. that being said, the hiking in the general area is awesome!!! Lots of canyons, bluffs, and overlooks. Just be prepared to drive. A very basic “store” open after 3pm, just had fire starters, marshmallows, bug spray, ice cream, and pop. Some little souvenirs. No milk or eggs. For a 30 ft travel trailer, our campsite has just enough room for our slide out and awning. The fire pit was well placed and had a grate for cooking. Electrical was confusing- our site was listed at 50A only. It really was 50/30/20A(see pictures). Easy to back in to, mostly level site for quick set up. Our campsite, 85, had nice shade and lots of trees. You can see and hear your neighbors but there is decent separation. We had space to hang a hammock and have a fire, with a full picnic table as well. There are a few sites for fresh water fill, and a dump station. Took about 45 min for us to dump being 5th in line at 10:30am. Book early- reservations open online 6 months in advance and book up quickly. Most summer weekends are completely full. Spring and fall camping is great here- waterfalls are rain fed and often dry in summer. Sites 96 and 97 would be my picks if I could choose: both are private and have large camping pad areas. Avoid the sites by water spouts and roads, there is no privacy when everyone is cutting through your site! Overall, a basic campground with what you need for camping, no frills, no activities or recreation, but close to the hiking at Starved Rock State Park about 10 min away by car. Biking nearby would be an extreme sport, the roads are very narrow with extreme drop offs and no shoulder. Not for kids.
This is a nice campground, especially for families. It would be perfect for groups of families traveling together or a reunion or something. That being said, it’s very busy during peak times with lots of children. Dogs are allowed and lots of people bring them. Plan on making reservations in advance (especially if you need 50 amp or a space for a large RV). Sites have electric and a picnic table plus fire pit and there’s firewood for sale on site. NO alcohol is allowed. The gates are closed from 10p-8:30a so plan accordingly. We have AT&T and barely ever had service on our phones but it’s better up at the actual park
The back part of the loop had pit toilets and there are flush toilets and showers up front along with a spigot for water. Taste of the water is ok. Dumpsters for trash are by where you pull in and out. A few notes on the bathrooms/showers:
Lights are not on inside the bathrooms overnight.
Only two showers each for men and women. The women’s showers had a line around 8am. No lines for showers in middle of the day or around dinner time.
Showers are the type where you push the button and the (hot!!) water runs for two minutes then turns off and you have to push it again.
Shower area is a little bit older but toilets are fine and the sinks have soap and a hand dryer.
RVs will probably like the inside part of the loop ok (42-53, 39-42) but I wouldn’t stay there in a tent unless you had a group and were booking multiple sites. We (tent campers) had site 50 (very similar to 46 and 48 also) and it was okay. You’re fairly close to your neighbors. Site 52 is amazing for tent campers (it’s way back from the road although still drive in) but you’re farther from your electricity there.
Starved Rock is beautiful but can be very busy on nice weekends. There is dining at the lodge including one place open in the summer where you can bring your dog (has outdoor patio). Matthiessen State Park is beautiful as well but get there early because by mid morning the parking can fill up. There are things to do in town as well (wineries, shopping). If you are just going for hiking a weekend is probably a sufficient length of time to stay.
A note on wheelchair access: the bathrooms are accessible as is the campground overall (there are paved roads) but Starved Rock and Matthiessen are both very heavy on the stairs.
This campground is very well maintained with all the amenities you could need: a small camping store, communal kitchen, firepits, and clean bathrooms. Check out the office for fun seasonal events like group hikes and geocaching contests.
Located in the Norwest suburb of Palatine, this campground is super accessible from Chicago and a fun getaway for suburban camping. Grocery stores and modern conveniences are minutes away. From the campground you have access to the entire Deer Park preserve and it's paved cycling and walking trails.
Cook County residents get a nice discount, as do veterans. Rates go up on the weekends. A one week limit for all stays unless you get approval from higher-ups.
RV spots are concrete, flat, and easy to get into.
Overall, a very clean and well-loved sem-urban camping experience.
