Gr8LakesCamper: Reserving Illinois State Park campsites now online

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June 7, 2010

Reservations for most Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) campsites, cabins, group campsites and picnic shelters for the 2010 season can be made online beginning July 7.

Reservations can be made on the ReserveAmerica website at using Visa and MasterCard. IDNR camping and shelter reservations will no longer be taken through the mail or over the phone.

“The new online campsite reservation system will make it more convenient for visitors to reserve a spot at our state parks, recreation areas and state fish and wildlife areas,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “Our state sites are popular destinations for families, hikers, hunters, anglers, and all outdoor enthusiasts. By taking reservations online, we’ll help visitors be certain there is a campsite waiting for them when they arrive.”

Reserving campsites and shelters through ReserveAmerica’s easy-to-navigate website will allow users to receive instant confirmation of their reservations at IDNR sites.

Reservations for regular campsites and group campsites require a $5 non-refundable reservation fee and payment of the full camping and utility fees at the time the reservation is made. Camping fee information for IDNR sites is available at Payment of the entire camping and utility fee amount will guarantee that the reservation will be held for the entire length of the stay. Shelter reservation fees are $25 (except on Saturdays at Spitler Woods State Natural Area in Macon Co., where the shelter fee is $150).

Campsites can be reserved for a maximum of 14 nights per 30-day period and reservations must be made at least seven or five days before the campsite is needed, depending on the facility. Reservations for the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends may require a two- or three-night minimum stay reservation.

Campsite reservations through the new online system will be available at 67 of Illinois’ state parks and other sites managed by the IDNR. Shelter reservations will be available at 51 sites.

From the personal blog: One of the things we love to do when camping is to go hiking. Want to go hiking but don’t know where to begin? Click here for great beginner’s information on hiking.

Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. 

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  3. Ed Smith

    Illinois State Parks negotiated a better deal with ReserveAmerica than Massachusetts since the reservation fee is only $5.00. A reservation for a campsite in a Massachusetts State Park has a reservation fee of $9.25!!! The fee increased in recent years with no appreciable increase in service.

  4. @Duffer and @hoppe: You both raise some good points. I will do more research and put together a more comprehensive post, comparing and contrasting each state’s reservation system. Give me some time though; this blog is just something I do on my own time and own dime. My initial thought is this: As states look to save money wherever they can, they’ll turn more to privatizing with third-party vendors for many services. So it’s unfortunate, but inevitable, that campground reservations would fall victim to this less-for-more trend.

  5. hoppe

    Reservations can be made on the ReserveAmerica website at using Visa and MasterCard. IDNR camping and shelter reservations will no longer be taken through the mail or over the phone.
    SOS … Same ofd S___!
    Hate to be a negative responder. But this Blog smacks of an Add for reserve america.
    Perhaps you could have titled it More For Less. Continuing Saga of the Usurping of our Public Lands by Privateers.

    Could we just bring back the Forest Service and the State Parks and Rec. Districts?

    Oh and Don’t forget. Online only, calls and emails NOT accepted!

  6. Don Keeney

    To see the best and latest on line reservation system check out TP&W State Parks reservation system and it’s fee!!!Z

  7. Duffer

    Hey thanks for this update.

    How would you compare this system with your personal experiences with the previous system that you’ve used the IDNR for campsite reservations? What was the old system like? What is their value for the additional $5? Does the $5 reservation fee come off the total camping fee, or is it a net additional fee? Are there any other costs for using the new system? Will the $5 fee completely cover the new reservation system, or will we likely see additional fees in the future coming from the system’s provider? What is your experience with these things?

    How does the new system compare with your personal experience with other Midwest states’ reservation systems, such as Ohio, Iowa, Indiana and so on? Do they have a similar or exact system as this one? How is that working out for them?