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Old 05-11-2008, 08:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Im looking to get back in camping (havent done it for years). Any one got any recomendations of places 3-4 hours from chicago. Im looking for tent camping and hiking/exploring. I found some state parks that I may try. Any opinions?

Also, I couldnt find an answer on the IDNR site. Can you drink in the state parks?

thanks mike
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Old 05-11-2008, 09:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I suggest the Kankakee River state park.... there are nice sites and TONS of places things to hike and explore. Even some great fishing available if you so choose.
"It is better to be silent and be thought an idiot, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" - Mark Twain
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I just got back from the Mississippi palisades, nice place, pretty empty this time of the year. Camp in the North grounds and hike the southern section. $10 no electric $15 with electric.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Palisades rocks..
Lowden state park..
White pines state park....Cabins.

Happy hiking
"How do I feel about gun control? Break into my house one night and find out"
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Most if not all state parks don't allow alcohol.
Among others mentioned above (they all are great) I would include Starved Rock / Matthiessen State Parks. I also like Lake Shelbyville (about 3.5 / 4 hours south) there are several ACE camping facilities there and the fishing is pretty good most of the time.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I&M Canal State Park.

Unless you want / need electric on your site.

If you don't, this place has added bonus of having to park and walk your gear in ( distance is all of about 50 to 100 yards).

Campgroundís not very large, and consists of randomly placed firepits and picnic tables in a large shady meadow.
Limited sites, first come first serve, and quiet at night (no car stereoís because there are no cars), when compared to Kankakee and Rockford State park.
(Again, this is just based on my own experiences)

The canal trail is not very rugged, heck itís practically paved, but extremely long and pleasant enough, and the fishingís pretty good in the Canal, and on the Dupage.

If youíre talking 3-4 hours from Chicago, donít limit yourself to IL state parks.

Iíd point you east to SW MI, or north to WI.

Iíve mentioned the place in previous posts, but Deep Lake campground, the rustic campground in Yankee Springs State Park in MI has consistently provided me with my best tent camping experiences, this side of the Porcupine Mountains or the Adirondacks (or Ontario provincial parks, for that matter).

It offers MILES of fantastic wooded trails, and decent fishing along with good sized wooded campsites and easy access to hand pumps and not-too-disgusting pit toilets. And theyíre rarely full up on the weekends. (the modern campground a couple miles away is ridiculously full all summer long)

And itís a three hour drive from Chicago. (depending on traffic)
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If you can go during the week, Shabona lake has a great camping area about 1-1/2 hours or 2. Depends where you are from. However from Friday on it is hard to get a spot, Unless of course you reserve one. Check their site for more info. The is a lot of area for hiking or biking. Plus a lot of good places to fish from the shore or piers.
This time of the year you probably wouldn't have much trouble finding a space. On memorial day however you have better reserve a spot ahead of time. Certain areas have showers and flush toilets. There is even a resturant in the area.
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am partial to any of the Corps of Engineers grounds around Shelbyville.....Rend has a few decent ones too, although a little bit farther south. Both have access to some pretty good fishing.

Kegonsa State Park just south of Madison, WI is pretty nice too...again with some decent fishing.

One place I was very very happily surprised with... Morrison-Rockwood State Park out west...Lake Carlton is not all that big, only 77 acres, but have some decent Saugeye, Bass, and the chance to tie into some nice muskie. Argyle Lake State Park down by Macomb is also a nice place.....I am biased, went to school at WIU, so I spent A LOT of free time at that place camping and fishing, and getting rather crocked on cold and gold beverages.
Worst day fishing is still better then the best day working!
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I would look in to Pokagon State Park in Angola IN. They have a resort and plenty of of camp sites.

There is quite a bit of stuff to do, and if you are bringing kids they have plenty of arts and crafts workshops and things for them to do.

Its also right on Lake James / Tippicannoe Lake which is a gigantic lake, with boat rentals available. Its the perfect lake for either fishing, or recreation. There are also a few sandbars where people anchor to swim and relax.
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Old 05-28-2008, 08:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Devils Lake Campground in Baraboo, Wis is supoosed to be beautiful - high bluffs/hiking above the lake- check it out on the web. Think it gets booked quickly.
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