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Ava, ILLINOIS

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Shaded sites right on Rend Lake

This COE campground is conveniently located and just a quick off ramp from the Interstate. I stayed here one night as I headed south from Chicago. The one night only ultimately turned out to be a blessing. It seemed that I inadvertently booked a site in the middle of a family reunion. I don’t mind a good party, but when you leave your dog tethered to visit at other campsites and your dog is barking for hours, well, that’s not okay. 

I was in site 30, located directly on the water in the Nighthawk campground. Site 29 is very close and the picnic bench is literally 8 feet away from the back of the pad of site 30.  The class A rig in the video belonged to my neighbor, so you can see how close the sites were. Don’t expect much in the way of privacy. Otherwise, the site is shaded and fairly level with a nice lake view and direct access. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t awake to sounds of nature. Early in the morning the sawing and woodchipping began. To make matters worse it was windy. All the woodchopping and sawdust was flying in the air which required us to close windows and hunker down inside until the park crew finished their work. I understand that maintaining the park is important, but why on a busy camping weekend? 

The restrooms were a short walk across the road and up the slope from site 30. I didn’t use the facilities, so can’t speak to their functionality or cleanliness. I like to camp at lakes because I enjoy kayaking and this lake would allow for all kinds of water activities which is a plus. 

Also, if you haven’t made a reservation and decide to do a walk up make sure you have cash. A couple was turned away and told to get cash because they don’t take credit cards or checks. 

I might stay here again as a layover spot because of its convenient location to the interstate, but it wouldn’t be a destination for me.

Great campground

Turtle is great. She runs the campground and loves kids. Campground is on the lake. Has a beach for swimming and you can rent all the fun items like paddle boards, kayaks, and boats.
Some of the sites are a bit close together, would have liked a bit more space but it worked out very well.
Good place to fish.
Shower had hot water!! 😋

Ehhh, ok.

My family and I stayed here just passing through and we checked in with the very friendly staff… The campground itself was not the greatest, but okay for just one night passing through! It’s location was great for us, traveling west, being about 45 min. out of St. Louis, MO. The site was pretty muddy, but they had been experiencing lots of rain. Wouldn’t recommend for a vacation, but for one night, passing through, it will be more than suitable!

Easy on and off I-64

Quick overnight stay on our way West. Staff was friendly and welcoming on check in. Easy on and off Interstate 64.

Other reviews must be old

Let’s start with the good. The outhouses were clean and it was pretty cheap. Ok,on to all of the not so great. The trails were VERY unkept and there was poison ivy at nearly every step, the entry map shows a beach- there might have been 5 years ago but now absolutely nothing that even resembled a place to swim. If I hadn’t been tricked into thinking it was a decent campground, I might not have been as disappointed but we were looking for a specific type of camping experience and this place failed to meet even the lowest of expectations.

Meh capground but worth it for the trails

The sites are gravel and some are extremely unlevel. Electric hookups. Pit toilets but the shower house was nice and clean. The trails in this CCC era park are marvelous. We also loved the Lodge for dinner and climbing the water tower. We will definitely be staying here again.

It's your average state campground

Electric only, no water or sewer hookups. Pit toilets. Nice and clean. People kept cutting through our campsite on their way to the playground, which is whatever, but some people are bothered by that kind of thing. Very laid back place overall.

So beautiful

There’s not a bad campsite here. There are sites with electric, water, and sewer. Several sites are right on Rend Lake. Most sites have concrete picnic tables and fire rings. The bath houses are really nice, they are individual shower houses that are clean and well lit. The grounds are very well maintained. The park was full while we stayed there, but was really quiet. You can tent camp or use a camper.

A hidden gem in southern IL

A little hilly and the gravel sites are close together, but it has full hookup options, as well as just electric. The marina shop also provides kayak and canoe rentals. Little Grassy is a beautiful lake to explore!

Good spot deserves 4 1/2 stars

Had very nice trails, very clean. Forest is beautiful. We camped at the primitive area spot 11. Spots are pretty dam close to each other. There is camping you can walk off to. We stayed for 1 night at the Turkey Ridge, so we stayed closer to the parking. Was only 1 other group camping on a Wednesday. There are “out houses” close by. Although they were pretty bad my buddy said “storm of flies came shooting out the hole like a tornado.” So I do agree they deserve some slight repercussion for the lack of cleanliness. All and all a great area to camp. A great hidden gem!

Great place

Gary and his family are very polite and very happy to be helpful. Great prices. Burn pit and cooking grill above the pit at every site I visited. Clean Air condition in the bathroom. Showers work great. I stayed here twice, my family and I had a great time and met some really nice people.

Converted Golf Course w/fishing ponds

Relatively new. Has great potential. Located in Vienna, IL near Shawnee National Forest. It has 3 fish & release ponds. Sites were a bit hilly which stands to reason since it was converted from a golf course in 2016. Some sites are pretty long. It accommodated our 35ft. MH with attached car. Some sites are close together with very little shade. The campground had lots of open sites during our stay (3rd week in Aug), but during our stay 2 other short stay campers came in & they parked them right next to us. -Full hook ups available -Hosts were very friendly & provided insight to area. -Bath house - provided air conditioning. Although new & spacious there were only 4 in the entire campground & the toilet & shower were in same space. Upon arrival only 1 was open near us. Subsequently the 2nd was closed due to a water valve malfunction & wasn’t re-opened during our stay. My husband likes level sites & facilities he could use. He said he wouldn’t come back any time soon.

Water lovers paradise!

