When you think about the top five best U.S. cities for a camping trip, it’s likely that Chicago doesn’t make the cut. Although Chicago may be much better known for its bustling city life and tall skyscrapers, the region is also one of the most underrated camping destinations in the Midwest. If you want your vacation to achieve the perfect balance of rural and city experiences, or you’re just wondering what to do in Chicago during your stay, consider the following tips when camping out in the Windy City.
1. Choose Your Campground
The Chicago area is home to a variety of different state parks, recreation areas, and other rural regions that make excellent camping spots for you and your crew. One of the best spots, located just outside of the city, is the Goose Lake Prairie State Park, which features 2,500 acres of prairie with grass that grows as high as your torso. This picturesque region features seven miles of hiking trails and three ponds filled with bass, bluegill and bullhead right within the vicinity of the campground.
Another notable campground nearby is Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, which is a great choice for less adventurous campers who like having the option of a cabin and an RV as well as a tent. This ground is an excellent spot for families, with heated pools, a kiddie pool, mini-golf course, basketball courts, hay wagon rides, a game room, art programs, movie productions, and more.
2. Come Prepared
When you’re out in the woods without the comfort of electricity or wireless Internet, it’s good to be fully prepared with everything you need from the basics to emergency supplies. If you aren’t an experienced camper, one good tip for ensuring you’re prepared is acting out the scene before you leave home. Set up your tent in your yard to make sure all of the parts are there and there aren’t any damages to be concerned about.
Pack one outfit for all weather conditions– rain, cold fronts, heat, etc. Make sure to have plenty of drinking water, batteries, and a cell phone to reach the outside world if you need to. Another good tip is to consider solar panels for a more dependable and environmentally-friendly energy source to power all of your electronic items.
3. Know the Rules
Most Chicago camping grounds are located in environments that may be home to endangered plants and animals, and the grounds themselves are often owned by the state. This means that campers must be extra careful in preserving this land to avoid facing serious fines for disturbing the natural habitat of the campsite. Rules will vary from site to site, but generally speaking the two most often prohibited camping activities include littering and drinking alcohol. However, be sure to read and review the official rules of the campsite you intend on visiting to prevent any accidental violations and the potential fines that could follow.
The city life in Chicago can certainly be an exciting experience, but sometimes it’s nice to have the option of getting away from it all and enjoying the simplicity of nature as well. With the many campsites available just outside of the city, vacationers can satisfy the needs of a diverse group and experience the many different sides of Chicago.
Jessica is interested in construction and architecture. She enjoys spending her time camping and being outdoors.