The best camping near
Knoxville, ILLINOIS

79 Reviews 79 Campgrounds
EXPLORE
Most Recent Knoxville Camping Reviews
Nice little get away

It’s a nice get away from the city. I haven’t stayed at any of the backpacking sites, but the main campground. It is located under a bunch of tall pines, and feels fairly open. You’re close to others, and there isn’t a lot of privacy, but it is pretty. There are a lot of trails, but keep in mind a number of them will have you walking in sandy paths (hence the name). You can even spot some cacti out there, which is a site when you’re in the Midwest. There is also a verse camp, which I have walked through. It has a large pavilion, and all the sites have 0 shade. It’s about 3 hours from Chicago, so I like to hit it up for a quick get-away to avoid paying Wisconsin prices. I have never seen it packed.

Sweet Spot for an overnight

Grassy waterfront campsites, clean convenient restrooms, quiet, nice!

Multiple campgrounds within a forest near the Mississippi

Registering for any site means stopping at the main ranger office. We waited while a line of people rented pontoon boats, canoes and kayaks. We found site 6 in Silva Campground to be nicely set apart. 

Silva is wooded and has more seclusion than the other camps. River campground has campers right in a line with no shade around them. Silva was good for us. 

Some sites are close together- perfect for a small group. Others are open and along the road. 6 was carved out of the woods- we felt immersed in the forest. One set of 4 vault toilets serves this campground. Water can be found in a couple locations. Our site had full sun during the day so our screen tent saved the day.

A variety of hiking trails are here. Some are used by bikes and horses too. Rock Island is a short drive away and we hiked on Sylvan Island there. Many people are here for fishing. 

We didn’t like the large family gathering at the site across from us. They disappeared as soon as the rain came but there was a lot of activity going on. Some of the picnic areas would be perfect for these moments but they didn't move to them. We still enjoyed our stay.

Stuck between a fairly busy road and the slough

Squeezed between the slough and the road, a campground awaits. Close enough so that one side of your campsite is against the road. The sites were not mowed super recently so the greenery was about 6” tall in spots. Evidence of recent rain was found in the small ruts in the one roadway. There are no trails or even a sidewalk by the road. 

This campground isn’t that enticing but it’s nice to know that there are options if everything else is full. On Labor Day weekend there weren’t any campers - this was enough to send us further down the road. Loud Thunder is just down the road and might be a preferable place. 

We did see people parking in the day use lot and launching their boats for a morning of fishing.

Not a lot of amenities.

Large sites on Illinois River. FHU. Expensive. No laundry, store, or gas. They do sell firewood, pickup your trash, and have two showers available.

Inexpensive

Quiet but tight spots. Along the Illinois River. Includes showers and laundry house.

Great staff, awful bathrooms

 I’d like to start by saying the staff is wonderful. They’re very friendly and kind. 

However,  The bathrooms could really benefit by some simple tuneups. In order to run the shower, one must hold down a rusty slimy chain. The floors are also very porous, which would make them very difficult to clean (hence the filthy floors) 

Also, there were some other campers playing loud music which was annoying. It was not bad enough for us to make a fuss (we only stayed one night), so I have no idea how that might have been handled by staff had the need arisen.

Group camping in open area with prickly pear

This is a group only campground. You also need to reserve this- it’s not one you just show up to. There is a big open field with 2 covered picnic table areas. Each one has 2 tables in it. A standout feature might be the 2 huge fit pits. They each have a nice wood ring that is perfect to sit on for some evening storytelling. One set of vault toilets is off to the side. 

One drawback is the amount of prickly pear cacti. It is everywhere! There are some free areas to set up a tent but definitely watch where you walk. This camp is also in a clearing so there’s no shade except by the edges. 

Another option is Pine Campground which is just down the road. There are also individual back country sites that you can backpack to. 

The natural area has some great hiking (the ranger recommends the green trail). There is also hunting and fishing here. A horse campground around the bend means you might encounter some on the trails. 

This is a nice area set aside from all other campers but it’s in the open and those cacti are a pain.

Sandy forested equestrian camping

This is the campground for horses and their riders. Tie up posts are in each campsite along with picnic tables. The campground is one loop so the inner ring of sites are almost like a group site setup. The outer ring sites are more private and up against the woods. A set of vault toilets is commonly located. Along with garbage cans there are multiple spots to pile manure. There were a couple sites occupied the first night but it emptied out on Saturday. 

