the dyrt
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Rend Lake, ILLINOIS
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Most Recent Rend Lake Camping Reviews
This is our camping spot!

I love camping at Rend Lake. More specifically, South Sandysky campground. It is clean, the shower houses are immaculate. It’s always fully stocked and clean. The beach isn’t littered with trash. It’s always a wonderful, relaxing experience every time.

Remote and rugged

Excellent for tent camping when you want relatively easy access and still feel a bit of solitude.

Remotely lovely

Tent sites with no electricity or water. Clean toilets and a covered pavilion for getting out of the rain when needed.

Beautiful camp

Very nice campground with electric and water.

Not good!

Not very well maintained by the State of Illinois. Restrooms are horrible! So many better places to camp in the Carlyle Lake area.

Hickory - Site 99

The Corps of Engineers campgrounds at Rend Lake are very well kept and a safe bet for a weekend away. Showers are clean, bathrooms all “flush”.

Campsite sizes vary, but all are reasonably spaced.

Nice Lake, Not so great campground

We reserved here last minute for Memorial Day weekend, 2018. That said, we couldn't be choosy when it came to getting a site and we ended up with Site 8. It was literally on a culvert pipe on top of the ditch. Luckily we were camping with 3 other families a little ways down the campground so we did everything at their sites 11, 12, and 13, which were pretty spacious. Those were right along the trail down to the lake, so we were able to kayak nearby and it was a short walk to fish on the lake.

There are no restrooms, only pit toilets, so obviously no showers. The campground was pretty quiet for a holiday weekend so that was nice. The playground equipment was a short bike ride down the road, but right in the sun mid day so the equipment was too hot for the kids to play on until evening.

When I checked the info for the campground on ReserveAmerica, it said that it had a beach on the lake, but when we arrived we discovered there was no longer a beach. The lake was beautiful to kayak on though, lots of little fingers to explore and see the wildlife.

Overall not bad because we came with family, but would've been sorely disappointed if that wasn't the case. Probably won't be back

Ranger Review of Rom Outdoors Vertical Limits Ski Pants at Lake Glendale

Located in the Shawnee National Forest, this sweet little campground has it all. Wooded, semi private sites (at least for tents), full hook ups for RV’s, great campground hosts, CCC buildings, new shower house, amazing trails at Lake Glendale and other nearby areas. Even on a rainy afternoon, there were plenty of campers at Lake Glendale, which resulted in us not getting a preferred site (46) but a perfectly good site instead (49). The sites were spotless and well maintained, with some having space under the trees for tents and some having just gravel pads. Our site was close to, but not on, the lake with easy access via trails. There were a few sites with good lake views, with the majority of those in the RV loop. The trail around the lake is about 3 miles; a nice hike that really gives you a good look at the park. On the hike you pass two large shelters built by the CCC as well as the boat ramp, damn, and swimming beach. For more wild hiking, go down the road 15 minutes to Bell Smith Recreation area (which has its own campground) and hike to the natural rock bridge (and climb the steel ladder), springs, or Devils Backbone.

Rom Outdoors Vertical Limits Ski Pant

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, from time to time I get gear to test and review. On this trip I tested out Rom Outdoors Vertical Ski Pant. In the midwest we rarely get snow before Thanksgiving, and our little ski hill usually doesn’t open until close to Christmas (when they have been able to make enough snow for skiing), so I felt really challenged with this product. However, with a full day of cold rain and overnight temps in the low 30’s, I gave it a real go. A few weeks later we had a sizable snow (for early November and the St Louis area) and was able to further test these out. Here’s what I found: The pants are really waterproof! I didn’t get wet at all even after setting up and taking down a tent in the rain, hiking through tall grass in the rain, and later, hiking several miles in the snow. At first I thought the pants were a bit short and almost exchanged them for a larger size. But then I realized that they are designed with length in mind for wearing ski boots. And I could adjust them a bit by adjusting the suspenders. Overall I was very happy with the ski pants, if only we could have real snow and real ski hills.

