The best camping near
Joliet, ILLINOIS

129 Reviews 63 Campgrounds
Retrieving Results
EXPLORE
Most Recent Joliet Camping Reviews
Very busy but trees give privacy

Compared to other IL campsites, this one is prettier, but versus places I've been in WI or CO, this doesn't have as pretty scenery.

It is well maintained. There are some sites with no privacy, but if you get one in the treed area you will have some. My site could see are neighbor pretty easily but we set up our tent to block the opening in the trees.

P.S. raccoons are very used to humans and came up to us looking for food.

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!

Decent State Park

Spent a couple nights here (site 3) for Vintage Illinois at a nearby park. Quiet, fairly level, gravel sites. Electric worn but fully functional. Lots of trees and shade. From map it looked like site 3 was isolated at end of loop - weeellll, it IS at the end of a loop - right across from camp host and adjacent to maintenance area for lock & dam - not very picturesque. Didn’t use bathhouse so can’t comment on that. Drink vending machines by bathhouse. Local guy across from entrance to park sells firewood. Site had fire ring and picnic table. One thing to note - trees drop some kinda “nuts” and when you drive over them they pop and it sounds just like you are dragging low hanging branches. I started to backing and swore I was hitting branches (even though I’d looked and knew it was clear) and DW said we were clear….

Great for bike camping but a little exposed

Just down the street from Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park is the much smaller(and less crowded) Buffalo Rock State Park. It has some trails, camping, a playground and other facilities, and is right next to the I& M Canal Tow Path.

At a leisurely pace, it only took me a couple of hours to walk all the trails. They are nice well-kept trails. Most of the surface is gravel but some parts are just dirt. The trail is wide and mowed at least two feet on either side. I’m not sure if bikes are allowed; I did see bike tracks and did not see any sign that indicated they were not allowed. Very little elevation changes and none that were steep. There are a couple of overlooks that offer beautiful views of Illinois River.

The campsites are directly off of the towpath. The furthest site(the group site) is three miles from the ranger station. There are four sites total. One of the sites is kinda small but big enough for a single tent and two campers. The largest site is the group site which is the only site with a picnic table and shelter. The shelter needed some work but overall was in decent condition. It as a fireplace that was pretty neat. Each site has a fire ring with grill. I did feel a little exposed being right off the trail. I was nervous leaving all my gear behind when I went for a hike. Nobody messed with my stuff though and everyone I saw was very friendly. I did have a visitor around two in the morning my second night. He was looking for a place to rest for a few hours and left at daybreak. The sites are only accessible by walking or biking.

 The park has a playground, restroom(with running water), and drinking fountains with spouts. The water tasted funny but it was nice having a source to refill my bottles. Also, there are buffalo and that’s pretty cool.

Woods near the river

Went tent camping here and reserved our spot in advance. We bought fire wood from a locals front lawn at the entrance to the state park. Put 5$ in the bin and take a bundle. Its 30 mins away from Starved Rock and Matthiesson State Park. Good hiking. The river spots are all booked by large RVs and the tent spots have grills over the fire pits and picnic tables. lots of tree cover which came in handy when it rained in the morning. Otherwise great weather and not buggy. Dogs allowed.

