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25 Best Campgrounds Near Chicago IL 2023

The daily grind of life can be taxing on your mind, body and soul. We know how crucial it is not to waste time doing unnecessary research when you only have one free weekend in who knows how long. When you only have a weekend to get away from home, it’s critical to avoid wasting hours driving to your campground or RV park—that’s why we researched 25 awesome campgrounds within two hours of Chicago.

So whether your choice is in a cabin, tent or RV, we made sure to find many locations that will fulfill your desires for a weekend or even week away. You’ll find that the Chicago area of the Midwest offers great outdoor activities such as hiking and biking trails, fishing and even horseback riding. The southern shores of Lake Michigan, where the corners of Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan converge, offer many opportunities to get outside and enjoy this unique area of the Midwest.

CHICAGO AREA

Camp Sullivan: Oak Forest, IL

Right outside Chicago in the suburb of Oak Park, Camp Sullivan is a relatively new campground. It’s ideal for large groups or families and has rentable bunkhouses so everyone can camp together. In addition, there are 15 primitive tent sites, 10 sites with RV hookups and 8 small cabins available for rent. It is located in Tinley Creek Woods, 612 acres of beauty. Turtlehead and Arrowhead lakes are also nearby for all the water activities you could imagine. Camp Sullivan has an indoor rock climbing wall for those who are up for a challenge.

Recent campers say: “Friendly and helpful staff.” “Great place to get away.” “Was not prepared for the tent sites to be away from the car.”

Camp Sullivan
14630 Oak Park Ave.
Oak Forest, IL 60452
For reservations, please visit the website

Illinois Beach State Park: Zion, IL

If the sandy shores along Lake Michigan are more your thing, you’ll want to try out one of these 241 camping sites on your next weekend trip. Illinois Beach is 4,160 acres of ridge shoreline. It’s the only one left in the state that still has natural dunes and swales, not to mention additional land with oak forests and a large swath of vegetation and animal life. Don’t feel like you’re limited to hiking and camping, because this park has SCUBA diving, swimming, geocaching, the Zion Bike Trail and more. When planning a short weekend getaway, you might want to keep this gem front of mind.

Recent campers say: “A beautiful beach.” “Loved the lake but the bathrooms could be cleaner.” “The spaces were a little under-cared for.” 

Illinois Beach State Park
Zion, IL 60099
$20+ per night

NORTHERN ILLINOIS

LaSalle/Peru KOA: North Utica, IL

Weekend hayrides, candy bar bingo, creek fishing and pedal karts are just a few of the many amenities offered at LaSalle/Peru KOA. It offers both sunny and shaded campsites for tents and full-service 30-amp and 50-amp hookups for RVs. There are also cabins available for those that are interested. And if that’s not enough, the 13 miles of trails for hiking and biking at nearby Starved Rock State Park will keep you busy all afternoon. Peru Mall isn’t far either and offers excellent shopping and dining options. 

Recent campers say: “The staff is very friendly.” “Sites were a little tight.” “So many activities planned.”

Chicago North West KOA Holiday
756 North 3150th Road
North Utica, IL 61373
$65+ per night

Kankakee South KOA: Chebanse, IL

An hour south of Chicago, Kankakee South KOA is a quiet retreat for anyone looking to relax. This campground has a pool for swimming, a playground for the kids and basketball and volleyball courts for a little friendly competition. Kankakee River State Park is just down the road and offers hiking, biking, fishing and canoeing for those that want to spend their time in the scenic wilderness. This KOA is full of tall oaks that provide shade among the campsites. All sites are suitable for both tents and RVs and have 50-amp hookups.

Recent campers say: “Clean and cozy cabin.” “Everyone working here is nice and knowledgable.” “Fire pits are ill-kept.”

Kankakee South KOA Campground
425 East 6000 South Road
Chebanse, IL 60922
$45.89+ per night

Starved Rock State Park: Oglesby, IL

This state park has 129 Class-A Premium campsites and is popular for its hikeable bluffs and canyons. The moss-covered walls of the 18 canyons in the park formed naturally by glacial meltwater into the sandstone, and waterfalls can be seen at 14 of the 18 canyons. Along with all the campsites, a newly added wing of the Lodge, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, offers 72 hotel rooms. Along with the 13 miles of well-marked hiking trails, you can enjoy trolley tours, art in the park and summer educational programs for the kids.  

