Camping at Cave in Rock State Park

I may try to write more ‘campground informational’ posts on the campsites we visit. Hopefully, it will help the next camper!


Cave-In-Rock in southern Illinois sits atop the high bluffs overlooking the scenic Ohio River and surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest. The heavily wooded park is named for the 55-foot-wide cave that was carved out of the limestone rock by water thousands of years ago.

The first European explorer to visit this area was M. de Lery of France, who in 1729 called it ‘caverne dans Le Roc’. The cave was frequently mentioned by later travelers in diaries and journals.

The cave served as a backdrop for a scene in the movie “How The West Was Won”. The scene was a near-accurate portrayal of how, in the 18th and 19th centuries, ruthless bandits used the cave to lure unsuspecting travelers to an untimely end.

In 1929, the State of Illinois acquired 64.5 acres for a park that since has increased to 204 acres. The well-wooded, 60-foot-high hills and the rugged bluffs along the river – commanding expansive views of the famous waterway – became Cave-In-Rock State Park.

Cave-In-Rock, Illinois
Phone: (618) 289-4325
Visit Campground Website

Sites: 34
Electric only – Dump and water available

View on Google Maps

Latitude: 37.4700045922213
Longitude: -88.1526660919189

Although this is a a State Park, it is not part of the reservation for all other State Parks. Seems there’s probably a few that were able to get out from someone’s thumb and stick to the ‘ol ‘First come-first serve’ way of business. When inquiring about the chances they would be full for Labor Day weekend, the ranger replied, “I’ve never turned anyone away.” It was true, out of the 43 sites available, there were only 9 sites taken. I was flabbergasted! Although they only have electric, this place is a GEM otherwise. Trails for dog walking, scenic views over the Ohio River and colorful sunsets are what awaits you here.



Mom doe and her twins were around every morning. They were so cute gobbling up acorns.

We also saw hawks, vultures and a bald eagle. Many large game birds are here for the fish. We saw also saw numerous butterflies, bats and amphibians… although there was one heavy hitter missing from the normal Midwestern party… SKEETERS! Blood-sucking &$@&%$?#@+’s of evil… It was quite odd to not have to put bug spray on. The noise of the night creatures was deafening. Perhaps the balanced ecosystem has taken care of the problem? I don’t care how it happened, it was AWESOME!!


Breck, Oreo, Me and the cave!!


The sites were very large and level, at least our was, site 4.

There is a local guy in town that sells firewood. I felt it was in bad taste to post his phone number here, however, he lives on the first corner, catty-corner from the church. There is a sign with a phone number.

The town has a restaurant. That’s about it. If you want even a basic quickie mart, you’ll have to go to Elizabethtown, about 20 minutes down a one-lane gravel road. IΒ  had to laugh as I was told by three locals (who all thought we were from Wisconsin, with our accents) if we need something, we’ll need to go to ‘E’town.’

Where? I would ask again.

E’town, right der off 146.

E-Town sound like an online store to me! My husband taps my arm and says, E as in Elizabethtown.

Alright! I’m on the same page now!!

Outhouses at bottom of hill were, well, outhouses! The nearby shower house was very clean, free and roomy.

Cell signal from the three companies we had with us was pretty bad. (Sprint, ATT, Verizon)


Β© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

13 thoughts on “Camping at Cave in Rock State Park

  1. Great post and review. It sounds like a great place.
    I really like the addition of the Google Earth link.

    As for poor phone service. I actually paid for “international” coverage before going to Canada and needless to say that does not fix the lack of cell service.
    I kinda liked being “off the grid” for a short time!

    Love your pictures!


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