The Ultimate Guide to the Best Camping Spots in Illinois: Find Your Perfect Spot Hassle-Free!

ILLINOIS Camping Spots

Welcome to the land of Lincoln, where the cornfields meet the skyscrapers, and the prairies kiss the rivers. Yes, we’re talking about Illinois, a state that offers a stunning array of camping spots that will leave you in awe. Buckle up as we take you on an extraordinary journey through the best camping spots in Illinois!

1. Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park

Located in the heart of Illinois, Starved Rock State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The park is home to 18 canyons, numerous waterfalls, and over 13 miles of trails that offer breathtaking views of the Illinois River and its surroundings.

The park’s campgrounds provide a mix of primitive and RV campsites, making it a perfect spot for all types of campers. It is also a popular spot for fishing, boating, and bird-watching. In winter, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, offering activities like ice climbing and cross-country skiing.

2. Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park

Rock Cut State Park, located in Winnebago County, is a sprawling park that spans over 3,000 acres. The park features two lakes, Pierce Lake and Olson Lake, which are popular spots for fishing, boating, and swimming.

The park’s campgrounds offer 270 premium campsites, equipped with modern amenities. Hiking and mountain biking are popular activities in the park, with over 40 miles of trails winding through the park’s diverse landscape. In winter, the park offers activities like ice fishing and snowmobiling.

3. Garden of the Gods Recreation Area


Situated in the Shawnee National Forest, the Garden of the Gods offers a unique camping experience. The park is known for its unique rock formations, some of which are over 320 million years old.

The Observation Trail, a quarter-mile trail, offers stunning views of these formations. The park offers primitive camping, allowing campers to truly immerse themselves in nature. Activities in the park include hiking, bird watching, and horseback riding. 

This is a great family camping spot, if you’re someone who loves traveling with his family then read our blog on the best family vacations in the whole world.

4. Coon Creek Recreation Area

Coon Creek Recreation Area

Coon Creek Recreation Area, located on the shores of Lake Shelbyville, is a water lover’s paradise. The recreation area offers a variety of water activities, including boating, fishing, and swimming. The campgrounds offer shaded campsites, providing a respite from the summer heat.

The area is also home to several hiking and biking trails that offer stunning views of the lake and its surroundings.

5. Ferne Clyffe State Park

Ferne Clyffe State Park

Ferne Clyffe State Park, located in Southern Illinois, is a hidden gem. It is known for its lush greenery, towering cliffs, and cascading waterfalls. The park offers a variety of campsites, from primitive sites to RV campsites with electric hookups.

Hiking is a popular activity in the park, with over 18 miles of trails that offer stunning views of the park’s diverse landscape. The park is also a popular spot for bird watching, with over 100 species of birds spotted in the park.

Park Name Activities Campsite Type Reservation Needed
Starved Rock State Park Hiking, Fishing Primitive, RV Yes
Rock Cut State Park Boating, Fishing Premium Yes
Garden of the Gods Hiking, Bird Watching Primitive No
Coon Creek Recreation Area Boating, Fishing Shaded Yes
Ferne Clyffe State Park Hiking, Bird Watching Primitive, RV Yes

Now that we’ve introduced you to some of the best camping spots in Illinois, let’s dive a little deeper. Below, you’ll find two lists packed with useful information to help you plan your camping trip.

Top 5 Activities for Campers in the Prairie State

  • Hiking: With its diverse landscape, Illinois offers plenty of hiking opportunities. From the rugged trails of Starved Rock State Park to the scenic paths of Garden of the Gods, there’s a trail for every skill level.
  • Fishing: Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, you’ll find plenty of fishing spots in this state. Rock Cut State Park and Coon Creek Recreation Area are known for their abundant fish populations.
  • Boating: If you love being on the water, Illinois has you covered. Many campgrounds, like Rock Cut State Park and Coon Creek Recreation Area, offer boating facilities.
  • Bird Watching: The Prairie State is home to a wide variety of bird species. Bring your binoculars and enjoy this peaceful activity.
  • Stargazing: Away from the city lights, the night sky in this state is a sight to behold. Set up your tent, lie back, and watch the stars.


Useful Advice & Handy Camping Tips

  • Check the Weather: Illinois weather can be unpredictable. Make sure to check the forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.
  • Reserve Your Spot: Campgrounds can fill up quickly, especially during peak season. It’s a good idea to reserve your spot in advance.
  • Pack the Essentials: Don’t forget to pack camping essentials like a tent, sleeping bag, food, water, and a first-aid kit.
  • Leave No Trace: Respect nature by leaving no trace. Make sure to clean up after yourself and keep the campgrounds beautiful for future visitors.
  • Enjoy Yourself: Most importantly, have fun! Camping is a great way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature.


In conclusion, this state is a camper’s paradise, offering a diverse range of experiences. From the awe-inspiring beauty of Starved Rock State Park to the unique rock formations of the Garden of the Gods, there’s something for everyone in the Prairie State. So pack your bags, grab your tent, and get ready to explore the best camping spots in Illinois!

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