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Hiking And Camping Near Chicago

White Pines Forest State Park Mount Morris

Best Backpacking Near Chicago, The Manistee River Loop

A small but beautiful park offering some of the best camping near Chicago, While Pines Forest is 385 acres of wooded nature. The Chicago-Iowa Trail reaches this state park, and there are also cross country skiing trails. Flowing streams and moss-covered cliffs make this scenic park a wonderful place to drive or hike around.

A selection of camping cabins can be rented at the White Pines Inn. There are also more than 100 campsites with shaded picnic areas. Fishing is a popular activity in White Pines Forest State Park, and hugely varied and colorful flower beds bloom throughout the spring. For a stunning natural experience, this state park in Mount Morris is an excellent place to visit.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Theres no shortage of things to do at this expansive national park. By day, you can scale 250-foot tall dunes, then dive into Lake Michigan. The parks varied terrain makes it a popular spot for a diverse assortment of birds, so bring binoculars. Come nighttime, watch for stars and toast marshmallows at your electricity-accessible and dog-friendly site. .

Goose Lake Prairie State National Park

Illinois is the prairie state, but when was the last time you actually found yourself in one? Visiting this park is like traveling back in time to see our fair state when 60 percent of it was covered in tall prairie grasses and wildflowers. Wander among the tall grasses and wildflowers and look for rare birds, like the endangered Henslows sparrow. At night, the uninterrupted sky showcases a multitude of stars.

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Where To Go Camping Near Chicago

City life is great, but every once in a while youve got to get back to nature.

The great thing about a city as centrally located as Chicago is that its not hard to find a solid camping site within range of a quick weekend getaway. None of these campgrounds are much more than a two-hour drive from the city and offer beautiful views and all of the amenities youll need to get off the grid for a few days.

Indiana Dunes State Park

Chesterton, IN

Live it up with a beach getaway on the third coast! Indiana Dunes State Park is a beachfront campground less than 90 minutes away from Chicago. With pet-friendly and electricity-accessible campsites available for around $30 a night, you wont need to feel too far out of your element while enjoying a dip in Lake Michigan and scaling the beautiful dunes surrounding the waterfront.

Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area

Morris, IL

Fishing and wildlife enthusiasts should enjoy a campout on this undisturbed prairie land. Youll feel like the first settlers of Illinoisbut modest amenities like grills, restrooms and a nature center are never too far out of range in case you need to get back to the future. It takes right around two hours to get to these quaint campgrounds.

Starved Rock State Park

Oglesby, IL

Tippecanoe River State Park

Winamac, IN

Kinnikinnick Farm

Caledonia, IL

Kankakee River State Park

Bourbonnais, IL

Illinois Beach State Park

Zion, IL

Accessible Campsites & Amenities

10 Underrated Hikes Near Chicago That We

Accessible campsites are designed for campers with disabilities. Please only book an accessible campsite if you need it or all other campsites are booked. Camp Bullfrog Lake features:

  • Accessible tent campsites with accessible parking, path of travel to and around the campsite, raised fire pit and accessible picnic table.
  • Accessible RV/tent campsites with accessible parking, path of travel to and around the campsite, raised fire pit and accessible picnic table.
  • Accessible large cabins with accessible parking, path of travel to cabin, roll-in shower with bench, accessible sink, raised fire pit and accessible picnic table.
  • Accessible small cabins with accessible parking, path of travel to cabin, raised fire pit and accessible picnic table.
  • Kayak rentalswith an accessible launch/landing. Private boats are not allowed on Bullfrog Lake.
  • Accessible fishing pier with accessible parking, a paved surface pathway to the shoreline, and railings along the fishing pier.
  • Accessible bathroom/shower building with a roll-in shower with a bench as well as an accessible changing area with a bench.

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Best Camping In Michigan With Kids

Reserve OnlineFor cabin-style camping near St. Joseph, Michigan, Silver Lake Resort and Campground is just the spot. There are 200 campsites for RV parking and also standard and loft-style cabins available to rent. Cabins are equipped with 1-3 beds depending on the stylesome also have a lofted bed that kids love. There are dressers, outlets, and electricity, but no running water cooking still needs to be done outdoors on the grills. Indoor shower houses and bathrooms are also located throughout the campsite.

On the property, there is an inground heated pool, a playground, a grocery store, fishing pond, hammock area, a basketball court, and plenty of fun yard games. It’s just a short trip to the Silver Beach County Park, Lake Michigan, sand dunes, hiking, and downtown St. Joseph, Michigan.

