The 15 Best Camping Trips Every Chicagoan Should Have On Their Summer Radar

Fact: the last time your correspondent went camping it was for Hamilton tickets.

You can do better.

Start here: the 15 camping trips that every Chicagoan should have on their radar this summer.

Photo: Silver Lake State Park/Flickr
Silver Lake State Park
Mears, MI
Because nowhere else can you rent a dune buggy and go full Mad Max on 450 acres of dunes. Note: the campgrounds do get crowded, so plan on burning time at the beach. BOOK IT

Apple River Canyon State Park
Apple, IL
Because in flyover country, elevation comes as a pleasant surprise. The centerpiece: Apple River and its towering canyon — better climb it. Pro tip: sites 3 and 6 at the Canyon Ridge Campground are prime for their wooded seclusion. BOOK IT

Photo: Governor Dodge State Park/Flickr
Governor Dodge State Park
Dodgeville, WI 
Because the Lost Canyon trail to Stephen Falls is an excellent hike worthy of the drive. Adventure seekers take note: there are caves to explore — ya just gotta find ’em. BOOK IT

Huron-Manistee National Forest
Lower Michigan
Because it’s home to one of our favorite wigwams in all the land: Pines Point, located on the banks of White River. Feels remote because it is remote. And the White River is prime for tubing. BOOK IT

Photo: Holland State Park/Flickr
Holland State Park
Holland, MI
Because you’ll be a stone’s skip away from Lake Michigan. Also: lighthouses. BOOK IT

Ferne Clyffe State Park
Goreville, IL
Because if it’s seclusion you seek, this must be the place. You’ll wanna stick to the Turkey Ridge campground (ahem, site 9). And Garden of the Gods, just a one-hour drive away, makes for the perfect day trip. BOOK IT

Camp Wandawega
Elkhorn, WI
So it might not be camping, per se. But it’s a pure throwback lakeside getaway with charming cabins perfect for large groups and escaping the city in style. BOOK IT

Sand Ridge State Forest
Central Illinois
Because it’s Illinois’s largest state forest, and you’ll find 12 secluded hike-in campsites scattered about the 55 miles of trail (set you sights on sites BC 4 or BC 12). There’s also trap and archery ranges should you wanna take aim. BOOK IT

Hoosier National Forest
Bedford, IN
Because the hills of Indiana will surprise you. Skip the electrical hookups and head straight to the Deam Wilderness area, which offers miles on miles of backcountry camping.

Kohler-Andrae State Park
Sheboygan, WI
Because it’s one of the last natural preserves on the shores of the lake with wooded campsites and many a dune to climb. BOOK IT

Wisconsin River Canoe Trip
Spring Green, WI
Because you’ve got Wisconsin Canoe Company. And they’ve got some of the best gear and resources of any outfitter in the region. Elect for an overnight trip. Camp on the sand banks. Bring a fishing rod. BOOK IT

Mississippi Palisades State Park 
Savanna, IL
Because yes, there are towering limestone bluffs you can climb, but mostly there are phenomenal vistas of the Mississippi River. BOOK IT

Photo: Warren Dunes State Park/Flickr
Warren Dunes State Park 
Sawyer, MI
Because summer traditions are summer traditions for a reason, and it’s close and easy to get to. BOOK IT

Kinnikinnick Farm
Caledonia, IL
Because what’s a camping adventure without staying in a luxury farmhouse-style tent? On a working farm no less. This one is perfect for the kiddos. BOOK IT