The bustling metropolis of Chicago, often called the "Windy City," has long been a favorite destination for travelers worldwide. With its iconic skyline, rich history, vibrant culture, stunning architecture, world-class museums, delectable cuisine, and thriving arts scene, there is no shortage of reasons people love visiting this dynamic city.
What if you want to escape the urban hustle and immerse yourself in nature during your visit? Look no further! This comprehensive guide will help you discover the best campgrounds near Chicago, allowing you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
9 Top Campgrounds in Chicago, IL
Whether seeking a tranquil retreat amidst nature, an easy park-for-the-night RV experience, or a family-friendly camping adventure, this guide will provide all the information you need to plan your upcoming trip and find the perfect campground near the Windy City.
1. Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is a breathtaking natural oasis approximately 90 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. Nestled along the banks of the Illinois River in an area known as the bluff, this stunning park offers an array of amenities and activities for outdoor enthusiasts. The park is a paradise for hikers, photographers, and nature lovers. Visitors can explore the park's 13 miles of well-maintained trails, which wind through lush forests and canyons and reveal breathtaking vistas. Many visit this park to get an up-close look at the striking vertical sandstone walls covered in moss that slice through the landscape.
Starved Rock Campground has 133 sites, all of which are available for either tent or RV camping. Every site has electric hookups (26 sites have 50 amp hookups, and the rest 30 amp) and modern facilities for staying overnight. Cabins are also available for rental if you want to upgrade your camping experience. Amenities include showers, picnic tables, playgrounds, water access, a fishing area, a boat ramp, and fire pits.
2. Rock Cut State Park
Rock Cut State Park is a captivating natural haven if you get a kick out of rock formations, stunning wildflowers, and rugged terrain. Located approximately 80 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, the park's centerpiece is Pierce Lake, where fishing, boating, and swimming are popular pastimes during the summer months. You'll also find Owen Lake, a smaller but still popular hangout.
Rock Cut State Park is also ideal for family outings and gatherings with its picnic areas, playgrounds, horseback riding trails, fishing spots, and nature center. Watch for local wildlife, including foxes, muskrats, and beavers. For those seeking to camp, the park features a campground with 210 RV sites, complete with electrical hookups and modern facilities. The campground also has 60 non-electric sites, cabin rentals, as well as youth group camping areas.
3. Camp Sullivan
Camp Sullivan is a serene camping destination within the Forest Preserves of Cook County. It's only 30 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, making it one of the quickest locations to get to if you want to scoot away from the city for a night in nature. Nestled amidst lush greenery and surrounded by scenic woodlands, this picturesque campground offers a variety of amenities and activities. A climbing wall inside the on-site barn provides a unique family fun activity, and campers are given a free hour-long climbing pass. You'll also find three paved hiking loops within the Tinley Creek Trail system.
Bunkhouses and cabins are available to rent if you don't have camping gear. There are also sites designated for RV or tent camping. Camp Sullivan's 15 primitive tent sites include a fire ring, mulched tent pad, and a picnic table. Ten RV/tent sites come complete with electricity access, parking, and tent pads. Additional amenities at Camp Sullivan include:
4. MWR Navy Great Lakes RV Campground
MWR Navy Great Lakes RV Campground is a fantastic recreational haven 40 miles north of downtown Chicago for military members and their families. Nestled within the scenic landscape bordering Lake Michigan, this campground offers various amenities and activities for RV enthusiasts. The campground boasts spacious and well-equipped RV sites, allowing visitors to settle in for their stay comfortably. You'll find 20 concrete slab sites with electrical hookups year-round and five additional sites during summer.
Explore nearby nature trails, go fishing or boating in Lake Michigan, or lounge at the on-site beach. The campground features a playground, picnic areas, an archery range, a beach house, fishing piers, a community recreation rental center, and an on-site marina store, ensuring guests have everything they need for a lovely stay.
