Urgently need suggestions for family camping this labor day!

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by Milemaker13, Aug 5, 2019.

  1. Milemaker13

    Milemaker13 Active Member

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    We had a blast camping with our neighbors this past weekend and want to do it again labor day. But the place we camped was very tight. It was fun, had a beach and lots for the kids to do but man alive, we were packed in like sardines! Honestly pulling in friday evening was like entering a refugee camp or nightmare scenario of some kind. Just didnt like being within 10 feet of the next guys tents.

    We live in the chicago suburbs (Lombard) and can drive a couple hours. We have always done state parks and this was first time at a family campground. They are used to yogi bear camp and said this place was better than that and suggested going again on LD.

    Any suggestions? We want swimming/ beach. Playgrounds and other kid stuff.
    Thank you!!
     
  2. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    If you don't need electric or water, I think Indiana Dunes national park has some first come first served sites. I once bought a $10 pup tent and set it up on a site on Wednesday, then went back to work until Friday when I took the pop up over. Cost me a few $$ for the two nights that I didnt use, but at least I had a site for the weekend.
     
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  3. Milemaker13

    Milemaker13 Active Member

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    What is the dunes like? Kids stuff to do?
    Do you think it ( and everything else) is already all booked up?
     
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  4. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    Holiday weekends are tough! We tend not to camp on those weekends as the crowds are too much! Also a lot of places are usually booked.
     
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  5. eoleson1

    eoleson1 Well-Known Member

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    Looks like all the reservable spots are booked, but they have 22 walk up sites (FCFS). You may have to drop off a tent a couple of days in advance to get a site. Best bet is to call the ranger's office and talk to them They should have a good idea how quickly the FCFS sites fill up on a holiday weekend.

    The campground offers a free shuttle to the beach. I know my kids couldn't get enough of climbing the dunes, then rolling down. Other than dune climbing and swimming, they offer nature lectures and tours, and maybe some other programs.

    On the total other end of the spectrum, Indiana Beach Campground has a few sites available. It's about two hours south of the Chicago area. It's (I think) part of Indiana Beach Amusement and Water Park. Crowded sites, expensive, but great access to stuff for the kids.
     
  6. BigAl

    BigAl Member

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    Check out Bong State Recreation Area near Burlington, WI: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/richardbong/

    We stayed here for Memorial Day weekend a few years back - the sites were large and well-separated, there's a swimming lake with a playground, as well as a nature center and some ranger-led activities for the kids. Plus ATV/dirt bike trails as well as the normal state park hiking trails.
     
  7. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

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    Check out Smokey Hollow campground near Lodi, Wisconsin, well within your range.
     
  8. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    If there used to familly type campgrounds, a state park might be a stretch for them. Just saying, some like the added extras.
     
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  9. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

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    It is not a state park, it is a family campground, perhaps I should have made that clear.
    https://www.smokeyhollowcampground.com/
     
  10. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    It was a general response, not aimed at anyone. All good , you were clear enough!
     
  11. Milemaker13

    Milemaker13 Active Member

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    So we went ahead and booked for labor day at the place we went this weekend. The kids had a great time , so whatever right?
    The adults had a good time too.
    We'll be a little better prepared, arrive much earlier (pulled in at dusk last time) and know what to expect this time.
    I will continue to check out these other parks. Maybe hit one up b4 labor day. Still gotta get out a few more times this year.
     
  12. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    Thats the spirit! Let the kidos run free. And the earlier you get there the more drinks, i mean fun , the adults can have! Eaither way , its a win win.
     
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  13. Milemaker13

    Milemaker13 Active Member

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    Thumbs up :)
     
  14. alabasterjar

    alabasterjar Member

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    This is going to be the theme of what you are looking to get into a site over labor day weekend. I would imagine that almost all reserved sites are reserved... I worked in the Indiana State Park system for about 10 years & the non-reservable sites will be gone within minutes of check in on Friday for sure; for a park like Dunes, I would not be surprised to see those sites gone by Thursday evening.

    You asked about activities for kids... Not sure what the age range is, or what your expectations are, but there is a nature center a short hike from the campground, there are a number of trails to hike and swimming lake Michigan!
     
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