Anything you’d ever want to enjoy on the water is all at your finger tips! Hundreds of campsites, marinas with boat rentals, beaches and stores nearby in case you need something. This area is truly a southern Illinois gem!

Small sites, high prices.

Small campground located on the caster river. Sites are very close together. Cost was 50 a night for full hook up. We were close to river. Not worth the money in our opinion. They told us the price was high because they didn't charge per person but they still charged our guest $10 per person to visit with us. Too high a price for crowded camp sites on top of each other. We only had 2 adults and child. Could have gone to Huzzah Valley or Ozark Outdoors for less and had nice size area. We couldn't get a picnic table between camper….

The few campsites they were bigger were rented at a yearly rate of $1600 plus electric.

Lovely park, standard campground

This is your run of the mill campground. Lots of RVs, close sites, not much privacy. That being said there is nothing wrong with it, it’s just not a campground I’d go out of my way to stay at again.

Enjoyed our stay

New campground and trying to get established. Sites are large, staff is very nice and helpful. Didn’t go in restrooms but they look new and very nice. Price was right and we will DEFINITELY be back.

Love this place!

We love the large beach. The campsites have a nice set up and are a decent size. The kids loved the playground. There were kids everywhere and everyone was very friendly! Fun spot!

Small and cozy

My parents stay at this campground a lot when they come to visit us. It has big sites and lots of grass. No pool or anything and a very small play area but it works well for them because they are older and don’t care about those things.

There is a big grassy area in the middle of the loop of wanting to play games and run around.

Highway pull off

This is a campground that is not great for camping. The sites are close together, no shade, mostly cement. If you want a place to get off the highway for the night and the jump back on… this is for you.

Great Campground

Great place to go. Lots of shade and always clean. Has a nice pool.

Nice quaint campground

This is a great little campground with a fishing lake. Sites are gravel but well maintained. Sites are fairly close with most shaded. Getting around is a little right for bigger rigs but still doable as long as you’re careful. Make sure you fill up at the dump station before you get to the campground because there’s no easy way to turn around if you miss it. It’s approximately a mile before the campground on your left. Be aware that there are no showers though, only bathrooms. Fifty-one Class BE campsites, 95 Class C campsites, an equestrian site with eight stalls for horses, and four Class D (primitive) campsites are available throughout the area. A group camp area has its own shelter, stone fireplace, electricity and tables. Some campsites at Randolph County SRA can be reserved online through Reserve America at www.reserveamerica.com Randolph County State Recreation Area is a mecca for outdoor recreational activities. Fishing, hiking, picnicking, boating, hunting and camping are just a few of the choices on the 1,101 acres at the site. Located five miles northeast of Chester, Randolph County SRA lies in the rolling hill country of southern Illinois. Offering a cool retreat from hot summer days, well shaded picnic areas, hiking trails and scenic forest stands await park visitors.

Park Information:

West Central Illinois

4301 S. Lake Drive Chester IL 62233

618-826-2706

N: 37.968 W: -89.802 History In 1958, land was purchased and plans started to build a dam and spillway for a 65-acre lake. The lake was completed in 1961, and since that time, recreational facilities have been added to provide picnic shelters, toilets, a boat ramp and a concession stand at Randolph County SRA..

Directions All access to Randolph County SRA is from the west entrance off Palestine Rd. Coming from the North on Route 3, visitors will turn east on Shawneetown Trail south of the town of Ellis Grove. At Palestine, turn south on Palestine Road and proceed two miles, then turn left at the entrance sign. Coming from the north on Route 150, turn west on Shawneetown Trail and proceed to Palestine, then turn south on Palestine Road and proceed to the entrance sign and turn left into the area. Coming from the south from Chester, head north on Palestine Road to the entrance sign and turn right into the area.

Best campground on Rend Lake!

This is hands-down the nicest campground on Rend Lake. With hundreds of sites to choose from with some being tucked into the woods and others sitting right on the lake including some walking intense fights this campground is one of the nicest that you’ll find in Illinois. Plenty of bathrooms and bath houses as well as playgrounds and spacious campsites for larger RVs and plenty of access to the lake.

Beautiful Rend Lake campground

This is an older state park but still has hundreds of well-maintained sites and if you get to some of the first come sites at just the right time you will have a lakefront campsite to enjoy. Easy to get around and plenty of facilities with bath houses and bathrooms as well as playgrounds for the kids and hiking and biking trails.

Don’t get locked out

We camped here a couple of years ago and while the campsites themselves and the campground are clean and quiet the campground host gave us the wrong gate access code and in order to be able to get to our campsite that night we had to hike all the way down the road and wake the campground host up so that he could let us in which was over a 1 mile hike in the middle of the night. Like I said the actual campground is nice and clean and quiet but other than hiking there really isn’t much in the form of any activities. And unfortunately because of our bad experience that night we will probably not ever camp here again.

Clean sites, friendly staff

We camped here on a pretty hot weekend, and most of the sites are well-shaded and mowed. We liked that we could walk down to the water and that there was a bike trail nearby that we could walk on.

EXCELLENT

Great campsite

Black top pads

very clean

excellent view of the lake if your lucky enough to get a lake front spot

fills up very fast

extremely clean showers

Great camping

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.

Beautiful Park

This is a small park and hard to get a reservation because of how nice it is. There was a creek that ran not far from the campground. My kids played in the creek all day. We caught cray fish/crawdads and cooked them up for dinner. My kids still talk about going back there as teenagers and they were little kids when we went.

Comfy and Relaxing

One of our favorite getaways close to home for a weekend. Nice large shaded sites. Friendly and helpful staff.