Best Campsites in Illinois
Are you ready for that weekend adventure you have been craving for? Maybe you have been dreaming for months to reconnect with nature and revitalize your relationships away from all the distractions of your home. We will have you sorted. Illinois has been said to be one of the most popular camping destinations in the nation. Think about it. Whether you’re planning to pitch your tent or park your RV, the state-marked by wetlands, rolling hills, forests, and farmland- has everything for all types of campers.
Grab the kid and your camping gear because you are in for the thrilling camping adventure in one of these best campsites in Illinois.
1. Arrowhead Lake Campground
If you want to enjoy scenic outdoors while camping in a tent or RV, then the Arrowhead Lake Campground is the best place to be. Located on 1600 Peterson Avenue in Johnston City, Arrowhead Lake Campground features 53 electric-water hookups, 40 ft. max RV length, Big Rigs, and 6-pull throughs. Some of the amenities on this site include restrooms, on-site general store, showers, bathhouse, concession, Laundromat, playground, laundry facilities, and Wi-Fi. A recreational trail that runs across the lake is ideal for walking and nature watching.
2. Illini Campground
Illini Campground is found in the Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area along the Shore of Carlyle Lake. Annually, more than 1 million visitors from across the world visit the park to camp, hunt, picnic, fish, bird watch, boat, and hike over 9 miles of trails in the park. For campers, the campground has 328 Class A camping sites with two types of amp electrical hook-ups, and 36 Class C camping sites for two rustic rent-a-cabins and walk-in tent camping. Some of the activities you can enjoy while camping include volleyball, swimming, basketball, and horse racing among others.
3. Jackson Falls Campground
Illinois visitors can also enjoy camping and hiking in the Jackson Falls Campground located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Camping in this campground is free but limited to a maximum of 14 days of continuous stay. The bluffs and rock faces found in this camping site offer an excellent technical climbing experience of rock climbers. Besides camping and climbing, other activities you can enjoy in this campground include hunting, hiking, and nature viewing. Some of the amenities available on the site include toilets and parking areas.
4. Turkey Bayou Campground
Turkey Bayou Campground is another campsite in the Shawnee National Forest you can visit to have a thrilling camping experience. This no-fee campground offers both campground and dispersed camping. It has many amenities such as boat ramp, and parking lots. The site also has a large picnic shelter with picnic tables next to a large pond. Here, you can enjoy watching ducks and other birds as they visit the pond to search for food. This is a first come-first served campground; no reservations.
5. Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort
This resort is located on 9633, 32223 N US Highway 12 in Volo. There are many camping options for you in this campground including camping in a tent, rental unit or RV. The sandy beach has a picnic area, swings, grills, and playgrounds. If you are craving for various activities as you camp, Fish Lake is ideal for fishing, swimming, and non-motorized boats. The staff is friendly and family-oriented and does their best to make sure you have a pleasant stay.
6. Pharaoh Campground
Pharaoh Campground is a first come- first served campground located within the Shawnee National Forest. The campground has 12 camping sites available for both RV and tent camping. If you want to enjoy dispersed camping with your friends outside the designated campground, you can do so within the wilderness area. The campground is open year-round. Observation Trail and Picnic area hours of operation are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. No permit required for entering or camping in the Garden of the Gods Wilderness.
7. Opossum Creek Recreation Area
If you are looking for lakeside tent camping in Illinois, look no further. There is a quiet campground located within the Opossum Creek Recreation Area, on the western shore of Lake Shelbyville. This campground offers both RV and tent camping with electric hookups. For those looking for a more primitive camping experience, there are a couple of tent-only, non-electric camping sites. The lake and surrounding land also offer various outdoor activities including picnicking, swimming, and fishing for people of all ages.