Cabin camping is perfect for newbie campers! Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR

Reserve OnlineHolland State Park is home to the Holland Camper Cabins complete with a playground, state beach, concessions, and paddle rentals. This is perfect for a camping experience without a tent! Each cabin sleeps up to seven people. Cabins include a microwave, fridge, and electric heat. There are also picnic tables and grills just outside each cabin. The cabins are also ADA accessible, and these ramps are great for wagons full of coolers and sand toys.

Coming In Spring Of 202: Family Gear Library

Let us help you get equipped for your next adventure! Coleman equipment is available to rent to the public through the Family Gear Library. Items available include tents, kitchen kits, stoves, flashlights, cold weather gear and more to help you enjoy the outdoors. Items are priced per item for 2-week rental periods. Rentals will begin the week of April 1, 2022.

Items For Rent Camp chairs: $4/pairInflatable Camp Pads: $4/pairGear can be rented at Northerly Island during registered Gear Rental Sessions only. Registration ensures the gear library will be staffed during the Gear Rental Session you select. During your pick-up time you may view and rent gear and select a return time and date. Registration for Gear Rental Sessions will be available beginning March 23, 2022. Family Gear Library presented by:

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Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area Shabbona

This man-made lake is within easy driving distance from Chicago and is an easy weekend choice for anglers! Fishing from a boat or the shore is highly productive, as Shabbona Lake is well-stocked with several types of bass, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, bullhead, catfish, perch, and more. The boat launch is conveniently located in Shabbona Lake State Park Campground, so you can waste no time in getting out on the water. Reservations are recommended for the 150 Class A campsites, all with access to showers, electricity, and a kids playground.

Shabbona Lake is a great choice for fishing on your trip.

Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp Resort Millbrook

Chicago’s Best Outdoor Activity: Indiana Dunes State Park

Everyones heard of Yogi Bears Jellystone Parks, and this location near Chicago is perfect for a family break with the kids! Pools and planned activities can keep everyone entertained, with mini gold and plenty of nearby places to go hiking and fishing. You can find everything you need for a memorable camping experience.

When staying at Jellystone Park Resort, most campers sleep in their RV. A range of RV sites with different hookups are available, or cabin rentals if you dont have a rig. Well-equipped tent sites are also on offer, with space for two vehicles. The tent campsites also include a fire ring, picnic table, and electrical access.

Illinois is full of colorful prairie and plenty of diverse nature.

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Indiana Dunes National Park Chesterton

Theres another recreation area in Chesterton just over the state lines of Chicago, offering a slightly different experience than Indiana Dunes State Park. Indiana Dunes National Park brags 15 miles of Lake Michigan coastline and a further 15 thousand acres of rugged natural beauty. 50 miles of hiking trails managed by the National Park Service let visitors explore the sand dunes, wetlands, prairies, and forests of the area.

Dunewood Campground is the premier camping spot in this national park, with 66 wooded sites providing restrooms and showers. Its only a mile and a half from the shores of Lake Michigan, with plenty of beaches within driving distance. If you make the hour-long journey down to Indiana Dunes National Park from Chicago, we highly recommend checking out Dunewood Campground.

The sandy beach at Indiana Dunes is scenic and full of fun.

Backpacking And Primitive Camping Near Chicago

I’m having trouble finding parks and forests that allow backpacking and primitive camping near Chicago, IL.

Are there any good locations near Chicago for backpacking?

For any reasonable definition of “near,” no.

However, if you hike into the more remote part of Indiana Dunes State Park and set up a tent, no one will bother you. I’ve done it with a group of 40. The rangers there are primarily concerned with people being drunk/loud in the designated camping area. This park has the advantage of being accessible by public transit .

If you must stay compliant with park rules, your best bet is to drive north into WI. Nicolet National Forest is the closest good place I know, at 4.5 hours away.

If you can tolerate a 7 hour drive, I recommend the Porcupine Mountains near Ontonagon, MI.

if you are open to a 5.5-6 hour drive there is the Shawnee National forest down in Southern Illinois. Currently due to the COvid19 situation all of the public recreational areas are closed/parking….but you can find the backpackers parking lot at garden of the gods and other side parking spots and do backcountry camping anywhere outside of those state park areas…there is about 120 miles of trail. Make sure that you bring everything you need with you as stopping anywhere in the small towns would be breaking the CDC suggestions at this time.

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Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort Volo

Fish Lake Camping Resort is the perfect place for a family vacation. You can fish and swim to your hearts content, enjoying the sandy beaches and clean water. Anglers come by to catch crappie, bass, catfish, carp, and even more fish species. The picnic area and playgrounds are perfect to keep kids entertained.

Campers can sleep in their tent or RV, or rent a more glamorous accommodation. All sites have water and electric hookups, with a fire ring and picnic table. Anyone paying for camping also gains free access to the heated pool and themed weekend activities!

