If you head to Starved Rock State Park and find it full you can use this as a back up. It is not the same as camping in the State Park but more like camping in someones back yard. That said - I had a very nice time there. I arrived a day ahead of my hiking partner. So I set up my Hennessey tent hammock, cooked dinner, then visited the tavern and chatted with two other chicks. Another bonus? It is also inexpensive. Yay! I paid $7.50. That is much less than the State Park charges.
CAmping is on open grassy area. One port-o-potty. I used the restroom in the tavern. I used my SUV and one tree to put up my tent hammock. Worked fine.
We had one room with two double beds. The rooms are small and musty!!! Our room had a de-humidifier, but it worked only half the time. No fan in the bathroom, so when everyone showed (2 adults and 3 children) the room became very humid and musty. The food is overpriced, but adequate. What was really frustrating was that the lodge placed a $500 hold on my charge card when I checked in (this was after I had already paid a $150 deposit two weeks earlier). I asked when I checked in if there would be any amount "held" on the account since I has already paid the deposit and we were only staying two nights (which would bring out total bill to $198). The front desk clerk lied and said no. When I called to question the "hold amt" I was told that I should have read the fine print. When I stated that I thought a $150 deposit and a $500 hold is excessive for a $198 charge, I was told I was welcome to stay elsewhere. To add insult to injury, it took two weeks and four more phone calls to have the charges straightened out! I really paid in stress for a couple of relaxing days!!!
The restaurant requires reservations. If you eat on the patio, expect to wait! With three children under nine, we had to wait 45 min for our appetizers, and an additional 40 min for our entrees...by the time the food came, everyone was tired and not hungry any more!
The pool smelled awful, the chlorine smell is overwhelming and burns your nose. The lodge request that you not bring coolers or food into the rooms, but then charge you $1.75/soda and have NOTHING available after 8 pm to eat (even the bar closes at 9pm). There is nothing for small children, no playground, or playrooms. The gift shop is very small, and nothing is from the local community (even the dream catchers say "made in China"), which is very disappointing.
Great Facilities. The large pine lodge facility has been updated on a regular basis to keep it current and comfortable. The Bar offers terrace seating and a view over the Illinois River.
Located right in the middle of the park, you have access to the trails for an early morning walk. You can avoid the croweded parking lots if you choose and not be a mile up river at the Campground.
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