5 Secluded Cabins and Campgrounds Near Chicago to Help You Get Back to “Normal”

This summer’s best vacations come with 20+ acres of nobody else (also a helipad)

May 21, 2021 12:33 pm
Cabin on a private island
Cabin on a private island

Besides the fact that we just spent the past year inside and are now accustomed to a more intimate vibe/slightly fearful of others, there are countless reasons for not wanting to waste your precious PTO days surrounded by strangers: the large crowds, the long restaurant wait times, the whole “having to talk to people you don’t know” thing, just to name a few. 

So for those vacations that require a space — plus a few acres — of your own, we’ve got you covered. 

Pine Meadows Camping
Grawn, MI 

Located on 20 acres, this campsite gives you access to all the incredible nature that Michigan has to offer — including deer, birds, frogs, a pond stocked with goldfish (OK, maybe those aren’t native to Michigan, but still a pretty cool campsite feature). Plus, with a prime location near Traverse City, you’ll also be just a quick trip away from Sleeping Bear Dunes, canoe/kayak rentals, and even horseback riding. 

Happily, for those of us who have never come within 10 miles of an REI, the campsite is already loaded up with everything you need for a relaxing, secluded trip, so you can pack light. This includes a tent, a campfire grill, chairs, lanterns and more, leaving space in your car for souvenirs from Traverse City’s 40 different wineries.

Pine Meadows
Pine Meadows

Cabin on a Private Island 
Nekoosa, WI

This incredible cabin located on a private 28-acre island has it all: lake-front access, a golf tee box, even a helicopter pad. But even if you’re not a golfing helicopter pilot looking for a much-deserved break, you’ll still love this secluded getaway. 

With fun, rustic decorations (no need to bring your own taxidermied birds — the cabin has you covered!), a gas grill, a sleeping loft, a giant covered porch, and even its own dock, this is one island anyone would be happy to be stranded on. 

H&H Farmhouse 
Henry, IL

Sitting on 20 walkable acres of forest land, this newly-renovated farmhouse offers guests all of the best parts of farm life — plenty of room, unbelievable views, privacy — without any of those early-morning farm chores. Plus, at just 30 minutes away from Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Park, you can really get your fill of nature. 

This is an ideal space for large groups looking to vacation together: The house’s five bedrooms can sleep 14 guests, and the enormous dining room table comfortably seats 12, while outdoor amenities include a grill, a fire pit, and an outdoor dining area. 

H&H Farmhouse
H&H Farmhouse

Tree Tops 
Galena, IL 

If being on the ground-level is still too close to people for comfort, we’ve found just the place for you. This amazing, eco-friendly stay is built on stilts, reaching up to the tree-tops of a cedar forest. And even better — it’s located on a secluded 37-acre ranch, with on-site horses, alpacas and mini donkeys. (Brb, asking our landlord what their “Mini Donkey Policy” is.) 

The cozy space has lots of personality, plus a deck, an indoor fireplace, a hammock, and a full backyard. If you do want to venture out from the ranch, you’re also close to kayaking, river fishing, and even the heart of adorable Galena.

A Lake Of Your Own Campground
Lawrence, MI

The Midwest is famously home to a whole lot of lakes — and with this campsite, one of those lakes can be all yours, at least for the night. With two tent sites located next to the totally private Lake Nicholas (feel free to temporarily rename it after yourself while you’re there, we won’t tell), campsite owners recommend renting both spots for the night if you’re looking for total privacy. 

The site is truly a summer paradise, with 150 acres of hiking trails, a dock for jumping into the lake, picnic tables, and access to hot showers.

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