Camping the 50 States Series: Campgrounds Illinois

April 2, 2010
Could this be paradise?

Could this be paradise?
Photo by: Benjamin Earwicker (Stock Exchange)

Hello and good morning to all! Hope you’re ready and raring to go with more great camping info as we move on to a whole new frontier in campgrounds, Illinois.

This northern state is a little bit unusual in that almost three-fourths of the entire population lives in the northeast, principally around Chicago.

That leaves a great deal of this nearly 58,000 square mile landmass relatively sparse, and there are plenty of great places for tent camping, RV camping, and more dotted around the landscape.

One of the most beloved camping areas in the state is the national park with the funniest name, Kickapoo State Recreation Area. The park is one of the most versatile you can find. With hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, canoeing, and even scuba diving, Kickapoo is a real natural wonderland. Kickapoo includes two large camp grounds for tent and trailer, with 184 sites total. However, sites cannot be reserved in advance at Kickapoo, so be aware of possible scheduling issues during peak season.

Kickapoo is especially amazing when you consider the park’s history: as far as anyone knows, it is the first U.S. park to be built on strip mined land. Over the last half-decade, nature has literally reclaimed the damaged areas; lush, green vegetation has filled in the industrial scars and retaken the ponds. Amazing! The park’s rangers and well-wishers are rightly proud of this, and you can be, too.

For a change of pace, try out Mendota Hills Campground. With three fishing lakes and one for swimming on 130 acres of land, it offers all the fun you could want on water, with a few bonus features besides. There’s a driving range for you golf enthusiasts, a basketball court, regular tournaments for horseshoe players, and dances in the “activity barn.” There’s also a bunch of activities for the kids, including a desserts-only potluck held once a year (maybe because that’s how long it takes them to get off the sugar kick!)

Only a little over an hour from Chicago, Troll Hollow Campground boasts one of the most close-knit camping communities in the state. Opened in 1972 and operated by the Jacobsen family ever since, many of the regulars have been around for a large part of THC’s nearly 40-year history. Not only does it offer a great seasonal camping value, but it’s conveniently located to restaurants, public golf courses, and a number of state parks.

Right on the Kishwaukee River, Blackhawk Valley Campground has 130 sites for motorhomes, and tents, offering water and electric, pull-through, and back-in full hook-up options. Open April through October, Blackhawk Valley publishes its itinerary of fun year-round activities on its website. On the agenda for 2010 is a mini-golf tournament, hay-rides, “Christmas in July”, and a whole bunch more.

This is really only a quick glimpse of what’s on offer for campgrounds Illinois. We’re bound to look at more parks and campsites around Illinois in the coming days; we also have Hawaii, Alaska, and plenty of other great locales on the agenda. Be sure to drop by the AllCampgrounds blog for the latest on camping destinations and tips! We’ll see ya real soon …

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