Illinois Camping Guide: Where to Begin Your Adventure

Camping in Illinios

If you're planning a visit to the land of Abe Lincoln, then an Illinois camping guide can be really helpful.

Camping In Illinois

Illinois is a beautiful state to visit. The great outdoors of Illinois offers camping, fishing, hunting, winter sports, horseback riding, hiking, and boating. Camping is available year round, weather permitting. Plan a camping trip in Illinois to enjoy the beauty of the state; if you want to take a break from the great outdoors, go visit one of the many historical sites Illinois has to offer.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has over 80 public campgrounds. Many of them are primitive campgrounds, but some are premium with hookups. Check out the Department of Natural Resources website for current fee's to enter the state parks and to camp overnight. All campsites are first come first served, but you are usually able to get a campsite at the last minute in the less popular campgrounds. Some campsites need to be reserved through Reserve America and are very crowded, especially on holiday weekends. Be aware that many of the Illinois state campgrounds are open for hunting only during hunting season. Several campgrounds have been designated as premium because they are very popular and consistently filled to capacity. Following is a list of the six premium state campgrounds.

  • Chain O' Lakes in Spring Grove Illinois is in the heart of the largest group of natural lakes in the state. There are 151 premium sites for tents or RV's, cabins, picnicking, horse rentals, fishing, hunting, ice skating in the winter, ice fishing, and boating.
  • Illinois Beach is located on six and a half miles of sandy shoreline along Lake Michigan in northern Illinois. This campground is usually full to capacity and therefore a premium campground. The landscape is very diverse as it has dunes, marshes, forests of oak trees, and a vast array of animal life. There are 241 premium campsites with electricity, water, public restrooms, and showers.
  • Kankakee River is in the Northeast region of the state on treasured land inhabited by prehistoric people and then later by Native American Indians. The campground is 11 miles along both sides of the Kankakee River. The river was popular for beaver hunting among the fur traders in the 1800's. The campground offers many campsites for tents and RV's, as well as cabins.
  • Rock Cut is chiseled in the rocky landmarks of the Northern region of the state of Illinois. The campground offers 210 premium campsites with full hookups as well as cabins.
  • Starved Rock State Park overlooks the Illinois River. The park has fascinating rock formations that were formed by glacial meltwater and erosion millions of years ago. Waterfalls and sandstone cliffs make for a beautiful backdrop while camping. Premium camping is available as well as a luxury hotel nearby.
  • Shabbona Lake State recreation area is very close to Chicago Illinois. The campground has 150 premium campsites, of which 90 must be reserved in advance through Reserve America.

Illinois Camping Guide

The state of Illinois has a Campground Association that has put together a helpful website which acts as the perfect Illinois camping guide. On the website you will find a list of all the recreational vehicle and tent camping parks. The campgrounds are broken up into regions, and by clicking on the map you can find the best spot for your camping vacation. Below is a list of some of the more popular camping spots and what historical or outdoor activities each have to offers.


Beach Camping

  • Illinois has lovely beaches along rivers and lakes that provide scenic camping.
  • Illinois Beach State Park in Zion-fully developed campsites with hook ups
  • Apple River Canyon State Park-campground with RV hookups
  • Rock Cut State Park-campground with electric and water hookups
  • Upper Mississippi-primitive camping
  • Shawnee National Forest-primitive camping
  • Kickapoo State Park-campground with RV hookups available

Plan Your Trip

The state Department of Natural Resources has the best Illinois camping guide. You will find complete descriptions of each of the 81 state parks and campgrounds. Most visitors come to Illinois to visit one of the historical sites such as Abraham Lincoln's home. Plan your camping trip by looking at a map of Illinois to determine which historical sites you want to see and then find a campground nearby.

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Illinois Camping Guide: Where to Begin Your Adventure