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Bell tents in Illinois with campfires

From Lake Michigan beaches to Shawnee National Forest trails—campers have options in Illinois.

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Top bell tents sites in Illinois with campfires


Red Gate Farm, LLC

2 sites · Lodging, Tents50 acres · Creal Springs, Williamson
Welcome to Red Gate Farm, LLC, a farm with a vision! We previously ran a very successful Hipcamp site at our previous property, but completely relocated and are starting fresh! We purchased 50 acres of GORGEOUS timbered property, with rolling forested hills, several creeks, trees towering over 100 feet tall, and abundant wildlife. It's absolutely perfect for Hipcamp! In addition to our working farm including dairy goats, free-range hens, and forest-raised heritage hogs, depending on when you come, you may also be able to observe some of the wild horses that come here for gentling, or even observe our gorgeous Gypsy Vanner at work on the farm! Better yet, for an additional fee, you can take advantage of one or more hands-on opportunities we offer! Building a new farm (and Hipcamp program) from scratch takes time--years even, but we decided now is as a good a time as any to share our beautiful timber with Hipcampers looking for some peace and privacy. Thus, we are kicking off our Grand Opening of the new sites. We are excited to offer a steeply discounted rate for 2023, with the understanding that our new Hipcamp sites are still being developed. While the site itself will be groomed and set up as listed, the surrounding grass won't be perfectly green yet, there will still be a lot of dead-wood and natural debris around the sites, and trails are a bit rough and uneven. If you can overlook the "rustic" aspects though, and enjoy the beauty of the peace and quiet of just enjoying nature, as it has sat unmanaged for roughly 50 years around the sites, then you are likely to love every moment! If you desire more adventure than just hanging around and enjoying nature, be sure to check out the additional experiences we offer here on the farm, as well as the entire surrounding area. Southern IL is made up of the Shawnee National Forest and multiple state parks and recreational areas. You can find a wide variety of activities to keep you busy! Even the local towns have much to offer, whether you enjoy fine dining, casual restaurants, antique shopping, or a nice theater production.
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Bell tents in Illinois with campfires guide

Illinois might be notoriously flat—the state’s highest natural point, Charles Mound, is easily eclipsed by Chicago's Willis Tower—but there are still plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures in the Land of Lincoln. Head to the windswept shores of Lake Michigan, grab your backpack and hit the trail in the Shawnee National Forest, or hop in your RV and set out along Route 66. With more than 300 state parks to explore, and a huge choice of campgrounds, glampsites, and cozy cabin rentals, campers have options to suit all four seasons. Summer is peak season, so book well in advance.

Where to Go

Chicago & Around

Once you’ve marveled at the skyscrapers and filled up on hot dogs in Chicago, you’ll find several of Illinois’ most impressive state parks within day-trip distance of the Windy City. Cool off at Illinois Beach State Park along the shores of Lake Michigan, hike to waterfalls and camp in the woods at Starved Rock State Park, or admire the fall foliage in Matthiessen State Park. For winter campers, Rock Cut State Park is a hotspot for cross-country skiing.

Great Rivers Country

Nineteenth-century towns, vineyards, and scenic river valleys provide a change of pace in Western Illinois. Hop between towns like Peoria, Moline, and Galena along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers; spot bald eagles in Grafton, or rent a cabin at nearby Pere Marquette State Park. Mississippi Palisades State Park is another regional highlight, where you can hike, rock climb, or cross-country ski, depending on the season. 

Land of Lincoln

Illinois’ bucolic heartland was the long-time home of Abraham Lincoln, and historic sites are scattered around the countryside between Springfield, Bloomington, and Decatur. If you’re up for one of the world’s most famous road trips, drive your RV on down to Springfield, the birthplace of Route 66, or if woodland views and lake fishing are more your jam, head to Walnut Point State Park, Wolf Creek State Park, or Sangchris Lake State Park.

South Illinois

The rambling Shawnee National Forest stretches over much of southern Illinois, encompassing miles of hiking and horseback riding trails between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Take your pick of some of the state’s most rewarding hikes, including the River to River Trail and the Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, and don’t miss the extraordinary rock formations of the Garden of the Gods. First-come, first-served campsites are available at several NF campgrounds, or you can pitch your tent or park your RV in the dispersed camping areas.

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