Most trails in this natural area are accessible to horses. Trails head out from camp. The longest being almost 15 miles. Hiking and hunting also happen here so keep an eye open on the trails. If you have an energetic horse that you want to work hard, head into the yellow loop. The ranger said it tires everyone because it’s steep hills of sand. 

Across the road is a spot for day use riders to park their trailers. There were a bunch parked when we passed it. 

This is a hidden gem and worth giving a chance.

Ranger review of Banner and Oak Horizon hat at Pine Campground

Campground Review: 

This is a hidden gem! We camped immersed in a pine forest. Can you smell that fragrance? This is a nice size campground that feels larger because so few are camping here this weekend. 

Our site is up against the woods giving us a sense of being on our own. Vault toilets are clean and in a couple locations. We have two trees perfect for the hammock and yet enough sun to use the solar panels. 

One odd point is that we couldn’t find a way to pay. During office hours, you pay at the ranger’s place just down the road. We arrived late but he came around the next morning to check in everyone. He pointed out the 2 water pumps that work and we had a nice chat. 

The ranger directed us to hike the green trail. It touches on all the various ecosystems that are found here. It was a great hike and not that difficult at all. It just a short drive away. He also said to watch out for prickly pear as you roam the natural area. 

Another camper has been alternating camping here with backpacking to more remote spots. It’s good to have options. 

Backpacking, hiking, fishing, horses and hunting can all be done in this large nature area. 

Product Review: 

As a Dyrt Ranger I sometimes get products to evaluate. This trip I tested out the Horizon hat by Banner and Oak

The Freedom to Explore hat has material over the entire head (not mesh like many other hats of this type). This caught my eye since my lack of hair requires sun protection. I was perfectly happy with this hat. The material is soft and it adjusted to fit perfectly. It was a comfort to know my head was protected. 

A side job I asked of it was swatting away all the spiderwebs. We were the first on the trail and they were everywhere! Banner and Oak to the rescue! Their hat slipped on and off easily as I quickly swung it into action.

(Side comment: the Banner and Oak carabiner was great at being a second attachment for my dog’s leash. She broke the metal on her last harness and it’s nice having some reassurance) 

I’m recommending this Banner and Oak hat! It works beautifully and carries a message to encourage everyone to find the courage to get outside.

Quiet, beautiful, close to fishing and kayaking

Fished here for a few years but camped here for the first time with my travel trailer this year. The campground is well laid out. If you are in a group you can reserve spots 8 and 9 together or there are some long spots in the Eastern part for double occupancy if you want. If you want more privacy and easy access to the lake for kayaking I'd go for 14, 15, and 16. I'm in 32 and it is private and very pretty.

Nearby lake has a beach and a boat ramp for launching boats (whole lake is no wake zone) or kayaks. If you are into fishing, this place has large mouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish.

Plenty to do

Our site was at Indian Meadows and it is large enough to fit my big 8-person tent, a picnic table, my truck, and all our other stuff with room to spare. The sites are very close to each other. The sites at Riverview and Silva both seemed smaller. The Riverview sites had great shade and a breeze coming off of the Mississippi river but had very little privacy. Each site at Indian Meadows and Silva are surrounded by a wall of trees. Our site had a picnic table and a fire pit with a swing over grill. There was no trash can, though. My plan was to collect the garbage then walk it to the trash point, a dumpster up the road. Unfortunately, while we were at the shower house raccoons got into it. I was better prepared the second day. Just remember to bring trash bags and dispose of your trash often, the raccoons out there are brave. The Loud Thunder office is top-notch. They sell a few necessities like batteries, firewood, ice, and stuff for s’mores. Service was incredibly helpful and nice.

At the center of Loud Thunder is Lake George. Lake George is a boon for kayakers and anglers. For us, it was the highlight of the trip. Loud Thunder rents kayaks, john boats, pontoons, and mini-pontoons. I had never heard of a mini-pontoon prior to this trip; they are amazing and now I want one. For 30 dollars we navigated the lake for two hours. My son loved steering the boat. Even though we were in the sun there was a nice breeze. We could have easily spent another two hours on that lake.

There are also plenty of trails for horses, bikes, and hiking.  The trail we went on started as a wide gravel path then narrowed to a single-track dirt path.  It had one hard climb.  The trail was very nice and led to some great views.

