Backyard Playgrounds

Chicago
  |  Gorp.com

NEARBY: Chain O' Lakes State Park
Why We Love It:
Chain O' Lakes State Park's 6,000 acres and 488 miles of shoreline make it a great destination for boaters, anglers, and water-skiers. Corral the kids, pack a picnic, and make a beeline north for a day of family fun.

Don't Miss:
The park's vast array of trees and wildflowers attract nature lovers in the spring, summer, and fall. More than 200 species of rare birds visit Chain O'Lakes, including red-tailed hawks and sandhill cranes.

Getting There:
The park is 59 miles northwest of Chicago. Follow US-94 northbound to state roads 60 then 59, to US-12.

The Fine Print:
The park requires a $5 camping reservation fee and the parks rental and concessions office is open from April to mid-October. For more information visit http://dnr.state.il.us or call 847.587.5512.

Additional Information:
Check out GORP.com's Weekender Guide to Chain O'Lakes

NEARBY: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Why We Love It:

Stretching along the southern coast of Lake Michigan for nearly 25 miles, this spot has great beaches and 15,000 acres of woods fit for all types of activities. Visitors can camp, fish, and hike in the park all year. Horseback riding is also available from mid-March to mid-December.

Don't Miss:
Indiana Dunes sits on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, making it a stop-off point for migrating birds in the fall and winter. Bird-watching at these times is at its peak; watch for herons, sandpipers, and pheasants.

Getting There:
The lakeshore is just 50 miles southeast of Chicago, on the Indiana-Illinois border. Take I-90 southwest to US-12.

The Fine Print:
Camping at Dunewood Campground is $15 a day; entrance fees for West Beach are $6 per car or $1 per bicycle/person. For more information visit: www.nps.gov/indu or call 219.926.7561 x225.

Additional Information:
Check out GORP.com's Guide to Indiana Dunes


Published: 5 Oct 2005 | Last Updated: 24 Oct 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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