Ogle Harleys And Artwork In Milwaukee
Travel time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Milwaukee, Wisconsin‘s largest city, makes a rollicking day trip from Chicago. Stop by the Harley-Davidson Museum to gawk at hundreds of badass motorcycles, including Elvis custom-built hog. Harleys were invented here, hence the big bike love. The Milwaukee Art Museum drops the jaw with its kinetic wing that soars open and shut, as well as its outsider art and Georgia OKeeffe paintings.
During baseball season, Miller Park is the place to be for beers, bratwursts and the oddball sixth-inning foot race between people dressed in giant sausage costumes. Milwaukee has a reputation as a drinkers paradise, with more bars per capita than anywhere in the US besides New Orleans. Friendly neighborhood taverns pop up on almost every corner. Champions shows the local spirit.
How to get to Milwaukee from Chicago:Amtrak runs seven trains a day to downtown Milwaukee, with a journey time of 90 minutes. By car, take I-94 for the roughly two-hour trip.
Starved Rock State Park Il
Have the urge to get lost in the wilderness? Located just an hour and a half southwest of Chicago is Starved Rock State Park, IL. And its an absolute paradise for nature lovers. With free entry and free parking, Starved Rock State Park is the perfect low-cost day trip, allowing you to focus on the beauty all around you.
Spanning over 2,630 acres, Starved Rock State Park features waterfalls, canyons, trails, and gorgeous woodland. Start by choosing a trail leading to one of the many waterfalls in the state park. As the park is on the Illinois River and is fed by melted glacial water, the waterfalls are in full flow after a rainy night or in the springtime when the glaciers heat up.
Bring your camera and take a few snaps of the expansive vistas, flowing waterfalls, and deep canyons. Are wild animals more your thing? Keep your binoculars handy as bald eagles, deer, and plenty of migratory birds have been spotted throughout Starved Rock State Park.
Go Spelunking Inside Cave Of The Mounds
Driving time from Chicago: About three hours
Wander among soda straws, flowstones, helictites and other stunning geological formations inside of Cave of the Mounds, a natural limestone cave near Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. Once home to a limestone quarry, the cave is now open for guided tours through mineral deposits in shades of white, reddish brown, black, purple and gray. Fun fact: Whether you’re visiting on a hot summer day or during the frigid depths of winter, the subterranean expanse is always a cool 50 degrees, so be sure to dress accordingly.
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Day Trips From Chicago: Brookfield Zoo
Since 1934, the Brookfield Zoo has enthralled while simultaneously teaching more than 2 million visitors annually. The over 200-acre nature park houses over 2,000 animals and is equipped with a fully accredited arboretum.
As a world-renowned zoo, visitors can enjoy an eclectic array of wildlife highlighting various places around the globe Australia House and Habitat Africa are two shining examples of this. Visitors can do everything from watching dolphins in action to having hands-on experiences with red pandas, reindeer, and alpacas. In addition to animal encounters, attractions such as face painting, carousel rides, and motor safaris add to the fun.
8400 31st Street, Brookfield, IL, Phone: 708-668-8000
Packing List For Daytrips From Chicago
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when on one of your Chicago day trips!
It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind.
You can place it under your clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery.
This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast!
I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it!
It is made of lightweight aluminum and so easy to use.
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
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Indiana Dunes National Park Indiana Is One Of The Best Day Trips From Chicago
Just under an hour outside of Chicago, the Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the coolest national parks in the Midwest.
The Indiana Dunes National Park is on 15 miles of beach on Lake Michigans South shore.
It is a nature lovers dream with over 15,000 acres of preserved land full of unique hiking trails, wetlands, prairies, woodlands, and of course beaches.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there is a $6 entrance fee to enter the park. During the off season though, its free to enter.
The Indiana Dunes is full of fun things to do, and you could spend days exploring the park making it a fun weekend getaway in Indiana!
Its a beautiful spot, and it is definitely one of the day trips from Chicago that is worth the effort.
Oklahoma Kansas & Kansas City
Who would take a road trip from Chicago to Oklahoma and Kansas? *Raises hand* I did this exact trip a few years back. Why? Because Id already visited the other places on this list, and my wanderlust could not be contained!
Plus, I love small towns and quirky roadside attractions. This trip landed first in Kansas City, Missouri, which has a ton of unusual sights, like the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, the Arabia Steamboat Museum, and the worlds largest shuttlecocks.
Oklahoma City, meanwhile, offered more offbeat fun, including a museum of animal skeletons, another dedicated to the banjo, and another all about cowboys and western life. This trip required around 7-8 days to complete.
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See The Home Of Modernist Architecture In Oak Park
Travel time: 45 minutes
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright lived in the leafy suburb of Oak Park, next door to Chicago, for 20 years. Fans come from all over the world to tour his home and studio where he developed the famous Prairie style, as well as to gawp at Unity Temple, his remarkable design named a Unesco World Heritage site in 2019 thats considered to be the first modern-style building.
Ernest Hemingway is Oak Parks other famous son. He was born in a sprawling Victorian home just a few blocks from Wrights pad. Its now maintained as the Hemingway Birthplace Museum and gives a peek at Papas formative years.
How to get to Oak Park from Chicago: Its a simple excursion via Chicagos public transit system. Take the Green Line L train from downtown to Oak Park station, from which everything is within a mile’s walk.
