I’m going to be completely honest for a moment… I am not a camper. I love being outside and can spend all day hiking, swimming and playing outdoors. But when it comes to sleeping, I want a roof over my head and a comfortable mattress under my body. I’m sure all those camping trips in the Pacific Northwest as a kid, spending the night trying (and failing miserably) to stay warm in the rain hasn’t helped my desire to give it another go. So it was a surprise to everyone, including myself, when I suggested that we take the kids on their very first camping trip at Illinois Beach State Park.
I’ll admit, my motivation for taking the kids camping was completely for their benefit. I knew Buddy, who cries whenever someone goes outside without him, would love it. I wasn’t so sure about Ladybug, the little princess that she is. They both had the best time and loved everything from helping D build the fire to sleeping in a tent. The biggest surprise of the trip, however, was that I also enjoyed myself. Although we did spend one rainy night, the first night was pleasant and the rest of the weekend was nice weather. Do I consider myself a camper now? No. I still prefer my conveniences. But am I willing to go again. Sure, why not. We might even make this a yearly thing. We’ll see.
Illinois Beach State Park
Illinois Beach State Park is located on the Lake Michigan shore, in northeast Illinois. A little over an hour north of Chicago, Illinois Beach is part of the state’s rather extensive list of state parks.
Swimming is obviously a popular activity at Illinois Beach during the summer. However, if swimming in frigid water isn’t up your alley, you can still enjoy other activities. These activities include camping, biking/walking trails, boating, and fishing. A picnic area is located just off the parking lot of the swimming beach, complete with covered area, barbecue, and sand volleyball net. It’s a perfect spot for large group picnics and barbecues.
Camping at Illinois Beach
We found the campground at Illinois Beach to be a great location for novice campers to jump into the world of camping. Our campsite was easily accessible and a short walk to the beach. As you arrive at the camping area, the road will lead you right to the office for a drive-through check-in. The process is easy and quick. You will receive a map of the campground, with your site marked, and tags to mark your campsite. Then you can make your way to your site.
Each campsite is equipped with space for at least one tent, a fire pit and a picnic table. A gravel driveway with room for up to two cars is located on the edge of each campsite. If you should need to charge any electronics, an electrical box with multiple outlets is located at each site, as well. Cell service is also available which I was grateful for so we could play lullabies for the kids while they napped.
In addition to the amenities at each campsite, a children’s playground is located between the campsites and the beach, which we frequented when we weren’t at the beach. Multiple bathhouses are spread throughout the campground with showers and toilets. Make sure to bring your own hand soap since it is not provided by the park. However, there is toilet paper. Firewood and ice is available to purchase on site, if needed.
Reservations can be made here.
My only complaint about the campsites at Illinois Beach is the proximity between each one. They are pretty close together. Normally, this wouldn’t bother me. However, even though there is a noise rule in place after 10 pm, noise carries easily. This sometimes hindered the kids’ ability to fall asleep. Other than that, our overall experience at the campsites at Illinois Beach State Park was a good one. I recommend it, especially for inexperienced campers who want to try camping at a convenient camping spot.
Where is your favorite camping spot?
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Becoming a Traveling Family turns one year this month! It’s been a wild ride this year. I’ve learned a lot about blogging and traveling and I’m so grateful for the community that I’ve been able to be a part of. Thank you to all of you for reading and supporting me throughout this journey. I look forward to another year of exploring this world with my family and sharing our travels with you.