Eric & Diana H.

Downs, IL

Joined June 2018

Active Outdoor Lifestyle Bloggers at Let's Camp S'more

Quiet Basic Campground

We have camped at this basic Illinois State Campground 3 times. It's a quiet campground with all the basics. Each site has electricity, a fire pit, and a picnic table. There is a bathhouse with a playground next to it. A little older facilities, but decent. Plenty of green space to pitch a tent. We prefer this sites in the loops or along the edge. 

There is a nice fishing lake. It's good for kayaks or canoes. The woods are too thick between the campground and lake to get a view, but it's a quick walk. There is a nice hiking trail around the lake with lots of ups and downs, but not too hard. We like to ride our bikes around the main road, which provide some hills which is unusual for Central Illinois.

There is a cute old school house with great history of the park.

Great County Campground

This is a large county campground on the edge of the Mississippi River. The sites are located in huge grassy areas. Some of the perimeter sites have shade. The tent sites are right along the edge of the river. Some of these were closed when we were hear due to Mississippi River flooding, but it was not a dangerous situation at all.

There facilities are decent. There is a campstore and central bathrooms. There is a boat launch, which was closed due to high river levels.

Well-Maintained Campground Along the Mighty Mississippi River

This ACOE campground is located on the south side of the Mississippi River a few miles off Interstate 80. 

There are 56 campsites in 2 loops. The north loop does not have any river views. Many of the sites in the south loop do view the river. We recommend sites 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13 for the best views.

There is a check in station, a dump station, a modern bathhouse, a playground, an amphitheater, and benches to sit and watch the river. All facilities are maintained to the high Army Core of Engineers standards.

We enjoyed biking the nearby Great River Bike Trail.

We would have given this campground 5 stars, but removed one due to noise. There is a lot of noise from the nearby lock and dam of the river, the road, and two rail lines. While there are only a few trains a day right by the campground, you can hear trains along the other side of the river. These didn't bother us at all, but we wanted to warn others.

So many activities in this state park

This Illinois State Park has a campground with 184 sites. Half are electric, with some of those being 50 amph. The tent area has 2 distinct area. One is a wooded walk-in area, which we recommend. 

There are 2 bathhouses with 2 toilet stalls and 2 shower stalls on each side. Water is located throughout the campground, plus at the dump area.

Many Ash trees were cut down throughout the campground in early 2018, but there are still some shaded sites.

The state park is full of fun family activities. This includes fishing, biking, hiking, picnicing, and canoeing/kayaking along the only National Scenic River in Illinois.

This state park is located just west of the Illinois-Indiana border off I-74. The campground is open year around.

Great for Camping & Fishing

We have camped at Shabbona State Park times. It's a nice campground that is popular with campers from Chicago.

There are 150 electric sites located in 3 loops. Canvasback Cove and Meganser Circle are reservable. Teal Bay is first come first serve.

Each site has a gravel driveway, electricity, a large fire ring, and a picnic table. Most have a non-gravel area that is suitable for tents. Many sites are wooded.

There is a large man-made lake with is popular with area fisherman. 

There is a camp store with boat rentals. Fishing poles can be checked out for kids to fish at the Kid's Fishing Hole.

Pit toilet are located throughout the park. There is a large bathhouse with 3 toilets and 5 shower stalls on each site.

So much to do!

Peninsula is one of our favorite places to camp. We've stayed at Tennison and Weborg.

Peninsula has so much going on; beach, trails to hike or bike, boating, nature center, a theater, and so much more. It's a popular destination, so it fills up. camping reservations can be made 11 months in advance but if you keep an eye out on the system you can often find a cancellation.

Our very favorite activity is biking the Sunset Trail. it is hard packed dirt and gravel and is well-marked. While there are steep spots, it is good for family biking. If you do not bring your own bikes, you can find bike rentals right outside the front gate in Fish Creek.

Door County has so much going on and it's fun to leave the park and go explore the local towns like Fish Creek, Ephraim Bay, Sister Bay, and others.

If you are looking for a unique activity, check out Cave Point County Park on the east side of Door County. You can jump off the cliffs into Lake Michigan. We had a blast doing this!!

Only Stay at Wisconsin Ridge

Wyalusing State Park has to campgrounds; Homestead and Wisconsin Ridge. we would be disappointed if we came this far and stayed at Homestead. it's just an ordinary campground in the middle of the woods. Wisconsin Ridge is an amazing Campground due to the overlook of the valley below. This Ridge sits above the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers.

The sites are all fairly level and include a picnic table and fire ring. About half the sites at Wisconsin Ridge have electricity. part of the sites are first come first serve, including one site along the ridge with electricity. Show up early if you want to try to get one of the non reservable sites.

There is excellent hiking in the park and access to the rivers where you can kayak or canoe. There is also a small Planetarium and local volunteers have all sorts of educational outreaches to the community.

The views from the ridge are absolutely amazing, especially sunset. This is one of our very favorite campgrounds.

Hiking Awesome, Camping Not So Much!

We do not understand why Starved Rock is always amongst the listings of top campgrounds in Illinois. while the state park is absolutely beautiful in the hiking is really good, the campground itself stinks.

First off, it is not located near the hiking trails at all. There is one a trail available from the campground but all of the good trails are quite a ways away and you have to drive and then deal with the massive overcrowded parking lots.

Second, the campground is really worn down. The shower house is very very dated. this state park is making a lot of money from visitors and campers and they need to reinvest some of that money into updating the facilities in the campground. The lodge and the Visitor Center are incredible buildings and they need to follow suit with the campground.

Finally, most of the sites are crammed in like sardines.

We think that people like Starved Rock so much because of the incredible scenery and hiking trails. We just hope that people don't think this is what all of the campgrounds in Illinois are like.

We recommend a midweek visit because the park and campground are both so crowded on the weekends.

Great Place to Watch Freighters

Nice municipal campground on the east side of town. Hardly any shade and sites are close together, but the Great Lakes Freighters on their way too and from the nearby Soo Locks is the attraction.

The sites are level. All include a picnic table, fire ring, electricity, and water. There is a dump station on site. There is a very nice bathroom and shower house with large individual shower stalls. There are laundry facilities.

The office staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the area. Visiting the Soo Locks and taking a boat tour are a must. Valley Camp Museum is very good too.

Great Camping & Hiking

Great little state campground south of Charleston. Great hiking considering how flat Central Illinois is.

This 2,064-acre park is located along the Embarrass River. It is full of ridges and ravines that provide the moderate hiking trails. The park is popular with hikers and mushroom hunters.

The park has a modern campground with 43 campsites. Each type has electricity, a picnic table, a fire pit, and a lantern pole. Each site is fairly level with fresh gravel. About 70% of the sites can be reserved online while the rest are first come first serve. We stayed on site 28, which is in the non-reservable loop. It was the best campsite in the entire campground.

We recommend the sites on the outer side of the non-reservable loop because they back up to the forest. The campground has a modern bathroom with two toilet stalls and shower stalls on each side. Fresh city water is available throughout the campground.

Quiet Little Campground along the Illinois River

This state park has 2 campgrounds with electric and non-electric in both. We stayed in electric site 14 in Great Falls Campground, which has a river view. Non-electric sites are in the woods. Level driveway, picnic tables, and fire pit on all sites. Water located throughout. Older bathroom with 2 toilet and shower stalls on each side. Pit potty in non-electric area, but you can use the bathhouse too.

Whitetail Campground does not have any river noise, but it's not as well maintained.

Easy access to I-80. Sit along the river and watch the barges go by. Great hiking at Starved Rock State Park to the west.

Only negative: occasional sewage smell wafts by.