Warren Dunes State Park
Address: 12032 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer MI 49125
Time from Chicago: 1 hour, 35 minutes (83 miles)
Camping at Warren Dunes State Park
Some of the coolest places to camp in the greater Chicago area are the state parks along Lake Michigan that have natural sand dunes. Indiana Dunes State Park is probably the most well-known such location. Another is Van Buren State Park in Michigan.
And a third great option is the one you’re reading about, Warren Dunes State Park. Warren Dunes is cool because it has three separate campgrounds, each with very different features. One is a “modern” campground with 182 sites with electric hookups and newer restrooms. Another referred to as the “rustic” campground has 36 sites with no electric and only pit toilets (talk about roughing it!)
A third option is a group campground with six sites near the north side of the park. Those interested in using the group site must call ahead and make reservations.
How much will camping at Warren Dunes cost? Well, the modern campsites are the most expensive. As of this writing (March 2015), nightly fees are $37 for a full hookup, $31 for a 50-amp hookup, and $29 for 20/30 amp service. The modern campground also has mini-cabins for those who prefer that over tent camping.
As for the rustic sites, those cost only $22 each, making them a good option for budget campers. However, keep in mind that entry into all Michigan state parks requires the annual Michigan Recreation Passport, which costs $11 for in-state residents and a whopping $31 for out-of-staters (or $9 for a one-day temporary pass.) If you’re traveling there from Chicago, don’t forget to add that cost into your trip calculations.
Warren Dunes State Park overall covers 1952 acres, including three miles of shoreline and six miles of hiking trails. The dune formation peaks at 260 feet, giving guests a chance to climb to the top and look out over Lake Michigan and the surrounding area. The park is open year-round and maintains cross-country skiing trails during the winter months.