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camping gear

No Gear?
No Problem!

Gear is available for rent or purchase at all Forest Preserves of Cook County campgrounds.

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camping gear

Collect 10 Punches & Get One Night Free!

Get your punch card at any Forest Preserves campground. Call 855-YES-CAMP for more details.

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Camping Programs

The Forest Preserves of Cook County offer a range of unique programs to enhance your camping experience—from casual camping skills lessons to comprehensive leadership courses.

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Regular Weekend Programs

Every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Forest Preserves staff lead free programs open to all registered campers, including:

  • Friday and Saturday night campfires
  • Special Friday and Saturday evening programs
  • Saturday afternoon activities and hikes
  • Camping skills demonstrations

Each campground will also have a limited number of Camping Adventure Backpacks available for free check-out, that include binoculars, field guides, a compass, activity sheets and other aids to nature exploration.

Camping 101

Camping 101 is a free hands-on workshop designed to teach anyone basic camping skills. Topics will include tent setup, campfire cooking, camping fun, dressing for camping, camping etiquette and more.

Open to campers and the general public, Camping 101 sessions are held at campgrounds across the forest preserves. No registration required.

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Camping Leadership Immersion Course & Campouts

The Camping Leadership Immersion Course (CLIC) connects organized groups to camping in the forest preserves. Based at Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest, CLIC is offered to leaders of groups up to 30. An overnight training course includes instruction in leadership skills, camp equipment use and care, and group activities related to outdoor recreation and nature-based education. Once leaders are CLIC certified, they can bring their large groups for camping trips and will be able to use equipment for a campout at Camp Sullivan with their group.

CLIC trainings run in spring and fall. Space is limited. For more information, call 708-386-4042 x20 or email experience.camping@cookcountyil.gov.

  • Training course for leaders: $25/person
  • One-night campout for 32 people (2 adult leaders with 30 participants): $100 ($25 for each additional night)

Program support comes from the Forest Preserve Foundation, Columbia Sportswear, CSX and Outdoors Empowered Network.

Family Campouts

Families can register up to six family members for $75 at one of our scheduled overnight Family Campouts. Starting in the evening and ending mid-day the next day, campouts include staff-led instruction in tent and equipment set-up, campfire building and camp cooking. Programs may also include night hikes, storytelling, animal encounters or nature play.

All families will be provided with a campsite, equipment and the staff support needed to have a successful campout. A basic camping dinner, light refreshments and a simple breakfast will be provided for family campers. Some Family Campouts will be planned around Forest Preserves special events and will include transportation to nature centers or other nearby sites.

Families must provide their own transportation to the campground and bring any snacks and additional food. Contact experience.camping@cookcountyil.gov for more information.

Upcoming Programs

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