Recent campers say: “Tremendous park.” “Great escape from city traffic.” “Very peaceful location.”

Starved Rock State Park
2668 East 873 Road 
Oglesby, IL 61348
For reservations, please visit the website

Matthiessen State Park: North Utica, IL

Originally a 176-acre canyon and small stream, Matthiessen State Park has grown to 2,000 acres filled with canyons, streams, prairies and forests. The canyon is the main park attraction and was formed by water erosion with the minerals carried in the water contributing to the unique coloring of the canyon rocks. Matthiessen State Park also has a field archery range and a radio-controlled model airplane field for those that want to practice their hobbies. The park accommodates equestrian enthusiasts as well with many trails for riding. 

Recent campers say: “This is a beautiful park.” “Very scenic.” “Dog friendly.”

Matthiessen State Park
Route 178
North Utica, IL 61373
For reservations, please visit the website

Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area: Morris, IL

Animal lovers will be in awe of the wildlife sightings here. Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area is about 65 miles from Chicago and is home to deer, coyote, red fox, cottontail rabbits, muskrat, badgers and several endangered species. Archery is offered at this park, as well as other common activities including boating, fishing and hiking. Campers cannot stay overnight at Goose Lake Prairie but it’s a must-see day stop for picnicking and enjoying the great outdoors.

Recent campers say: Dog Friendly, “Beautiful to visit anytime,”

Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area
5010 N. Jugtown Rd.
Morris, IL 60450
$50 per night

Gebhard Woods State Park: Morris, IL

This small 30-acre park is one of Illinois’ most popular state parks. Gebhard Woods State Park is a little over an hour from downtown Chicago and the definition of picturesque. It’s bordered by the Illinois and Michigan Canal to the south and Nettle Creek on the north side, making it an awesome spot for fishing. This park is only suited for primitive tent camping and has no vehicle access. Each site comes with a fire ring, picnic table and grill, with drinking water and pit toilets located nearby.  

Recent campers say: “Great place.” “Doesn’t have many attractions.” “Beautiful park.”

Gebhard Woods State Park
401 Ottawa Street
Morris, IL 60450
For reservations, please visit the website

Chain O’ Lakes State Park: Spring Grove, IL

If you’re a water lover, Chain O’Lakes State Park is calling your name. It’s located in the heart of Illinois’ largest concentration of lakes, just an hour and a half north of the Chicago area. This park is made up of seven lakes, seven picnic areas, four trail systems and 230 campsites. As you can probably imagine, fishing, swimming, boating, waterskiing and kayaking are only a few of the popular water-oriented activities offered at Chain O’Lakes State Park. Each campsite accommodates both tents and RVs with hookup services. There are also three cabins available for rent.

Recent campers say: “Love this campground.” “Each campground has its own unique experience.” “Well-maintained state park.” 

Chain O’Lakes State Park
8916 Wilmot Road
Spring Grove, IL 60081
$12-$35 per night

Channahon State Park: Channahon, IL

“Channahon” is the Indian word for “the meeting of waters,” which make sense for this park’s name, as it is the joining point of the DuPage, Des Plaines and Kankakee rivers. Anglers love Channahon State Park and often catch a variety of bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish and bullheads. The tall trees among the grounds provide a shaded setting perfect for volleyball, soccer, frisbee or baseball. Primitive tent camping is allowed in this park and each site is equipped with a grill, fire ring and picnic table. Stop by the information center for a camping permit before setting up camp.

Channahon State Park
Channahon, IL 60410
For reservations, please visit the website

White Pines Forest State Par: Mt. Morris, IL

The concrete fords that line the creeks along the entrance to this park create the sensation that you’re driving through the flowing streams on your way in. It offers 117 campsites for tents and RVs with hookups. If you’re more interested in glamping, White Pines Forest State Park has 16 cabins available for rent that include a shower, gas log fireplace, air conditioning and heat, and a TV. 

Recent campers say: “Children had a blast.” “Enjoyed our time at the park.” 

White Pines Forest State Park
6712 West Pines Rd
CMt. Morris, IL 61054
For reservations, please visit the website

Kankakee River State Park: Bourbonnais, IL

Anglers, hunters, campers, hikers, canoeists, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts love Kankakee River State Park. The park stretches along the Kankakee River for 11 miles and is home to beautiful wildlife. There are two different campgrounds with a total of over 200 sites, some with electricity or electricity and showers, and others with neither for a primitive camping experience. There are also two cabins available for rent and a campground for those traveling with horses.

