• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Camp Aramoni brings a boutique camping experience to a site less than two hours from Chicago

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Aug 5, 2022

TONICA, Ill. (CBS) — In the town of Tonica, less than a two-hour drive from Chicago and right next to Starved Rock State Park, a hidden treasure sits on 96 acres of unspoiled land.

A husband-wife duo have transformed a decades-old abandoned brickyard into Camp Aramoni – a new boutique campground with 11 safari-style tents. Camp Aramoni is the first of its kind in Illinois.

The tents are not typical camping tents, but rather glamping tents. They are equipped with luxury amenities, air conditioning and heating, several bedding options, a shower and a bathroom.

Each tent, which was made in South Africa, can accommodate between two and six people. The tents are all named after native Illinois wildflowers: Bellflower, Blazing Star, Foxglove, Nodding Onion, Partridge Pea, and Sweet William, to name a few, but not all.

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The price of the night includes breakfast and a gourmet dinner. For lunch, you can request an a la carte picnic with the Vermilion River as a backdrop.

“We want our campers to take ownership of their experience. We want them to do what they want to do. They have all the conveniences of home here, and if they want to stay completely unplugged on their patio all day in listening to the birds and watching an eagle go by once in a while is what they should be doing,” said co-founder Jennifer Bias.

You also don’t have to break your back carrying armfuls of wood to start a campfire. Each night, a staff member lights one for you in your personal fire pit — and they bring you free S’mores for which the marshmallows are made on the spot.

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It took the owners five years to bring their vision to life for everyone to enjoy.

And if that’s not fun enough, there’s hiking on groomed trails, fishing, and biking — and Starved Rock State Park is about 7 miles away.

Bias told us it was a family affair. Her husband, daughter and son work tirelessly to make this an unforgettable experience for all.

“You know, our love for nature and for family and friends – that’s what we want our guests to experience,” she said. “And you know, they may come here as strangers, but we definitely want them to leave as friends.”