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Save Money on Illinois State Parks!

Save Money on Illinois State Parks!
There’s nothing like spending some time outdoors, and where better to do that than an Illinois state park? Illinois state parks are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and save some money at the same time.
Did you know that unlike many other states Illinois state parks are completely free? However, there are fees for camping in Illinois state parks… but you may qualify for a discounted rate or even have the camping fee waived altogether! There are discounts and fee waivers for Illinois seniors, for persons with disabilities, disabled veterans, and retired service members.

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Senior Citizens save money on Illinois State Parks.

If you’re over 62 years of age and a current Illinois citizen you already qualify for discounted camping rates at Illinois state parks! Camping fees for senior citizens Mondays through Thursdays are completely free. That amounts to savings of up to $35 per night. Keep in mind that premium campsites will still require a $10 utility fee that covers showers, electricity and vehicle access.


Persons with Disabilities qualify for discounts!

Certain Illinois citizens with disabilities also qualify for reduced or waived camping fees inside Illinois state parks. Any Illinois citizen with a Class 2 or Class 2A disability as defined by the Illinois Identification Card Act qualifies for a discount. To receive this discount, you’ll need to present your Illinois Disabled Person’s Identification Card to the park staff. Persons with disabilities get a 50% discount on camping fees at campsites with utilities on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. What’s more, persons with disabilities are not charged any fees for campgrounds without utilities any day of the week.

Veterans and active military can save, too!

Illinois makes it a point to thank those that have served, and one small way they do that is by waiving any camping fees for any disabled veteran or former prisoner of war and their immediate families. To qualify you only need to be recognized by the Veteran’s Administration and a citizen of Illinois. Disabled veterans and former prisoners of war are only responsible for the $10 utility fee if they choose to camp at a site with utilities.


Illinois also offers free camping to anyone holding an Armed Forces Special Pass. The Armed Services Special Pass is offered to any active duty military member who has returned from serving abroad within the last two years. The pass is good for one year for every year served. The Armed Forces Special Pass not only provides free camping at all Illinois State Parks but also provides free fishing and hunting licenses. If you hold an Armed Services Special Pass you’ll still need to pay the $10 utility fee at any campsite that has utilities.

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Monday 8th of March 2021

Is there a discount in the fees for renting a cabin too? thanks

Hannah Benge

Tuesday 9th of March 2021

All the discounts for the park are in this article that we have so far. You may be eligible for discounts for rentals if you are a senior, in the armed forces, or a disable veteran - as stated in the article. Thank you! -Hannah

Colleen G.

Saturday 3rd of August 2019

Camping fees for seniors in Illinois state parks is half the regular rate Mon - Thursday, not free plus utility. It's $17.50 during the week and full price on weekends. You should probably make this correction. My hubby and I go and camp there often during the week.

Riley Thomson

Monday 5th of August 2019

Colleen, Thank you so much for the updated information as our accuracy is very important to us. We are reviewing the information and we should have an update on the site very soon! Thanks again! -Riley

Donna M Whiting

Friday 14th of December 2018

is there any info on, entrance fees for state parks, for Illinois? I just saw camping fees.

Riley Thomson

Monday 17th of December 2018

Donna, When I googled it, this is what I found on the state page.

"The Illinois Department of Natural Resources does not charge an Entrance Fee to any state owned or operated land with the exception of Wildlife Prairie Park and sites with beaches. Beaches charge a $1 a day per person for beach use only."

I hope this helps. -Riley


Sunday 1st of April 2018

Who do you call about getting the discounts on campsites? Or do you just take a chance and show up and hope there are open sites? Also looking for legal resources besides Lincoln Land Legal Aid and Catholic Charities, they werent able to help me.


Monday 4th of June 2018

Hi, Angela! I've added legal aid to my research list. For camping, I'm not entirely sure. In my state, we make online reservations and the reservation system has a checkbox that gives us the discount. When we check in, we have to verify our eligibility for the discount. I would assume it's the same in Illinois.