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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.🙂
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.
Love the campground however a separate entrance for re-entry to the campground would be a great idea for this place
My calves still hurt from hiking up these massive sand dunes. The view is stunning which makes it feel worth it. The place has a lot of geological history that’s neat to look into. Good place to teach a person how to skip rocks.
This is a great campground. The bathroom facilities have a bit to be desired but still very functional. If you like to kayak or canoe this is a great place to be. There is a water way fee per kayak or canoe per year but it is well worth it. The camp sites are spaced apart at a good distance to lend you some privacy. We love coming here every year.
This camp ground was a federal site that was wonderful. It just had so much to do in the campground and near by as well. We went to look at the light house, sand dunes, lake, beach, and even rode the train into Chicago for the day.
This was a great State Park and loved the sand dune challenge as it got us out hiking. The sand dunes were beautiful. The views were stunning on top of the sand dunes. The trail is well marked and should only be done by those in good shape. It is tricky to walk on the sand.