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Belvidere, ILLINOIS

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Good for family campground

This camp site does not have very secluded spots. I would have enjoyed a more quiet plot of land amongst some pine trees.

We did not get out to see much of the park. Would like to come back and experience the actual beauty of the park not just the family campground.

Wonderful

We did our first (family of 5) camping trip at Thomas Woods. We were at site 4 which is electric hookup and it was a huge area! The kids had so much space to run around and explore. They loved the well pump. We explored the campground both tent and rv. Both areas were well spaced out with enough privacy. There was another 3 groups there but didn’t noticed everyone was quiet. We also went on walks within the conservation, the trails were very easy and was a nice walk. We will definitely be going back to Thomas Woods

Short stay park.

Large trees provide ample shade. A nice park for a short stay. Water is available at certain locations not at individual lots. This is the park with the Chief Blackhawk statue.

Amazing hiking and beautifully kept but a bit pricey

This campground is in a populated area but the nature preserve is big. We rarely saw traffic once here. A train goes by a couple times but it was always during the day. 

It’s pricey if you are from out of the county. We were hoping to camp at the primitive sites but they are walk-in only. Our teardrop wasn’t allowed. We settled at site 37 and enjoyed our stay. There are vault toilets but the large number of big RVs meant they were not used often leaving them almost like our private restrooms. Each site has water and electric. Trees are around the outside with few on the inside sites. All the sites have paved pads. 

The highlight of our experience is the hiking. There are miles of trails. On one hike we were on paved, sifted gravel, grass and single trek trails. There are a lot of loops giving you options. When we left we still hadn’t hiked all of them. 

If the price was more reasonable we would certainly be back. If you need the water/electric then this is a great choice.

Family Friendly Camping

Hickory Hills is a quiet but activity filled campground 30 minutes from Madison. There are many permanent campers but they are all friendly and welcoming. The lake has a nice beach. The pool is not too large but works on a hot day. Most people have golf carts as there is no place to park by the pool or the club house. The bathrooms are clean and well maintained. Every weekend there are activities planned from wine tasting to Halloween trick or treating. The sites are large and you can choose from shady or sunny sites. Great place to spend a few days or the whole summer.

Family fun!!

Great place to take the fam, big sites not to close to other campers. Lots of trees to hang a hammock and relax, great beach, good hiking. Going back for a weekend to check out the walk ins.

Water Hookups for the Win

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!

This is not an camp ground it a RV condo ass

Nice place though

The people who work there are great!

The people who work there are wonderful and even most of the seasonal campers we met were very nice people. We did have a few run ins with some not so good people however and the cops visit there often. The owners do their part to make things right however and immediately made the people causing trouble to leave. We were there for about a month and overall it was a good place to stay. Our tent site was right next to the playground, pool and bathrooms which made it convenient for our children, however kids run all over at night on the weekends until 2 am so the noise at that hour can be annoying. We also went through several storms while there and were offered parts for one of our canopies that blew away and the security guy who was always nice to us tied our other canopy to a tree when it also blew away to prevent it from going farther and being more damaged. Bathrooms I would give a 2 star rating alone.

Best summer!!

We are seasonal sat crazyhorse campground , this is our first year and we have had the best summer ! ! The people are great from Jim the owner to Barb and Wayne. We have made some great new friends. There are always activities going on , bands , Dj’s, bags contest. The sugar river is so much fun kayaking and tubing which is all part of you stay at crazy horse. Tons of fun for kids and adults , I highly recommend .

Laid back

Nice park pretty laid back. Had some cool amenities like the off road park and multiple fishing spots. Has a winery and cool dive bars all within 10 min. Only downside is all the noise from the road and the drag strip near by.

Great!

Great enviorment

Great family campground!

Always have a great time here. Easy to get around and very calm environment. Close drive to starved rock state park

First to Review
Clean & Safe Urban Campground On County Preserve

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.

It might be the timing

We had a wooded site in the Sunset campground, mid-week.

The sites are rustic but nicely groomed with a tree line between most campsites, although almost none of the spots had occupants. The camp hosts were very nice and very communicative about all the happenings. Picnic table and fire pit included. Long enough drive in for RVs. But enough grass for tenting. Not many trees available for clothes lines.

