The best camping near
Chester, ILLINOIS

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Most Recent Chester Camping Reviews
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.

Specia Use Site

We utilized the special use area of the campground for our Cub Scout family camp, but visited the main loop during our trip.

Best campground hosts we ever encountered! Knowledgeable and friendly. The park has a pool, river access, canoe & kayak rentals and miles of great trails. Great program for kids on staying out of they get lost presented by hosts. This is a great park for organized groups, with lots to do!

Shower house was clean and convenient. Hands down one of Missouri’s best!

Tip- check out the petroglyph site.

BEAUTIFUL!

The campground was spacious and quiet. Just a short walk to the river and stunning views. Beautiful hiking trails as well. The campground hosts were very friendly and took good care of all the campsites.

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!! 😋

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 for a lazy float

They have a nice, small, clean campground. Not recommended for experienced campers though. It is close to a busy 4 lane highway bridge on one side and a country road curve on the other though. Right on the Big River and they offer floats. No bicycle or hiking area. There is a shower house, firewood and small store. Within 2 mins from town. Owner is very accommodating.

Awesome and quiet!

They have 3 Loops. A lower loop (on the river) for campers with electric and 2 upper Loops for basic camping and non-electric sites. The furtherbloop is very VERY basic and desolate!No bathhouse, vault toilets scattered though. They do have double sites for larger families and they do have a group camp area. Great place for hiking, fishing and paved for bicycles.

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.

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.

It’s a state park

It is what it is. A state park. Tent spots were good, park clean shower house clean but the water was pretty mucky. Kid friendly play areas and plenty of picnic tables

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.

Great state park for ATV users

This is a great state park campground if you enjoy going off-roading as there are tons of areas to ride.

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

Nice and affordable

This is a nice little campground located in the Mark Twain National Forest. The St. Francis River runs behind the camp loop and the boat launch is walking distance, with room to splash around and fish. We were in site 8. The sites have a bit of breathing room between them. There were tent campers on up to a 40 foot toy hauler. The vault toilets were a bit sketchy and, while there's access to drinking water and some 30 amp sites, there's no dump station.

Terrible

Terrible state park!!! We will never visit this park again! The rules are absolutely ridiculous; you can't do ANYTHING! The staff and rangers are extremely rude. I wouldn't waste your time coming to this park.

Relaxing

Great campgrounds