There is plenty of ADA Camping in Illinois if you know where to look! Accessibility for people with disabilities at campgrounds in Illinois is important, so we’ve put together this article to give an overview of where to find accessible camping across the state.
There are a few types of campground operators most likely to have accessible campgrounds prepared for people with disabilities:
Where to Look for ADA-Accessible Camping in Illinois
Illinois State Parks, County Forest Preserves, and National Forests are required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements regarding accessibility at campgrounds for people with disabilities.
All Illinois State Parks with campgrounds contain at least one campsite that is accessible for people with disabilities. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also provides discounted campsite reservation fees for people with disabilities who meet certain criteria. The DNR also runs a program titled Disabled Outdoor Opportunities aimed at increasing accessibility and creating more programs for people with disabilities within Illinois State Parks.
County & Municipal Forest Preserves
County and Municipal forest preserves with campgrounds, such as the Cook County Forest Preserves, also include at least one campsite accessible for people with disabilities.
Note about Private Campgrounds
Private campgrounds in Illinois are not guaranteed to have any campsites that are accessible for people with disabilities, and it’s important to call the specific campground and ask about their accessibility for people with disabilities before making a reservation.
What does it mean to be an ADA-Accessible Campground in Illinois?
Campgrounds are required to have a certain number of campsites accessible for people with disabilities based on the number of total campsites in total according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, a campground with 51 to 75 total campsites must include at least 4 campsites accessible for people with disabilities.
Campsites must contain certain elements in order to be accessible for people with disabilities according to the ADA. They must provide a flat surface for the tent pad with very small amounts of sloping in any direction, an accessible firepit, and an accessible picnic table.
RV campsites must be 20 feet wide, provide paved access to the utility hookup, and include an accessible firepit and picnic table. Campgrounds with bathrooms must also include an accessible toilet stall and an accessible shower stall.
Best Spots for ADA Accessible Camping in Northern Illinois
Cook County Forest Preserves
If you live near Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, the Cook County Forest Preserves offers accessible campsites at all of their campgrounds. Their tent and RV campsites can accommodate up to six campers. These campsites also feature accessible parking, paved path to and around the campsite, a raised fire pit, and an accessible picnic table.
The Cook County Forest Preserves also offer cabins in addition to campsites. Their small cabin can accommodate up to eight people, and the large cabin can accommodate up to ten people. Both large and small cabins include accessible parking, paved path to the cabin, a roll-in shower with a bench, an accessible sink, a raised fire pit, and an accessible picnic table.
In addition to cabins, the Cook County Forest Preserves also offers large bunkhouses, which can accommodate up to 36 people, and small bunkhouses, which can accommodate up to 16 people. These bunkhouses offer accessible parking, paved path to the bunkhouse, a roll-in shower with a bench, an accessible sink, a raised fire pit, and an accessible picnic table. All campgrounds operated by the Cook County Forest Preserves include an accessible bathroom, a roll-in shower with a bench in the shower building, and an accessible changing area with a bench making these some of the best ADA campgrounds in Illinois!
Kane County Forest Preserves
Big Rock Campground, located within Big Rock Forest Preserve, offers six ADA-accessible campsites that include access to water and electric and are suitable for tent or RV camping. Campsite 77, which is an accessible campsite, is located along the forest preserve’s pond. All six of the accessible spots are located close to a restroom. Big Rock Campground also offers two ADA-accessible primitive campsites. These accessible campsites are Site P1 and Site P7. Both of these sites include a paved path that leads into the campsite. Site P1 is more open and less private than Site P7. Site P7 is located farther into the forest and provides more foliage.
Paul Wolff Campground is located in Elgin, Illinois within the Burnidge Forest Preserve. It offers five ADA-accessible improved campsites that include water and electric access, a parking pad, and a fire ring. Each of these accessible sites is located close to restrooms. This campground also offers two primitive ADA-accessible campsites. Site P1 offers a more private primitive camping experience while Site P4 is significantly more open.
Starved Rock State Park
Currently, the most attended state park in Illinois, Starved Rock State Park offers seven ADA accessible campsites. All of the accessible campsites within Starved Rock State Park are Class A Premium Sites and include electricity access. These campsites can accommodate up to four campers and include a fire pit and picnic table. The ADA-accessible campsites within Starved Rock State Park are all located next to each other and form a small loop. These spots are also clearly marked with the international symbol of access.
Best Spots for ADA Accessible Camping in Central Illinois
Jubilee College State Park
Located right off U.S. Route 150 between Kickapoo and Brimfield, IL, Jubilee College State Park offers five ADA-accessible campsites. These campsites are Class A, include electricity access, a fire pit, and a picnic table, and can accommodate up to four campers. The accessible campsites in Jubilee College State Park are spread out throughout the campground and are intermixed between different loops. It’s important to note that campers who do not require an ADA accessible campsite are allowed to book the accessible sites when the rest of the campground is full. Make sure to make your reservations early in the camping season!
Moraine View State Recreation Area
Moraine View State Recreation Area is located near Bloomington/Normal, Illinois, and gives campers the ability to enjoy the serenity Midwestern woodlands provide.
This state recreation area also offers seven ADA-accessible campsites within its campground. These accessible campsites are spread throughout the campground. They include electric access, can accommodate up to four campers, and are pet-friendly. Additionally, you’ll find a firepit and a picnic table at these campsites. ADA accessible campsites at Moraine View State Recreation Area also include paved driveways.
The campsites within this state recreation area are covered by dense foliage and trees. A fun fact about Moraine View State Recreation Area is that it was originally named McLean County Conservation Area until it was renamed in 1975!
Best Spots for ADA Accessible Camping in Southern Illinois
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area
Located just a short drive from North Sandusky Campground, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation area offers two additional ADA-accessible campsites within its campground. These campsites offer electric access, a paved driveway surface, and a firepit. The ADA-accessible campsites are located directly next to each other in Hickman’s Point. They are not located near the water and provide partial shade.
Accessible restrooms and shower stalls are also available at this campground. Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area is the perfect campground for you if you’re an avid birdwatcher or nature photographer. You might even be able to spot an American Bald Eagle!
North Sandusky Campground
North Sandusky Campground is located along Sandusky Cove on Rend Lake in Sesser, IL. This campground offers six ADA-accessible campsites. These campsites include electric access, are fit for tents or RVs, and include a picnic table and fire ring. Some of the accessible campsites also include water access. They are also able to accommodate up to eight campers.
The accessible campsites at North Sandusky Campground are spread out throughout different loops within the campground. Accessible Site 010 overlooks Rend Lake and provides an amazing view! Accessible Sites 077, 024, and 116 provide full shade to help you escape from the hot summer sun.