Unfortunately, we might have had bad timing. The beach was closed due to high levels of bacteria. The pit toilets closest to us were also closed due to a bee hive being found so we ended up driving to the flush toilets if there was any urgency but could walk if you wanted. We also picked a spot by the water fountain. The water was yellow from iron. It had just stormed so the bugs were bad and everything was wet. So mostly a series of unfortunate events but we still enjoyed our time.

Because this is a prairie, there is so much to look at! The hiking trails are great through prairie and woods. The sunrise over the prairie and the sunset colors of the sky were great.

Not my favorite

We went here for a friend's birthday. It felt like we were packed in like sardines. Barely enough space to use the fire pit. Not much for shade and the only separating you from your neighbors are driveways/roads. The best parts was the full hookups, the pool, and the live music.

I do not think we will return to this campground.

Fort Atkinson Yogi Bear

We had a great time camping over the summer! Plenty for the kids and adults.

Tent camping near lake

Tent sites are in hickory hills area. Easy walk to showers/toilets over across from site 100. Tent sites are much more shaded and private than electric sites. We were traveling with another family so had two sites. If you have two parties I'd recommend sites 27 and 31 which have a little private path and potentially 53 and 5 which also appeared to have a path between them. Our sites 47 and 53 were big and shaded but not very flat for sleeping. Boat launch very close if you bring your own kayaks or canoes. There are also some for rent at the other end of the park. Park and ice at concessions.

Good open place to camp

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

Great campground near a rails-to-trails type of path

This is a nice campground that winds around through some light woods. Campsites have electric hookups. There are certainly lots of picnic tables. We saw more than one per site. With only a few people camping here, there was plenty of space between campers. There is no separating vegetation though. 

A bike path in Pecatonica which is just down the road. Camp here and day trip on the bike path or use this as a stop for your long distance bike tour. 

This is a great campground to get away near a nice small town.

Beautiful park!

Beautiful park to camp. Very spacious and lots of trees for shade. A perfect spot to come and have some relaxing time away from the city. Park has trails that lead to the river. My site number was 69. I definitely will return to this park again.

Gem of a campground

Lots to do, fishing, hiking, exploring. Good size campsites with nice shade trees. Close to all areas. Wildlife. Bait shop and camp store. Was there on 4th of July excellent fireworks display.

More of a trailer park, not a campground feeling

Half of camping sites closed due to flooding. Big sites, not a lot of bugs or critters, electric available, pool but was closed at our visit. Neighbors were not friendly at all, permanent campers just didn’t socialize. Workers never told us about activities our kids could do, we had no clue they were available. Showers were nice though. Water on site, not from other campsites. Beach was amazing!!

Great state park for family RV camping

I love everything about this park except the beach, so it didn’t get a 5 star. We stayed at site 98- just barely big enough to fit our travel trailer in and right next to the showers and bathrooms. Not a great location, but fine. Took a walk around and found plenty of other large, private shaded electric sites. If we came here again I would go for a site away from the bathroom. The tent sites looks fantastic- large and private. Plenty of hiking trails here, a decent playground, and tons of large fields to picnic in. Park has a Facebook page where they post activities. Friday night we saw a presentation on the cranes of Wisconsin, and Saturday morning we did a parkwide scavenger hunt. All fun for the family. We would definitely camp here again. The beach is across the very busy road, and has about 10 ft of sand before the road. Fine for a dip, but not relaxing. Very crowded. Other beaches are nearby but not free. Town of Lake Geneva is very cute in an upscale tourist way. Our kid found the museum a lot of fun.

