When traveling cross country in an RV, find places to park overnight can be a concern, especially when you are in a metropolitan area, like Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is a vast city, so knowing where to park safely and legally is critical. But we have taken some of the guesswork out of it for you! Please read on to find out about some of the best places to park an RV in Chicago.
There are several places where you can park an RV in Chicago that are available all year and within an hour of downtown. Here is a short list that tells you where those places are and how far away from downtown they are.
- Adler Planetarium Lot – 12 minutes, 2.3 miles
- McCormick Place – 14 minutes, 4.4 miles
- Bullfrog Lake Campground – 39 minutes, 22.3 miles
- Camp Sullivan – 40 minutes, 26.3 miles
- Martin’s Campground – 48 minutes, 43.9 miles
- Flying J Pilot Travel Plaza – 48 minutes, 38.8 miles
- Cabela’s Hammond, IN – 48 minutes, 26.4 miles
- Emerald Trails Campground – 57 minutes, 37.7 miles
An RV traveler’s most important question when parking in Chicago might be how long do we want to stay? But when you have the right information, you can find a parking place right for you. Keep reading for all of the details about each of these parking locations.
Parking Options In the City
Adler Planetarium Lot
Adler Planetarium Lot is the closest to most of the significant attractions of Downtown Chicago. Additionally, this lot is daytime use only, and the cost is $25.00 for the day. One day may not be enough time to do everything you may want to do.
Reservations for parking are recommended by management. Adler Lot is located at 1362 S Linn White Dr, Chicago, IL 60605.
Attractions Near Adler Lot
- Adler Planetarium is the first planetarium in the United States.
- 12th Street Beach is a beautiful park on the shore of Lake Michigan.
- The Field Museum is a natural history and science museum.
- The Shedd Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world.
McCormick Place can be used for day or overnight parking as long as there are no major events that fill up the lot. Similarly to Adler Lot, it is close to all the major attractions and the city. This lot is located at 3050 Moe Dr, Chicago, IL 60616.
The $37.00 a day fee is reasonable for the area. However, over-nighters are subject to any restrictions or availability issues. Additionally, your RV will have to be self-sustainable, as there are no amenities on-site at all.
Attractions Near McCormick Place
- Nature Walks and a bike path from the parking lot to the Lake Shore Drive nature area.
- Arie Crown Theater is Chicago’s largest theater with comedy nights and shows.
- Margaret T. Burroughs Beach and Park is dedicated to the African-American writer and educator on Lake Michigan.
Can I Park An RV On a Street in Chicago?
Whether you can park an RV on the street in Chicago depends on what street, how large your RV is, and if you have gotten the required permit. A permit is required for any parking in the city of Chicago, residential or otherwise.
If your RV is over 22 feet long, you cannot park on any city street. It is recommended that you check the City of Chicago website for all of the rules and regulations. Check out this article as well that will tell you more about parking your RV on the street anywhere.
Martin’s Campground is a large private campground about 48 minutes away from downtown Chicago. Full RV hookups are available, including propane.
In addition to this, they are pet friendly, have mail service, and offer daily weekly and long-term monthly rentals. Rates begin at $30.00. The campground is located at 725 Cherry Hill Rd. Joliet, IL 60433.
Attractions Near Martin’s Campground
- Joliet Iron Works Historic Site
- Joliet Area Historical Museum
Emerald Trails Campground
Emerald Trails Campground is located just under an hour away from the city, and they offer 75 full hookup sites for recreational vehicles. You should call ahead for rates.
The campground has full amenities, including paddle-boats, fishing, nature trails, and a playground. You can find Emerald Trails at 3132 E. Goodenow Road. Crete, IL. 60417.
Attractions Near Emerald Trails Campground
- Balmoral Woods Public Golf Course
- Tuckaway Woods Public Golf Course
- Plum Creek Nature Center
Camp Bullfrog Lake
Camp Bullfrog Lake is a Cook County-operated park and is only about 40 minutes from all the action of the city. It is also very accessible for recreational vehicles.
Reservations are needed for one of their 26 RV sites, as the park can fill up fast. Assorted sized RV pads have water and electric hookups for 20 – 50 amp electrical systems. The sites do not have individual dump stations, but the campground has a community one.
Additionally, there is a range of how much it costs to camp that runs from $27.00 to $50.00 per night. Variations in prices depend on the season and if you are a Cook County resident or not.
