Chicago. This vibrant and bustling Midwestern Metropolis is the scene for the arts among literature, film, theater, comedy, gastronomy, music, all between its renowned skyline and storied neighborhoods. Today, Chicago continues to draw millions of tourists from over the world, and with so much occurring at every part of the year, it’s easy to understand why. Whether a visitor drafting travel plans, returning home to visit friends and family or a local looking for something to do near home, Chicago has something for everyone. Read on for some of our favorite places to sleep under the stars and enjoy the great outdoors here around the Windy City, and capture your travels.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Just an hour’s drive from Chicago here on the southern shore of Lake Michigan is Indiana Dunes, a popular regional destination featuring dunes, rock formations, forests, hiking, swimming, canoeing, and stargazing. The close distance to Chicago and many of the other settlements around Lake Michigan make for a vibrant and festive atmosphere, yet the relative distance from any of the large cities of the Midwest also mean an absence of light pollution, great for those who want to enjoy the night skies.
Humboldt (Alexander Von) Park
For those who want to enjoy a breath of fresh air and remove themselves from the bustle of the Windy City, without traveling well out of Cook County, we recommend Humboldt Park. This is a pristine environment of lakes, forests, hiking trails and bird watching areas perfect for the hour or two getaway from your getaway.
Fox Ridge State Park
Offering plenty of hiking, camping, fishing and stargazing spots, Fox Ridge State Park is one of Illinois’s best kept secrets, a great destination for those who are putting aside a bit more time for their outdoor plans. This is a great setting for your multi-day hiking and camping trips, with famously thick and diverse forests, quaint ponds and streams, and something for everyone in its myriad corners and walkways.
James Pate Philip State Park
Famed for its tall, soft grasses and tranquil, verdant scenery, the James Pate Philip State Park is a great place for visitors to engage in hiking, photography, and last but not least, stargazing. The wide open venues and calm terrain make this an accessible and widely-appealing attraction of the Chicago area.
Matthiessen State Park
We’ve saved the best for last, the falls at the Matthiessen State Park are truly a sight to behold, a venue providing for so much to see in day as in night. Past Lake Falls, enjoy the miles of hiking and biking trails for a view over the Chicago skies.
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