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Illinois is home to so many natural wonders. From the botanical gardens in Chicago and Rockford to the numerous state parks and nature preserves to some truly amazing rock formations, there are endless opportunities for you and your family to get out and explore our state. There are so many great options for your family’s next getaway. If you’re looking for a Central Illinois destination, I have to recommend you take the time to visit Shelbyville and the surrounding areas. Nothing refreshes your family connection quite like camping together and Shelbyville has many locations where you can do just that.
Situated along the Kaskaskia River and wrapping around the south shore of Lake Shelbyville, Shelbyville, IL is a lovely destination for camping, hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, boating, and observing wildlife. Pitch a tent or park your RV at any one of the great campsites in the area. Take a walk with your kids and explore the oak and hickory forests. Bike along the beautiful shoreline. Take your family out boating on the lake. Pop into the Lake Shelbyville Visitor Center for educational exhibits, aquariums, and terrariums, and don’t miss the butterfly gardens. Get away from it all and reconnect with your family in a beautiful natural environment when you go camping in Shelbyville, IL.
Choosing the best campground and campsite for your family
Whether you’re new to camping with kids, or your family takes regular camping trips, deciding where to go can be hard. So many campgrounds are reservation only or only have a handful of non-reservable sites, making it very important to plan ahead and consider what kind of campground and campsite will work best for your family. I recommend you don’t even start looking for a campground until you’ve taken a moment to think about what your family needs and wants in a campsite.
Decide the basics. Will your family be RV or tent camping? Do you need full hookups or just electricity? Is it important for you to have access to flushing toilets and hot showers? Are you okay with carrying your water from a central location or do you need water at your campsite?
Know what kind of camping experience you’re looking for. Do you want your family camping trip to be all about hanging out and playing in nature or do you want more activities to keep your kids engaged? Are you hoping to rough it or are you more into glamping? Will your trip be all about the campground or is your campsite mostly going to be a place to sleep when you’re done adventuring for the day?
Are certain activities important to your family? Is it important that you and your kids are able to go swimming at the campground? Will you need access to a boat ramp or marina so you can take the boat out? Do you want your campground to have fishing ponds so that you can fish from land? How important is trail access to you?
Once you know what kind of campground and campsite you’re looking for, check out these Shelbyville area campground recommendations.
This wooded, lakeside campground has more than 100 campsites that are all equipped with electric hookups. Campground amenities include flushing toilets, showers, a playground, a swimming beach, a dump station, and a boat ramp. There is also a full-service marina nearby. When camping here, your family will be able to go boating, fishing, swimming, nature-watching, walking, or venture off-site to go hunting, hiking or biking. Reviewers say the grounds are well-kept, the bathhouse is clean, and the check-in staff is friendly and helpful. Visit here for more information.
Situated on the lakeshore, this heavily forested campground boasts 181 campsites all with electric hookups. Only half of these sites are reservable, making Coon Creek a great spot for both last-minute getaways and planned vacations. Amenities include flushing toilets, showers, a playground, a swimming beach, a dump station, a boat ramp, and a 0.7-mile nature trail. When camping here, your family can boat, fish, swim, hike, or venture off-site to hunt or bike ride. Reviewers say the facility is clean and well-maintained, has recently remodeled bathrooms, and is quiet, but do say some campsites are a bit narrow. Visit here for more information.
Overlooking the lakeshore, Opossum Creek campground is wooded and shady. It also features a children’s fishing pond with an accessible fishing dock for kids under 12 and fishing enthusiasts with limited mobility. Most campsites are equipped with electricity and are suitable for tent or RV camping, but there are also some tent-only non-electric sites at this facility. Amenities include flushing toilets, showers, a playground, a boat ramp, and a dump station. When camping here, your family can fish, boat, nature watch, or venture off-site to go hunting, swimming, hiking, or biking. Reviewers say that the grounds are clean and quiet and that the hosts are friendly and helpful. Visit here for more information.
Heavily forested with lots of shade, Lone Point is a Lake Shelbyville area campground that offers regular campsites as well as a separate group camping area. Amenities include flushing toilets, showers, a playground, a dump station, a multi-lane boat ramp, and access to multiple trails including the 11-mile Chief Illini backpacking trail. When camping here, your family will be able to go boating, fishing, hiking, biking, nature-watching, or venture off-site to go hunting or swimming. Reviewers say that the campground is situated in a beautiful setting, is well-maintained, and has great camp hosts. Visit here for more information.
Lying on the shoreline with a steep descent down to the water, this wooded campground has more than 140 campsites that are all equipped with electric hookups. The facility has standard RV or tent-camping sites as well as some tent-only campsites. Amenities include flushing toilets, showers, a playground, a dump station, a dog park, and a high-water boat ramp. When camping here, your family can boat, fish, and nature watching, or venture off-site to go hunting, hiking, biking, or swimming. Reviewers say the campsites are good, the location is pretty, but the bathhouse does have mixed reviews. Visit here for more information.
The only private campground on this list and also the only one not situated directly on Lake Shelbyville, Robin Hood Woods has campsites for RVs and tents as well as cabins of various sizes with bathrooms, heat, and air-conditioning. Amenities include bathhouses, an outdoor pavilion, laundry room, swimming pool, game room, a playground, a 2.5 acre stocked fishing pond, and trails for both hiking and biking. When camping here, your family will be able to swim, fish, nature watch, play in the game room, hike, bike, or venture off-site to go hunting or boating. Reviewers say the owners are very kind and that there is a ton for kids to do. Visit here for more information.
No matter which campground your family chooses, I hope you have fun spending quality time together when you go camping in Shelbyville, IL. Remember that a family camping trip does not have to be perfect to create lasting memories for your kids. In a few years, they might not remember every planned activity you did together, but they will still be telling the story of who was crowned Uno champion when you played about a hundred rounds because the rain just wouldn’t stop.
We often make our best memories when we step away from all life’s distractions and get outside with the people we love. I believe that some of the best family photographs are captured when your family is relaxed and enjoying nature together. Next time you need family photos, reach out to me and we will plan an outdoor or in-home session for you and your kiddos. Check out my work on my family galleries page. Kids are only little once, so let’s document this special season in your family’s life.
While you are here, be sure to check out some of my other posts: