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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.

View Upcoming Camping 101 Programs

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

May 2019

SeriesWed, May 29 • 5:30 pm
Free

Camping 101 for Outdoor Youth Organizations

Camp Sullivan, Oak Forest

June 2019

Sat, Jun 1 - Sun, Jun 2
$25

CLIC (Camping Leadership Immersion Course) Training

Camp Sullivan, Oak Forest
Don't MissSun, Jun 2 • 12 PM
Free

Explore the Forest

Crabtree Nature Center, Barrington Hills
SeriesWed, Jun 5 • 5:30 pm
Free

Camping 101: Outdoor Youth Organizations

Camp Sullivan, Oak Forest
SeriesThu, Jun 13 • 5:30 pm
Free

Camping 101: Individuals & Families

Camp Bullfrog Lake, Willow Springs
Mon, Jun 17 - Fri, Jun 21 • 9 AM
$325

MakerNature Camp: Happy Camper

Thatcher Woods Pavilion, River Forest
SeriesFri, Jun 21 - Sat, Jun 22
$75

Family Campout

Camp Dan Beard, Northbrook
SeriesFri, Jun 21 - Sat, Jun 22
$75

Family Campout

Camp Shabbona Woods, South Holland
SeriesWed, Jun 26 • 5:30 pm
Free

Camping 101: Individuals & Families

Camp Reinberg, Palatine
SeriesThu, Jun 27 • 5:30 pm
Free

Camping 101: Individuals & Families

Camp Shabbona Woods, South Holland

July 2019

Wed, Jul 10 - Thu, Jul 11 • 9:30 am
$20

Fishing Fun Day Camp

Trailside Museum of Natural History, River Forest
SeriesThu, Jul 11 • 5:30 pm
Free

Camping 101: Individuals & Families

Camp Dan Beard, Northbrook
SeriesTue, Jul 23 • 5:30 pm
Free

Camping 101: Individuals & Families

Camp Bullfrog Lake, Willow Springs

August 2019

SeriesFri, Aug 9 - Sat, Aug 10
$75

Family Campout

Camp Reinberg, Palatine
SeriesTue, Aug 13 • 5:30 pm
Free

Camping 101: Individuals & Families

Camp Reinberg, Palatine
Fri, Aug 16 • 6 PM
Free

Campfire Cooking Workshop

Camp Dan Beard, Northbrook

September 2019

Sat, Sep 7 - Sun, Sep 8
Free

CLIC (Camping Leadership Immersion Course) Training

Camp Sullivan, Oak Forest
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Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County