Camping in Illinois | Guide to the Best Campgrounds in the Prairie State

Campground Recommendations

If you’re planning a trip to camp in Illinois then you are in the right place! Take a look at the types of Illinois campgrounds or use the map below to take a look at our county guides and see the best that the Land of Lincoln has to offer – Check back often as we continue to explore and fill Illinois and the surrounding states in our quest to find the best camping in the Midwest!

For information about camping in Illinois State Parks, take a look at our complete Illinois State Park Guide & FAQ

Types of Camping in Illinois

camping in illinois
Hiking near Cook County Forest Preserve Camp Dan Beard

Camping in Illinois State Parks

With the first state park opened in 1908, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources now operates over fifty campgrounds across the state! Each state park has unique features and opportunities for endless fascination and outdoor exploration. The state parks offer daytime activities for beach camping, waterfall chasers, and plenty for hikers too.

State parks have slightly stricter rules than most campsites, but we haven’t seen them enforced too strictly unless the campers become a nuisance. On the other hand, state parks should provide the most opportunities for trails, activities, and enough forest to be away from the city lights.

County Campgrounds

In most counties across the state, there are forest preserves or conservation districts also offering well-maintained camping near the local community. Usually featuring great access to trails, county-operated campgrounds are a great way to find a classic camping experience without breaking the bank! Each organization will have different ways to reserve and different rules so be sure to do your research!

Private Campgrounds

If you’re looking for somewhere with slightly fewer rules and more modern comforts, you might be more interested in private campgrounds. Chain campgrounds like the KOA near Starved Rock may have amenities like a pool, TVs, or even campsite-wide wifi. These campgrounds will have looser alcohol rules but also may not have the seclusion that camping in Illinois in a tent in the middle of a state park would have!

Most Recent Illinois Camping Guides

  • Starved Rock Frequently Asked Questions
    With so many options and activities, Starved Rock can be overwhelming for first-timers. Our guide to the most frequently asked questions about Starved Rock State Park will help put your mind at ease and answer those burning questions keeping you up at night. Conclusion Starved Rock AND Mattheissen full? Check out more state parks and … Read more
  • Best Camping Near Eureka | 3 Woodford County Campgrounds
    Pining for a weekend in the forest? Check out these top three campgrounds in Woodford county for a great experience camping near Eureka! 3. Hickory Hill Campground Hickory Hill Campground is a great private campground option when you are camping near Eureka. It’s nestled into Illinois’ countryside and provides a relaxing, beautiful place to stay. … Read more
  • Camping Near Carlinville | 3 Great Campgrounds in Macoupin County
    Perfect for autumn leave seekers, we’ve found three great spots for camping near Carlinville this year! Check out both private and state-run campgrounds below to avoid missing out on a serene weekend in the outdoors. While there isn’t any true primitive camping, the county is full of impressive private campgrounds, in addition to our state … Read more
  • Best Camping Near Kewanee | 5 Unique Henry County Campgrounds
    Seeking out a great outdoor weekend camping near Kewanee? Check out these Henry county campgrounds for great options near the quad cities for families, history buffs, bikers, and more! Great for all seasons, these campgrounds offer cabins and seasonal spots for every type of camper. 5. Atkinson Motorsports Park Do you love riding on thrilling … Read more
  • Best Camping Near Galesburg | 4 Campgrounds in Knox County
    Seeking an outdoor weekend camping near Galesburg? We’ve found the four best campgrounds in Knox county with fishing, swimming, and more to keep you entertained through the summer! 4. Woodland Hills Camping Woodland Hills Camping and Recreation is nestled in the beautiful relaxing natural landscapes of Southern Knox County. Although this campground is only a … Read more
  • Best Camping Near Rochelle | 6 Ogle County Campgrounds
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  • [Review] Kankakee River State Park | Great Family Camping in Central IL
    At the tail end of the 2021 camping season, Midwest Camping took a few friends to Kankakee River State Park to review their facilities, campground quality, and more so you know exactly what to expect the next time you’re in Kankakee! Summary Kankakee River State Park centers around the namesake river, covering over ten miles … Read more
  • ADA Camping in Illinois | Accessible Campgrounds for People with Disabilities
    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 … Read more
  • Illinois State Park 2020 Attendance Map
    Use this tool to explore attendance at state parks across Illinois: 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 … Read more
  • Most Popular Illinois State Parks | Top 10 in 2020
    Despite being closed for almost 1/4 of the year, 2020 was still one of the best years for the most popular Illinois state parks as Illinoisans sought connections to the outdoors. Based on reports by the Illinois DNR obtained by Midwest Camping – we identified the most visited Illinois State Parks. Avoid the crowds (treat … Read more
  • Primitive Camping in Illinois | Best Private Backcountry Campsites
    Looking to backpack the prairie or just a little extra privacy? You can find primitive camping in Illinois a quarter-mile away from parking all the way up to 15+ miles away! The forests and parks across the state offer unique boondocking opportunities. We’ve pulled the best for you to narrow your search for your next … Read more
  • [REVIEW] Rock Cut State Park | Private Camping for an Exciting Weekend in Nature
    As the largest State Park in Northern Illinois, Rock Cut State Park has a ton to offer car campers and RV campers alike at this 3,000-acre escape to nature! We took a weekend to go and check out what Rock Cut has to offer. We found spacious campgrounds, shady groves, and enough activities to go … Read more
  • 14 Illinois State Parks Close to Chicago (by Driving Time) | Find the BEST Weeknight or Weekend Park
    Looking for an Illinois State Park within one or two hours of Chicago? These Illinois State Parks close to Chicago offer fishing, boating, camping, hiking, and everything else under the sun for a great weekend or weeknight outdoors! You have PLENTY to choose from, even if the Friday Kennedy traffic looks terrible. Looking specifically for … Read more
  • Where to Find Cheap and Used Camping Gear Near Chicago
    Camping in Illinois doesn’t have to be expensive if you know where to find cheap or used camping gear! There are plenty of people and companies out there selling used gear or even renting it if you’re just trying the outdoors for the first time. Take a look at our roundup of the best places … Read more
  • The 19 Illinois State Parks with Cabins | Explore in Luxury
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  • Whiteside County Camping | 3 Best Campgrounds near Rock Falls, IL
    Split in two by the mighty Rock River, you can find amazing whiteside county camping right along the flowing waters for an unforgettable camping experience! Take a look at the three best campgrounds near Rock Falls to find your next weekend under the stars! 3. Crow Valley Campground Private Whiteside County Camping This campground, a … Read more
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  • How Much Does It Cost To Camp In Illinois?
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    For great outdoor experiences near Danville, you don’t need to go further than Vermilion County camping in world-class state parks, county preserves, or backcountry camping just minutes away! Fishers, bikers, scuba divers, and more can enjoy the forests, lakes, and hills that Vermilion County campgrounds have to offer! 3. Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife … Read more
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