Best Camping In Indiana With Kids

Take one of these great hikes the next time you

Reserve OnlineLocated in the Indiana Dunes State Park, this campsite is a beautiful place to rest after a day at the beach with kids, offering campsites with and without electricity. There are multiple campgrounds available with different amenities such as fire pits, grills, picnic tables, electric hook-ups, and shower houses.

The Indiana Dunes stretches for miles along the coast of Lake Michigan. Here, kids can roll down the dunes, climb, and make some pretty epic sandcastles. For a break from the sun, there are also several hiking paths in the forest with shade. The state park is open year-round. Check with the campgrounds for seasonal dates.

Camping doesn’t have to mean listening to crickets chirp! Photo courtesy of the Silver Lake Resort and Campground

Recommended Reading: Camping Near Shawnee National Forest

About Chicago Backpacking / Camping

While the Chicago area is blessed with many great forest preserves, most do not allow camping. Youll have to drive a bit to find places to camp, but escape is kind of the point, isnt it?

The Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville is part of a wide swath of green space that surrounds Butterfield Road in Warrenville and Winfield. Blackwell is the only place among the group that offers camping, with 64 wooded and semi-wooded sites that are available by reservation on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Kankakee River State Park has become a destination for paddlers to explore the Kankakee River, considered to be one of the cleanest in the state and an easy, shallow river for beginning paddlers. But its also a fine camping destination, particularly for car campers looking for a quick getaway from Chicago with lots of family-style activities to do along the river.

Starved Rock State Park is the go-to place for outdoor adventure in central and northern Illinois, attracting more than 2 million visitors a year. There are 129 premium campsites in the park, with reservations accepted and highly recommended.

  • This popular state park near Rockford offers more than 200 camping sites with plenty of amenities and access to the 3,092-acre preserve

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  • This forest preserve offers a scenic campground for a short escape in DuPage County.

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  • This state park southwest of the city is an easy destination trip that’s perfect for family camping

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  • Indiana Dunes State Park Chesterton

    If you want a more primitive lakeside camping experience, Indiana Dunes State Park offers more than 2000 acres of gorgeous preserved landscape. As well as 3 miles of untouched shoreline, there are huge 200-foot sand dunes towering above the lake which make for an impressive landscape, and an excellent view should you reach the top. Located on the southern shores of Lake Michigan, it only takes an hour to get here from Chicago.

    Indiana Dunes Campground offers 140 pristine campsites near the lakeshore, or a little further inland Dunewood campground offers more sheltered wooded sites. Pets are welcome so bring along your furry friends to enjoy this sweeping sandy landscape.

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    Lowden State Park Ogle County

    Lowden State Park is one of the most picturesque sites along the Rock River. The stunning scenery is made up of forest, grassland, and river buffs, one of which features a 50-foot statue of a Native American. Known as Chief Black Hawk, the statue is an awe-inspiring sight and one of the main attractions to Lowden State Park.

    Hiking and fishing are common recreation choices at this Illinois state park. Campers have a selection of options, including Class A campsites with hookups, tent sites with shower access, and several primitive camping spots.

    Warren Dunes State Park Sawyer Mi

    Backpacking trip to Chicago Basin and North Eolus Peak day 1

    Drive 80 miles around Lake Michigan from Chicago and youll reach Warren Dunes State Park. The sand dunes here are even larger than Indiana Dunes, towering at 260 feet. The views from the top are truly spectacular, and adventurous visitors can even try out hang gliding from the peaks. Three miles of shoreline and six miles of hiking trails offer plenty of entertainment to visitors. The 2000 acres at Warren Dunes are open year-round, with primitive, full hookup, and RV sites available.

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    Great Cabins In Illinois For A Perfect Weekend Getaway From Chicago

    When you think of cabins and Illinois, a certain U.S. President pops to mind. The log cabin was a big part of Lincolns appeal, in terms of coming from modest beginnings, and its still one of the things that most people seem to remember about Honest Abe. You can even visit a replica of the cabin he grew up in at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

    But for most of us looking for a cabin, wed like to go a little more upscale. Of course, theres nothing wrong with going rustic when experiencing the outdoors, but there are certainly some 21st Century amenities that are nice to have. Well, at least 20th Century amenities.

    Fall is a great time for cabin camping. The cooler nights make tent camping a little more difficult, but the fall colors make it an excellent time to explore the outdoors. So why not go full-Lincoln this fall and find a cabin to help you enjoy the get the most out of an outdoor weekend? Here are five sites for cabins in Illinois that offer plenty to do during the day and warm, cozy place to rest at night.

    Best Trails In Oglesby Illinois

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