Pro: Pleasant setting with many trees; easy access to Lake Michigan; walking & biking trails; ice & firewood available; with TLC and some investment this could be a great park. Con: Many smokey fires burning late into the night; many sites not level; few restrooms & not clean; showers with no temperature control & firehose volume -- press a button on the wall to get blasted for a set amount of time; officials patrolled but did not seem to enforce quiet time rules; park is open to the public and access is never restricted; camp host was never seen. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
This is a tough park to rate as we were ambivalent about it. The lack of hookups forced us to use the bathrooms which were nasty and crowded. We stayed in site 357 which is more or less an asphalt parking lot with RV spots on it. We were forced to pick this site because no other regular sites were available. We thought we would hate it but found it okay for a couple days. The asphalt can be hot in warm weather. Site 357 and adjacent sites have satellite access. At night the campfire smoke in this park can be stifling. We have stayed here before in other spaces on dirt and found some of them challenging to back in or level the motorhome. Ambivalence is the correct word that we found to describe this park. There is a lot of area for walks inside the park. We camped here in a Motorhome.
Back to nature place to spend a long weekend away from Chicago and suburbs. Bathrooms are okay. Reasonably clean. Water pressure is great in showers. Water on floor around toilets is an issue. Sites are wide & pretty level. No water at sites, but spigots located thru-out the campground. On the shore of Lake Michigan so beach is a plus. There have been issues with inconsiderate campers, but the park is patrolled by IDNR rangers. If you have an issue report it. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
We love this place and stay whenever our travels take us to Chicago. Although the park is very wooded, it is possible to get satellite reception on the west side outer row. This is a nice state park with clean bathrooms and a wonderful Lake Michigan beach front walk. The park is a short drive into Zion and plenty of shopping and other facilities. One mile away is a Chicago and Northwestern Rail Station which will take you to downtown Chicago on an hourly or half hourly basis depending on the time of day. After a day walking around the Loop, it is nice to just hop the rail and ride back to Zion. We will return. The park is open all year. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.
We opted for an asphalt site to test out our newly acquired used motorhome. Because the park was lightly used on weekdays before summer, it was delightfully uncrowded. We had cruised the grounds looking at various sites before reserving (you can get a free entry pass to do just that), and noted that there are a lot of difference between sites in terms of levelness and overhanging branches. Did not use park toilet or shower facilities and so cannot comment on those, but the electric (50 amp) worked well, the front staff were very friendly and helpful, and there are great trails (hiking and biking) around the area and along Lake Michigan. Good value pricing. We camped here in a Motorhome.
This is lovely campground. The park staff was informative and extremely pleasant. The campground has many walking and biking trails. The are several types of sites from open, wooded with oak and elm and also sites surrounded by pine. The beach is close. The beach isn't the greatest as the sand is coarse. There are some old abandoned buildings in the older area and the nuclear power plant is visible. However, the children loved skipping rocks and playing in the tide. We saw lots of wildlife, including a raccoon that scouted our camp for snacks late at night. Rangers evicted a loud group across the way for loud profanity. If you are looking for a quiet, family friendly campground and like exploring the beach and nature preserve, you will enjoy this campground. Note in the summer the public beach can get busy and there are no lifeguards. The campground is secluded, with security and and no drive throughs are allowed in the campground which helps reduce the amount of traffic and non-patrons in the area. Weekdays are much less busy. Speed limit is 10mph and strictly enforced. We will definitely return to this campground. We camped here in a Motorhome.
Location, location, location! You can catch the train to Chicago from Waukegan (a 10 minute drive) and enjoy the loop and/or museums and great restaurants from this park. The park’s setting is nice, but the facilities have gotten a bit old and shabby. Not all the showers work, could not always get hot water. The beach is fine and there are some nice trails for hiking and biking. We camped here in a Motorhome.
We really enjoyed our stay. Nestled among the scrub pines, we saw so many deer and two baby fawn from the back window of the trailer. We were allowed to choose our site, so selected #264, next to a water spigot. We used a hose to fill up the water tank each day, and emptied the dump tank at the dump station each afternoon. My husband used the showers once...just once. My daughters and I enjoyed riding along the lake shore on the bike path, running, and splashing along the water line. The water was too cold to swim, but fun for them regardless. The park was practically empty mid-week, and so quiet! We loved it! Bring bug-spray though. However, on the weekend, it filled up with lots of working class, partying locals in tents. Luckily for us (not them), there was a massive thunderstorm that quieted things down quite a bit. I do advise folks to select sites with some elevation...many of the sites had large portions underwater whenever there was a storm. Regarding the drive to Chicago: it was a pain, but still the cheapest way to go for a family of four. We got the City Pass, but compared to the museums on the East Coast, found the Chicago museums to be very nice, but not comparable. We wish we had saved our money, especially since the highlights of the trip were the Navy Pier and watching the sunset over the city from the John Hancock Observatory. We got caught in traffic once returning home, and that was a real pain, so time your day accordingly. For the price and location, we would return, but probably only mid-week, and if we could get a spot near a water spigot. Happy travels! We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
Out of state costs are $25 nightly - no break for the week. $25 seems to be a lot of money for no water and no sewer and sometimes iffy electric. The 30 amp spots tell you to use no more than 24 amps. We know of someone who melted their 30 amp plug on one of the power pedestals. The 50 amp spots (mostly reserved and on pavement) have a similar restriction. Lots of weekenders with sometimes loud, raucous music. Sites are mostly large, very wooded in some areas; nice beach walk on Lake Michigan. Town of Zion is very close with groceries, laundries etc. Also can ride METRA train into Chicago from Zion station. We camped here in a Motorhome.
