In late summer, The Working Dad and I had the opportunity to camp at White Pines Forest State Park in Mt. Morris, Illinois. We made plans to camp there because we were attending an all-day music festival in nearby Dixon. We looked at it as a place to lay our heads the night before and the night of the festival, and as nothing more. Shortly after we arrived, we realized that the park has way more to offer than just a place to sleep.
We found ourselves at a site in the Cedar Ridge Family Campground. We didn’t have our daughter with us but there were tons of families with their own children. The campsites are a bit closer together than I’d prefer, but even with the campground being at full capacity, it was quiet at night and in the early morning; everyone, including the children, were quite respectful. Cedar Ridge is the optimal spot for camping families: all sites are in close vicinity to the bath house, one of the cleanest toilet/shower facilities I have seen in all my years of camping. There also is a vault toilet at the opposite end of the campground.
Before heading to the festival, we took a quick stroll through the park, beyond the campground and through the stands of pine trees.
On the morning of our departure, we took a spin through other parts of the park and came upon a quaint, riverside picnic area near the Sleepy Hollow trailhead.
White Pines Forest State Park is just over 100 miles west of Chicago, our home base, but it felt like we were 1,000 miles away. While there, admiring the rolling green hills and meandering creeks and rivers, I kept saying to myself, “I can’t believe this is still Illinois!” I know we’ll make a return trip to White Pines and bring along the munchkin. For this Chicago family, it’s a perfect weekend camping spot: close enough to spend just a few days, but far enough away from the every-day city life.
All photos in this post were shot with a Motorola Android DROID X.