The best camping in
Illinois

1132 Reviews562 Campgrounds
Camping Illinois

There’s a lot more to Illinois than the great city of Chicago. Along with this exciting urban hub there are many natural areas where locals and residents alike enjoy getting outside. With 141 parks it’s no wonder the DNR created the motto, “State Parks, Great Parks” in 2013. This phrase is the title of their initiative to continue improvements on local natural areas with upgraded campgrounds and additional staff to cater to the more than 44 million yearly visitors looking for hiking and camping in Illinois.

People from all over the state – and even outside the country – take the short 1.5-hour drive from Chicago to Starved Rock State Park, where they can hike 13 miles of trails offering elevation gains on wooded pathways along the Illinois River. The 18 canyons serve as great places to spot waterfalls after a rain and families love ending the day with s’mores around the bonfire at the nearby Starved Rock State Park campsites.

Those looking to learn about the state’s heritage while camping in Illinois may head farther south to Lincoln Trail Homestead State Park & Memorial. This 162-acre park is 12 miles southwest of Decatur near Harristown, IL, and features the land where Abraham Lincoln first resided in the state. If you visit be sure to check out the memorials commemorating this important president.

People who want to mountain bike in this Midwestern state will enjoy heading to Palos Park, a forest preserve known for its excellent biking, hiking and equestrian trails that cover over 50 miles of terrain. When it comes to camping in Illinois, this locale offers beautiful facilities at Camp Bullfrog Lake where you can put up a tent next to a lake and hike short or long loops that end up back at your campsite.

If you want to check out the beautiful Lake Michigan drive to Illinois Beach State Park to spend time in the water along the 6.5 miles of sandy shoreline. The park is 4,160 acres offering ample opportunities for hiking, watersports, picnicking, fishing and camping. With The Dyrt, you can be sure to find the best camping in Illinois during your stay in the Prairie State.

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Recent Reviews in Illinois
Our favorite so far

The spots for RVs are HUGE. The roads and nice and wide and the views are beautiful. The weather was not nice to us during our stay, but we still got to get out on the lake and canoe (Kickapoo adventures). We also took a short hike when it wasn’t raining and really enjoyed it. This park has a lot more to offer than what we were able to do. I saw playgrounds, corn hole, fishing spots galore, bike trails, etc. I didn’t see anywhere to swim, which was disappointing. Overall though it was a great visit. We’ll definitely be back!

What creek?

I honestly can’t get over this campground. I’ve stayed at some sketchy grounds but this….the facilities were nice, general store is convenient and sells beer and 24hr firewood access is the only thing saving this review. There is zero privacy in the tent sites, upper Creekside is a good spot for if it rains but be aware of the intense incline. The “creek” isn’t an actual creek but just rain runoff. The older gentleman that runs the place is pretty rude, and the security is obnoxious with how often they circle around the sites. The fishing pond is subpar. At $36/night(stayed 2 nights so $72 in total) I could have stayed at a state park with actual water access and with privacy for around $20 total. This is definitely not somewhere locals should go and just let the tourists have it.

Several Safety Concerns

We decided to spend the weekend here because I had a client meeting at sunrise the first morning of our stay in downtown Chicago. It saved me making a 3 hour drive the morning of. When we got here, we realize the electric sites on the right side of the bathhouse were in full sun, but the staff member graciously allowed us to switch sites to a more shaded area. I will say I was at the main office for 20 minutes or more before my fiancé could track down a staff member to check us in. Their phones do not forward to a cell or anything so calling the office was pointless.

The campsites are TINY. We were in a modest pop up and still felt crowded. I supposed this would be a great camping area for anyone living in the city needing an escape, but as far as campgrounds go it was about 3x the price for less than half the space.

The bathhouses are newer and kept fairly clean. I don’t think they’re checked everyday though because the ladies stalls were out of toilet paper our second morning. The water pressure in the showers was so-so, but there was no hot water.

There is a dish washing station on the outside of the bathhouse, but don’t get excited because it isn’t turned on - rendering it useless.

The safety issues have me seriously concerned.

1.) The handicap shower drain is clogged, making the floor extremely slippery from soap scum of previous showers. Gross! The stall also doesn’t lock so it swings right open. I had to use my hair tie to keep it closed. The lock on the main door to the bathhouse doesn’t lock, so if you want to shower at night it’s a little sketchy.

2.) They lock the gates (both of them!) to the campground with a PADLOCK at night until 7 in the morning! I had to search for someone to let me out for my meeting. What if there was an emergency? An ambulance would have had to rush the gate.

Overall, I wouldn’t waste the money on this campground.

Good place for a quick stop

Not a bad place for a stop between destinations or a couple days at the lake would be fine. Roads and sites were well maintained. The dog park gets muddy quick, it’s mostly moss and dirt. It’s close to the Interstate; we’d stay there again.

Great campground

This campground is pretty big lots of full time campers. Camp ground is open year round. Have lots of different options if your ten camping or have an rv. They do have very nice cabins on site and a decent sized pond where the campground goes around. Mini golf is available with a pool. Had to go here once just to use the dump station. Host is very nice. They have a nice shop on site. And they fill propane tanks. Shower houses are very nice sized never feel cramped. And they are very well taken care of.

Great place!

I’ve been camping at Kickapoo for 5 years and I love it. The campground hosts at the entrance are kind and helpful and the campgrounds have been undergoing improvements making it even more enjoyable.

Right up on the river

This campground is right on the river. They have 30 and 50 amp hookups. Is a popular place to camp in the area. At night there is some parties going now but never too loud to be a problem. Host is located right when you pull in. All camp sits are evenly distributed. Decent amount of space between spots. Has some trees so it’s shaded in spots. Town located very close has a bar and grill with really good food and a gas station right next door.

Very nature forward

Camp ground is a bit different than the rest. You pick out what spot you want and the host will come around to you. No sewer hookups for RVs they do have power stations and water. Have to share water at some spots. It’s about a 5 min drive either way to go fishing. There’s a town close by if you would like to go shopping for supplies. Has a small playground on site very out dated. Every spot looks very nature forwards there’s not very many concrete spots to park on. Plenty of space so your never right next to someone. Not very busy either

Love this campground

When we first got to the camp ground you can see a decent sized pool and greeted by the host with great hospitality with a nice sized shop with essential items you might need plus stuff for the camper if you forgot it. There’s a stocked pond with fish with a hiking trail threw the forest. All spots full hookup. And pull threw host leads you to the spot and helps you get lined up. Every spot has a tree on it so there’s tons of shade. Camp was always quiet. They have mini golf and cabins on site as well.

Great Lake

All full hookups are in the sun most of the day. So if you don’t have a canopy or awning it’ll be hot. On concrete pads. Fire rings are right behind each site with plenty of room in between. Fire wood available on site. Shower houses 8/10 nice walk down to the lake good fishing and kayaking. Lots of trails to walk threw the forest.