Convenient campground for nearby hiking

The campground is pretty basic. For $25-35 per night, you can get a site with electrical hookup. The east loop has better tree coverage and more privacy. The west loop has more site in a large open space, maybe better for groups. I give 3 stars because there is not much to do at the campground itself. You have to get in your car and drive to any hiking at Starved Rock State park, just 10 min away, and battle the crowds for parking. The campground has just 2 real bathrooms, one for each loop. Each has 2 flush toilets and 2 showers. Showers were pretty rough, no temp control and spraying everywhere but your body. Some portapotties are scattered around, but pretty ripe by the end of August. Use the woods. There are 2 small playgrounds, but one is just a swing set. So if you have kiddos, there is not much for them to entertain themselves with at the campground- no hiking trails, no pond or fishing or swimming, no DNR programs, etc. Park has posted signed that there is ABSOLUTELY NO ALCOHOL allowed, so keep it private and quiet. that being said, the hiking in the general area is awesome!!! Lots of canyons, bluffs, and overlooks. Just be prepared to drive. A very basic “store” open after 3pm, just had fire starters, marshmallows, bug spray, ice cream, and pop. Some little souvenirs. No milk or eggs. For a 30 ft travel trailer, our campsite has just enough room for our slide out and awning. The fire pit was well placed and had a grate for cooking. Electrical was confusing- our site was listed at 50A only. It really was 50/30/20A(see pictures). Easy to back in to, mostly level site for quick set up. Our campsite, 85, had nice shade and lots of trees. You can see and hear your neighbors but there is decent separation. We had space to hang a hammock and have a fire, with a full picnic table as well. There are a few sites for fresh water fill, and a dump station. Took about 45 min for us to dump being 5th in line at 10:30am. Book early- reservations open online 6 months in advance and book up quickly. Most summer weekends are completely full. Spring and fall camping is great here- waterfalls are rain fed and often dry in summer. Sites 96 and 97 would be my picks if I could choose: both are private and have large camping pad areas. Avoid the sites by water spouts and roads, there is no privacy when everyone is cutting through your site! Overall, a basic campground with what you need for camping, no frills, no activities or recreation, but close to the hiking at Starved Rock State Park about 10 min away by car. Biking nearby would be an extreme sport, the roads are very narrow with extreme drop offs and no shoulder. Not for kids.

Great!

Great enviorment

Great family campground!

Always have a great time here. Easy to get around and very calm environment. Close drive to starved rock state park

Great find for area

Clean bathrooms. Secluded from road, quiet, in forest. Friendly staff.

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.

Burndown ar Sundown ☀️ 🔥 07-13-19

Great time at the races! It was very hot but entertaining ❤️ 🏎 🎶

NHRA

Great time to camp and enjoy races!

Nice Campground

Very large campground. Many seasonal areas. Will let you set up a group of campers in a circle in grassy areas. They do an extremely large Halloween event Columbus Day weekend. Jam packed for this event. Awards for site decoration. Campsites set up haunted houses, candy for kids, drinks for adults. Fun to see adults and kids all dressed up.

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.

Gem of a campground

Lots to do, fishing, hiking, exploring. Good size campsites with nice shade trees. Close to all areas. Wildlife. Bait shop and camp store. Was there on 4th of July excellent fireworks display.

Poor 30amp electrical service

We tried to stay in site 14 that had 30 amp service. Our TT is 30amp. Our A/C unit kept tripping the breaker on the campground pole. Our breaker inside never tripped. They had someone come out and claimed their electric was fine and our A/C was broken. Went home bc it was 95 out and our A/C ran fine off a 20amp household outlet with no issues. Reported this so it could be fixed and the office still argued that their service was fine.

I love a nice shady camp site

We had the shade and the sites had nice people and we were near a stream, but there was a ton of poison ivy in the uncut beside the tent. Even ivy in the utility box for water and electricity.

Nice place

Nice peaceful campground with decent camp sites, friendly people and fun small towns close with cool bars right on the Illini river. I have a bench I sit on by the river and I drank old style and think about my grandpa.

Nice place to Camp

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 !

Just what we needed after a day on the road

Beautiful spot for our single overnight. Staff were great; friendly and helpful. Park was well kept, with lots of green around RV and tent sites. Nice pool, dog park, store, and even a stream system that wanders through the park (no swimming in the stream). Also close to Starved Rock State Park for some neat scenery and hiking. The only downside side is that some of the RV sites are a little close together - didn’t impact our stay though. Two thumbs up! :)

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.🙂

Nice enough for local camping

Many very nice permanent sites. We loved the dog park along with the many activities available. We come here at least once a year. Check out their information on their website.

If you want a quick local get away this is the place.