Recent campers say: “The campground is very well maintained.” “We really love this park.” 

Kankakee River State Park
5314 W. Rt. 102
Bourbonnais, IL 60914
For reservations, please visit the website

Lowden State Park: Oregon, IL

Lowden State Park is situated on a bluff that overlooks the Rock River an offers four miles of hiking trails. It’s home to the Black Hawk Statue, a 50-foot wonder that’s considered the second tallest monolithic statue in the world. Boating and fishing are popular river activities, however swimming is not permitted. Lowden State Park has 80 Class A campsites that include electricity hookups and nearby showers. There are also 38 sites with shower-only access and eight sites for primitive tent camping.

Recent campers say: “One of my favorite places to camp.” “Clean restrooms with showers.”

Lowden State Park
1411 North River Road
Oregon, IL 61061
For reservations, please visit the website

Thomas Woods Campground: Marengo, IL

This area was created over 24,000 years ago by the Wisconsin glacier. Only an hour from Chicago, Marengo Ridge is one of McHenry County’s most treasured areas. The ridge is made up of rocks, sand, gravel and other sediments that were pushed ahead of the ice sheet and left behind when it melted. The ridge sits at 1,050 feet above sea level and offers breathtaking views of the woodlands below. There are non-electric sites for both tents and RVs at Thomas Woods campground, as well as RV-only sites with electric hookups. Your leashed dog is welcome on the grounds, too.

Recent campers say: “The experience was phenomenal.” “Trails and views are awesome.”

Thomas Woods Campground
3100 IL-23
Marengo, IL 60152
For reservations, please visit the website

Emerald Trails Campground: Crete, IL

Located just 30 minutes from Chicago, Emerald Trails gives off the feeling that you’re totally secluded from the big city. The adjacent Lake Jewel allows for a multitude of water activities. If you’d prefer to stay dry, the campground also offers various nature trails, a playground, pool tables and a basketball court. There are 140 sites scattered across the grounds, varying from primitive tent sites to full RV hookup sites. Emerald Trails has bathrooms, full showers and a laundry facility as well to keep you feeling fresh.

Recent campers say: “Amazing RV park.” “Great experience.” “Fine for my needs.”

Emerald Trails Campground
3132 East Goodenow Rd.
Crete, IL 60417
For reservations, call (708) 672-8700

Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort: Volo, IL

Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort can accommodate any camper’s style. From tent sites near the lake to full hookup RV sites to rentable park models, this campground has it all. Camping at Fish Lake Beach includes full access to the beach, pool, playground, amenities and scheduled activities. Some of these include a beanbag toss tournament, kids’ crafts, family bingo, a camper flea market, and country hoedown night. Don’t forget to call ahead and make a reservation.

Recent campers say: “Rental was extremely clean.” “Seasonal [camp]ground.” “Lots of rules.”

Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort
32223 N US Highway 12
Volo, IL 60073
$43-$205 per night

Sycamore RV Resort: Sycamore, IL

A great place to enjoy a quiet, relaxing camping experience, Sycamore RV Resort is only an hour and a half from downtown Chicago. This lakeside campground offers a beach for swimming, fishing, boat rentals, tennis courts and many other camping amenities. It features a campground store with live bait for fishing, a laundry facility and restrooms with showers. Each campsite has a full hookup option and comes equipped with a picnic table and fire ring.

Recent campers say: “I love how quiet it is here.” “Many activities throughout the day.” “This place was really nice/”

Sycamore RV Resort
375 E. North Ave
Sycamore, IL 60178
$48-$53 per night

Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort: Marengo, IL

A perfect way to escape the city chaos without even leaving town. Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort is nestled between Chicago and Rockford, Illinois, right off Interstate I-90. Situated on the shores of Lake Michigan, this campground offers plenty of recreational water opportunities including fishing, swimming, paddleboating and beach volleyball. WiFi, cable TV, storage and a laundry facility are also available on the grounds. Most campsites have a lake view and have full hookups with 30-amp and 50-amp service. Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort is open year-round, too.

Recent campers say: “Service was friendly.” “The site we had was level gravel.” “Roads are in poor shape.”

