From beach camping on Lake Michigan to peaceful forest campsites, the Chicagoland area has it all.
In Chicago, the trails and marinas along Lake Michigan provide a respite from city life. When only serious wilderness will do, however, you’re in luck. Within 100 miles of downtown, a wealth of campgrounds provide peace and quiet. From lakeside retreats to grassland getaways, this part of the midwest has it all. Illinois shines when it comes to waterfront camping. Wake up to Lake Michigan sunrises over the dunes at Illinois Beach State Park in the northern part of the state. Pitch your tent by the river and hike to waterfalls at Starved Rock State Park. Just over the state line, you can climb 200-foot sand dunes at Indiana Dunes State Park. For a quick weekend getaway, check out the Blackwell Forest Preserve campsites. Local ponds offer kid-friendly fishing and kayaking; hike or cross-country ski the wooded hiking trails. If you have more time, escape to Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine State Forest. Bike or walk miles of trails from the Ottawa Lake campground, which is open year-round. From spring through fall, the pleasant weather is ideal for camping near Chicago. Winters are cold and often snowy, but don’t let that keep you away. Pull into an RV park or rent a cabin to enjoy ice fishing, snowshoeing, and Nordic skiing.