Imagine cruising Wilmette, Illinois and the surrounding area in an RV rental. Class C models, a mid-size RV option, start at $79 a night. If you want to maximize maneuverability, Class B camping vans start at $190 a night. Maybe your heart is set on one of the big rigs; Class A motorhomes have many amenities, are suitable for larger families or groups, and start at $125 a night.
No RV trip to Illinois would be complete without spending a few days exploring Chicago. The Windy City is less than 20 miles south of Wilmette. Once there, you might want to start by sampling the award-winning craft beer and local food. Afterward, you can walk off the meal at The Art Institute of Chicago. This museum has many notable masterpieces from artists you may know, such as Monet and Van Gogh. In the summer, the streets of Chicago come alive with festivals, and many residents head to the beaches to bike, swim, or simply take in the sun on the sand.
An hour and a half drive west of Wilmette, Rockford has attractions like the Anderson Japanese Garden and the Discovery Center Museum, which is a great place for children. It has over 250 hands-on exhibits inside and an outdoor maze, a water play area, and a dinosaur fossil dig pit. Afterward, sate your hunger at Buddy's Burgers, where you can take the nine-patty hamburger challenge to make your claim to fame. For a formal meal, you can dine at The Norwegian, which is in a renovated 1930s building and features Scandinavian cuisine.
The second largest city in Illinois, Aurora is an hour's drive southwest of Wilmette. The Aurora Regional Fire Museum features exhibits explaining the history of fire service in the city, and you can drive a simulated fire truck, sirens and fire engine horns included. The city's Philips Park Zoo is famous for its large aviary and dedicated reptile house. Or, if you are more interested in learning about the local wildlife, Red Oak Nature Center showcases animals that thrive in Illinois.
Wilmette's town founders began the incorporation process in 1869. A group of five individuals formed a land trust to enable the development of a community on the former Ouilmette Reservation. John G. Westerfield, a local farmer and later the village's first president, was responsible for laying out the design for the future town. The town was named after Archange and Antoine Ouilmette, though the spelling was changed to Wilmette when the town was incorporated in 1872.
In 1951, the Edens Expressway opened, making travel between Chicago and Wilmette fast and convenient. The roadway's completion and the postwar baby boom fueled population growth. Farmland disappeared as new streets, homes, and business centers sprang up. The Edens Plaza Shopping center opend in 1951. After 40 years of construction, the Baha House of Worship, a Wilmette landmark, was completed in 1953.
Today, Wilmette has a population of over 27,000 people and is considered a suburb of Chicago. The main attraction for many visitors is the lakefront facing Lake Michigan. You can access the lakefront from several places, but Gillson Park is the place to be. The long sandy beach, picnic areas, and walking trails make the park an excellent stop for RVers. You can rent a boat at the sailing center at the north end of the beach or bring your dog for some romping in the sand at the south end pet-friendly beach area. The park also features an outdoor theatre that hosts concerts during the summer months.
Long Grove, Illinois- Long Grove has the distinction of being the first historic district in the state. The town is known for its festivals, such as the Strawbery Fest and the Cocao Crawl.
9 Gas Stations
1 Rest Area
3 National Forests
8 Nearby State Parks
4 Nearby RV Parks
1 Dump Station within 20 miles
Des Plaines, Illinois - Des Plaines is near O'Hare International Airport and has a lake that is popular for boating, a golf course, and a waterpark. It is also home to the Koehnline Museum of Art, which displays a continually changing contemporary art collection.
1 Rest Area
4 National Forests
7 Nearby State Parks
3 Nearby RV Parks
1 Dump Station within 20 miles
Addison, Illinois - Addison is home to Safari Land, which houses the state's largest bowling alley. Safari Land also has indoor carnival rides, including a tilt-a-whirl and rollercoaster.
3 Campgrounds within 20 miles
3 National Forests
6 Nearby State Parks
3 Nearby RV Parks within 20 miles
1 Dump Station within 20 miles
Indiana Dunes National Park is at the south end of Lake Michigan and about an hour south of Wilmette. This park offers a diverse ecosystem of dunes, wetlands, prairies, and an old-growth forest for you to explore. If you are interested in bathing in the sun or swimming, 15 miles of sandy beach along the shore of Lake Michigan await you. Hikers will find plenty of options, such as the Cowles Bog Trail, which treks through an area with so much plant diversity that it was designated a National Natural Landmark. After dinner, you may want to head to West Beach to see the sun set over Chicago.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is in Ohio. With over 125 miles of hiking trails, rivers, and a scenic railroad within the park, it is no mystery why this park is one of the most visited in the United States. The park also includes dense forests, narrow canyons, wetlands, and an astonishing 100 waterfalls. Hiking is the most popular activity in this recreation area. However, you will also find plenty of birding, boating, fishing, and biking opportunities.
