DuPage forest preserves offer hundreds of picnic tables and inviting places to spread a blanket. Ground fires are not allowed, but you can bring a grill. Most preserves have hot-coal disposal bins. Alcohol is always prohibited. 

Permits & Fees

Outdoor enthusiasts who want to picnic with more than 25 people or ensure a shelter or picnic area reservation must apply for a picnic permit at least three full business days in advance. You can reserve a picnic area online 24/7 up to a year in advance. Fees are nonrefundable regardless of why you cancel (even for weather), but you can change your reservation one time up to one week in advance through Visitor Services at 630-933-7248 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. for an additional $5.

For other options, download our picnic area permit application (PDF) or call Visitor Services at 630-933-7248. Phone reservations must be made at least three full business days in advance. 

View the picnic shelters and areas photo gallery, or view the photos in the links below.



Reservable Picnic Areas Per Day

Forest Preserve






North Shelter GE 50 100 $60 $75
South Shelter G 50 100 $55 $70
East Shelter G 50 100 $55 $70
West Shelter —  50 100 $45 $60
Sand Pond Shelter GE 50 100 $60 $75
Picnic Area  — 300 $70 $90
Burlington Park          
Shelter G 25 25 $55 $70
Churchill Woods          
Shelter G 100 100 $100 $120
Central Picnic Area  — 50 $35 $45
West Picnic Area  — 50 $35 $45
Cricket Creek              
Shelter  — 25 25 $45 $60
Fullersburg Woods          
Shelter 50 50 $45 $60
Greene Valley          
East Shelter  — 50 100 $45 $60
West Shelter  — 50 100 $45 $60
Herrick Lake          
East Shelter GE 100 100 $105 $130
West Shelter G 50 100 $55 $70
South Shelter F 50 50 $45 $60
West Picnic Area 150 $35 $45
Hidden Lake          
Shelter GE 50 100 $60 $75
Mallard Lake          
Shelter  — 50 100 $45 $60
McDowell Grove            
North Shelter F 25 25 $45 $60
Central Picnic Area   — 150 $35 $45
Pratt's Wayne Woods          
Shelter G 100 100 $100 $120
Songbird Slough          
Shelter 50 100 $45 $60
Spring Creek Reservoir          
Shelter 50 50 $45 $60
Springbrook Prairie          
Shelter E 50 50 $45 $60
St. James Farm          
Pavilion GE  150 300 $250 $350
Black Walnut Picnic Grove   100 $70 $90
Wood Dale Grove          
North Shelter 50 100 $45 $60
South Shelter G 100 100 $100 $120
York Woods
Closed due to restoration
Shelter G 100 100 $100 $120

G Built-in charcoal grill (Charcoal and lighter fluid are not included.)

E Electricity
F Fireplace (Firewood is provided. Outside firewood is not allowed.)


Special-Use Permits

Several event types and unique requests — such as ceremonies, church services, 5K fundraisers, walkathons, classes, trainings, tournaments, photo or movie shoots, etc. — — require more than picnic permits. They require special-use permits, which you must request at least four full calendar weeks in advance through Visitor Services at 630-933-7247. For more information, see the Special-Use Permits page. 


Canopies & Grills

If you have a picnic permit, you can rent a Forest Preserve District canopy or grill (if available) at select sites to use the same day.

You can set up a private canopy at certain locations, too, but need to pay an extra fee if your canopy is over 200 square feet.

To rent a canopy or grill or request to set up your own canopy, call Visitor Services at 630-933-7248 at least three full business days before your event.

Forest Preserve District Canopy

20' x 30', 75-person capacity  and includes setup and takedown

Select preserves

DuPage resident




$325 per day 

$375 per day

Private Canopy (over 200 square feet)

To set up an approved private canopy over 200 square feet, the Forest Preserve District must first approve the request. You are responsible for contacting JULIE to ensure the private canopy is set up in the correct location.

Select preserves

DuPage resident



$10 per day

$12 per day

District Grill (includes setup and cleanup)

2’ x 5' and does not include charcoal or lighter fluid

Select preserves

DuPage resident




$75 per day

$90 per day

Picnicking Rules & Regulations

For everyone’s safety and enjoyment, you must follow these rules and regulations, which the Forest Preserve District may change at any time.

  •  As the permit holder, you must be 18 or older and remain on-site with a copy of your permit for the duration of your event. 
  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  • Park vehicles only in designed areas.
  • Keep your area clean and put trash in the appropriate garbage or recycling containers. After you pack up, make sure the area looks as it did when you arrived. 
  • Do not exceed the stated maximum area capacity.
  • If you bring dogs, stay with them at all times. Always keep them leashed and quiet, and pick up any pet waste. Do not tie them to any trees, plants, buildings or equipment. With the exception of service animals, other animals are not allowed.
  • If you’re using a charcoal grill, place hot coals in the marked disposal bins at the preserve.
  • Do not start any ground fires.
  • Do not bring or use horseshoes, piñatas, egg-toss games, water balloons, animal rides, musical performers, disc jockeys, stages, trampolines, or attractions such as dunk tanks and inflatables. Balloon releases are also prohibited.
  • You can set up a private canopy in most areas as long as it’s 200 square feet or smaller. If you want to set up a larger canopy, you must have advanced approval from Visitor Services, which may require an extra fee.
  • If you use generators, radios, microphones or similar equipment, only use them at volumes that do not disturb other visitors. Place generators on platforms so they don’t damage the grass.
  • If you use signs or decorations, they must be free-standing. Do not staple, pin, tack, nail, tape, tie or attach them to trees, shelters or other structures. Make sure to take them down before you leave.
  • If you have contracted entertainment, they cannot use animals and they must clean up before they leave.
  • You can use caterers but cannot bring in food trucks. Caterers must park in designated spots, serve from within your reservable area, and clean up before they leave. 
  • Per the General Use Regulation Ordinance, several activities require special-use permits in addition to a picnic permit. These activities include fundraisers for charitable, humanitarian, or benevolent causes; contests; training programs or exercises; shows; exhibits of dramatic performances; plays; acts; motion pictures; acrobatic feats; bazaars; sporting events; musical events; ceremonies; children’s
    day camps; or any public meetings, assemblies, demonstrations, or parades, including but not limited to drills or maneuvers, rallies, picketing events, public speeches or addresses, group marches, or political meetings. To request a special-use permit, contact Visitor Services at 630-933-7247 at least four full calendar weeks in advance.
As a permit holder you agree to abide by these rules and regulations as well as all Forest Preserve District ordinances and administrative orders and state statutes. You also understand that the Forest Preserve District may fine you or revoke your permit without refunding your permit fee if you supply false information on your application or fail to comply with any rules, regulations, ordinances, orders or statutes.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County offers scores of nature-related programs and activities for grownups, kids, families and groups year-round. Click below to register for programs, reserve shelters and campsites or purchase permits, and we'll see you soon!

Reserve Facility
Purchase Permit