Summer isn't THAT far off . . . already trying to come up with camping/hiking spots in the Midwest for once it gets warm. Help! Looking for specific recommendations for spots in the IL/IA/WI area, plus whatever other random camping and backpacking tips you want to throw my way. Bonus points for places I can bring my dog, although I don't mind leaving her with my parents for a week either.
Having never gone camping as a kid, I only recently discovered how fun it is. I tried to expand my tent-camping experience in the the Illinois/Iowa area last summer but had a hard time figuring out the best places to go. Some of the places I went to were OK, some were kind of boring. Now summer is approaching again (ok, yes I know it's February but I'm desperate.) And I want to start planning for all the awesome places I'm going to go this summer.
I really like the idea of packing/traveling light, so I think I'd like to eventually pick up backpacking too, but I'm not sure I can afford to buy gear for that this year. I was thinking maybe if I found some good spots for tent camping, I could start building up my endurance/ experience on day-long hikes. (Up until now, my camping experience has mainly centered around being drunk around a campfire.) Don't get me wrong, that's also fun, but I want to get back into nature! I want to see some beautiful places but I'm feeling unsatisfied by what I've found through googling and National Park websites. I have a hard time getting a feel for what places are really like, so I'd like to have YOUR recommendations! I'm particularly looking in the Illinois/Wisconsin/Iowa area, but if there's something amazing a little further out, I'm game too. (Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri?) I have been searching some old AskMe's and found some cool stuff already such as the Dark Sky Finder
and Pepsi Can Stove
. Any other random helpful suggestions like this are more than welcome. I found this thread
on backpacking really helpful. The pepsi can stove is a good example of something I can test-drive while tent camping, and then I'll be more confident once I start attempting actual backpacking trips.
Thanks in advance, Mefites. I'm so excited about this, I've literally been having recurring dreams about camping since about December.