5. Camp Reinberg
Camp Reinberg is a delightful camping retreat just 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. Located within the lush forests of the Cook County Forest Preserve, this scenic campground offers year-round heated cabins, 13 tent sites, and 5 RV sites. All sites have fire rings and picnic tables, and RV sites include full electrical hookups and gravel parking spaces.
Guests can explore hiking, biking, and horseback riding at Deer Grove Trails. The campground features a playground for children and open spaces for sports and recreation. Additional amenities at Camp Reinberg include:
6. Enchanted Shores Campground
Enchanted Shores RV Park and Campground is a camping destination approximately 60 miles northwest of downtown Chicago that offers primitive tent sites and full electric RV options with daily, weekly, and monthly rates. Guests can partake in various activities, such as fishing, swimming, boating in the nearby lake, or exploring hiking and biking opportunities on the surrounding nature trails.
Tucked away amidst the picturesque landscapes of Northern Illinois, this campground offers a range of amenities and activities. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, firewood, laundry facilities, clean restrooms, an outdoor gaming space with basketball and volleyball courts, a pavilion, a playground, a clubhouse, and a camp store for convenience. Check their events calendar for special community and visitor events.
7. Martin’s Camping Ground
Located only 40 miles from Chicago, Martin's Camping Ground in Joliet is an easy pull-through campsite option for RVers looking for a place to call home for the night. Local attractions include the Chicagoland Speedway, Rialto Square Theatre, and Joliet Iron Works Historical Site. Amenities include 80 RV campsites, electrical and sewer hookups, propane refills, a dump station, showers, and mail delivery services.
Martin's Camping Ground does not accept reservations, but you can call ahead to see if they have room for you.
8. Paul Wolff Campground
Tucked away in the Burnidge Forest Preserve of Kane County, just 40 miles northwest of Chicago, Paul Wolff Campground is a seasonal campground that welcomes visitors from May to October. You'll find 89 RV campsites featuring water and electrical hookups, each equipped with a fire ring and parking pad. There are also five equestrian sites for horse enthusiasts, and nature lovers can enjoy 10 primitive tent campsites in a more secluded, wooded area of the campground.
Amenities include nine miles of trails for biking, hiking, jogging, and horseback riding, and picnic and fishing areas for relaxation. ADA-accessible sites are also available.
9. Jellystone Park of Chicago
Jellystone Park of Chicago is a fantastic, family-friendly camping destination located 45 miles southwest of downtown Chicago and next to the Fox River in Millbrook, IL. Part of the renowned Jellystone Park chain, these campgrounds are known for offering fun for the entire family, with amenities and activities to create lasting memories for campers of all ages.
The park boasts 152 spacious RV sites with full water, sewer, and electrical hookups, ensuring a comfortable and convenient stay for RV enthusiasts. Each of these sites is pet friendly and has a gravel or grassy pad, a picnic table, and a fire pit. Jellystone Park of Chicago also offers cabin rentals and 36 tent-only sites.
Guests can enjoy unique amenities, including a swimming pool, game room, outdoor ping pong, jumping pad, playground, ball pits, a community fire pit, cornhole, and gem mining. The campground also offers organized activities such as arts and crafts, hula-hoop contests, hayrides, and more. Additional amenities include shower stations, a covered pavilion, a convenience store, firewood, laundry facilities, and a hot tub.
Visit the Windy City in a Cruise America RV
The diverse range of campgrounds in and around Chicago offers something for every type of outdoor enthusiast. From the serene natural beauty of Camp Reinberg to the family-friendly fun of Jellystone Park of Chicago, there are ample opportunities to connect with nature and create lasting memories. So why not take your adventure to the next level by embarking on a road trip to the Windy City in a Cruise America RV? Experience the freedom and flexibility of traveling at your own pace while enjoying the comforts of a home away from home.
Explore the iconic landmarks, indulge in world-class cuisine, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of downtown Chicago. Pack your bags, rent an RV from Cruise America, and embark on an unforgettable journey where adventure and discovery await around every corner.