Midwest Adventure: Weekend Camping Trips from Chicago

The spring thaw has finally hit the Chicago area — the fresh spring air and blue skies means that camping weather is just around the corner!  Since I was dreaming our upcoming summer adventures, I decided to create a list of some fun camping getaways from the Chicago area.

Oh boy, I cannot wait to have this view again…


Weekend Worthy Camping Getaways:

Indiana Dunes State Park, IN — 48.2 miles (1 hr) from Chicago, IL


  • The southern waters of Lake Michigan are cradled by large, sweeping sand dunes.  Nestled in the dunes is the Indiana Dunes State Park, which offers visitors with gorgeous sand beaches, nearly 17 miles of picturesque dune hiking trails, and a wooded campground.  A few years back, Kyle and I camp here during Memorial Day weekend and had a fabulous experience.  The campground had clean bathrooms with showers and all the campsites were electric hook-up for only $19.00 per night.  The park trails are extensive and take you along the pristine beach, sand blowouts, and through woodlands.

Warren Dunes State Park, MI — 81.6 miles (1 hr 22 min) from Chicago, IL


  • Across the southwest border of Michigan lies Warren Dunes State Park.  While this park is similar to the Indiana Dunes – from my experience – it is far less crowded.  The campground is nicely wooded and there are bathroom facilities with showers. The hiking opportunities at this park are not as ample as the Indiana Dunes, but the beauty is unsurpassable.  The modern campsites have price tag of  around $25 per night.

Starved Rock State Park, IL –94.8 miles (1 hr 41 min) from Chicago, IL

Sun Canyon Starved rock

  • Enjoyable all-year round, Starved Rock State Park serves as a perfect city getaway.  The 13 miles of hiking trails will bring you up to stunning waterfalls and through large canyons – you will truly forget you are in Illinois.  As accommodations go, If you would like to rough it in a tent, there is a campground with sites for $25 per night.  However, if you are looking for a more “modern” stay, the park has a lodge with 72 luxury rooms and 22 cabin rooms.  Additionally, if you are looking for more stunning waterfalls and canyons, just 2 miles down the road is Matthiessen State Park!  A must see!

Mississippi Palisades State Park, IL –151 miles (2 hr 45 min) from Chicago, IL


  • This park is considered to be a National Natural Landmark and is currently on my summer “to visit” list!  There are 15 miles of rugged trails that range from easy to extreme and most grant hikers with stunning views of the Mississippi River.  There are class A and B camping options; $25 per night for class A and $10 per night for class B.

If you are looking for getaways “a little further” from Chicago, stay tuned for my list of attractions in WI, MI, IN, and KY.   Also, if you know of other fabulous camping getaways from Chicago, please feel free to share them in the comments!  


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