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State Parks Near Chicago Illinois

Indiana Dunes State Park Indiana

3 Dead In An Explosion Near Starved Rock State Park

Indiana Dunes State Park is an interesting park as it is a state park surrounded by a national park.

This is quite unusual but can also be seen as an indicator of the breadth of important environments and the significance of this area.

The park has a variety of ecological systems and landscapes, ranging from rich forests to marshes to towering sand dunes.

The park even has a 3 dune challenge which involves attempting to hike the three tallest dunes.

If you dont love climbing sand dunes, check out the many other hiking trails.

If you prefer something a bit different, the lakeside beaches also have swimming and other beachside activities available throughout summer.


Some of the highlights of Indiana Dunes State Park include the wide variety of beautiful landscapes and scenery that visitors can enjoy along with the amazing hiking trails in the park.

The range of activities makes this a great pet and family-friendly park to visit


The park is located just under an hours drive from Chicago.

Opening hours

7:00AM 11:00PM

Entrance fee

The park has an entrance fee of $7 for state residents of Indiana and $12 for out-of-state visitors.

What Is The Biggest National Park In Illinois

According to multiple sites, this title goes to Pere Marquette State Park located in Grafton, IL .

This park is approximately 8,000 acres of midwestern natural scapes and beauty.

You can even check out losing nearby as well as restaurants within the park. Its very visitor-friendly, so if youre in southern Illinois, or passing by, check it out!

Kankakee River State Park Il

373 RV rentals

One of the oldest state parks in the state of Illinois has very humble beginnings. Kankakee River State Park was created in 1938 when Ethel Sturges Dummer donated 35 acres to the state of Illinois to be turned into a park. Now, Kankakee River State Park near Bourbonnais is 4,000 acres of treasured, breathtaking land. RV camping at Kankakee River State Park has become a popular activity, and people from across the United States travel in to spend a few days enjoying the unspoiled setting of the park.

You don’t have to own a motorhome to enjoy camping in an RV at Kankakee River State Park. Book an RV in Kankakee County for the weekend and head over to the

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Harrington Beach State Park Wi

452 RV rentals

This park is found on the outskirts of Belgium, WI, on the far eastern edge of the state. The nearest larger town is Sheboygan, located less than 25 miles to the north, while the nearest large city is Milwaukee, at less than 50 miles to the south. One of the park boundaries is the western shore of Lake Michigan, which is one of the large, five Great Lakes. This location helps to give the park its easy access to so many recreational activities.

Trails for hiking, biking, riding horses, and winter sports, like cross-country skiing, are available here. The large lake nearby offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy water sports, including fishing and swimming. Camping and picnicking

White Pines Forest State Park

Starved Rock State Park

Travel: 95.5 miles, 2:10

Hike through vine-covered limestone bluffs and sighing pines at this park that makes a perfect family getaway. One of this park’s distinctive features are the three fords where cars can cross Pine Creek and access fishing areas. There’s camping, of course, or you can opt to stay in one of the historic 1930s cabins that were recently renovated. Bow and firearm hunting is allowed in deer season on 300 acres as part of the park’s reduction program.

EJ_Rodriquez/Getty Images

Travel: 92 miles, 1:42

Though Starved Rock is less than two hours away, you’ll feel a world’s distance from the big city thanks to the towering sandstone formations and many canyon waterfalls here. Roomy and secluded campgrounds in the woods offer a welcome hideaway after a day of hiking, fishing or horseback riding, or you can upgrade your lodging with a stay at the historic Starved Rock Lodge.

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Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Distance From Chicago: One hour and 56 minutes via I-94 W.

Imagine a trail formed during the Ice Age. It was a time 15,000 years ago when much of North America lay under a huge glacier. There were mammoths, saber tooth cats and cave lions. Oh my!

Evidence of this glacier is found today in Wisconsin such as the states many lakes, river valleys, gently rolling hills, and ridges. The nearly 1,200 mile Ice Age National Scenic Trailwas established in 1980. It traces the glaciers edge.

While the trail is primarily enjoyed for hiking and backpacking, other activities include: Birdwatching and Nature Walks, Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing, Stargazing and Wildlife Viewing, Camping , Hunting and Fishing , Biking, Horseback Riding and Snowmobiling.

If youre camping, be advised that in some areas camping is allowed anywhere along the trail in others only at designated sites. These facilities may be spaced quite far apart. Along such segments it may be difficult to find any place to camp legally. You should plan your multi-day hike carefully.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

Despite the fact that it has not been recognized as a state park, Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve is a 2,500 -acres protected area that is totally worth the visit!

Located in DuPage County, the reserve can easily be reached in less than 30 minutes from downtown Chicago.

Home to 740 plant species and more than 300 animal species, the park features deep green forests, subtropical savannas and wide-open grassy prairies.

The numerous trails are suitable not only for hikers but also for bikers and horseback riders.

To find a hotel or cabin near Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve click here to check availabilities. For a more home from home feel check out these Airbnbs.

Entry Fee: Free

Working Hours: one hour after sunrise until one hour after sunset

Address: Lemont, IL 60439, United States

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Best State Parks Near Chicago That You Should Visit

Are you looking for the best State parks near Chicago? We got you covered.