Pro’s:

  • Waterproofing is solid
  • Tons of storage pockets that have double closures (zippers and velcro) to protect your stuff; side pockets are deep and large
  • Cuff zippers to help with putting on/taking off ski boots and to vent
  • Zippered vents on insides of the thigh area
  • Adjustable, removable elastic suspenders
  • Fleece lining is super warm and removable if too warm
  • Adjustable waist with velcro as well as belt loops

Cons:

  • Unisex sizing (women are shaped different from men!); no tall sizes for slim builds
  • Only comes in one color, black
  • No reflective areas
  • The adjustable waist is only adjustable by two inches overall
Corps of Engineers

Great campground well maintained. Expertly managed

Lots of trees, shades, great campsites, friendly hosts and clean facilities

This campground qualifies for the senior pass for reduced rates. It is directly on Carlyle Lake, ,the largest lake in Illinois. It has activities for children on the weekends. The campsites have sewer and water on some sites, as well as other sites with electricity available. There are a lot of mature trees in the campground that provides plenty of shade int he summer. Many of the sites are blacktopped and large RV's will fit on the sites. There is a beach very near the campground that is within walking distance. There are also pools located near to the campground that can be used by the public.

Shady and quiet

This is a great state park campground. They have electric sites, and water is available but you need to fill your tank before setting up camp. Sites are flat and most are pull through. Giant City has great hiking and wildlife viewing.

Great family campground

Nice campground, right on Crab Orchard Lake. Large sites, lots of room. We camped with several other families and everyone enjoyed this park.

Lots of room

This is not a typical KOA. The spaces were large and roomy. Showers and bathroom were very nice, too. We didn’t use any of the other amenities because we were just passing through.

Outstanding state campground

We spent 8 days in the campground. The host was excellent and clearly there to make the stay pleasant. Each site has electricity and access to water. Some have more.

All the hiking in the park is some of the best in Illinois. The visitors center has a lot of great information. The lodge has some of the best fried chicken anywhere and is very reasonable. Saturday night the dining hall was packed because of the all you can eat venue not to mention the excellent service

This is a park that would be better labeled as an unforgettable experience.

Best view in illinois

We did not camp here though I wish we did. We did a lot of hiking all around Shawnee but this is by far favorite spot in Illinois!

Archway RV Park

Great place to stop for the night! Clean, reasonable and the staff/owners were great!!! Would stay again! Easy on and off to 64 and 57!!! Sonic, Subway and Tractor Supply Co a short walk away! Building a Japanese Steak House across the street. Oh, and there is an ice dispenser machine on the premises.

Great hiking! This area has so much to offer, a weekend won’t do!

This wasn’t our first choice for a campground but Oak Point was full and sites were open here! I’m so glad that was the case as this definitely turned out to be an awesome campground. The sites are flat and open, but most are still shaded by a y’all tree canopy. The lodge and restaurant are a great way to escape the summer heat for a few hours! The Trillium Trail in the Park has beautiful views and rock formations. Get ice cream and walk the Secret Garden in Makanda. Lake Glendale is close by for swimming and kayak rentals. Of course you have to hike to the Garden of the Gods, but our favorite was the Little Grand Canyon. Both require some level of experience hiking and good hiking shoes/boots.

Go to Lake Glendale instead!

There is a minimum security correctional facility on the property. A boot camp. You will hear them from your campsite - it’s about it 300’ away from he campsites just on the other side of the woods.

There are no hosts nor is there a DNR officer who is on site. We were told he stops by every other week.

Other than that the park is clean and empty.

Untouched

This campground had just over 20 primitive sites. A well is near the entrance for drinking water, and the sites are very clean. Very quiet and remote. The park ranger said the campground is rarely used, but the upkeep is amazing. Miles of trails to explore with canyons, waterfalls, and the famous cliff jumps of bell springs.

