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Berkeley, ILLINOIS

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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

Great in the off season

This park has a fair amount of trees throughout which gives a greater sense of privacy than most state parks. As usual, the facilities were well maintained and the park was clean. The beach was great for morning walks but that draw makes it seem that this park is probably packed in the summer. Location of hiking trails from campsite isn't super clear but head south for the longest trails. If it's been raining a lot I'd be wary as many of the sites were completely underwater when we went. It's a great place to take your dog with you! (Beware if they have long hair though, the pine trees meant I had to cut sap out of my dog's hair in several places.)

Hilly Hikes

The campsite is your usual state park site. Potable water, toilets and showers available in the off season. Pretty crowded even when it's chilly out. Great hiking, pretty hilly if your from anywhere in the Midwest

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.

Amazing Campground

The campground is amazing! Our campsite had so much room. It was easy to back our trailer into and had room for an extra guest. The beach walk is beautiful! We played on the beach with the dog and took a 7 mile hike through the woods and onto the beach. The hike was very difficult once we hit the beach but my 8 year old pushed through. Lesson learned. I highly recommend this campground!

Wooded and private

Nicely wooded spot with ample space between spots. Decent showers ran out of hot water though. Quick drive to points of interest in park but no good walking to those points. Plenty of last minute availability on a weeknight in October. Very few mosquitoes left by this time. Would come back!

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!

Let there Be Rain and Silence....

If you’re looking to go camping with the conveniences of the modern world nearby, this is the place to be. Located off of golf way rd and duneway pkwy, this campground is located roughly about an hour from Elkhart, if that’s where you’re coming from. They have a few options as far as sites go. Sites 1-34 are reservable online and the remainder of the sites are first come, first served. Also keep in mind, sites 1-54 you’re able to park your car/RV. However, sites 55-67 are walk in only. There are showers and restrooms located center of both areas. There are also water stations which are very convenient. Most of the campsites are fairly close, but far enough where you are not sitting on top of each other. This time around I opted for the walk In. For starters, let’s just say to be prepared for whatever weather may come. My luck, it poured the entire time and was windy. Furthermore, each site has designated fire rings that have a grill. The experience was awesome, it’s $25 a night that you pay at the automated kiosk. There are rangers that drive around during the day and there are signs posted with all the latest updates, rules/regulations. Overall, great experience, definitely look forward to coming back!

Always a great choice

We visited this fall and were happy. I always forget that the sites in the 340’s are awesome. There was some flooding but it didn’t effect our trip.

Large sites, nice showers and beautiful Lake Michigan!

The sites are large and nice. There are some sites that aren't very level so you do need to check that out if you're in a larger rv. We had the beach mostly to ourselves. We camped from Monday to Thursday after school had started back. We will be returning to this campground. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. The only down side we found was the limited shower and toilet facilities for such a large campground. We didn't have any trouble because of the time we were camping but it would be a problem if the campground was pretty full.

Great!

Great enviorment

No privacy

I enjoy Illinois beach state park for a quick getaway. It’s a great spot to cook out and have a beer. However it is generally loud, with no vegetation between you and your neighbor. It’s not an ideal spot to connect with nature. The beach is pretty but it’s more interesting to look at the derelict old buildings and nearby out of use nuclear power plant.

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.

Nice campground near the Indiana Dunes National Park

We followed the signs for Indiana Dunes National Park and found ourselves here. There is also a campground directly in the park but this one is just down the road. I think it’s still part of the same place but with a self-check-in there wasn’t anybody to ask. 

The camp host left a list of available campsites on the check-in kiosk. We found just two sites still open and took one of them. Our site was a large pull-through with a separate area for the picnic table and a tent. Right across the road was the large restroom complete with showers and flushing toilets. After setting up camp, I heard people in the woods right on the other side of the hill. I walked up the path and found that the neighboring campsite winds back there. We could sort of see them, and definitely hear them, but we still felt separate. The camper and car in the pull through spot provided a nice barrier so our dog didn’t get distracted by people walking by. 

The National Park entrance is a few miles down the road. The beach was packed but the trails were emptier. We enjoyed hiking to the summit of 2 dunes. We stopped at the picnic area to have lunch in the shade. There’s also a trail that leads out from camp. However dogs are not allowed on the entire trail so we skipped it. 