The campground is located at 9600 Wolf Rd. Willow Springs, IL 60480
Attractions Near Camp Bullfrog Lake
- Sagawau Environmental Learning Center
- Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
- Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanical Gardens
- Swallow Cliff Stairs is a park that features two sets of stairs on a cliff.
- Brookfield Zoo
- Chicago Ridge Mall
Camp Sullivan is another one of Cook County’s five campgrounds, and it offers RV parking with water and 30 to 50 amp electrical hookups. The gravel pads are assorted sizes, so it is advised to check them out online before making your reservation.
Reservations are required, and there is a range of how much it costs to camp that runs from $27.00 to $61.00 per night. Variations in prices depend on the season and if you are a Cook County resident or not.
Camp Sullivan also has its own indoor climbing wall and activity barn available for campers.
The camp is located at 14630 Oak Park Ave. Oak Forest, IL 60452
Attractions Near Camp Sullivan
- Silver Lake Country Club offers golf to the public on a 45 hole course.
- In the Game Hollywood Park Family Fun Center offers food and arcade games.
- Swap O Rama is a nearby flea market that has hundreds of vendors.
Illinois Beach State Park
Just over an hour away, Illinois Beach State Park is located at 1 Lake Front Dr, Zion, IL 60099. Offering 244 full hookup sites with electric, water, and dump stations for RV campers, it is the closest State Park to Chicago.
Situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, this state park has a general store, beach access, swimming, fishing, and a marina. The cost of the site will vary depending on many factors, but it can range anywhere from $8.00 to $35.00.
It is located about 45 miles from downtown Chicago.
Parking in Indiana
Indiana is closer to Chicago than you might think. Many people live in Indiana and work in Chicago and vice versa. The places listed here are free to park and welcome recreational vehicles. In addition to these, there are many options within this area, including state parks and private campgrounds.
Flying J Travel Center
Flying J Travel Center is located at 1401 Ripley St, Lake Station, IN. 46405. Incidentally, it may seem like more of a truck stop, but they are very friendly towards RVs as well.
They have an RV Plus Membership card that gives discounts and other perks to cardholders. Furthermore, they have on-site restaurants, gift shops, RV amenities such as dump stations, propane refills, and free overnight parking.
It is suggested to talk to a manager if you would like to stay longer than one night. On the down-side, there are no water or electric hookups, and not all locations allow overnight recreational vehicles. Flying J offers a downloadable list of sites and their amenities on their website.
Attractions Near Flying J Travel Plaza
- Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
- Gummy Bear Tour at the Albanese Candy Factory
- Michael Jackson’s Birthplace
Cabela’s is an extensive chain of sporting goods stores that offers free overnight parking and amenities at most of their locations, as well as a wide range of things to do right there in the store.
In addition to the restaurant and ice cream parlor, they also have fish feedings at their aquarium. Also, there is an archery range, shooting gallery, mountain exhibit, a general store, and a bait shop.
Cabela’s is located at 1401 Ripley St, Lake Station, IN 46405.
Attractions near Cabela’s
- Welcome to Indiana Sign and the Welcome to Illinois Sign
- Indiana Welcome Center
- Riverside Dog Park
- Hessville Splash Park
- Wicker Memorial Public Golf Course
Can You Live in An RV in Chicago?
There is no way to legally live in a recreational vehicle in the city of Chicago. For the most part, by law, an RV has to be under 22 feet long to park on the street, and a permit is required.
The time the vehicle is allowed to park is regulated as well. Here are some of the best RVs to live in from another one of our informative articles.
Can I Park an RV at Wrigley Field?
No. Currently, there are no available parking areas at Wrigley Field for recreational vehicles. The closest and best option is McCormick Place, which is 21 minutes away and RV accessible.
Parking at Retail Locations
While in the past, Wal-Mart has been an RV friendly location, they have changed their policies towards overnight parking in their lots. Some of them are still available, but it is advised that you call ahead and speak to the store manager.
The same applies to other retail locations such as Costco, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowes, and Cracker Barrell. Call and ask the store manager if it’s okay because you don’t want to get towed away in the middle of the night.
In conclusion, there are quite a few places to park an RV in Chicago. From city parking lots to state park campgrounds, you now know that you can find a place to park your RV in Chicago.