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

  • 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
  • [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
  • The 19 Illinois State Parks with Cabins | Explore in Luxury
    Cabin camping is great to keep you out of the elements while close to the outdoors! Unfortunately, the state’s website is out of date and the reservation system has broken filtering. We sifted through the noise and found out that Illinois operates 37 cabins in 19 Illinois state parks with cabins! Reserving Cabin Space at … Read more
  • 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
  • 2 Gorgeous Campgrounds for Camping in Boone County | Illinois Campgrounds
    Looking for the best camping in Boone County? Take a look at one of Illinois’ premier state parks, or, for a more private experience enjoy a pet-friendly RV park complete with planned activities like Bingo! 1. Rock Cut State Park Best Camping in Boone County If you want to go camping or exploring in Winnebago … Read more
  • 2 Best Places for Camping in DeKalb IL | Camping Near Rochelle, IL
    With one of Illinois’ largest state parks and a great county forest preserve, we have found two great options for camping in DeKalb, IL. Enjoy the Muskie Capital of Illinois or relive your scouting days in an old scout camp for your next weekend getaway! 1. Shabbona Lake State Park Best Camping near DeKalb, IL … Read more
  • Franklin County Camping | 4 Best Campgrounds near Benton, IL
    Home to the stunning Rend Lake, you can find Franklin County camping options all around the man-made resovior! Enjoy swimming beaches, great fishing, hiking, and other water sports all while sleeping under the stars! We’ve found the four best campgrounds near Benton to make your trip planning a breeze! 4. Old Bates Campground This privately … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • Coles County Camping | 2 Best Campgrounds Near Charleston-Mattoon
    We’ve found the best Coles County camping to take the work off your hands! These two campgrounds near Charleston & Mattoon will give you serene weekends away and a chance to explore the ridges created by the Embarras River. 2. Walnut Point State Park A gem of central Illinois – Walnut Point State Park – … Read more
  • Vermilion County Camping | 3 Campgrounds Near Danville That Everyone Will Love
    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
  • Peoria Camping | 5 Best Tazewell County Campsites
    For great weekends trips from Peoria, camping can be less than a half hour away! Take a look at these campgrounds in Tazewell county to explore a section of home you might not have seen before! Carl Spindler Campground Best Peoria Camping for Bikers This campground, included in the broader Fon du Lac Park District, … Read more
  • Camping Near Belleville | Find the Best St. Clair County Campground
    Finding a great St. Clair county campground is a perfect way to enjoy the peace of the outdoors in close proximity to the nearby city of St. Louis! If you’re trying to get out and enjoy a weekend camping near Belleville, take a look at the three campgrounds we’ve found in St. Clair County! 3. … Read more
  • Camping Near Springfield | 4 Best Sangamon County Camping Scenes
    Just outside Springfield are five great campgrounds for families, travelers, or even the boy scout troop! Enjoy Sangamon County Camping in over three thousand acres of pristine state park, by the pool, or just outside downtown! Take a look below for our five best campgrounds near Springfield! 4. Wheeland Park Great River Camping near Springfield … Read more
  • 5 Best Sites for Camping in Lake County
    Located just north of Chicago, camping in Lake County is special due to its unique station along the breathtakingly beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. Only an hour’s drive away, Lake County offers activities for campers across ages. With so many places to camp, you are sure to find the perfect campsite for you! 5. Lake … Read more
  • 5 Spectacular Campgrounds Near Moline, IL | Quad Cities Camping
    Bordered on the west side by the Mississippi River, Rock Island County offers fantastic campgrounds near Moline, IL. We have found the five best campgrounds to save you time planning your next trip out of the Quad Cities! 5. Camp Hauberg Best Group Campgrounds Near Moline IL Camp Hauberg rests along the Mississippi River a … Read more
  • Best Peoria Camping For Your Next Weekend Getaway | Top 3 Campgrounds In Peoria County
    Just outside of this midwestern city lies one of the most unique state parks in Illinois and over fifty miles of trails to make your Peoria camping experience an amazing one. We’ve taken a close look at the three campgrounds in Peoria County to find the latest and greatest for your next weekend away! 3. … Read more
  • Best Campgrounds Near Decatur, IL | Camping in Macon County
    While there may not be many campgrounds near Decatur, we have found the best place for group camping in the area! For individual campsites, our nearby county guides will set you up in minutes! Spitler Woods State Natural Area Group Campgrounds Near Decatur Head to Spitler Woods Nature Preserve and enjoy the old-growth forests in … Read more
  • 2 Best Campgrounds for Kendall County Camping | Camping Near Oswego, IL
    Looking for places to go for Kendall county camping can be difficult since, like most of northwestern Illinois, camping near Oswego can be like camping in farmland. Luckily the Fox River offers unique topography and fresh experience for those looking to camp in one of Illinois’ best state wildlife areas or spends the night at … Read more
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    For students and townies looking to escape the campustown life, try camping near Champaign! Just a short drive away lies two of Illinois’ best campgrounds. Enjoy a hikers paradise or more private offerings in these campsites below! 1. Middle Fork River Forest Preserve Best Forest Preserve Camping in Champaign County Stretch your legs and your … Read more
  • 2 Remarkable Spots for Adams County Camping | Camping Near Quincy, Illinois
    Home to Siloam Springs State Park, we have found a couple of great public and private Adams county campgrounds. Great for boating, fishing, horseback riding, or hiking, read more below to find camping near Quincy with access to waterfalls and swimming pools! 1. Siloam Springs State Park Best Camping in Adams County Mere minutes from … Read more
  • 3 Exciting Places for Camping in Kankakee, Illinois
    For the best camping in Kankakee, look no further than these three campsites! Fish the Kankakee River in one of Illinois’ best state parks, or go for a private experience at the local RV park with stunning river views. From the Miami-Illinois word for marsh, Kankakee offers some of Illinois’ best natural experiences in the … Read more
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  • [REVIEW] Shabbona Lake State Park Camping | Great Family Camping in Northern Illinois
    Nestled within DeKalb County, Shabbona Lake offers some of the best camping within ninety minutes of Chicago. Midwest Camping hit Shabbona Lake camping, just before the turn to winter, in October 2020. We gathered some friends to fill three campsites for three days to really check out what Shabbona Lake’s campsites, facilities, and nearby activities … Read more
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    Looking for camping near Rockford? Make a weekend trip easy with these four parks and preserves for the best camping in Winnebago County! 1. Rock Cut State Park Best Camping in Winnebago County A quick twenty minutes away, Rock Cut State Park offers the best camping near Rockford, IL! With a large lake for kayaking, … Read more
  • 3 Best Campgrounds for Camping Near Marengo, IL
    If you’re looking for the best camping in McHenry county, you don’t need to go far! You can choose between one of Illinois’ best state parks, a stunning county forest and savannah, or a private campground with all the benefits – all within an hour’s drive of Marengo! Check out the list below for the … Read more
  • 3 Great Winter Weekends – Cabin Camping Near Chicago
    As the days get shorter, there’s nothing better than enjoying the crisp winter air in your own private cabin, camping near chicago. When the lakes and rivers freeze over, new activities spring up that aren’t possible during the summer to make for a memorable trip! Try snowshoeing near Joliet or cross country skiing over miles … Read more
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    When it comes to camping in Will County, there are plenty of options for family campers, primitive campers, or first-time campers! The local forest preserve offers rental packages so you don’t have to drop a lot on a permanent set of camping gear if you’re just giving it a try or planning to camp once … Read more
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