Mammoth Cave National Park is in a rural part of Kentucky, but there are small towns nearby where you can get gas and food. The park has the longest cave system in the world. Scientists have already explored 400 miles of caverns and believe there may be more than 600 miles of tunnels left to discover. Beyond taking a tour of some caves, the park abounds with opportunities for you to hike, fish, bird, and bike.
Big Foot Beach State Park is 70 miles northwest of Wilmette and gets its name from Chief Big Foot, who was a well-known Potawatomi leader. The park is on Lake Geneva's shorelines, and hikers will enjoy exploring numerous trails through the hardwood landscape. The many woodland birds make this park popular for bird-watching. Visitors also flock to the beach to sunbathe, swim and boat.
Kankakee River State Park is in Bourbonnais, Illinois 76 miles south of Wilmette. The Kankakee River runs through the center of this park and is popular with anglers interested in smallmouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, and northern pike. Hiking, canoeing, biking, and birding are also popular in this park's peaceful setting.
Moraine Hills State Park is 36 miles northwest of Wilmette, and about half of the park's 2,200 acres are wetlands and lakes. Lake Defiance, near the park's center, is one of the few glacial lakes in Illinois that has remained largely undeveloped. Fishing and boating are popular at the lake and on the Fox River. Photographers will appreciate the opportunity to snap shots of animals and birds in this recreation area's watery landscape. More than 10 miles of trails make Moraine Hills accessible to hikers and bikers who don't mind getting muddy.
About a half-hour drive south of Wilmette, Chicago is home to several Illinois landmarks. Willis Tower has stood vigil over Chicago since 1973. The building held the title of the world's tallest skyscraper until 1988, when workers finalized the construction of Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia. A Skydeck allows bold visitors to see the city below through a glass floor.
Millenium Park is also in Chicago and is home to interactive fountains, tranquil gardens, and lots of green space. This space is often used for free events and to display public art. The park also houses the massive Cloud Gate, a bean-shaped sculpture that mesmerizes viewers with its reflective surface.
A short walk from Millenium Park, Navy Pier was originally built for military purposes. Since then, the area has become a popular tourist destination featuring a Ferris wheel and good eats at local restaurants.
Taste of Chicago is one of the most well-known and delicious food festivals in the United States. Beyond the food, this event has live music, activities for the whole family, and carnival rides. The festival is held annually in July.
Riot Fest is a multi-day music festival in Chicago that will appeal to RVers who love punk rock. Held in Douglas Park, the event occurs every year in September.
Pitchfork Music Festival also takes place in Chicago but features a wider range of music styles than Riot Fest. Union Park is home to this event for three days at the end of every summer.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center uses lessons from the Holocaust to focus attention on issues of genocide, intolerance, and inhumanity. The education center is in Wilmette, and you may need to plan three hours or more to take in all the exhibits.
Chicago Botanic Garden features an enormous 385 acres area of flora, bridges, and waterways. It is about 20 miles north of Wilmette.
Historic Wagner Farm in Wilmette allows RVers to learn more about farm life in the area before the town became a thriving suburb of Chicago. Live animals and interactive exhibits will appeal to both adults and children.
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park near Chicago made the top 10 list of all the Yogi Bear Parks in the country. The campground has everything you need to make your stay comfortable and features family-friendly weekend activities. At Chicago Northwest KOA enjoy gem mining, disc golf, and a playground. The sites here come with picnic tables, fire rings, and full hookups. Lastly, Camp Reinberg is a small, quiet campground near Wilmette. RV sites have electricity, a picnic table, and a fire ring.
As you are touring Illinois, you will need to find a dump station during your travels. At Paul Wolff Campground in Elgin, the dump station is free to use for guests, and the fee is $15 for the public. Petro Rochelle is a full-service travel center, and it is free to drain your tanks if you spend $10. In LaSalle, the Flying J travel center charges $10 to use their dump station.
While you explore Wilmette and the surrounding area, you may want to leave your RV at a storage facility. CubeSmart Self Storage has been in business since 2004 and offers covered RV storage in Chicago for less than $10 a day. For outdoor RV parking, Public Storage in Chicago and US Storage in Willette have plenty of security lighting and charge less than $8 a day.
Motorhomes are divided into Class A, B, and C vehicles. On average expect to pay $185 per night for Class A, $149 per night for Class B and $179 per night for Class C. Towable RVs include 5th Wheel, Travel Trailers, Popups, and Toy Hauler. On average, in Wilmette, IL, the 5th Wheel trailer starts at $70 per night. Pricing for the Travel Trailer begins at $60 per night, and the Popup Trailer starts at $65 per night.Do you need to be a certain age to rent an RV in Wilmette?
Yes. The minimum age is 25 to be eligible to get an RV Rental in Wilmette from RVshare.Does RVshare have emergency roadside assistance?
Yes. Every RV rental booked through RVshare receives 24/7 emergency roadside assistance.Does RVshare offer one way RV rentals in Wilmette?
Yes. Prior to renting any RV, check with the owner since not all will offer this particular option.