Tent camping and Fishing

We enjoyed the quiet camping. Not much to do but fish. No hook ups but they do have a dump station. Use to have a shower house but it was closed when we were there.c

Fun little campground

Had a great time this weekend camping with my wife and two boys. We camp in an Hybrid trailer and really appreciated the price point with full hookups. Sites were decent size and had fire pits at each location. They had plastic picnic tables which where light to move and easy to clean. Decently quiet camp site with a pool for the kids to cool off made for an enjoyable weekend. Close to Kankakee and some of the other towns in the area for things to do. I would definitely come again to kayak on the Kankakee river. Unfortunately the water levels where too high for this trip as warnings had been issued

Nice campground near Starved Rock

Pleasant staff, nice sites. A couple hundred acres with multiple campgrounds. Many seasonal or permanent residents. Catch and release fishing pond.

Just another weekend :)

Small campground but very friendly. A plus was the full hookups. The sights are very close together. Management is not over bearing and very friendly. Dog friendly lots of dogs this weekend nice size dog park! You overall great weekend

Fantastic car camping close to Chicago

Great site, not far from Chicago, but feels well away from city life.

Tent sites around rim of a lake. RV sites and cabins as well.

Beautiful forest surrounds the lake, lots of hiking in the surrounding enormous forest preserve. Lake has fishing and boats as well.

Nice place but water taste funny

I love the place, the sites are first come first serve with cash($12), no power outlets, no shower. If you just want to sit by the fire, or want to camp out during the hunting season, or fishing with your boat, it’s a good place to be, there are monster bass in this lake, I have got a 19-inch largemouth in 2017. Do remember to bring power source for you phone such as a power bank and water to drink, the water there taste funny.

Warm and welcoming hosts creating an oasis near hiking and town

As a Dyrt Ranger I was asked to try out the online reservation system at this campground (It’s super easy to use and worked wonderfully!). It’s close to places I have hiked and camped at but I have never heard of this place. I was eager to try it out.

The best feature about Camp Covel Creek are the hosts, Jules and Michael. They helped me out with questions (such as ‘can I bring my teardrop?’ and ‘can I bring my dog?’) before I even made a reservation. Upon arrival, they both stopped what they were doing to shake my hand and walk me around the entire property (their family home is just down the drive if you need anything). This human touch added to the enjoyment and lent a ‘I belong here’ feel to my stay. Jules and Michael are in the process of updating the property and will be adding valuable experiences for campers. Michael even brought me over some wood to start carving into spoons. This couple is above and beyond wonderful!

Camp details: There is space cleared out in Timber Ridge for tent camping to fit in. Sites are not numbered but I think there are 5 of them. One was separated by a walk-in path but the rest are close together. My dog and I were the only ones there this rainy weekend and it was perfect and secluded for us. I could imagine it might be different if it was full. There was a communal fire pit in the center and another one by a screened-in pavilion. There are no picnic tables so bring your own. Parking is across the way in a grassy field. It’s close by and right next to the outhouse. There are no hookups but the owners will provide water if you need it. An overlook is around the corner that directs your attention to beautiful sunsets. As night fell I heard the Memorial Day traffic quite clearly. A reminder that we are not too far from town.

One important note: The pin that Google drops for directions takes you close but not all the way. I called Jules when I got there and she quickly directed me to the right drive.

Local details: Camp Covel Creek is just a couple miles from the town of Ottawa. I’ve bicycled through Ottawa many times on the I & M Canal path. Its a beautiful small town with good restaurants and shops. They had live music this weekend. 

My dog and I love hiking and this is perfectly situated near multiple state parks. Starved Rock State Park is the most popular and offers plenty of hiking, a visitor center and a restaurant. Matthiessen State Park offers hiking trails into water filled canyons. We went across the Illinois River to Buffalo Rock State Park to avoid the crowds (It was Memorial Day Weekend). We hiked by the bison and through some  burial mounds to find views of the river. The I & M canal path can take you all the way to Chicago if you are looking for a longer bike ride. 

Ratings: Jules and Michael make this experience better. They deserve more than 5/5. The primitive camping sites were wonderful for us but would be too close together if it was filled up - 4/5. The price is a bit high for the camp as it is now. I’m used to paying $40 for a campground with at least showers but it’s also in a great location. This with the road noise is 4/5. Overall, Camp Covel Creek gets a 4.5/5 from us but I expect it to only get better as the improvements continue. You should definitely try out this place.