Chicago may be filled with city parks to give you quick dosages of nature, but if you are looking to immerse yourself a little deeper– you may not have to travel as far as you think. Camping near Chicago, in Cook County to be exact, does not only make for a quick road trip, but it provides the necessary setting to refresh yourself from the urban sprawl.

In years passed, camping in Cook County’s nature preserves were reserved for organized groups only– such as the Boy Scouts of America. However, in 2015 the Forest Preserves of Cook County decided it was time to change that. It’s only right that everyone should be able to experience the natural world around us. They have opened five new and revitalized campgrounds to make camping near Chicago convenient and more importantly– enjoyable.

All locations have camping gear available to rent and / or purchase.

 

The go-to spots for camping near Chicago/h2>

 

Camp Bullfrog Lake

22 miles Southwest of the Loop | Willow Springs, IL
Open Year-Round – except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day

Ideal for people looking to spend their time on the water– especially fishing and canoeing.
Gear rentals are available if you aren’t already equipped. If you are looking to escape Lake Michigan for the weekend and embrace some tamer water, Camp Bullfrog Lake is an ideal destination.

•Lodging is available in the form of tent sites, RV/tent sites (electrical), group sites and, for a little more of a summer camp feel, there are small and large cabins available to rent.

Camp Dan Beard

29 miles Northwest of the Loop | Northbrook, IL
Open April 1 – October 31

Camp Dan Beard may not provide a lake, but it does have the Des Plaines River running through it– along with a mass amount of trees. Those two combined make for a relaxing getaway for you to hike through the woods or just post up next to the river with a book.

•Lodging is available in the form of a large cabin, multiple small cabins and group campsites.

Camp Reinberg

33 miles Northwest of the Loop | Palatine, IL
Open Year-Round – except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day

Located in Deer Grove Forest Preserve, Camp Reinberg offers a plethora of outdoor activities to partake in. Being heavily wooded, hiking is always enjoyable. One of the neatest features of this campground is that that Deer Grove Forest Reserve is spotted with bodies of water– perfect for relaxing by.

•Lodging is available in the form of tent sites, RV/tent sites (electrical), group sites– as well as small and large cabins available to rent.

Camp Shabbona Woods

24 miles South of the Loop | South Holland, IL
Open April 1 – October 31

Ideal for taking the family if you are looking for a weekend of both water park shenanigans and camping near Chicago. The Sand Ridge Nature Center is just a stone throw away– and not only provides exhibits, but it allows you to stroll through multiple types of ecosystems.
On the flip-side, there is the Green Lake Family Aquatic Center– aimed for children 12 years and younger.

•Lodging is available in the form of tent sites, group sites and small cabins to rent.

Camp Sullivan

24 miles Southwest of the Loop | Oak Forest, IL
Open Year-Round – except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Year’s Day

Camp Sullivan offers a plethora of activities, being that it is secluded in the 612-acre area known as Tinley Creek Woods. Trail hiking is the main attraction here with around 13 miles of trails in the area; however, nearby there is the Tinley Creek Bicycle Trail, Turtlehead Lake and Arrowhead Lake for a welcome diversity.

Currently under construction, the red barn on the premise is being renovated with a climbing wall to add a unique element of fun– as well as other features to entertain.

•Lodging is available in the form of tent sites, RV/tent sites (electrical) and small cabins. For very large groups, there are small and large bunkhouses that fit everyone.

Camping near Chicago is no longer a myth. For quick weekend escapes, there really is nothing easier if you are looking to get away from the city. However, if you are willing to travel a little further, be sure to visit our breakdown of the Top 10 Illinois State Parks For Camping.

 

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