Pursue Adventure at these Top Three State & National Parks to Visit Near Chicago 

Pursue Adventure at these Top Three State & National Parks to Visit Near Chicago 

School’s out and it’s a great time of year to wander amongst the diverse landscapes at a state or national park near you. Whether you want to marvel at mountains of sand along the shores of our Great Lakes, explore a labyrinth of carved rocks, or just kick back at a pristine beach park, we’ve got you covered.  

And fortunately for Mercy Home, each one is a short drive from the city, making it easy for us to give our young people adventures that expand their horizons. But no matter where you live, hit the road with us this summer and check out these Chicago-area state parks.

1. Indiana Dunes National Park 

Chen, Yinan. “Gfp-indiana-dunes-national-lakeshore-view-from-the-dune.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons, 5 July 2022, URL.

Just a short drive from Chicago, your voyage to the dunes offers plenty to do whether you’re a nature lover or just want a relaxing day at the beach. Here you can hike 50 miles of trails, go for a swim in Lake Michigan, make some smores over a campfire, cast your rod for lake trout or engage in fun water sports. A day of summer memories await you at the dunes.  

Located: 1215 N State Rd 49, Porter, IN 46304 

For more information visit: https://www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm

2. Starved Rock State Park 

Chen, Yinan. “Gfp-illinois-starved-rock-state-park-waterfall-canyon.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons, 5 July 2022, URL.

Starved Rock offers day voyagers 13 miles of scenic trails to explore. Retreating glaciers 16,000 years ago carved out caverns and canyons that provide the perfect scenery for memorable hikes. This landscape includes forests, sandstone bluffs, and lofty lookouts over the Illinois river provide plentiful opportunities for great family photo memories. Be sure to pack your camping gear too—the park offers campgrounds to post up and enjoy a night under the stars. Campsite fees are $25.00 per night.

Located: 2678 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348

For more information Visit: https://www.starvedrocklodge.com/starved-rock-state-park/ 

3. Illinois Beach State Park

Chen, Yinan. “Gfp-illinois-beach-state-park-shoreline-of-lake-michigan.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons, 5 July 2022, URL.

Take a drive to Illinois Beach State Park where you will be surrounded by forests, marshes, wildlife and more. The beach stretches for six miles of coastline and consists of areas to swim, fish, camp, hike, take a boat out, and have a picnic. Grab your sunscreen because you’re going to have a sun-filled beach day.  

Located: 1 Lake Front Dr, Zion, IL 60099 

For more information: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/parks/pages/adelinejaygeo-karisillinoisbeach.aspx 

Here’s a list of more parks to visit in Illinois:

·   Buffalo State Park 

·   Matthiessen State Park 

·   Castle Rock State Park 

·   Shawnee National Forest

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