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
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.)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 !
We’ve stayed at Rock Cut several times, always in the Stag Horn loop, and had great sites. This last time, the grass was so high, we couldn’t use our fire pit or picnic table. My husband came later and he brought our weed wacker so we could clear it out enough to set up our screened canopy. I like stag horn since they are level, close to the bathroom and camp store, as well as a mixture of wooded and not wooded sites. Some sites are a bit tight.
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.🙂
Some sites are more secluded than others. Down by the boat ramp is more privacy than the other tent area. There have been issues with poison ivy overrunning the paths in the past but I don’t think it’s been an issue lately. Rentals for water activities and supplies at the concessions or camping store if needed. Lots of hiking trails to explore.