The greater Chicago area is a great place to visit for travelers interested in outdoor pursuits, such as hiking and exploring nature.

With a wide array of amazing state parks near Chicago, it is ideal for experiencing various ecological environments, beautiful scenery and landscapes, and enjoying unique nature.

Here we list 13 of the best State Parks near Chicago, Il.

There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Are State Parks Free In Illinois

Moraine View State Recreation Area, Illinois

Great news for budget travelers: all the Illinois state parks are free for visitors. The only exceptions are state parks that have beaches, which usually charge $1 per person for day as an access fee. Just make sure the one youre visiting is a state park as some private parks, like Wildlife Prairie Park, do charge an admission fee.

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St Croix National Scenic Riverway

Kayakers and canoers of all experience levels will find gentle floating and paddling along with a few thrilling rapids on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a 200-mile-long water trail a 6.5-hour drive from Chicago. Around 252 miles of river are protected here including the Namekagon River and the St. Croix River. When off the water, there are trails and towns to explore in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Pursue Adventure At These Top Three State & National Parks To Visit Near Chicago

Schools out and its a great time of year to wander amongst the diverse landscapes at a state or national park near you. Whether you want to marvel at mountains of sand along the shores of our Great Lakes, explore a labyrinth of carved rocks, or just kick back at a pristine beach park, weve got you covered.

And fortunately for Mercy Home, each one is a short drive from the city, making it easy for us to give our young people adventures that expand their horizons. But no matter where you live, hit the road with us this summer and check out these Chicago-area state parks.

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I & M Canal National Heritage Area

Distance From Chicago: One hour and 49 minutes via I-80 W.

The 96-mile hand-dug Illinois and Michigan Canal opened in 1848 to connect the American heartland to New York Harbor and New Orleans. The canal was carved through a glacial passageway and used by migratory birds, Native Americans, French fur traders, nineteenth-century pioneers, canal traders, and modern shipping industries.

For the first time, manufactured goods from the eastern U. S. and products from the south such as molasses, tobacco, and oranges, could be shipped to Chicago. Chicagos rapid development from a frontier settlement to the bustling city is also directly linked to this great US shipping canal.

Today the Illinois& Michigan Canal National Heritage Area continues as a passageway for transportation and recreation.

Visitors to this historically rich area can explore points of interest which include: I & M Canal Visitor Center & Boat, Lemont Area Historical Society & Museum, Bronzeville Neighborhood, Navy Pier, Morris and the Canal Port Plaza, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Isle a la Cache Museum and Reddick Mansion.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Michigan

Best Midwest State Parks

Distance from Chicago to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: 335 miles

Established in 1970 for its amazing and diverse natural features, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a less-known gem in the sparkling crown of Americas national parks.

Situated just over five hours from downtown Chicago, the Sleeping Bear Dunes encompass 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, home to sandy beaches, pristine inland lakes, verdant forests and towering lakeshore sand dunes.

The national lakeshore also includes two islands: South and North Manitou Islands.

Other attractions in this beautiful area on Michigans Lower Peninsula are coastal villages and farms, U.S. Life-Saving stations, maritime museum and a striking lighthouse.

Activities range from swimming, tubing, canoeing and scuba diving to hiking, dune climbing, fishing and cycling.

In winter, the park offers fantastic cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities, especially on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

In 2011, viewers of ABCs Good Morning America voted Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as the Most Beautiful Place in America.

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Pullman National Monument Illinois

Distance from Chicago to Pullman National Monument: 0-15 miles

Also known as the Pullman Historic District, Pullman National Monument preserves the site of the first model-planned industrial community in the U.S.

The district is a significant historic site because of its origins in the Pullman Car Company, which manufactured railroad cars from the late-19th century to the early-20th century. Notably, this was also the setting of the violent Pullman strike in 1894.

Its a great place to learn about workers rights, civil rights and the history of African American labor in the North.

Pullman National Monument, created by President Obama in 2015, is the first National Park Service site in Chicago. It encompasses the Administration Buildings and Pullman Factory, and Hotel Florence.

The A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum is named after a prominent African American labor activist and unionist. In 1925, A. Philip Randolph founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a union of African American laborers.

At the time, 44% of Pullmans workforce were portersluggage carrierswhich made Pullman the largest employer of African Americans in the United States.

If youre planning a Chicago national parks road trip, this would be a fantastic place to start.

River Raisin National Battlefield Park Michigan

Distance from Chicago to River Raisin National Battlefield Park: 270 miles

Situated in southeastern Michigan, River Raisin National Battlefield Park is the only national battlefield that preserves a site of the War of 1812. It is about 270 miles to the east of Chicago.

This fascinating battlefield park commemorates and interprets the battles of January 1813 in Monroe and Wayne counties.

Specifically, it preserves the site of the Battle of Frenchtown, in which 387 American soldiers were killed and another 547 taken prisoner by an alliance of the British and Native Americans.

That battle was the greatest victory of the Native American confederation of Tecumseh in the Way of 1812, as well as the greatest defeat of the U.S. Army.

