$165 – $185

Family Bike Mini-Tour: Indiana Dunes

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Third Coast Birth and Family Services

2624 W Fullerton Ave

Chicago, IL 60647

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A 4-Day Bike Camping Adventure for Kids and Families from Logan Square, Chicago, to Indiana Dunes State Park.


Primary Start: Third Coast Birth and Family Services in Logan Square. 2624 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL, 60647.

Alternate Start: Harold Washington Playlot Park in Hyde Park. 5200 S Hyde Park Blvd, Chicago, IL 60615.

Meet: 9:30 am Friday morning; Depart: 10:00 am (from Third Coast in Logan Square)

Ride to and Overnight: Camp Shabbona Woods > Indiana Dunes > Camp Shabbona Woods > Home

Return to Chicago by Bike 4:30 pm Monday afternoon

Registration comes with Guided Tour, Campsites, Cabin & more. Bring your tent and camping gear on your bike.

Day 1: 29 Miles | Day 2: 38 Miles | Day 3: 38 Miles | Day 4: 29 Miles

Ridership Level: Advanced



If you are ready for some serious mileage, are curious about trying bike touring with your family, and are looking for a beautiful ride and destination, then this trip is for you.

We depart from Logan Square and traverse the South Side of Chicago via the Lakefront Trail and the Burnham Greenway to our first night at Camp Shabbona Woods where we'll tent camp. Day two, we enter Northwest Indiana and follow the Erie Lakawana Trail, Oak Savannah Trail, and Prairie Duneland Trail to Indiana Dunes State Park for tent camping. In addition the the dunes and beach, there are numerous walking trails through diverse natural areas. On day three, we return to Camp Shabbona Woods for a relaxing cabin overnight. Day four sees our triumphant return home to Chicago.

This ride is characterized as advanced. Given the longish nature of the daily miles (for family biking), with no rest day, it is recommended that participants be strong cyclists with prior family bike camping experience. This route features some street riding and many miles of beautiful paved tree-lined trails.

We prepare meals communally; think campfire pot-luck. Participants will receive a sign-up sheet to coordinate and plan for group meals. Campsites feature a fire pit with cooking grate, picnic tables, full-service bathrooms with showers, dining pavilions with electrical outlets for device charging, and camp store with concessions. There are grocery stores nearby.


  • Three-Nights/Four-Day Campsite and Cabin Reservation
  • Interpretative Trail Guides/Ride Leaders
  • Campfire & Camp Snacks


  • Your kids, bike, tent, sleeping bags and gear.
  • Food, water, kid-friendly snacks and adult energy snacks
  • Bike lock, spare inner tube, bike lights, & helmets
  • Personal Items and changes of clothes.

This Is Bike Camping

Bike camping offers a total sensory experience, where the journey is as important as the destination. It’s like backpacking by bike; you carry your camping gear and kid(s) with you on your bicycle. With this adventure, we offer families - beginners and experts alike - an opportunity to experience bike camping beyond the city.


They will have a bike tool kit, an air pump, a presta/schrader valve adapter, tire lever, chain breaker, and a crescent wrench (for those older bikes), a multi-toolkit, lights and emergency packet. Our guides will help you with any needed repairs. *If you have any of the above items please bring them along at your own convenience.

Our guides work with historians, biologists, forest rangers, and leading people in their fields to deliver a one-of-a-kind story to remember. They have setup multiple break points along the way in all the right places to ensure you and your kids can go the distance. If this is your first time out on a multi-day long ride, you’ll be surprised by how far you and your children can actually go.


What is the Family Package?

  • This registration package includes up to two adults plus kid(s), all from the same household. Maximum of 5 people. If your family count is over 5, please contact us and we will make arrangements.

What’s included in the registration?

  • The standard family package covers a two-night tent campsite rental and a one-night shared cabin rental, ride marshals, guided nature hike, trip planning, firewood, and s’mores. An additional tent is extra.

What about food?

  • We prepare meals communally; think campfire pot-luck. Participants will receive a sign-up sheet to coordinate and plan for group meals and shared cooking equipment. See an example meal calendar here. Campsites feature a fire pit with cooking grate and picnic tables. Family-style cooking fosters community and becomes a real highlight of the trip. Stay tuned for a post on family camp cooking on the trail blog.

How do I get to the start point if I don’t live nearby?

  • It’s up to you to get to the start point however you can. Other options: 1) store your bike and gear near the start/end point in a participant's garage before and after the ride; 2) Meet the group on the route. Please confirm prior to the ride with the organizers for either of those scenarios.
  • For this ride, there is an alternate South Side start point: Harold Washington Playlot: 5200 S Hyde Park Blvd, Chicago, IL 60615. This will be also be a rest stop for the ride and features a playground, water, bathrooms, and nearby cafes for food purchase. Please confirm with the organizer if this will be your start point.

Do I need to bring my own tent and sleeping gear?

  • Yes! Check out a sample packing list here. If you already own camping equipment, you can use what you have. However, if you’re looking to invest, buy gear intended for backpacking; it’s lighter and more packable than car camping equipment. We’ll cover how to pack for family bike camping in an upcoming blog post.

Do you transport the tent and camping gear to the destination?