Very large campground. Many seasonal areas. Will let you set up a group of campers in a circle in grassy areas. They do an extremely large Halloween event Columbus Day weekend. Jam packed for this event. Awards for site decoration. Campsites set up haunted houses, candy for kids, drinks for adults. Fun to see adults and kids all dressed up.
A good place to camp . Price is very reasonable and the people are great . Easy to get in and out . Lots are nice and well kept . Close to everything you need. Not a lot to do at this location
This campground was easy peasy and had an incredible view of the lake. We were right there on the lake. We went in September so I'm not sure how it would be in the summer since there is little to no cover.
There was nice hiking and we were able to get out into the woods for a while. My friend and I were surprised that such a nice place is so close to Chicago. There is a dock and the campground had good access to water, sink, and a nice bathroom. Lots of families were there when we went. Overall would recommend.
We tried to stay in site 14 that had 30 amp service. Our TT is 30amp. Our A/C unit kept tripping the breaker on the campground pole. Our breaker inside never tripped. They had someone come out and claimed their electric was fine and our A/C was broken. Went home bc it was 95 out and our A/C ran fine off a 20amp household outlet with no issues. Reported this so it could be fixed and the office still argued that their service was fine.
Electric site 7/5-7/7. Campground gets quiet at night. So many campground hosts around I don’t think they would let it be loud past quiet hours. First night the concession closed early so weren’t able to get firewood and had to go to the closest gas station. We could not figure out the problem but I’ve never had such a hard time keeping a fire lit with the wood from the concessions and gas station. Did some fishing, just caught some bluegill. We walked around a lot and did some kayaking. Shower houses were pretty gross in tent loops. We still had a great weekend.
Starved Rock State Park is a nice place. The camp sites are nice as well as pretty spacious on the whole. Lots of green between nearly all sites. It has rained a lot lately and it can be a little muddy, not really the parks fault. There are ports-potties in the loop and really run down shower houses at the entrance of the loops. The little store is tiny with limited hours. Firewood is expensive, but I can not vouch for the quality. The loop roads are in disrepair with a lot of broken surface and potholes. Lots of shade in the back. May or may not come back.
I love to camp at this place because the park has nice sites to camp. I stayed at the site #90 it was a big space and had alot of trees around that made a perfect shade. In addition, the park has a lake and you can rent a boat and have fun. The only thing i did not like was the people in the front of my site had a a party an making alot of noise and not following the park quiet hours. Enjoy camping everyone !
Beautiful spot for our single overnight. Staff were great; friendly and helpful. Park was well kept, with lots of green around RV and tent sites. Nice pool, dog park, store, and even a stream system that wanders through the park (no swimming in the stream). Also close to Starved Rock State Park for some neat scenery and hiking. The only downside side is that some of the RV sites are a little close together - didn’t impact our stay though. Two thumbs up! :)
The following review was done by my thirteen year old daughter. I agree with the shower problems and add that it was our final cold showers in disgusting conditions that lead us to write the review.
“If I could give negative stars❌ then trust me I would. Normally I consider myself a good sport and can sit through a lot of things✌🏼 but not the showers here😡, they look like they haven’t been cleaned or cared for in months🤮 and often have no toilet paper in the bathroom stalls. When I took a shower I found a small frog🐸 in it and I wish I was joking about that. There were dead mosquitoes on the walls💀, dead moths on the floors, piles of hair on the floors🤢, and dirt in every crack. But they have a nice Rockwall🧗🏽♂️.”
Other than the shower issues, the campsite🏕 was fine. It was easy to level, they give you free firewood with your stay, the staff is kind😇 at checkin and during rock wall activities. The location🗺 is the main draw, as we wanted to be close enough to visit Chicago and suburbs.🙂
I've camped here in the cabin option, which was fine and relatively quiet a few years ago, but wanted to find a place more secluded to do dispersed camping and saw this listed on thedyrt.com under dispersed camping. I called to verify and they do NOT allow any dispersed camping unless if you have a group of 40 or more people for boy scouts/girl scouts.