Read about my adventure at https://www.lost13.com/camping/2019/7/26/loud-thunder

Family Friendly

Lots of planned activity and music entertainment. Bathrooms are not clean and It’s very buggy.

Tight Squeeze!

Stayed here in early June during a trip to Starved Rock, which is a quick 10-15 minute drive. Camp hosts are very nice and the the grounds well maintained. I stayed on site 5 which is a full hookup but best for a small camper. I have a 14 foot travel trailer and it just fit with my SUV in front. The spots are very tight and you have very little room between you and your neighbor. With all the rain this year, many sites flooded during a storm while we camped and they had to be moved to other areas that were not actual sites so it was a bit crazy…hosts did a great job taking care of everyone effected. Campground has a cute dog park and a beautiful stream that runs through it. I would stay here again!!

Very Nice

I booked a full hookup daily site but they accidentally put me on a seasonal site l. It was on the pond, very quiet and away from a lot of the activities…which was fine for me. The regular sites look nice as well. Lots to do…pool, mini-gold, volleyball, etc. Only a 30 minute drive to Davenport. The only down side of my site was a ton of goose poop…it was hard to walk the dogs with so much to tempt them.

Best tent camping

This campground has the best tent camping sites we have stayed at. It also has great hiking! We have been 2 times and plan to go again!

Overall good

Awesome pine forest, not much traffic and great for primitive camping/bushcrafting…very few sources of water

Decent

Friendly staff. Only stayed one night. Sites were decent sized. Bathrooms needed refurbished But had good hot water The grass had just been cut and the bugs were awful. Suggest they keep grass cut more often.

Nice and quiet.

We were in a tent spot with power, on a somewhat level pad, with a great view of the lake. There were few people there. As with most municipal parks (my experience), facilities are mediocre. It was long walk to the bathroom, and the showers were hot, but not very private. Personnel were very friendly. It was raining, so didn't get to take advantage of all they have to offer. City wifi was free, reliable, but slow from our site.

Small but nice

Very small CG with maybe 10-15 sites. All electric hookup, Has dump station a little down the road.
Slough just behind you from the river, many boaters and blinds set up. You have to drive a bit to find the trails but they are nice trails. CG is right off the main road so you do hear a lot of traffic and I would be worried with small children moving around there. There are vault toilets, no sinks or showers.
There is a sportsman’s club around the area so you’ll hear a lot of gun shots, it’s public hunting land so watch what time of year you go out for hiking or boating. We hunt small game there and I know locals hunt deer and duck.

Friendly, Accommodating, Quiet, very clean

Very friendly owners, nice little town , the campground has “The Best” gift shop. 

A wonderful experience camping here !!!

Primitive Camping at its Best!

Great little spot for some primitive camping and/or backpacking trip training.

Great trails within this park and tons of unique terrain for IL!

Private family owned

Beautiful private family owned campground. New owners around last year, very accommodating. Nice small town atmosphere. Almost all sites are 50 amp pull through. Level gravel. Full hookups. Borders a long canal that has a very nice bike trails for miles. Plenty of shade. Highly recommend this campground. The owners make it an enjoyable experience. Directly easy access off route 80. 

Beware of low bridge in town. Follow campground signs off exit or you will chop off your a/c if you have a fifth wheel.

Nice quite, owners working on sprucing it up.

Full hookups each site. On Illinois river. Has cabins for rent, showers. Check it out on google.

Nice county park.

Sadly lost many ash trees, but still has some shade. Decent shower restroom building. Campground flat with electric, water and sewer at sites. Very reasonable rates. Open year around.Park has five small lakes for fishing and boating, easy hiking trails and a tough disc golf course. Quiet nice place

Beautiful

Camp grounds are clean and easily accessible if that's what you're after. Also have a few hike in spots. Lots of boating and fishing. Also has areas for hunting during the seasons.

Great Park

The lake is great for boating and fishing and there are boats for rent during the warmer seasons. The camp grounds are good and there are a few small cabins for rent. There are also hiking and biking trails around the lake.

RV and tent camping

Mainly an rv Park campground but they do have tent and cabin camping. Access to a lake with paddle boats and kayaks available. Swimming pool and a great camp store.

Nice County Campground on east shore Lake George

Primitive campsites (non-electric) surrounded by natural area with access to a boat ramp and docks on Lake George, flush toilets, water access, playground, picnic area, and pavilion.