The Best, Most Beautiful Campground Sites in the Midwest

It’s almost the end of summer and the kids are getting ready to head back to school as you continue to work 40-plus hours a week. Before everyone gets back into the hustle and bustle of sports, band and other extracurricular activities, take the family camping in the best place for connecting with nature — the Midwest.

The Midwest is full of beautiful forests, lakeside beaches and quality campgrounds for the family to enjoy. Here are some of the best campgrounds in the Midwest for your end-of-summer camping trip.

Meramec State Park – Sullivan, Mo.

Meramec State Park, Sullivan

         Meramec State Park 

Meramec State Park is a great choice for those who love having options when it comes to outdoor activities. The park is well-known for its caves, namely Fisher Cave, which contains intricate calcite deposits and various cave wildlife. Visitors can also explore the Meramec Upland Forest; canoe, float or swim in the Meramec River; and hike the park’s many nature trails.

Campers have access to sewer, water and electric campsites as well as areas for roughing it in tents. The park also offers laundry facilities, cabins and even motel rooms for those who prefer to sleep in comfort.

Brown County State Park – Nashville, Ind.

Brown County State Park

            Brown County State Park

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to ride horseback through forested hills and wooded trails, Brown County State Park is the perfect place for your next camping trip. Pony rides and guided trails are also available so your kids aren’t left out. However, there are plenty of hiking and trail options for those who prefer to get around on their own two feet.

Other activities include fishing, tennis, mountain biking, picnicking and playgrounds. Campgrounds in the park come with tent camping, electric camping and full hookup camping, and there are special camping areas for horsemen. No matter how you get around or where you sleep, the “Little Smokies” provides campers with an outdoor experience resembling the beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

Devil’s Lake State Park – Baraboo, Wis.

Devil’s Lake State Park

                Devil’s Lake State Park

You don’t have to travel to California or Florida to spend a vacation at the beach. The kids will love building sand castles and swimming in the lakeside beaches at Devil’s Lake State Park. Canoeing and kayaking is another family friendly option, as is hiking and biking through the Uplands Trail. Experienced climbers can scale the rock cliffs in Baraboo Hills — one of the most popular climbing areas in the Midwest.

Campers can choose from standard electric and non-electric tent and camper sites, and restroom and shower facilities are available.

Ludington State Park – Ludington, Mich.

Ludington State Park – Ludington, Mich.

                Ludington State Park

Ludington State Park is a laid-back camping option for those who want to relax and enjoy nature. The park is sandwiched between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake, making it a prime spot for boaters and beachgoers. No trip to Ludington would be complete without visiting the historic Big Sable Point Lighthouse on the shore of Lake Michigan. Your family can also enjoy fishing and swimming in the lakes, as well as biking and hiking on one of the many trails throughout the park.

You’ll have no problem adjusting to camping life at Ludington — most campsites have laundry rooms, swimming pools and convenience stores nearby. Of course, roughing it in tents is always an option, too.


No matter where your camping adventures take you, always be prepared for unexpected emergencies. Bring a first aid kit, an emergency stash of food and water and flares when camping, and protect your family with a reliable travel health insurance policy from a company like HCC Medical in case anyone needs to be hospitalized during the trip.

Don’t let summer fly by without creating lasting memories with your family. Take them on a camping trip to one of the Midwest’s best parks to connect with nature and each other.

Four of the Most Common Mistakes that New Backpackers Make

A famous man with the last name Einstein once said “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” If you want to try something new, you will make a mistake. No matter what it is that you’re trying, mistakes are part of life.

When it comes to backpacking, this is especially true. Sometimes mistakes are as tiny as taking a wrong turn on the drive to the trailhead; other times backpacking mistakes can be much more serious Continue reading

10 Items to Have for Wilderness Survival

This guest post was written by Charlie Curtis-Jones of, who can offer expert guidance on the best radio communications device for the great outdoors.

Preparing for Wilderness SurvivalThe ability to enjoy a wilderness experience often comes down to how well-prepared you are for wilderness survival. Things you normally take for granted, such as dry feet and clean water can make all the difference between experiencing a life-changing adventure and enduring misery. The items you place in your wilderness survival kit will vary depending upon where you’re going, what season it is and what your skill level is. Yet there are basics that every wilderness adventurer should have for proper shelter, safety and to meet basic needs.