Ranger review: Morsel Spork at Whitewater Lake- Kettle Moraine State Forest

Campground Review: Another nice visit to my favorite park! I love that this campground is small and secluded, yet close enough to cities that would have anything you needed. There is lots to do- two lakes, many hiking trails, and a great beach. We took our boat out for the first time on Whitewater Lake and enjoyed it. We live in Delavan, and the lake there gets filled with people so you can’t enjoy yourself without some yahoo zooming by. Whitewater lake is a big difference- it’s spread out enough that you can enjoy quiet time for fishing and relaxing yet there is still plenty of space for tubing or hotdogging on your jet ski without disturbing others. Rice Lake seems even calmer, but we didn’t get out on it this time. The beach is my favorite part- maybe because we come so often just for a day trip? It’s nicely spread out on a hill so it’s easy to see your kids in the water no matter where you are sitting. The shady areas get claimed first, so you may want to bring an umbrella or canopy if you come later in the day. The pit toilets and changing rooms are clean and maintained. There are also garbage and recycling cans, and it seems like every visit I make someone comes around and empties them so they don’t attract a lot of bugs or overflow with trash. As far as the campground goes, there are three separate sections. The east loop, the west loop, and the Hickory Woods group camp. Some of the sites on the east and west loop can be hit or miss- there’s a lot of size difference. The sites are all pretty private with lots of trees and brush between sites. There are a lot of long driveways for backing RV’s into. We were at site 610, on the east loop. This was one of the few electric sites available at the campground. The bathrooms were right behind this site, which was convenient, but it might get a little annoying to have so much foot traffic right next to your site when the campground is busier. We just wound up hanging a tapestry to give us a little more privacy. Speaking of bathrooms, the only ones available in the whole park are pit toilets and there are no shower facilities available- you have to make do with a dip in the lake or a wash up at camp. For us, it wasn’t a dealbreaker since we were only staying a few days and we live close if we needed an emergency shower, but if you were staying for a longer period it might be more of an issue. The Kettle Moraine South Horse Camp is 15 minutes away and they have showers available. I’ve never been there, so I can’t say how nice they are. The only other drawback is that the park office is not open very often. Other than those two things this park is perfect!

Product Review: As a ranger for the Dyrt I get products to test from time to time. I tested the Morsel Spork. https://morselspork.com I got both the regular and the XL. Both are high quality- lightweight but sturdy. The longer one was excellent for stirring things in a pot over the fire and held up to the heat without softening or melting. It would also be great for using in food pouches- no more leaving bits in the bottom or getting your hand covered in food clinging to the side! Both were comfortable to eat with, even for my 4 year old. I especially liked how the spatula part has both a flat and a curved side so you can use the side that’s most appropriate for what you are scraping. The curved side is great for getting everything out from under the lip of a can. The cutting edge on the fork part works well for softer things yet is not harsh on your mouth. I was able to cut tomatoes and saw through some carrots with it. Clean up is a breeze. Food wipes right off and I used the spatula to scrape out all the pots and plates before washing so I needed less water for dishes. Another useful feature is the hole in the handle. I used a small carabiner clipper through the holes to keep them together when I throw them in my kitchen sack. There’s a lot of sporks out there, but the Morsel is the way to go!

Ranger review: Morsel Spork at Whitewater Lake- Kettle Moraine State Forest

Campground Review: Another nice visit to my favorite park! I love that this campground is small and secluded, yet close enough to cities that would have anything you needed. There is lots to do- two lakes, many hiking trails, and a great beach. We took our boat out for the first time on Whitewater Lake and enjoyed it. We live in Delavan, and the lake there gets filled with people so you can’t enjoy yourself without some yahoo zooming by. Whitewater lake is a big difference- it’s spread out enough that you can enjoy quiet time for fishing and relaxing yet there is still plenty of space for tubing or hotdogging on your jet ski without disturbing others. Rice Lake seems even calmer, but we didn’t get out on it this time. The beach is my favorite part- maybe because we come so often just for a day trip? It’s nicely spread out on a hill so it’s easy to see your kids in the water no matter where you are sitting. The shady areas get claimed first, so you may want to bring an umbrella or canopy if you come later in the day. The pit toilets and changing rooms are clean and maintained. There are also garbage and recycling cans, and it seems like every visit I make someone comes around and empties them so they don’t attract a lot of bugs or overflow with trash. As far as the campground goes, there are three separate sections. The east loop, the west loop, and the Hickory Woods group camp. Some of the sites on the east and west loop can be hit or miss- there’s a lot of size difference. The sites are all pretty private with lots of trees and brush between sites. There are a lot of long driveways for backing RV’s into. We were at site 610, on the east loop. This was one of the few electric sites available at the campground. The bathrooms were right behind this site, which was convenient, but it might get a little annoying to have so much foot traffic right next to your site when the campground is busier. We just wound up hanging a tapestry to give us a little more privacy. Speaking of bathrooms, the only ones available in the whole park are pit toilets and there are no shower facilities available- you have to make do with a dip in the lake or a wash up at camp. For us, it wasn’t a dealbreaker since we were only staying a few days and we live close if we needed an emergency shower, but if you were staying for a longer period it might be more of an issue. The Kettle Moraine South Horse Camp is 15 minutes away and they have showers available. I’ve never been there, so I can’t say how nice they are. The only other drawback is that the park office is not open very often. Other than those two things this park is perfect!

