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.
It was March, it was cold at night, but this ADA cabin had heat & electric, 5 beds with mattresses, beds with mattresses (2 pr bunks beds in the second room). Cement sidewalks from parking area to toilets & cabins, each with a waterfront view, fire pit & picnic table. From our cabin we walked grassy paths to a lovely bridge. Around the pond's perimeter are dispersed sites for tent-camping or possibly day-use. It was a challenge to find the park entrance, at night, and the closest small town is about 10-miles away. The very reasonable cost was transacted online.
This is a pretty area on the Evergreen Lake with mature trees and open spaces. The area I camped in had large spaces between the sites which was nice, but there was no foliage to provide privacy or sound buffering. I could hear one campers entire angry phone conversation. On the plus side, the stars were amazing.
The pad at site 38 was gravel and uneven with electric only. Good electric though. There was a picnic bench and a fire pit, but the bench had been pulled over the pit which was odd. The dump station was also strangely located. It was down the road from the park. The bathrooms have seen better days and so have the sites I viewed. It’s sad because this park looks like it was a real beauty in it’s prime.
FHU, shower house, no laundry but there are small towns close by that have stores, gas, and laundry facilities. On Saturday night they offer classic country music free. Special events throughout the summer. Two fishing ponds. No license required. Catch and keep. Nice big areas with playgrounds for kids. Bouchée ball courts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nicely kept lake campground. Spots 56-60 overlook the boat docks. Bass fishing is good here. Showers are doable but don’t ever seem to be truly clean. Kayaking and canoeing is great here also. Cabins are small, rustic with no AC or water but are all nicely placed on the water. Campsites don’t have any shade. Drawbacks: dirty showers, no beach/swimming.
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!!
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.
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.
Under developed CG. Lots of hunting and fishing opportunities but grounds are years always from being fully grown. Always super windy too!
We stayed here last year and will likely stay there again this year when we are back in Illinois. The park has two sides, one side closer to the stage. We haven’t been there when they have shows, so I can’t speak to what that is like. When we were there it was lovely. There is plenty of shade, sites are large enough for our Class A and they are pet friendly.