Grab the s’mores ingredients and flashlights: It’s camping season! There is a lot of rugged wilderness and great scenery in the upper Midwest — which means plenty of room for your kiddo to roam and explore nature. Whether you are looking for a adventure in the great outdoors, a jam packed schedule or a night of luxury, these camping locales can’t be beat. There’s something for every family only a short drive away.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park

Located: Millbrook (1 hour away)

The setting: With play equipment and character meet-and-greets — all against the backdrop of unspoiled Northern Illinois — a trip to Jellystone is more like a theme-park vacay that incidentally includes camping.

The activities: Mini golf, hayrides, arts and crafts, outdoor movies, a playground, numerous pools (including one just for kiddies), a game room, bonfires and appearances by the furry bear character clan shouldn’t be missed. Be sure to check the schedule before your visit, as weekend themed activities are a hit with the kids.

The essentials: Tent sites are available with or without electricity and less rustic cabins are available for rental.

For more information, call 800-438-9644 or go to


xDid we miss your favorite campsite? Let us know in the Comments!

— Anli Chen & Rebecca Little