The rally cry Remember the Raisin! resulted from this battle, inspiring Americans to support the continued war efforts after early-1813.

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Big Foot Beach State Park Wi

441 RV rentals

Although relatively small in size, Big Foot Beach State Park in Wisconsin has a lot to offer visitors and campers. The park is located on the banks of the huge Geneva Lake and offers both stunning views and a range of recreational activities.

Big Foot Beach State Park got its name from Chief Big Foot, who was an early Potawatomi leader in the area until they all were forcibly relocated in 1836. The park officially became a state park in 1949, and from then has continued to develop. Today, visitors can find a range of useful facilities while still maintaining much of its natural charm. Many people who rent an RV in Walworth County may also choose to explore the

Where To Stay Near Fabyan Forest Preserve

Neglected Illinois Beach State Park Getting $45 Million For Repairs

Fabyan Forest Preserve is located in Geneva, which is a popular destination that many people like to go visit for various reasons from shopping and dining, to walking along the Fox River, and has many lodging options.

Simply taking a look at these vacation rentals , you really have quite a few options to pick from and not only enjoy the beauty of Fabyan Forest Preserve, but also take advantage of all that Geneva has to offer.

Map out your trail before driving over, by clicking on this interactive IL. state parks map of Fabyan Forest Preserve.

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Kankakee River State Park Illinois

Kankakee River State Park is a large state park with a wide range of activities to enjoy.

From hiking trails that explore various ecosystems to horse-riding trails to canoeing and kayaking, there is something for everyone in Kankakee River State Park.

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The scenery of the Kankakee River along with the surrounding forests is a beautiful sight and is ideal for visitors to the area to experience.


Beautiful river views, stunning forests, and more abound in Kankakee River state park.

The wide range of activities makes this an ideal location for various traveler types.


This park is located about a 1h30 minute drive from Chicago.

Entrance Fee

There is an entrance fee of $8 for residents and $11 for out-of-state visitors. Annual admission passes are also available.

More National Park Service Sites Within A Days Drive From Chicago

In addition to the national parks close to Chicago above, youll also find several others in the greater Great Lakes region.

Some, such as Keweenaw, Apostle Islands and Isle Royale, might be combined with a couple of the above-mentioned Chicago national parks on an extended road trip.

  • Perrys Victory & International Peace Memorial, Ohio
  • Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Ohio
  • St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, Wisconsin and Minnesota
  • Keweenaw National Historical Park, Michigan
  • Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
  • Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Have You Visited Any of These National Parks Near Chicago? Share Your National Parks Experience Below!

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The Wrap Up 9 Incredible And Best National Parks And State Parks To Visit In Illinois

So which one is the next park on your list to visit?

Was there one that surprised you, or a few that youve been to?

The truth is, there are so many beautiful natural sights here in Illinois from beautiful sights and parks in Illinois to some even considered national monuments in Illinois.

Taking a weekend to go hike at one of these beautiful national parks is a great plan, especially in the summer.

This isnt a cumulative list of all the best parks in Illinois, but its definitely a start for those who are wanting to see something a little different,

To more natural escapes that give us what we need, and more

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

25 Weekend Getaways Near Chicago

Fans of lighthouses will want to make the approximately 8-hour journey to the Apostle Islands in Bayfield, Wisconsin. The 18 islands feature six lighthouses altogether which are accessible by kayak from the Apostle Islands Lighthouse Cruise Service. Paddle around and explore sea caves on the islands and the mainland. In late July and early August, forage for wild blueberries growing in the forest.

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Lincoln Home National Historic Site Illinois

Distance from Chicago to Lincoln Home National Historic Site: 200 miles

Located along Route 66 in St. Louis, Illinois, about 200 miles from Chicago, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site preserves the former home and neighborhood of Abraham Lincoln.

This is where he lived from 1844 to 1861 before he became the 16th U.S. president.

The center of this amazing park is the historic Lincoln home, which, incidentally, was the only house Lincoln ever owned.

Additionally, the site encompasses the four blocks around the house, while a visitor center provides lots of fascinating background information.

Besides being one of the greatest presidents in U.S. history, Lincoln was, of course, also just another human being. He was a husband and a parent, a neighbor and a friend.

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site shows not just who Lincoln was as a U.S. president, but also what kind of man he was in his everyday life.

Indiana Dunes State Park

Situated along Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes State Park is one of the most stunning recreational areas you can visit in the area.

The park spreads on a territory of over 2,000 acres, protecting white sand dunes and the beautiful shoreline of the lake.

Visitors can enjoy various types of activities, such as bird-watching, fishing, swimming or hiking through the 50 miles of trails.

In less than an hour, you will find yourself in a secluded paradise, surrounded by pristine white sandy beach and clean calm lake waters.

To find a hotel or cabin near Indian Dunes click here to check availabilities. For a more home from home feel check out these Airbnbs.

Entry Fee: $7 for Indiana license vehicles and $9 for the ones arriving from other states

Opening Hours: 7AM 11PM

Address: 1600 N. 25 E., Chesterton, IN 46304, United States

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