For those of you campers who live in Illinois or live near the Midwestern State, there is good news for you! The state is scattered with numerous state parks and campsites for you to park your tent and be with nature for the weekend.
Today, we’re going to go through some of the places that have the best tent camping in Illinois so you can plan out your next weekend camping trip with your friends or family.
Getting ready and knowing what to expect in these campsites is important so that you can be well prepared for whatever may come and enjoy the whole experience without any major bumps and tumbles along the way. So if you’re taking a trip to the beautiful Midwestern State, here are some parks you can check out as well as what to expect.
1. Garden of the Gods Recreation Area – Shawnee National Forest
What better way to immerse yourself in nature than by visiting a place called the Garden of the Gods? Found in the Shawnee National Forest, this recreational area will allow you to set up your campsite and explore the beauty around you.
There are no fancy amenities here or activities, but there is an endless supply of beautiful scenery and peace and quiet that you probably need from long and endless hours at the office. There are unique rock formations found there that will make you wonder if the gods really did sculpt this by hand during their free time.
2. Kickapoo State Park – Oakwood
Apart from its pretty unique name, this state park has a lot of recreational activities that you can immerse yourself in. You can choose activities ranging from horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, all the way to canoeing and fishing, although one of its more unique activities is the option to go scuba diving.
The Inland Sea and Sportsman’s Lake offers deep, clear waters that you can dive in and explore. There are showers available in the facility as well as electricity in the sites on ground.
3. Starved Rock State Park – Oglesby
One must wonder how a rock becomes starved, when you visit this park. This hungry rock is a favorite place to visit amongst many outdoor enthusiasts. It has a beautiful waterfall, which you can hike up to and enjoy the sound of flowing water.
There are activities available as well, many of which are common camping activities such as fishing, kayaking, horseback riding and more. For those of you who want to give your tent a rest for a while, there is a lodge available as well. But another great place to visit in this park is the winery, where you can sit back, enjoy the fresh air and taste crisp, juicy wines.
4. Cave In Rock State Park – Cave-In-Rock, Hardin County
While quite expected that a cave, would be found in a rock, this state park is another favorite among many campers, travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. It is most known for its enormous limestone cave with a 55-foot mouth.
It is a heavily wooded park with a scenic view of the Ohio River. You can set up your tent in the campgrounds or make use of their amenities such as a shower, restroom and electricity.
5. Mississippi Palisades State Park – Savanna
While more tamely named in comparison to its competitors on the list, this state park is actually a popular state park that is in high-demand among tourists and travellers alike. It is roughly 2,500 acres and has a 15-mile trail for hiking with various difficulties.
There are about 241 campgrounds in the site, some with showers and electricity while others offering a more primitive way of camping. It is aptly named of course, as it also boasts a very beautiful view of the Mississippi River and “Palisades”, refers to the steep cliffs that run beside the river.
6. Castle Rock – Oregon
It’s a mystery if the name of the Lannister’s stronghold, Casterly Rock from Game of Thrones comes from the name of this park. While it may seem a bit far-fetched, this park boasts 2,000 acres filled with sandstone that was formed during the Middle Ordovician period.
What makes this campsite unique and quite amazing as well is that it can only be accessed by a canoe or a boat, truly giving you a secluded castle feel.
7. Giant City State Park – Makanda
Named because the giant boulder formations make it feel like a giant city for children, this park has a campground that is very well kept. Naturally, hiking and rock-climbing are favorite activities in this park.
The campground also has water, electricity, toilets and showers for those who don’t really want the complete camping packaging. You can pitch your tent or park your trailer if you prefer. There is also a cabin in the case that you don’t have either of those.
To top it all off, there is a restaurant, a bar and lounge, an outdoor pool and a gift shop so you can bring back some mementos for friends or family from your trip.
8. Kankakee River State Park – Bourbonnais
Interestingly enough, the name, “Kankakee” is believed to have been derived from the Miami-Illinois word “teeyaahkiki” which means “open country” or “exposed land”.
This state park is home to various wildlife such as deers, ducks, doves, rabbits, turkeys, foxes, squirrels, coyotes and more and are allowed to be hunted during their open season.
All kinds of fish also call this park home and horses can be rented to take out on a trail. You can either get the full, primitive camping experience here or go for the campgrounds with more modern amenities such as electricity.
So there you have it. Those are the oddly named but wonderfully beautiful parks and campgrounds you can visit this weekend for your next camping trip.
Armed with this information, you should be ready and well prepared for whichever park you choose to visit and at least have an idea as to what to expect when you get there.
There is a lot to see in the great state of Illinois so if you’re from somewhere else, make this one of your stops to visit. Don’t forget to pack your tent along with you so that you can enjoy some time with Mother Nature.
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