  • Participants transport themselves, their kids, plus tent and gear to the campsite on their bike. That’s what makes it bike camping! Please pack lightly and find a way to load your bike with your family’s essentials. We’ll cover tips and tricks for balancing your load on the trail blog.

What happens if it rains, is the event cancelled?

  • We will make every effort to put the event on and would only cancel in the event of biblical extreme weather or the zombie apocalypse (in which case, we’d all be furiously peddling with the other bike-powered preppers anyway). We strongly suggest you bring rain gear (especially for the kids as they get much colder faster when not pedaling) and if it looks like rain, garbage bags double wrapped over your gear with some tape where necessary can good-enough waterproof almost anything.

Bike Rentals?

  • If you would like to rent a cargo bike suitable for hauling kids and gear on one of our rides, please contact Four Star Family Cyclery. The owner, Elsbeth Cool, is a family bike campout participant, and can talk you through what might work best for your needs.

What kind of bike do I need?

  • Really, whatever you already have will likely work. Can your bike comfortably and safely haul you, your stuff, and your kid(s) if they don’t ride yet? Bring it! Check the event description for more information on the route and terrain. See what other family bike campers ride here or here and let us know if you have questions. Your solution could be as simple as adding a new-to-you trailer to your regular bike to haul your kids and gear.
  • Past participants have done family bike campouts on bakfietsen, longtails, midtails, adult bikes with trailers, recumbent tricycles, and all sorts of standard adult bikes. We’ll cover bikes for family bike camping in the trail blog and also feature some profiles of family bike campers who all use different wheels.

What should I bring for the trip?

  • First, make sure to bring extra spare inner tubes for your bikes. Please see a helpful list of things to bring here.

What happens if my bike breaks?

  • We’re family and we’re cyclists and we are here to help. We will have dedicated ride marshals in the group who will make simple repairs and help you out in any type of breakdown in order to get you rolling again.

What happens if I’m too slow or the kids get too tired to complete the trip?

  • No rider left behind! We will lash kid bikes on a cargo bike, squeeze children on/into another cargo bike, rotate a pair of fresh kid legs on their bike while they catch a ride, take breaks, etc. Plus, we ride slowly, usually 8-10 mph. Most routes feature a designated kid-friendly section where the little pedalers can safely ride.

Are there other family rides or groups for family biking?

  • Yes! For 2018, there are four family bike campouts: Dan Beard, Bullfrog Lake, Shabbona Woods, and Indiana Dunes.
  • A great way to get comfortable riding with your children and meet other families is to participate in a Kidical Mass ride. These local rides are organized by Chicago Family Biking and take place in a dozen Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs. They all feature kid-friendly routes - usually 2-4 miles total - and often have fun themes and destinations.
  • The Chicago Family Biking Community is a wonderful resource to talk all things bikes, kids, routes, and gear with fellow Chicagoland parents. Join us now!

How fun is it riding with your family?

  • Adventures create memories that last a lifetime so be prepared to have some fun and bring your swimwear. Even if we’re not going to the beach - on this trip we are - there’s likely a pool along the way.

What's the start point?

  • Third Coast Birth and Family Services is our primary start point and generously provides water, a restroom, and space for the kids to play while we gather and load up. Third Coast offers comprehensive birth and family support to Chicago families through a variety of classes, workshops, labor and post-partum doulas, child development consultations, and a beautiful space for your to build your village. Co-Owners, Shawna Mertens and Margarita Valbuena, are family bike campout participants.
  • For this ride, there is an alternate South Side start point: Harold Washington Playlot: 5200 S Hyde Park Blvd, Chicago, IL, 60615. From here, it's sixteen miles to Camp Shabbona Woods, so this is a good option if you want less miles on the first and fourth days or live on the South Side. This will be also be a rest stop for the ride and features a playground, water, bathrooms, and nearby cafes for food purchase. Please confirm with the organizer if this will be your start point.


Individual/Participant Cancellations: No Refunds | We are a small organization and due to the small group size of our rides, a ticket cancellation/no show has a real impact into the planning of the tour and as such, we cannot provide any refunds for a participant cancellation. By registering you acknowledge and agree there will not be a refund if you cancel or do not show up for the event.

Organizer Cancellation: Full Refund | Nobody wants an event to be cancelled. But in the very rare case the organizer does cancel the event at their discretion due to unforeseen circumstances, then registered participants will receive a full refund. To date this organizer has never cancelled an event.

Weather and Rain: We do not cancel an event for rain or a storm. We ride rain or shine. Understand that Chicago weather is typically passing, if it gets intense we will wait it out in a provided shelter then continue biking. FYI-Some of the best views and greenery are after a rain storm.


We're The Out Our Front Door Organization. A Bike Camping Community For Chicago and The Lower Lake Michigan Basin.

See Our Full Schedule Of Events Here

We provide exploratory adventures by immersing and educating in the history, architecture and the uniquely beautiful natural habitats of the Lower Lake Michigan Basin Area, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan.

Drop them a friendly visit at: www.outourfrontdoor.org

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Date and Time


Third Coast Birth and Family Services

2624 W Fullerton Ave

Chicago, IL 60647

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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