Family of 4, looking for fairly last minute planning backpacking or car camping with some hiking. Willing to drive up to 6-7 hours and already know the local Starved Rock, Devil's Lake type of situations. Hit me with something new! 🙂
I have camped at Apple River Canyon several times over Memorial Day weekend and loved it. The state park offers a small camp area, hiking, and fishing. It isn't too far from Galena if you want to head into town and wander around. Some camp sites are reservable, some are walk up only. It is about 50/50 with people camping in a tent vs bringing in an RV. https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/Parks/Pages/AppleRiverCanyon.aspx
+1 to the Apple River Canyon. It’s beautiful and low key. A bit small but there are 4 one-mile hiking trails that are all gorgeous. Another good one in WI is Governor Dodge state park: great long hiking trails and two lakes with canoe rentals. Wildcat mountain has a wonderful lookout where you can see fireworks from the surrounding communities. I camped there last year and it also has a few nice trails and canoe/inner tube rentals at the nearby Kickapoo river.
Shawnee National Forest is well worth the trip. Plenty of trails with options for car camping and backpacking.
Might be late, but good for you to know regardless.
Koehler-Andrae straight up the Michigan coast is great. Water levels for Lake Michigan were high this year, but in previous years it reminded us of the white sand beaches found on the east coast!
Farther north is Door County with Newport Beach State Park, a designated "Dark Sky" park - keeping the light pollution away for superb stargazing.
Check out Wisconsin's "Out-WI-Go" website for more ideas.