State Park Campgrounds Open Friday: Here’s What to Expect

Campgrounds at Illinois state parks are reopened, with new guidelines in place. (Kelle Cruz / Flickr)Campgrounds at Illinois state parks are reopened, with new guidelines in place. (Kelle Cruz / Flickr)

The great outdoors is set to reopen for business, with camping allowed again at Illinois state parks beginning Friday.

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has a listing of sites accepting reservations, which you’re encouraged to make in advance via the Reserve America website. If you don’t make a reservation, you should be prepared to pay with exact change or a check to cut down on the handling of money. IDNR recommends visiting parks the closest to where you live.  

Take note that “reopen” isn’t the same as “back to normal.”

A number of restrictions remain in place: Playgrounds, shelters, beaches and pools are all closed. Group and youth camps are still prohibited. And there are additional guidelines for campers, just updated by IDNR, designed to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Here’s what you need to know before you go:

Socializing restrictions include limiting campsites to registered occupants; capacity can’t exceed 10 people per site. No outside visitors will be allowed, and campfires are limited to those occupying that campsite. Picnic tables are for registered occupants only. To restrict access, campers will be allowed to temporarily secure entry to their assigned site. 

Showers and restrooms: Restrooms are open but if you’ve got a camper or RV with its own bathroom or shower, bring it and use it. Showers aren’t uniformly available, so be prepared to embrace the grunge. It goes without saying, but IDNR recommends packing shower sandals. Restrooms and showers will be cleaned twice daily.

Food and water: Water fountains aren’t available, but hydrants will be open. There will be limited reopening of concessions. 

You’re reminded to continue following social distancing recommendations, maintaining 6 feet between yourself and others who aren’t part of your quarantine circle.

IDNR’s conservation police officers will be monitoring campgrounds as part of their routine patrols, according to Rachel Torbert, deputy director of IDNR. 

Oh yeah, one more thing: Have fun. 

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 | [email protected]

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