Illinois Beach State Park
Illinois Beach State Park - stretching 6.5 miles along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan in northern Illinois - offers a full range of recreation opportunities at one of the most unique and beautiful natural settings in America.
Illinois Beach is the only remaining beach ridge shoreline left in the state, with dunes and swales, sprawling marshes, forests of oak and vast arrays of animal life and vegetation.
It's a convenient campground for us Chicagoans. We drove to Lake Bluff and left our car there overnight and then biked the remaining 10 miles. It's a bit rundown and neglected in places but still appropriate for families. Not much in terms of trees and bushes so you don't feel very separate from the other campsites/vehicles. Probably better for RV/trailer camping than tent camping, which was what we were doing.
Monkey See Monkey Do
We like to go to the beach here. There's a lot of small rocks but if you have water shoes you're good. The water is pretty clean, there is no lifeguard so you do have to be careful. They have washrooms close by that are just a hole dug out, it's pretty smelly. We took a walk with our kids and that was fun, they got a kick out of seeing deer. We saw many biking and jogging the trails.
Love this park and beach all my life! I would love to see the jet ski competition return. I have been blessed with unparalleled vision for deer and evil! ALL GLORY GOES TO GOD ... Without the Lord Jesus Christ I am nothing! Check Out my GREATNESS on YOUTUBE!
I was expecting something like Indiana dunes park, but it's not like that. There are no hiking trails. The beach is quite long though. The water was really cold (we visited on early June 2017), and it's kind of painful to walk on the rocks, but we had fun. It's a good place to practice skipping rocks and to build stone gardens. The campground looks nice too.
The campground is like most state parks. Sites 300-302 are closer to the bathrooms, playground and the beach. Bathrooms are flush toilets. Showers are free, but only deliver water in 30 second blasts, to conserve water. Don't expect the bathrooms to be bug free. We originally camped here to visit Chicago. Not sure that was a good idea. The train ride for a family of four would be about $64/round trip (tho it's cheaper on the weekend). We ended up driving an hour to Wilmett and taking the L; more affordable, but that commute each time was 4 hours round trip: one hour driving, one hour on the L, and then back again. The overall cost was less than staying downtown for the same amount of time, but we paid for it in time, both in sitting for a long time on transportation, and in waiting for the transportation to arrive. BTW, Google Maps directs you to the north part, but the campground is in the south part of the park.