A group of girls camping in the Forest Preserves

Coming in summer 2015—five new campgrounds for families, groups and individuals.


For decades, camping in Cook County has been available only to organized groups such as the Scouts. By summer 2015, the Forest Preserves will open five new and revitalized campgrounds to families, groups and individuals of all ages and interests. Camp in a tent or a cabin, or try one of the activities offered by Forest Preserves staff. Click here for construction updates or to see the Camping Master Plan.


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Group Camping Currently Available at Camp Alphonse


Camp Alphonse, near Palatine, is currently available for youth organization camping. Organizations may obtain reservations and permits to camp overnight on weekends in their own tents by completing a Special Event Permit application. Interested groups should call (800) 870-3666 (option 2) with any questions. The fee for tent camping is $20 per tent, per night. Water for drinking, cooking and washing is available from a well in the camp area. Outhouse toilet facilities are provided.


The camp is located on the north side of Dundee Road (Route 68), one-half (1/2) mile west of Quinten Road, in Deer Grove Forest Preserve, North of Palatine, Illinois.



About the Camping Master Plan


The Camping Master Plan outlines a variety of offerings to serve youth, families, groups and individuals of all ages, interests and backgrounds.


The plan emphasizes primitive camping and envisions a series of related yet diverse camping experiences built by reinvesting in and revitalizing existing camps, creating new camping destinations, and developing special event campsites near nature centers.


Click here to download the complete plan (PDF).


Construction Updates

November 13, 2014: Five camp projects are under construction and three projects—Camp Shabbona (seasonal), Camp Reinberg and Camp Sullivan Group—are expected to be completed in early 2015.

Camp Dan Beard, Camp Sullivan Family and Camp Bullfrog/Maple Lake Boathouse are expected open in the spring of 2015. Track progress on our camp construction and other county-wide projects at


Priority Sites


Learn more about the planning behind our priority sites and view the most current plans for these projects:



Camp Reinberg (existing) – Palatine


Camp Reinberg will host groups and families with a range of accommodations: two bedroom cabins, small primitive cabins, drive up tent pads with electric service, and walk in primitive tent pads with an access path for occasional vehicles. The renovated Dining Hall will serve as the hub of camp activities. The building program includes check-in and administration, kitchen and/or concessions, restrooms (including showers), and new small activity room in addition to the current main hall. Camp Activities include access to regional trails, nature trails, winter sports, Crabtree Nature Center, and programs and activities at the Dining Hall. Funding is included for development of minor outdoor recreation facilities in keeping with the FPDCC mission, including a Council Ring.



Camp Sullivan (existing) – Tinley Park


Camp Sullivan’s attributes include the existing historic barn, bunkhouses, a variety of habitat types, proximity to trails, and cultural resources including an historic creek-side swimming area and bridge. The size of the site allows development to cater to several types of users: day use/special events focused on the barn; group use focused on the bunkhouse area; and family camping in the wooded area along the existing drive. Camp visitors can access the proposed high ropes course, learn about the site’s history, and access regional trails. Various facilities will provide gathering and program space. Future development may address the Camp Falcon site, however no improvements are planned at this time due in part to site access issues.



Bullfrog Lake (new) – Willow Springs


Bull Frog and Maple Lake are adjacent sites providing access to water-based recreation and regional trails. They are in proximity to the Little Red School House Nature Center. Maple Lake activities focus on a new boathouse, renting rowboats and canoes/kayaks plus providing fishing access from the refurbished existing docks. Shoreline enhancements and benches provide scenic areas for visitors to observe the lake, and the Boathouse provides concessions and restrooms. A small program area can help host special events. The camp at Bull Frog Lake caters to families, with accommodations ranging from two-bedroom heated cabins to primitive cabins and a variety of walk-in or pull-up camp sites. Two group sites can each accommodate 25. Visitors to Bull Frog can utilize all the nearby opportunities for recreation, plus a camp commons lawn for field games and family / group gatherings.



Shabbona Woods (new) – South Holland


Shabbona Woods will provide camping facilities for groups and families. The camp and it’s facilities will complement existing program activities at Sand Ridge Nature Center, and the Nature Center will provide a vibrant destination for campers. Small three-season tent cabins, mulch tent pads, and group camping in an existing clearing will provide a range of experiences. Interpretive signage will educate visitors about the site’s natural and cultural resources. Fencing and a gate with an occupied gate house will help provide a secure environment. Some on-site development will provide opportunities for nature play or low-key recreation. Future connections to area resources will broaden the activities available for campers. The site will continue to function for special events at Sand Ridge and will be managed to maximize occupancy and appeal to a broad section of potential users.



Camp Dan Beard (existing) – Northbrook


Camp Dan Beard has been utilized by the Boy Scouts for over 50 years. The Forest Preserve District will be removing the existing cabins due to poor condition. Several new cabins will be constructed for group and family use, along with a restroom facility. One of the existing cabins will also be renovated to maintain a tie with the site’s heritage. Proposed new development will include a family camping area featuring tent camping, small cabins, and site suitable for campers or tents. A central restroom and picnic shelters will complete the structures proposed for the family camp area.

Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County