It’s smart to research your wilderness trip environment beforehand and have a good idea of upcoming weather to help you know exactly what to put in your survival kit. While you don’t want to weigh yourself down, you do want to have the basics necessary to safeguarding your health and well-being. Use this list to help you as you prepare your wilderness survival kit.

10 Basic Wilderness Survival Kit Items Continue reading

10 Least Visited US National Parks System Properties – Part 2

Continuing yesterday’s post on the least visited National Parks, here are the bottom five. Ranging from a single former residence to a couple remote Alaskan parks, this is a diverse collection of rarely visited national treasures.

5. Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial Continue reading

10 Least Visited US National Parks System Properties – Part 1

Looking for some elbow room this summer when travelling around? How about checking out the least visited U.S. national parks.

This list is a pretty eclectic mix – you might think they would all be located in remote areas or Alaska, but in fact many are near major population centers, and even within the city limits of some large cities! Granted, not all of them are parks in the vein of Yellowstone or the Great Smoky Mountains – one is a single building, and some monuments or historical sites are former manors or other properties preserved for their importance in history, not necessarily their natural beaty. But they are all under the National Parks system. Continue reading

Quick Takes

$30 Off Popular Internal Frame Backpack

Link has a great sale on the TETON Sports Scout3400 Internal Frame Backpack, going on until the end of the day – only $44.99 for a pack that normally retails for $74.99. I myself am in need of a new pack so I picked up this deal but it does look like it’s going fast – only hunter green is available of the original 3 colors.
If you’ve been considering getting into backpacking, this is a great opportunity to pick up a highly rated back at a deep discount.

Indiana (and Many Other States’) Campgrounds Nearly Full For Labor Day


With Labor Day weekend coming up, have you got your camping plans together. The DNR of Indiana had a press release come out in the middle of last week saying campgrounds were nearly booked full for the weekend. I’m sure this is happening in local, state, and national parks across the country. So if you’re looking for a camping get-away this coming weekend, better hurry!

Speaking of get-aways, what do you have plans to do for Labor Day weekend? Camping isn’t on my to do list, but I’m planning on a day trip or two to one of the local state parks in my area – look for a post coming up.

Link: Roadside Rest Areas


The Atlantic Cities has a great article on roadside rest areas. When travelling while I was younger, whether with family or Boy Scouts, we would often stop at these rest areas for, most commonly bathroom breaks, but also to have lunch or dinner while travelling. And, as the article points out, many of these rest areas truly are in beautiful locations. One rest stop in particular stands out. I believe it was at the Missouri River off an interstate – the exact location I don’t remember, but the view I do. Continue reading

Merced River Plan Could Transform Most Popular Parts of Yosemite



Stoneman Bridge – Credit: Jim Goldstein

The comment period for the Merced River Plan will end tonight. The Merced River Plan will drive a number of changes to the park around the Merced River, affecting everything from how many visitors the park can accommodate to the number of campsites.

This plan is separate from the plan to expand Yosemite National Park, and focuses on how to preserve and restore space existing in the park. This summary document (5.6 MB PDF) provides a good overview to the 6 alternatives (including the “do nothing” option). Continue reading

Bill Could Expand Yosemite National Park by 1,600 Acres


A bill, likely timed to correspond with National Parks Week, is currently in front of Congress which could expand Yosemite National Park by 1,600 acres, or about 2.5 square miles.

The Pacific Forest Trust, a non-profit land trust, has reached an agreement with a group of private landowners to sell land that both parties own to the National Parks service to add land along the Merced River to the park. This would fit in with the vision John Muir originally had for the boundaries of the park, but timber and land interests won over conservation 120 or so years ago. Now, this move could win out over local residential development efforts as subdivisions are being built near this land now.

While Yosemite is over 760,000 acres, meaning this addition amounts to only about 2% more space, this land is being sold below market value, and it will help conserve this scenic area and river for all to access and enjoy.

Read more