This is a nice National Park that’s only an hour from Chicago.

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

Amazing views, great quick getaway from Chicago

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.

Easy camping

You gotta love Indiana dunes national lakeshore! A quick drive from chicago this campsite is a real good place to get away from the city and enjoy the outdoors. It’s one of my favorite places to go within an hour’s drive. The campsite has everything you need. Modern bathrooms and showers, running water. Good for tent camping. It’s clean and a quick drive to a quiet beach at Beverly Shores. I highly recommend!

Quiet campground, except for the train

We enjoyed our stay at Indiana Dunes National Park with a few exceptions. First of all, as many of the other reviewers have mentioned, the bathrooms and showers were dirty. The noise from nearby trains was very loud, and it definitely felt like an urban camping experience. The campsite was clean and spacious, with plenty of room for our two tents and a hammock. 

We really enjoyed hiking the Long Lake Trail through dunes and woods and the Cowels Bog Trail to a secluded beach. We watched the sunset from the nearby Kempil Beach. It was so lovely, but we spent much of the evening picking up trash, which was everywhere. I'm glad I paid a visit to our newest national park, but I'm not sure I would go out of my way to return.

Lovely Lake Michigan

This is a state park which has an entrance fee and camping you can reserve. The area is beautiful. Big dunes, lovely water. On clear evenings you can see the skyline of Chicago across the lake. The state park has many well maintained hiking trails and cross country skiing trails in the winter. Be careful in the lake, because rip current often take young visitors out too far and into dangerous waters.

Good for water activities.

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.

It’s a state campground

Stayed in spot 275. Nice big spot with shade. We have a 36 ft 5th wheel with slide outs on both sides. Remember no sewer and water. They have a dump station on the way out.

Disgusting

We’ve stayed at Indiana dunes every year on our road trip. We’ve stayed here in the past because it was beautiful, quiet, and clean. This year we got in a little late on Tuesday evening and the entire campground was packed and the showers and bathrooms were FILTHY. We’ll never go there again. The only change we could see was the put huge advertisements for the campground everywhere which obviously attracted the wrong crowd. It’s a shame.

Pros and Cons

Reservations can be made online as of 2019 so expect fewer FCFS sites. This is an always full, very popular campground. Being close to the Indiana Dunes is the draw. The campground does offer shuttles on some days from the campground to the parking lot near the National Lakeshore making it accessible to campers when the beach parking lots are full (every weekend). This is a noisy campground. Surrounded by train tracks they roll through late and early and you will hear them. The property itself needs some serious maintenance and the descriptions for spots are WAY off, with sites being listed as RV that are way too small and the pictures and occasional sizes listed to individual sites are not correct. Our friends have a large pop up and were unable to fit in the spot. Bathrooms closed for cleaning at 8:00am on Sunday morning!!?! Also the Mather loop bathroom showers are DISGUSTING. I think the Mather loop is older and the sites and facilities are more worn out. They desperately need to be power washed. There is mold everywhere. Finally, while I know there has been a ton of rain and there isn’t anything that can be done, the entire area behind our campsite was a cesspool of mosquitos with no maintenance to improve low ground areas. Site 32 described as 35 foot pad, too short and too narrow for large popup camper with pickup. Someone needs to go through and do a better designation as most sites look to be park and tent sites.

Bring your own shower

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.🙂

Pretty!

This campsite was very pretty. The beach was nice and they are doing construction to make it even better. The bathrooms were rough at night but clean and smelled amazing in the morning!

No Dispersed Camping (2019)

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.

Right on Lake Michigan

Maintained campground, sites aren’t very secluded. Easy access to the beach.

Clean, well maintained

Nice park. Fishing, hiking, boating or biking. Small campstore and concession stand by boat launch. No alcohol, they will issue a ticket.

Family campground with pool and lake

The campground Happy Acres is in a great location about 15 min from grocery stores and restaurants near Bristol, WI.  It has a pool and lake for swimming.  Lots of big sites but we went on father's day weekend and had encountered drunk people taking our kids to the bathroom at 10pm - they seemed to dissipate but was awkward for kids and felt like I had to chaperone them to the restroom every time.  And the bathrooms really are in need of updating.  The pool was great and thankful it was heated as the weather was cool.  The staff was attentive and made sure we were happy.