This really is still a work in progress. There are only a couple of mainland camping spots within close proximity to Airlie Beach. The Hydeaway Bay caravan park has a great camp area as does the Black Stump caravan park at Conway Beach (complete with jumping cushion and pool). There is a lovely cool camp site at Cathu National Park about an hour's drive south from Airlie Beach - it is a really different experience. It is set alongside a lovely creek and fires are allowed. It is worth driving to the top of the range, which is about another 8km (I have run it once and wouldn't recommend it as this is the only time I have been able to feel my pulse through my ears) and strolling to the lookout on the left-hand side. The views are expansive and spectacular. Whenever we camp, my kids always grab a couple of packets of marshmallows and cook them over the fire with a stick - it may not be the healthiest thing, but they have lots of fun.
There are several camping spots on the islands - most are mentioned elsewhere. Remember my favourite is Bona Bay on Gloucester Island or Henning Island near Hamilton.