Best Of Chicago

Out In Style: Most Comfortable Wilderness Retreats Near Chicago

April 20, 2013 8:00 AM

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(Credit: whitepinesinn.com)

(Credit: whitepinesinn.com)

By Megan Horst-Hatch

Want to get away from it all? Taking a vacation or a long weekend in a cabin or cottage is a great compromise, as you can experience nature with hiking trails and boat rides on the lake without giving up your creature comforts. You also won’t have to travel far, as there are numerous cabins and hotels within a two-hour drive of Chicago’s downtown. Many of these rustic facilities can accommodate groups, making them ideal for corporate retreats or family reunions. To get started in planning your next vacation, consider the following retreats in the woods.

Chain O’Lakes State Park
8916 Wilmot Road
Spring Grove, IL 60081
(847) 587-5512
www.dnr.state.il.us

The Chain O’Lakes State Park is ideal for those who want to get away from it all, but still be within the 847 area code. Located one hour northwest of downtown Chicago, the park offers almost 2,800 acres, four hiking trails and an archery range, fishing and boating. If camping in a tent in the great outdoors isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Chain O’Lakes offers cabins for rent for up to six people. The cabin’s amenities include electricity, table and chairs and picnic table, however, restroom facilities are not included in the cabin. You’ll have to keep Fluffy and Fido at home, as dogs and other pets are not allowed in the cabins. Reservations for campsites and cabins can be made through Reserve America.

Blue Door Cottages
5312 N.W. Shafer Drive
Monticello, IN 47960
(574) 870-2744
www.bluedoorcottages.com

If you’re looking for a fun location for your next family reunion, keep Blue Door Cottages in mind. Blue Door also has a pontoon boat available for rent, ensuring you can continue your party on Lake Shafer. Located just two hours from Chicago’s downtown, Blue Door has everything you need for your next getaway, including wireless Internet, a TV and DVD player and a kitchenette or kitchen in every cottage. Blue Door is just steps from Lake Shafer and is three miles from Indiana Beach Amusement Park. The area also offers golfing, horseback riding, wine tasting and a drive-in movie theater.

Related: Winter Camping Guide For Chicago

(Credit: thehunterslodge.com)

(Credit: thehunterslodge.com)

The Hunter’s Lodge
2790 Blue Star Highway
Fennville, MI 49408
(269) 857-5402
www.thehunterslodge.com

For those who want a place to stay while exploring Saugatuck, consider staying at The Hunter’s Lodge. The rustic retreat is a log structure that features five rooms, and the amenities include air conditioning, refrigerators and private bathrooms. Got kids? The lodge is kid-friendly, making it ideal for families with small children. You can also stay connected while on vacation as the lodge offers WiFi. The lodge is just over two hours from Chicago and is just under three miles from Saugatuck’s downtown, making it an ideal spot for checking out the town’s arts and crafts.

Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center
2668 E. 873rd Road
Oglesby, IL 61348
(815) 667-4211
www.starvedrocklodge.com

For those looking for a rustic getaway, consider staying at Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center. Located in the middle of Starved Rock State Park, the lodge offers something for everyone. Activities include shopping, an indoor pool, massages and water cruises. For those who like venturing into the great outdoors, the park provides 13 miles of hiking trails, boating and canoeing. It offers both cabins and a lodge for your stay, with amenities that include TVs and Internet access.

(Credit: whitepinesinn.com)

(Credit: whitepinesinn.com)

White Pines Inn
6712 W. Pines Road
Mount Morris, IL 61054
(815) 946-3817
www.whitepinesinn.com

Want to get rustic? White Pines Inn features cabins that are the perfect size for those looking for an intimate getaway. It also has cabins that can accommodate up to 12 people, making it the perfect size for a family reunion or girls’ getaway weekend. The cabins’ amenities include mini refrigerators, air conditioning and heat and linens; two of the cabins are also handicap-accessible. The area offers numerous activities, including shopping, exploring historical sites and hiking. The lodge also has an on-site restaurant that features a brunch buffet on Sundays. White Pines is located just two hours west of Chicago’s downtown, making it a short distance for a quick getaway.

Related: 5 Of The Best Road Trips Around Chicago

Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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