Spacious, great trails, and even better views.

My brother and I camped here in September on a weekday. We were the only tent campers, so it was nice and peaceful. The sites are large and include a cooking grate. It was easy to find firewood with out having to go very far, becareful there is a good amount of poison ivy. The only trail I hiked was Happy Hollow. A large portion of it is an equestrian trail, so the path was very wide. The veiws on the trail were amazing.

Click here for my video.

Click here for my write up.

Gorgeous Winter hiking

Jackson Falls is popular with climbers and has many marked routes. You are able to camp right along the water near the parking pull out and if you don't mind hikers passing by, it is a beautiful location. We were out in spring after a mid-march snow fall and melt which meant good water. I would love to come back in warmer weather to get wet. I would imagine warmer weather brings crowds.

Garden of the God's Recreation area

Great trails within walking distance. One of the most clear and closest to the sky areas in the midwest for sky gazing. The camp sites are nicely sized. Placed in the middle of Shawnee National Forest with plenty of trails, horseback riding, and swimming in a quick drive. Well worth the trip.

Could have been great

We were really looking forward to this camp out but it didn't deliver. The sites are not clearly marked at all, you just kind of pull into the grass somewhere by a power pole. No sewer hookup, but there is a dump station. The grass was cut and there were picnic tables and fire rings sporadically left around the grassy areas. This would be great for a group of tents, not so much a camper. The park had just remodeled and updated their bath/shower houses right before we camped, but someone had vandalized/burned up the inside by the time we got there. So there were no bathrooms. There were showers available at the city pool in the park, but only during pool hours. The little toot railroad which the city touts was closed- the tressles were rotted and torn out of the tracks. So that was disappointing. In short, not much to do, and the bathrooms were a let down, but the camp was quiet and peaceful- and there was a Walmart close by for supplies.

Great family campground

We LOVE Hazlet! We have a popup camper and camp here often. It's a huge campground with a smaller reservable section and an extensive first come, first serve section. There are usually always spaces available. Sites are pretty level, are gravel, wooded, and spacious. There are several 'loops'' of sites that extend out and have water views. The shower houses are clean and air conditioned, there's a nice camp store that serves breakfast and basic lunches, and there is a nice large zero entry pool for a $5 fee on weekends. The campground hosts are sprinkled througout the grounds and are always friendly and accommodating. They have a huge Halloween event every year where people decorate their sites (pretty extensively) and there's a haunted house, then kids trick or treat from site to site. The campground also provides pumpkin painting contests and other fun activities. Better get there at least a week in advance for the halloweeen festivities- it fills up!

Nice spot just off the interstate

This is my camping spot of choice when visiting starved rock state park. They have great walk in camp grounds only a couple hundred yards from your car! Makes for a more secluded feel but everything you need is only a short walk away!

so cute

great spot. lots of spots but unfortunately pretty close to each other.

Bring a boat!!

My wife and I stayed at this campground for two nights along our cross-country road trip. We wanted to hit up a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game and this campground was close enough. We were there during the weekday so there was barely anybody around. The lake is enormous and there are plenty of fishing access points including a large dock so bring a boat!!

First to Review
Super nice, campsites

Great rates and even better campsites. We got there late and had no problems finding a great campsite right next to the lake.

Amazing, if you can find it

This place is popular with climbers, but I’m not one and had a rough time locating this place. The roads weren’t marked the same way they are on the website’s map, and the trailheads are confusing as well. I’m not sure how or if families manage to reach the bottom of the falls since there’s no clear way to climb down on either trail. We still had a great time, there are great campsites, and the whole surrounding area is awesome.

Quaint and friendly

This campground is family friendly and right on the lake. We were lucky to come on a cooler weekend and get a more private campsite. You can rent kayaks and canoes for cheap at the marina, it’s close to Giant City, and it is everything I love about Southern IL.