Nothing says summer like going camping. While there are plenty of places to go “glamping,” you might want to “rough it” a little more. There are plenty of scenic (but still safe) places in Illinois to do so. Here are the top 10 rustic camping spots in Illinois.
1. Cave in Rock State Park (Cave in Rock)
Famous for its large cave with a 55 foot mouth, this park is an incredibly scenic place to go camp. You have an awesome view of the Ohio River. The north side has camping. There are 34 Class A sites and 25 Class B/S sites.
2. Mississippi Palisades State Park (Savanna)
This state park has an incredible view of the Mississippi river. Palisades refers to the steep cliffs along the river. These bluffs are part of a 2500 acre state park. Camping is great here. There are 241 Class A and B sites.
3. Shabbona Lake (Shabbona)
This state park is a 1550 acre park located off of a nice lake. It has been called Illinois' best fishing lake as well as the Muskie Capital of Illinois. Camping is in a semi-wooded area of the park, and there are 150 Class A sites.
4. Starved Rock State Park (Oglesby)
Starved Rock is gorgeous with its canyons, caves and waterfalls. There are so many places to hike here, you might just want to stay a night. There are 133 Class A premium campsites. They come with electricity, showers and flush toilets.
5. Hennepin Canal (Sheffield)
This is an abandoned waterway in northwest Illinois. The entire canal is on the National Register of Historic Places. The canal is about 75 miles long. There are numerous campgrounds located along the canal. They are Class C campgrounds.
6. Ferne Clyffe State Park (Goreville)
This scenic spot has been visited for the past 100 years. Strange rock formations and incredible ferns make this place almost like something out of a fairytale. This is an awesome place for campers. There is a a well-shaded Class A campground at Deer Ridge. There is a Class C campground at Turkey Ridge. And then there is a Class C campground for horseback riders.
7. Pere Marquette State Park (Grafton)
This park is about 8,000 acres and is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. It is a scenic drive up to the park and hiking is even more scenic. There is a Class A campground which has 80 sites. There is also a Class B campground.
8. Rock Island Trail (Wyoming)
This trail goes 26 miles. It offers a tree-canopied corridor. Much of the prairie in this area has returned. There is a Class D (primitive) camping area in the Kickapoo Creek Recreation Area.
9. Giant City State Park (Makanda)
This park is known for its Giant City Nature Trail. It has huge bluffs of sandstone that were formed some 12,000 years ago. Besides the amazing sandstone, there are some incredible plants like ferns and mint. This park has myriad camping opportunities, including a Class A campground that has 85 campsites. There is a separate Class A campground for equestrian campers.
10. Castle Rock (Oregon)
This 2,000 acre park is made out of St. Peter sandstone that was formed during the Middle Ordovician period. It offers gorgeous views of the Rock River. There is a super primitive camping area. What's cool about it is that it is only accessibly by canoe or boat.