Lehman’s Lakeside RV Resort
19609 Harmony Rd
Marengo, IL 60152
$45-$70 per night

CENTRAL ILLINOIS

Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp Resort: Newark, IL

Yogi Bear’s resorts are scattered all over the United States and focus on giving young kids fun-filled camping memories. Located less than an hour and a half west of Chicago, this resort features every activity imaginable: golf, fishing, horseback riding, a heated outdoor swimming pool, a playground and an outdoor amphitheater for live events.  With over 400 campsites ranging from primitive to full hookups and 13 cabins also for rent, you’re sure to find the campsite that is best for you.  

Recent campers say: “A lot of activities for the kids.” “Great staff but the place is way too tight.” “No warm water to take a shower.”

Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp Resort
8574 Millbrook Rd.
Newark, IL 60541
$91.35+ per night

MICHIGAN & INDIANA

Warren Dunes State Park: Sawyer, MI

Situated on 2,000 acres, Warren Dunes State Park rises 260 feet above Lake Michigan and offers breathtaking views from all angles. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, this spot is awesome for hang-gliding. There are two campgrounds within the park, one with full RV hookups and the other designated for more primitive camping. In addition, a group day-use area and 6 miles of hiking trails make it a popular day-trip destination. This park is open year-road and offers winter recreational activities, too.

Recent campers say: “Very quiet and peaceful place.” “Excellent campground and park.” “Awesome place to camp.”

Warren Dunes State Park
12032 Red Arrow Highway
Sawyer MI, 49125
For reservations, please visit the website

Van Buren State Park: South Haven, MI

Another park on the shores of Lake Michigan and a favorite within two hours of Chicago, Van Buren State Park has 220 campsites that aren’t too far from the lake. Each site has electric hookups, a picnic table and a fire ring for your camp cooking. Updated restroom buildings are dispersed throughout the grounds as well. Popular activities at this park include swimming, boating, hiking, biking and searching for treasure with metal detectors on the beach. Cross country skiing and snowmobiling are allowed if you venture here in the winter.

Recent campers say: “Gorgeous campground.” “Easy access to the beach.” “Fantastic state park.”

Van Buren State Park
23960 Ruggles Rd.
S. Haven MI, 49090
For reservations, please visit the website

Fullers Resort and Campground: Buchanan, MI

Just an hour and 30 minutes from Chicago in southwest Michigan, Fullers Resort and Campground is inviting to all. It’s located on Clear Lake and has 400 feet of sandy beach from which to swim, kayak, canoe, fish, boat, and more. There’s also a playground onsite for the kids. Fullers Resort and Campground has a camping spot to fit your every style, whether you would like to stay in a cabin, cottage, RV or tent. Some sites have full-service hookups while others are primitive for those who want a traditional camping experience.

Recent campers say: “Had a great stay.” “Very clean bathrooms.” “Absolutely love this place.”

Fullers Resort and Campground
1622 East Clear Lake Rd.
Buchanan, MI 49107
$40+ per night

Potato Creek State Park: North Liberty, IN

Potato Creek State Park is located in North Liberty, Indiana, just a little over an hour and a half from Chicago. Open year-round, this park has a variety of different habitats including a lake, woodlands, prairies and wetlands for many outdoor activities. Plenty of hiking and biking trails offer scenic nature viewing and execise. Potato Creek State Park has 287 electric hookup sites as well as 70 sites that accommodate those traveling with horses. To enjoy all of the facilities at the park, it’s suggested that you make a reservation beforehand.

Recent campers say: “Great park.” “Spent the weekend in one of the cabins and it was amazing.”

Potato Creek State Park
25601 State Road 4
North Liberty,  IN 46554
For reservations, please visit the website

Indiana Dunes State Park: Chesterton, IN

A perfect weekend getaway to relieve your stress. Indiana Dunes State Park is comprised of over three miles of shoreline on the south end of Lake Michigan. The large sand dunes rise almost 200 feet above the lake and offer awesome views if you can climb your way to the top. This park also offers Sunset Beach Yoga quite often, a relaxing way to unwind from your day. Indiana Dunes State Park has 147 sites that accommodate both tents and RVs with 50-amp full hookups. Don’t forget to bring your pet because they are welcome, too.

Recent campers say: “Nice and clean.” “Dog friendly.” “Beautiful park.”

Indiana Dunes State Park
1600 N. 25 E.
Chesterton, IN 46304
For reservations, please visit the website

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