How Much Does It Cost To Camp In Illinois?

Campground prices can vary widely between state parks and private RV-focused campgrounds making it hard to understand how much the cost to camp in Illinois will run you. You don’t want your campsite given away for failing to plan for all of the expenses! We’ve done extensive research on our inventory of over 300 campsites (and growing!) to understand the campsite fees that you’ll encounter so you can plan your next trip!

How much does it cost to Camp in Illinois?

Depending on the campground type you are reserving, your daily cost will range between $15 and $30. The Illinois State Parks are the cheapest option at $8 per night for car campers while private campgrounds start closer to $20-$25 with added amenities like Wifi.

Is there an Illinois State Park Camping fee Senior Discount?

The Illinois state parks offers 50% discounts on camping fees Monday through Thursday for seniors 62 years old or over. To take advantage of the discount, you must be an Illinois resident. Read the discount section below for more details and restrictions!

Factors affecting the cost to camp in Illinois

Amenities

Usually denoted by the campground classes AA through D, campsites can offer electricity, shower access, and show if a campsite has vehicular access. These campground classifications are used by the State Parks in Illinois and other state and national parks across the country to help you understand what you are getting and are frequently used to determine daily prices (like the IL DNR does).

Cost to Camp in Illinois State Parks

Classification

Ameneties

Best Suited Equipment

Daily Price

AA

Showers, Electric, & Sewer

RVs, Campers, Tents

$25 - $35

A

Shower & Electric

RVs, Campers, Tents

$20 - $30

B/E

Electric

Campers, Tents

$18 - $20

B/S

Showers

Campers, Tents

$10 - $12

C

None

Tents

$8

D

No Vehicle Access

Tents, Backpacking

$6

Private campgrounds will also usually change their price either by the type of campsite or the specific equipment you’ll be bringing (more on that later). Private campgrounds are more likely to use a more straightforward naming system than the nebulous AA, B/E, Etc. used by the Department of Natural Resources.

Timing

Holiday Weekends Can Increase the Cost to Camp in Illinois State Parks

In Illinois, the state parks have slightly higher pricing for their premium campsites (AA & A-Class) over holiday weekends for the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. Expect to pay $10 extra per day for these weekends.

Private and local county operators may have variable pricing based on the larger seasons so double-check their website or the reservation information to be certain. For example, Chicago’s Cook County Forest Preserves have fees that are $15 per night higher in the summer than during the winter.

Equipment

how much does it cost to camp in illinois

Most campgrounds charge different prices for RVs than they do for just tent campers if they aren’t charging you by the campsite type. If you are just driving in and pitching your tent – you likely won’t need to worry about additional fees either way. Tent camping is the cheapest option for sure!

Residency (For Public Campgrounds)

Blackwell Forest Preserve
Blackwell Forest Preserve – $20 for residents but $30 for non-residents

For some county forest preserves, there are higher fees for non-residents than residents. For example, at Cook County’s Bullfrog Lake, fees are $10 higher for non-county residents. While this shouldn’t impact you at private campgrounds or state parks (except to qualify for senior discounts), keep this in mind when looking through fees and planning your budget!

The Cost To Camp in Illinois

Without further ado – using our extensive research in Illinois Campgrounds across the state, we have found the average cost to expect at each campground type:

Campground OperatorAverage Price RangeNote(s)
Illinois State DNR$8 – $20Taken from tent and tent + electricity site prices
City/Park District$15 – $20
Federal (Army Bases, Federal Land, etc.)$17 – $20
Private (KOA, Good Sam, etc.)$25 – $35
County Forest Preserves$20 – $42The wide price range is primarily driven by the average $10 price increase non-residents
Illinois Average Daily Campsite Cost$15 – $30

Illinois State Parks Discount Programs for Seniors, Veterans, and Persons with Disabilities

Senior Discounts at Illinois State Parks

For Illinois residents that are 62 years old or older, you are entitled to a 50% discount on campground fees from Monday through Thursday for B – AA campgrounds any week. For Class C D campgrounds, seniors pay nothing from Monday through Thursday! Unfortunately, this means that Friday through Sunday you’ll be paying the full rate alongside everybody else since weekends can get so crowded already. Additionally, this is only a discount on the campground fee itself – there is a $10 utility fee attached to any campground with electrical access that is not discounted (B/E – AA in the chart below).

This means that if a campgrounds total price was $25 a day ($15 being the campground fee and $10 being the utility fee), the Senior Discount price is actually $17.50 (7.50 for half the campground fee + $10 full utility fee).

Campground FeeUtility FeeFinal Price
Full Price (Fri – Sun)$ 15.00$ 10.00$ 25.00
Senior Discount
Class AA, A, B/E (Mon – Thurs)
$ 7.50$ 10.00$ 17.50
Senior Discount
Class C or D (Mon – Thurs)
$ 0.00$ 0.00Free!

Illinois State Parks Disability Status Discount

For Illinois residents with a Class 2 or 2A card , you are entitled to a 50% discount on the campground fees from Monday through Thursday any week. The discount program is set up exactly the same way as the senior discount program discussed above. Friday through Sunday you’ll be paying the full rate alongside everybody and this is only a discount on the campground fee itself – there is a $10 utility fee attached to any campground with electrical access that is not discounted (B/E – AA in the chart below).

This means that if a campgrounds total price was $25 a day ($15 being the campground fee and $10 being the utility fee), the Senior Discount price is actually $17.50 (7.50 for half the campground fee + $10 full utility fee). Use the chart in the Senior discount section for a more structured example!

Veteran Discounts Camping at Illinois State Parks

For Illinois residents that have ID cards showing disabled veteran or POW status or veterans who apply for a special armed forces pass in Sprinfield are entitled to a 100% discount on campground fees at anytime. Unlike the Senior discount, this is not restricted to weekdays. The only fee that is required by eligible individuals will be the $10 utility fee on Class B/E – AA campgrounds. For Class C D campgrounds, eligible veterans pay nothing!

Campground FeeUtility FeeFinal Price
Full Price (For Comparison)$ 15.00$ 10.00$ 25.00
Eligible Veteran Discount
Class AA, A, B/E
$ 0.00$ 10.00$ 10.00
Eligible Veteran Discount
Class C or D
$ 0.00$ 0.00Free!

For more examples of how the fee structures work, take a look at the Illinois Camping Fee Schedule.

Cost to Camp in Illinois Infographic

Illinois Campground Types and Rates

Ready to go camping? Use our County Guides to find your next outdoor adventure!

Robbie
Co-Founder | Editor at Midwest Camping | Website | See related work

Robbie is a Co-Founder and editor at Midwest Camping. Robbie has backpacked over two hundred miles of the Appalachian trail, visited seventeen national parks, and camped regularly for the last two decades.

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