The campground is located a short stroll from Lake Michigan and is mostly wooded with a lot of undergrowth. The natural, wild feel of the park is noteworthy given its location and is not greatly disturbed by the occasional train or corporate jet noise. The camp hosts are friendly and helpful. The restrooms and showers are worn but serviceable clean. Electric, cell phone and air card (AT&T) are good. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.
We enjoyed this park, but it’s definitely a mixed bag. It’s a good value: We’ve paid more for places that were a lot less pleasant. Our spot on the lake was primitive, gorgeous, and shady. Our site was mostly level. It was kind of a pain that the park doesn't have water hook-ups at each site, but we managed with just electricity. Wildlife was abundant. We saw many skunks, black squirrels, raccoons, and birds. The security is good: The guard shack is manned around the clock. The site is divided into two parts, one half that allows alcohol and one that does not. The site is convenient for shopping, and it’s close to Six Flags. Out on the pavement of Six Flags, it was a hot day. Under the trees on the shores of the lake, it was balmy. An ice cream truck and a wood truck drove by our campsite, and we enjoyed buying wood for a campfire and ice cream for all the kids. Our main complaint is that this park is not well maintained--one of my children cut her thumb on a tile in the shower and so did a girl in the camp across from us. The abandoned concrete buildings on the beach and the decommissioned nuclear power plant nearby gave us the impression that the US had peaked in the 60s and went downhill after that. Certainly, the buildings at the park looked like they had seen better days. It looked like a good place to shoot a post-apocalyptic movie. In addition, mail delivery was hit or miss. We got one package, but another was returned to the post office. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
Campsites are large and nicely wooded but pretty much next to the park road so really no privacy at all. The speed is suppose to be 10mph for traffic. Every campsite has electricity but no water. We had to walk about 75 yards to the water pump and about the same for the showers/bathroom. We had campsites 154 and 155 reserved which were very close to the beach, 50 yards away. You cannot see the beach or lake though you can hear the water at night which was nice. We were there a Monday through Wednesday and it was not crowded at all. Only one camping party was noisy one night at about 2AM in the morning. The reserved campsites allow alcohol. All in all a good experience but be warned this beach is closed sometimes due to e-coli levels caused by those nasty gulls. Also, they have had some issues with asbestos collecting on the beach for some reason but we did not see any of this. Another thing is that there is a nuclear power plant right on the Illinois State Beach! It is no longer producing power but it sure is an eyesore on the beach. We camped here in a Tent.
[ 8 / 10 ]
The site was a good location for us as the beach is really close. The staff were very friendly. The beach along with the sites were very clean. I was really impressed with the state beach. I will definitely go back We camped here in a Tent.
Beautiful, beautiful sites. Great beach, swimming, nature center, hiking paths. Pros--most sites are large, with good space between sites, lots of trees, yet still able to setup satellite. Cons--no sewers, no water. Good for shorter stay. We camp here frequently, and will continue to do so. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel.
About 1/3 of the CG is alcohol-free, and is extremely quiet; even on the weekend this section was nowhere near full. The other sites were almost entirely full, but behavior is not allowed to get really rowdy. Multiple camphosts and park employees keep things working and make frequent patrols; security is good. Most campsites are at least partly shaded, some in pine or deciduous woods. VERY buggy in season - bring lots of repellent!! Animals in the park are very used to people - we had deer, squirrels, birds and even a skunk (!) wandering through our campsite at various times. Sites are well-spaced, though none are really private. Several paths to the large public beach available. No road noise, very little train noise; however, the park is under the flight path from a nearby business/private airport, so low-flying planes are an occasional noise maker. We would definitely come again - but before/after mosquito season!! We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
I love this park. It's right down the road from me so I use it for shakedowns and what not. There are a ton of sites. All very large and all have electric. There is some water available from either the dump station or about every 20th campsite, there are spigots by the road for use. If you do use the water, since it's so scarce, people use diverters so that other people can still use the water when the TT is hooked up. I prefer to bring my own water as they do have a dump site with 2 dumps available. People are VERY friendly, and if you're looking for a VERY quiet weekend, there is a partial alcohol ban there so that it doesn't get rowdy. There's plenty of stuff to do in the area. Six Flags is about 20 min away or you can jump on the train and head to Chicago. If there's one thing that I think I don't care for, it's the hosts. They're very nice and help out a lot, but some are a bit too permanent and have run down they're rigs to the point where one has fencing, and another has a plywood door on it. It's just a blight on the whole nature thing in my mind. Otherwise great place with a beautiful view. Nothing like a sunrise on Lake Michigan when you're on the water. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.
We first came to Illinois Beach in June, then returned in July and again in August. We're going back in September as well. There are lots of shaded sites, some very close to the beach on Lake Michigan. There is a nice walkway along the beach and a big beach area. Lots of trees and vegetation - many deer, squirrels etc. The sites are big so you don't feel cramped. The town of Zion is close and grocery stores are just around the corner as well as a METRA train stop which can take you into Chicago in a little over an hour. It's also conveniently located close to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and the VA medical facility. The town of Zion also has a "Beeline" trolley which you can board at the camp gate and ride to many different stops all over the town of Zion. We camped here in a Travel Trailer.