Best Illinois Dog-Friendly Camping Spots

Pup’s gotta take advantage of good Chicago weather, because even if it’s sunny with a high of 75, Chicago winter is always looming on the horizon (nooo!). Luckily Illinois is full of parks to sniff, pats to receive, and new sights to ruv. Check out some Illinois dog-friendly camping spots to ‘splore the great outdoors with your No. 1.

Pet-Friendly Illinois Campgrounds and State Parks

You’ll have a happy camper on your hands when you visit any of these pup-friendly campsites.

Starved Rock State Park

Less than 100 miles outside Chicago, Starved Rock boasts 13 miles of hiking trails, 18 canyons, picturesque sandstone bluffs, fun local wineries and breweries with dog-friendly patios, and a rich cultural history. All campsites include a cement pad for RV or camper, space for a tent (or 2!), picnic table, fire pit with grill grate on top, and electric hookup. Note: Masks are still required in park buildings and restrooms.

Camp Dogwood

More than dog-friendly camping, this place is a dog camp. Imagine if your parents went with you to overnight summer camp (and also you’re a dog), and that’s what Camp Dogwood is all about. When going to Dogwood, you can glamp in their lodges or cabins (for the pampered pooch who needs a bed) or ruff it in your own tent. Choose from several demonstrations and activities intended to boost the bond between you and your pup.

Kickapoo State Recreation Area

A former mining site, Kickapoo features two campgrounds for tents and trailers. With 35 miles of hiking trails, which provide gorgeous views of the Vermillion River, and 22 deep water ponds for boats and canoes, pup’ll be saying bow wow wow! Campsites 1-101 feature electrical hookups (and you pay for it even if you don’t use it), so reserve a non-electrical site if your pup is real rugged.

Beall Woods

If you like ruffin’ it, Beall Woods is the state park for you. This park has about 5 miles of easy-moderate hiking trails and restrooms, but no electricity or showers. Campsites are first-come, first-serve. Located on the banks of the Wabash River in southeastern Illinois, your dander-ologist pup’ll be impressed by the 100+ feet tall trees in one of the few remaining virgin timber tracts east of the Mississippi. Talk about a mighty bark!

Mississippi Palisades

Mississippi Palisades State Park is one of the most popular Illinois dog-friendly camping spots. Choose from one of their many shaded camping sites so pup doesn’t sweat it out too much in the dog days of summer. Featuring 15 miles of trails overlooking sprawling bluffs, your pup will beg you to sit and stay at the northwestern Illinois park. This 2,500-acre park is rich in Native American history.

Tips for Camping With Dogs

Sniff out these tips to make sure your camping experience is a pawsitive one for you, your pupper, and your camp neighbors.

  • Don’t leave dogs unattended in vehicles or tied up at the campsite.
  • Keep dogs leashed (on a non-retractable for dog’s sake) so that they don’t mingle with other critters.
  • Always give your pup a good pet to check for ticks and make sure she’s up to date on her Lyme vaccination as an extra precaution.
  • Clean up after your dog and pack it out.

Where’s your pal’s fave place for dog-friendly camping near Chicago? Woof at us in the comments and be sure to tag #SidewalkDog in all your adventures!

Featured photo: Christoph Wesi

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, and join our Dog-Friendly Chicago Facebook Group.

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