8. Kayak Morris Campground
Kayak Morris Campground is located on the banks of the Illinois River just one hour drive from Chicago. The campground offers tent camping on the full-sand beach, kayak rental, guided kayak tours, and Glampout events. The site also offers specialty tours, including the Starved Rock Kayak, 1 Kayak and 4 Rivers tours. If you are a quiet-type camper or want to have a greater sense of privacy, you can enjoy a more quiet camping experience on a plot of land amongst some pine trees.
9. Red Cedar Campsite, Giant City State Park
If you are interested in camping and long-distance hiking while watching scenic views, the Red Cedar Campsite might be a good place for you. Located within Giant City State Park, the campground has 85 camping sites that have electricity, sewage dump station and access to water. The sites are classified as Class A Family Campground, Class A Horse Campground, and Class C Tent Camping Area. There are also has a variety of recreational trails to explore, some offering horseback riding and rock-climbing.
10. Deer Ridge Campground
Ferne Clyffe State Park is an Illinois state park that sits on 2,430 acres in Johnson County. One of the campgrounds located within this park is the Deer Ridge campground. This campground is ideal for every type of camper including equestrian, backpack, youth groups, modern, and primitive campers. This Class A camping site offers gravel pads with picnic tables, electricity, and cooking grills. A sanitary dump station, showers, drinking water, and flush toilets are also available for campers.
11. Turkey Ridge Campground
Turkey Ridge Campground is another campground located within Ferne Clyffe State Park. This is a Class C walk-in campground that offers showers, cooking grills, picnic tables, and camp pads. Toilets and drinking water are located near the parking lots. Another campground within this park, Youth Group campground, is reserved for church groups, scouts and youth groups. This Class D campground equipped with cooking grills, drinking water, picnic tables, parking, and toilets.
12. Gebhard Woods Campground
For budget-minded residents or travelers visiting Windy City, finding a cheap campground near Chicago can be a challenging task. This should not be the case when we have Gebhard Woods campground. This campground is located within Gebhard Woods State Park, a 30-acre state park in Grundy County, Illinois. You will have a chance to enjoy a tranquil environment without the air and noise pollution from the city. Offering tent-camping only, this walk-in campground is also a good place for tent campers interested in canoeing, fishing, and trail-hiking.
13. Cave in Rock State Park
This 240 acre-state park is located on 1 New State Park Road in Cave-In-Rock. There are camping accommodations with 25 Class B/S tent sites and 34 Class A sites on the scenic north side of the park. The Cave in Rock State Park also contains hiking trails for exploration, tranquil forests, and inspiring views. The shaded picnic areas situated throughout the park provide grills and picnic tables. Four large picnic shelters are available for group gatherings. There are also three playground areas for children, a pond for fishing and several water sport opportunities.
14. Camp McCormick
Located on E McCormick Rd in Stillman Valley, Camp McCormick is a treasured scenic campsite with more than 400 acres of open prairies and quiet wilderness. This site is open to the public and feature tours of new and improved facilities and fun hands-on activities such as running competitions and roasting S’mores. Campers can also hike on recreational trails while enjoying the ample wildlife and beautiful sceneries. Several campgrounds in this site are scattered for privacy. You could visit during weekends and holidays but fail to see another camper.
15. Starved Rock State Park
The park is located on 2668 E 875th Road in Oglesby, Illinois, less than 100 miles southwest of Chicago. It is best known for its rushing waterfalls, interesting rock formations such as steep sandstone canyons, and wildlife such as migratory birds, bald eagles, and white-tailed deer. There are more than 130 campgrounds in this park including seven sites for people with disabilities. Whether you enjoy viewing many spectacular overlooks and winter sports along the Illinois River, hiking along the nature trails, horseback riding or fishing, there are many activities in this park that you can enjoy as you continue to camp.
These are some of the campgrounds that made into this list of 15 best campsites in Illinois. There are many others that didn’t make into this list but we believe they can also offer a delightful and memorable camping experience for adventurous individuals, groups of friends or the whole family. If you have been to any of these camping spots, feel free to share below what you think about them.
Also, if you have any more exciting campground that you want us to feature in this article, feel free to share it with us in the comment box below.