Camping with Kids (and Printable Camping Checklist for Packing!)

We went camping for the first time last summer and much to our surprise, we loved it! Even though I thought we were more of a “hotel vacation” type of family, camping has some incredible perks! I think it’s best to go with a group…the kids have a blast together, and as a result, the parents do, too! Camping is a wonderful and inexpensive way to get away, take advantage of the great outdoors, reconnect, and unplug.

Camping with Kids

There are so many beautiful locations 1-3 hours away from Chicago that are situated in picturesque wooded settings along a lake. This makes for fun beach days and offers opportunities to kayak, canoe and fish. Most sites also offer trails to hike and bike, nature centers with activities for the kids, and evening concerts for the whole family. You can really get creative with meals while camping, too – the kids love being a part of shopping for the trip and helping with the food prep. And, you can never go wrong with s’mores!

Whether you’ve been camping for years or are considering it for the first time, we have some great campsites picked out for you. You’re guaranteed to be a happy camper!

Devil’s Lake State Park
S5975 Park Rd.
Baraboo, WI 53913-9299
(608) 356-8301

Governor Dodge State Park
4175 State Highway 23 N
Dodgeville, WI 53533
(608) 935-2315

Indiana Dunes State Park
1600 North 25 East
Chesterton, IN  46304
(219) 926-1952

Kettle Moraine North Mauthe Lake
N1490 County Rd GGG
Campbellsport, WI 53010
(262) 626-4305

Starved Rock State Park
PO Box 509
Utica, IL 61373
(815) 667-4726
Click here for a great guide to hiking at Starved Rock with kids!

Turkey Run State Park
8121 Park Road
Marshall, IN 47859
(765) 597-2635

Want a campsite really close to start off your camping experience? Try Camp Bullfrog Lake in Willow Springs, Camp Sullivan in Oak Forest, or Blackwell Forest in Warrenville.

If you are willing to travel further than the sites 1-3 hours away mentioned above, Sleeping Bear Dunes is absolutely beautiful. We went last summer and spent our time going to the beach, tubing, and exploring nearby towns like Glen Arbor. Cherry Republic is a fun place to go- they have everything cherry! There is a campsite called Platte River Campground that has fairly spread out sites with electricity and bathrooms (a major plus).

Camping Checklist: Free Printable List of Things to Pack

Before you go, be sure to Google “camping recipes” or peruse Pinterest to see what looks good so you can come prepared! The following camping checklist will give you a really base list to what you should consider bringing. Keep in mind that I prepared this list for my family, so you may need to adjust as needed.

About the Author

Annie Tandy
Annie loves making great memories with her kids and started Kidlist so she can help others do the same! Besides finding fun and exciting things to do, Annie, her husband, and their kids enjoy caring for their chickens and hanging out with them in the backyard. Click here to read about Annie's chickens and see pictures! She also finds joy in gardening, home improvement projects, knitting, soap making, and painting along with being active in her community, church, and as a board member of the Western Springs Business Association. Click here to follow Annie on Instagram.

2 Comments on "Camping with Kids (and Printable Camping Checklist for Packing!)"

  1. The packing list is amazing!

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