Explore Your Parks: Camping 101 Program is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your family and with nature. We create a safe, comfortable and relaxed setting for beginners to experience the outdoors and create new memories with your State Park Family.
Check out The North Face Explore Your Parks Activity Guide Chicago.
It features information on camping, biking and other exciting outdoor activities you can do this summer in Chicago’s parks. Thanks to The North Face for making this possible.
Urban Campers (ages 9-12)
Urban Campers is an outdoor educational program that introduces 9-12 year old youth to local nature, teaches technical outdoor skills (specific activities may vary) and provides an opportunity to apply this knowledge during a 24-hour camping experience.
Campers spend Monday through Wednesday in the park. Thursday morning starts their overnight experience ‘til 10am on Friday morning. Urban Campers is the precursor to Under Illinois Skies.
Urban Campers is for youth who want to learn more outdoor recreation skills or simply spend more time outdoors. Participants range from first time campers to lifelong campers. They will learn new skills or develop current skills to help them in their next outdoor adventure.
June 23-27: Gompers Park
June 30-July 3: Washington Park
July 7-11: Margate Park
July 14-18: Northerly Island/ Union Park
July 21-25: McGuane Park
Under Illinois Skies (ages 10-13)
Under Illinois Skies is an outdoor adventure program designed to build confidence, knowledge of the natural world and community. Through this week long program youth will learn camping, archery, shelter building, fishing and more. Campers spend Monday in their local park and depart Tuesday for a 3-day, 2-night trip to a Youth Conservation facility. Here they will get in depth outdoor experience and spend the three days entirely outside sleeping in tents (weather permitting). Youth return Thursday afternoon to the host park.
Under Illinois Skies is for youth age 10-13 who want an opportunity to connect with the natural world and develop outdoor recreation skills. We typically ask that youth have prior camping experience available through the Urban Campers program.
June 30-July 3: Gompers Park
July 7-11: Washington Park
July 14-18: Margate Park
July 21-25: Northerly Island/ Union Park
July 28- August 1: McGuane Park
Wilderness Camping (ages 13-15)
Wilderness camping is an outdoor adventure program designed to build confidence, a sense of knowledge of the natural world and sense of community for youth ages 13-15. Through this two-week program, youth will visit an adventure course, fish, learn camping, archery, shelter building skills and more. Campers spend the overnight on Northerly Island during week one. The second week is an intensive two night, three day trip to the Cook County Forest Preserve, camping on a hike-in/hike-out location. Youth will travel with all of their supplies in their packs for this three day trip. Get ready for some fun.
The program runs Monday-Friday of the first week, with an overnight Thursday night at the park, pick up Friday morning at 10:00 am. In the second week, campers are at the park on Monday and Tuesday, then stay overnight Wednesday through Friday at Pulaski Woods, Willow Springs, IL 60480, pick up Friday at the park. Registration opens two months prior to each event.
June 30-July 3 and July 7-11: Gompers Park
July 14-18 and July 21-25: Washington Park. Call the park to register (773) 256-1248.
July 28-August 1 and August 4-8: Northerly Island