Product Review: As a ranger for the Dyrt I get products to test from time to time. I tested the Morsel Spork. https://morselspork.com I got both the regular and the XL. Both are high quality- lightweight but sturdy. The longer one was excellent for stirring things in a pot over the fire and held up to the heat without softening or melting. It would also be great for using in food pouches- no more leaving bits in the bottom or getting your hand covered in food clinging to the side! Both were comfortable to eat with, even for my 4 year old. I especially liked how the spatula part has both a flat and a curved side so you can use the side that’s most appropriate for what you are scraping. The curved side is great for getting everything out from under the lip of a can. The cutting edge on the fork part works well for softer things yet is not harsh on your mouth. I was able to cut tomatoes and saw through some carrots with it. Clean up is a breeze. Food wipes right off and I used the spatula to scrape out all the pots and plates before washing so I needed less water for dishes. Another useful feature is the hole in the handle. I used a small carabiner clipper through the holes to keep them together when I throw them in my kitchen sack. There’s a lot of sporks out there, but the Morsel is the way to go!

Hickory Hills Primitive

We booked a couple of days ahead of our stay, and ended up with one of the last 2 sites in the primitive tent area. The site was on the end of an inlet, and the water was full of algae– not a great view, but the lot was a decent size. Not as big as some state campgrounds that we’ve been to, but big enough for our single tent and it had a small fire ring with grate and a picnic table.  (NOTE: There appears to be a shortage of picnic tables in this area, and we ended up snatching one from the neighboring site as the residents hadn’t arrived yet. It was an east/west facing lot, and had a couple of trees of the east side, so no afternoon shade. Tough luck on a weekend with temps hanging around 90 degrees! Luckily, I had taken a large tarp and managed to rig some shade with the help of the trees. The toilets in the primitive area are pit– there are 2 sets so no one has to walk far. The toilets closest to our lot were better than I had expected from a pit– no smell in the women’s, although I was told that the men’s was pretty foul. There were, as usual, plenty of flies and spiders, but the TP was always stocked. There were flush toilets and showers near the RV camp areas. I first, used the showers in the Plum Grove section– there were 3 showers with very old with rusty, crusty shower curtains. The way that they were laid out, the changing area for the first two showers were a walkway for the other showers. However, I later used the shower close to the Staghorn area, and it was a bit newer and nicer. No walkthrough problems, and there was a door between the changing area and the main section. Overall, the entire campground was nice and well kept. The general store was small, but carried quite a bit for its size. There was also another store at Pierce Lake where they rented kayaks and paddle boats, sold fishing gear, ice cream, etc. At this same location there’s a small concession area– the hot dogs were pretty good.“Quiet time” isn’t exactly enforced(unfortunately). We were lucky enough camp on a weekend when a group(maybe 10 tents) of wannabe musicians were camping. They played bongos and guitars and sang until 11:30 p.m. Add that to the families with kids and scooters that started tooling around the tents at 7:00 a.m.(yes, technically the end of quiet time, but really?), and it could have been quieter.

NOTE:  I forgot to mention that the sites along the water's edge were covered in goose poo.  We spent around 20 minutes clearing the site.  Nature, whatcha gonna do?

Summer camping

Great forests and trails! Nice for camping in that the campsites are not too close together but there are still bathrooms

Decent campground, minimal activities

The camp ground itself was decent. It was very small but was enough for a two night stay. I was disappointed in the lack of activities there were there. They have two lakes for fishing and a bike trail. Not much for hiking.

Nice park, rude rangers

The park itself is really nice with unique areas to explore. The sites are nice with good privacy and the bathrooms and showers are clean. What we did not like was the rangers who seemed to never leave us alone. We definitely felt targeted since we were a small group of 20 something's. We were very quiet, went to bed early and didnt cause any issues besides at one point having one too many vehicles on the site when we were unloading kayaks. We apologized to the ranger but told them we were already going to move to the over flow lot. From then on we were visited by the ranger every night coming into our site to see what we were doing. Very annoying but overall a nice place to camp.