Discover the best camping in Illinois.

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Camping in Illinois

From the shores of Lake Michigan all the way down to Shawnee National Forest, Illinois has a campsite well suited for any personality.

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Most people immediately think of Chicago when they think of Illinois. The sprawling state's population is heavily concentrated in the northeast. This famously flat state definitely isn't the place to go if you like mountain climbing. The state's highest natural point, Charles Mound, is only 1,235 feet tall—by comparison, Chicago's Willis Tower is 1,729 feet tall!

Sticking close to the Chicago hub? Check out Illinois Beach State Park, which sits on the shores of magnificent Lake Michigan. Here you'll have access to camping, boating, swimming and fishing all within an hour's drive of major airport O'Hare.

There's a enormous Land of Lincoln outside of the famed big city, though. Nearly 80% of the state’s land area is farm land, but there are some exceptional pockets of nature to be found. Starved Rock State Park, in north-central Illinois, is beloved for its impressive array of beautiful canyons and waterfalls. Try to visit around the ice thaw in the spring to see the waterfalls at peak power.

Shawnee National Forest sits way down in the southern part of the state, near the Missouri and Kentucky borders. If hiking's your thing, don't miss Shawnee's stunning Garden of the Gods Wilderness Area. Unique rock formations and scenic hiking trails abound in this 3,318-acre jewel.

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