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
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
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
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
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
Ferne Clyffe State Park
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
Sand Ridge State Forest
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
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.
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