The best DISPERSED camping near
Elkhart , ILLINOIS

62 Reviews13 Campgrounds

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Most Recent Elkhart Camping Reviews
Nature. Nature. Nature.

This campground surprised us. We got there in the dark and woke up to Fall colors, Canadian geese, trails, playgrounds. We got in without a reservation and upgraded to a beautiful spot on the water. The LTE was a bit weak, that’s the only downside.

Primitive camping at Tall Timber.

We walked in to do camping and we only had spots available at Tall Timber. It’s primitive along with nice trail.

Great Place

We were coming here to camp with a group of friends. On the way down we had an issue with our camper and had to take it back to the shop. We called and the owner was willing to change our spot to a cabin with no notice. The cabins are nice and comfy and our friends camper spot was nice and spacious. The rest of the campground was clean, especially the bathrooms. Definitely check it out!!!

Stay here!

Beautiful campground! Super clean and peaceful. Highly recommend 👌

5 stars with a caveat

This is a beautiful state park, but hopefully you won’t have the same experience I did with the electric hookup. I stayed here right after the fourth of July and because of the heat over this holiday weekend and a completely full campground, the electricity couldn’t meet the demand and a transformer blew. By the time I arrived the transformer was repaired, however the pedestals in the section I was supposed to stay in had a problem. I was supposed to stay in site 27, but after 3 attempts to get power at 3 different sites, number 24 was the winner and this was a great site! The campground hosts were fantastic in resolving the situation as well.

Site 24 is huge and level with a picnic table and fire ring. Electric but no water at site. The site is totally private on one side because of a lake inlet and there’s a large back area right on the lake. The gravel pad is located right near a large, old bald cypress. 

This park has multiple public use areas, 2 campgrounds, boat launches, fishing piers and a beach. I didn’t use the public restrooms because they were closed due to Covid-19. I was able to get internet with Verizon. 

This state park felt like it was dropped into the middle of cornfields and made for a fun drive. The sunset views and stars were awesome!

Nice quiet place

Nice quiet place, lots of areas to fish and take a kayak, or paddle boat.

A sandy forest that is less visited with backcountry sites

This review is for the backpacking campsites within the Sand Ridge forest. The trail is a mix of sand and soil. It’s quite an unexpected discovery in Illinois. We didn’t see anyone else on the trail but we saw cars parked so hikers were out there. 

We stopped at 2 different campsites. They are just a short distance off the trail. Each was a small clearing with forest right up to the edge. A fire pit is also available. All the backpacking sites were empty so it seems that lots of options are possible. 

We didn’t come across water sources so we asked the ranger. He pointed out a couple spots the have spigots or hand pumps. Be sure to have a water supply before heading out. 

The longest loop is just under 15 miles but you can do different loops together to increase mileage. There is prickly pear in this area so be careful where you step. We also were told to avoid a trail because it was sandy and a tough climb. The man said he breaks horses by riding them up the hill. If this is a concern, I recommend asking around to find the best trail for you.

This is a hidden gem right in the middle of Illinois.

Tent and RV shaded camping

A suitable local choice for camping if you desire more trees surrounding your site. There are a few very short hike-in primitive sites for extra seclusion.

All depends on timing

The sites always fill up fast and campers are mix of RV’s with lights, generators and noise as well as tents. Neither camper types who venture here are looking for peace and quiet. Some newer primitive hike-in or boat-in sites are on the muddy lake shores, but are mostly secluded. Also heavily used by local Boy and Girl Scouts.

Different areas of campsites vary widely

We went here with a group of tent campers sight unseen, so that’s always rolling the dice. We stayed until the main part where you could reserve online through reserve America. Would not recommend that area to anyone. Sites are right on top of each other in every direction. Not sure who would seek this out or agree to it after seeing it.

Upon finding the rustic tent sites, we’d wished we’d known about that area before going. Those were still a little close together but were at least wooded and you could walk from your car.

The dispersed camping sites were the closest to what I’d been used to coming from New Hampshire, but it was more of a hike than I would be looking for.