Open Friday and Saturday nights from May 3rd – September 29th (additional nights during holiday weeks), the family campground at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville, IL is close to home, inexpensive, and was a good way to do a dry run with all the kids. Last year we went RV Camping in Wisconsin, but we didn’t think that was a good thing to base future camping trips on — pretty luxe, the ultimate in car camping.
The campground features 64 wooded and semi-wooded sites suitable for tents, trailers and motor homes. We picked site #1, for obvious vanity reasons and for the promised view over Silver Lake. Nothing wrong with the site, though we’d probably pick a different one for future visits; something more private, more level, and with more shade would work better for us.
Each site includes electricity, a gravel parking pad, a fire ring and a picnic table and is within easy walking distance of restrooms, running water, and trash and recycling containers. Site #1 was closest to the restrooms with showers, a nice, less-smelly option than the other restrooms.
Though our reservation began at 1:00 PM, we decided to wait until after nap time, hoping for a more pleasant evening, with everyone well-rested. The plan worked to perfection and we got there around 4:30, checked in, and got set up. Laima and the kids set up the tent with no help from me, kind of nice, especially since it was pretty sticky under a hot sun in high humidity.
Since we planned on getting there in time for dinner, I made mac n’ cheese at home, bringing it along so there’s be no cooking that night — with real plates and silverware, the prepared dinner made me a happy car camper. After cleaning up the dishes, it was time for S’mores – for fun, I had bought Jumbo Marshmallows, but, to me, they were just too big, so I ended up tearing them in half. Everyone else loved how they oozed all over the place.
That evening, we headed over to McKee Marsh for a lesson in identifying local Fireflies — there are 3 varieties in Dupage County, though many more exist around the world. After an informative though slow-moving lesson, it was time to head out for a hike and look for fireflies. The kids loved catching the fireflies and there were no complaints about the excursion (though Munchkin allowed that learning about fireflies on TV might have been okay).
Back to the campground and sleeping in the tent. We were lucky that the temperatures and humidity levels had lessened with the setting of the sun, though it was still warm at first. A decent night’s sleep and I got up early to make cowboy coffee and breakfast. I think next time I’ll invest in a french press for morning java. With a nod to our childhoods, Laima and I had opted for Bisquick pancake mix, incredibly unhealthy, but easy to prepare and tasty.
After a short hike on a mown grass trail, it was time to get cleaned up and packed up. Once again, Laima and the kids wrestled the tent down, so I concentrated on fitting things back into the car.
Overall it was a great experience and we’re looking forward to the next outing. I think I’d prefer to wait for Fall, when the weather is cooler and bugs less prevalent, but there may be one more this summer. We’re thinking about heading down to Southern Illinois to the Shawnee National Forest for a multi-day trip; camping and hiking for the whole family, wine tasting on the Shawnee Wine Trail for the grown-ups. 🙂
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