Channahon State Park
Address: 25302 W. Story St., Channahon, IL 60410
Time from Chicago: 53 minutes (50 miles)
Camping at Channahon State Park
Looking for the closest campground to Chicago? Check out Channahon State Park, located in Channahon, Illinois, less than one hour away from the Windy City, not far from Joliet.
Now, there’s no actual campground at Channahon State Park. It’s primitive camping, which means you must bring in your own gear, and you’ll need to have a permit, which you can pick up from the park’s information center.
Even though the park’s website describes the camping as “primitive,” that’s not exactly true, because there are pit toilets, fire rings, grills, and picnic tables available. The website makes no mention of a fee or cost for camping here.
“Channahon” is a Native American word meaning “the meeting of the waters.” This is not a super-rural setting – in fact, there’s a bar within walking distance to the park. The park is located along the DuPage, Kankakee and Des Plaines Rivers. The I&M Canal Trail runs right through the park, so many Chicago area residents might have biked in the park without realizing it.
The state park is less than 15 miles from Gebhard Woods State Park, a mediocre camping option that also offers “primitive” walk-in camping.
What else can you do at Channahon? Canoeing is available on the river leading down to Gebhard Woods. Fishing is available. You can set up a picnic or play horseshoes
Image: Illinois Department of Natural Resources