Camping Programs

people setting up a tent at a Camping 101 event
Setting up a tent at a Camping 101 at Camp Shabbona Woods.

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

On this page:


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 skill demonstrations

Each campground has 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.



Camping Leadership Immersion Course (CLIC)

The Camping Leadership Immersion Course (CLIC) training is aimed at connecting community groups and other mission based organizations with the Forest Preserves of Cook County through camping.

CLIC is an overnight training at Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest designed to give participants the skills and experience to plan and lead camping trips at Camp Sullivan. By completing the CLIC training, leaders gain access to the CLIC gear library (onsite) and designated group site at Camp Sullivan.


There are no upcoming events at this time.

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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.