Best Places For Free Camping In Illinois

Hey there, fellow adventure seekers! Are you craving the freedom of the great outdoors? Do you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life without breaking the bank?

Well, you’re in luck because Illinois is home to some amazing free camping spots that will satisfy your wanderlust without emptying your wallet. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or new to the game, Illinois has something for everyone.

From lakeside retreats to secluded forests, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to explore. So pack up your tent, grab your hiking boots, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through some of the best places for free camping in Illinois.

Shawnee National Forest

Are you looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life? Look no further than Shawnee National Forest in Illinois.

This 280,000-acre forest is the perfect destination for those seeking an outdoor adventure. With over 400 miles of hiking trails, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the natural beauty of this area.

As you hike, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and even bald eagles. For those who enjoy wildlife spotting, Shawnee National Forest is a must-visit destination.

The diverse landscape provides a home for many different species of animals. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a bobcat or black bear! And when night falls, don’t forget to look up at the sky.

The lack of light pollution makes it an ideal spot for stargazing. So pack your bags and head out on an adventure in Shawnee National Forest – you won’t be disappointed! As we venture on to our next camping destination at Mississippi Palisades State Park, get ready to experience even more breathtaking views and exciting activities.

Mississippi Palisades State Park

After exploring the Shawnee National Forest, you may want to check out the Mississippi Palisades State Park. This park offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River and its surrounding bluffs.

With over 15 miles of hiking trails, there’s plenty to explore here. The hiking trails vary in difficulty level, so whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, there’s something for everyone.

You can even try your hand at rock climbing on the towering limestone cliffs. If rock climbing is more your thing, be sure to check with the park office about any necessary permits or safety guidelines before attempting any climbs.

Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks as some of the hikes can be quite strenuous.

Garden Of The Gods Recreation Area

As I drove towards Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, my anticipation grew with every mile. The greenery and trees surrounding the road were a sight to behold.

As I reached the recreation area, I was greeted by towering rock formations that looked like they had been sculpted by a divine hand. It was as if nature had created its own art gallery for me to explore.

The hiking trails at Garden of the Gods Recreation Area are perfect for anyone looking for adventure. The trails offer stunning views of the rock formations and lead you through diverse landscapes.

You can choose from easy to challenging trails depending on your preference and stamina. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, there’s something for everyone here.

So why not pack your bags, grab your hiking boots and head out to this gorgeous spot in Illinois?


Overall, I highly recommend exploring the best places for free camping in Illinois. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life.

You’ll discover hidden gems that offer stunning views, peaceful surroundings, and endless opportunities for outdoor activities.

So pack your backpack, grab your tent, and head out to Shawnee National Forest, Mississippi Palisades State Park, or Garden of the Gods Recreation Area.

These three spots are sure to satisfy your craving for adventure and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Happy camping!