Chicago Botanic Garden Il
Donât want to go too far from the city? Head just half an hour away from Chicago to visit the colorful, majestic botanic garden. With well-manicured heritage gardens, gorgeous plans and self-guided tours, everyone can enjoy a few hours here.
There is also a Nature Play Garden and Growing Garden for those visiting with families as well as an onsite restaurant and birding classes. The garden is open from 8am to 5pm and is open every day of the year. Admission is free, but parking starts at $25 for non-members.
The gardens are 35 minutes from Chicago
Address: 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 60022
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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library And Museum
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum gives visitors from across the globe a chance to learn about The Great American Story that is Abraham Lincoln. The museum offers a wide range of interactive learning activities and full-immersion exhibits. Civil War artifacts, precious documents, traveling exhibits, and walking tours are a few of the highlights.
Annual events such as art contests and museum scavenger hunts provide unique ways of absorbing both this era and President Lincolns story. The library features manuscripts, newspapers on microfilm, bibliographies, and other printed materials for an in-depth study of one of the United States most influential presidents.
112 N. Sixth Street, Springfield, IL, Phone: 217-557-6250
Explore The Countrys Largest Magic Museum
Driving time from Chicago: About three hours
You’ll find everything from obscure conjuring tomes to equipment used in Harry Houdini’s most famous escape acts at the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan, home to the biggest collection of magic ephemera in the United States. With more than 350,000 artifacts onsite, there’s more than enough magical entertainment to fill an afternoon: Take a self-guided tour through magic history, try to squeeze into a replica of Houdini’s Milk Can Escape or book an appointment at the museum’s Lund Memorial Library to pore over archival materials.
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Frank Lloyd Wright Home And Studio
The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio was officially declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, just two years after it was established as a trust to preserve his home and studio. The space holds special meaning as it is where Frank Wright developed his design principles.
It now serves as a place for future generations to learn his design techniques, interpret them, and implement them in their own visions. There are several educational programs and workshops for all ages as well as access to some of Wrights materials, collections, and archives. Guests also have the opportunity to participate in the more than 10 tours featuring his work.
209 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 118, Chicago, IL, Phone: 312-994-4000
Cave In Rock State Park
The Cave in Rock State Park is located along the Ohio River. The scenic park offers heavily wooded areas overlooking the river, and is named for the 55-foot wide cavern situated in the bluffs along the rivers edge. The caves history is full of tales of pirates ambushing travelers along the river in the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors can hike through moderate to difficult trails, enjoy three childrens play areas, camping, picnic sites and fishing. For a less rugged experience, the Cave-In-Rock Restaurant and Lodge offers duplex guest houses or deluxe suites, and an on-site restaurant serving traditional southern style meals.
1 New State Park Rd, Cave-in-Rock IL 62919, Phone: 618-289-4325
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Buy Ultimate United States Travel List
For the first time ever, Lonely Planet’s experts have compiled the USA’s 500 most memorable, beautiful, surprising and compelling experiences. Ponder the scope of the Grand Canyon, delve into the history of a nation of immigrants at Ellis Island or wander across architectural grandeur at Golden Gate Bridge. Where will you go next?
Summary: Its So Easy To Find Road Trips Near You
While living in Chicago, it was incredible that I had so many road trip destinations near me. This list doesnt even cover them all.
Other possibilities include short Illinois road trips to places like Galena, Champaign, Bloomington, Normal, and Peoria. The University of Illinois campus in Champaign is particularly noteworthy. Galena is home to statues of Ulysses Grant and his wife Julia.
If youve got at least 5 days on your hands, consider other weekend trips from Chicago to Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte, or Virginia Beach. Make this the summer of the road trip!
And if you want to get really crazy, heres a detailed guide to driving from Chicago to Seattle
Do you have any other suggestions for great road trips from Chicago? Leave a comment and let us know!
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Madison Wisconsin Is One Of The Cool Day Trips From Chicago
In just over two hours you can find yourself in Madison Wisconsin.
If youre looking for a fun Chicago day trip in the summer, Madison is perfect for you.
With five lakes, spanning over 15,000 acres, in summertime there are so many things to do in Madison.
There are water sports, festivals, water front dining, and so much more.
But Madison isnt just a fun place to visit in the summer.
Youre sure to find fun no matter what time of year you go.
There are dinner theaters, breweries, delicious restaurants, and unique boutiques. Put treating yourself at some of the restaurants in Madison on your list!
Youll find that Madison Wisconsin is one of the most entertaining day trips from Chicago that is definitely worth the effort.
Starved Rock State Park Oglesby Illinois
Distance: 93 miles
Travel Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Starved Rock State Park is just outside the city of Oglesby. It is the go-to hiking location for Chicagoland. The beautiful park includes strange rock formations, that are unexpected in the Illinois flatlands, and over 13 miles of hiking trails along the Illinois River. The park is beautiful year-round. In the spring, all the waterfalls are at peak flow, tumbling over the walls of the 18 canyons in the park. A visit in the autumn will treat you to all the fall-foliage color changes.
While you are in the area, be sure to check out Matthiessen State Park as well. It is only 3 miles away from the more popular Starved Rock State Park, and as you would imagine, it has all the same beautiful waterfalls and forested trails.
Nearby, at the Vermillion River, adventurers can enjoy some of the best river rafting in the region. The river has 14 rapids, mostly Class 1 and II, so its manageable for families, even with young kids. The Starved Rock Lodgeis a great place to catch lunch or dinner, or should you decide to stay the night, you can snag a beautiful room. For nature lovers and adventurers, you really cant beat a day trip to Oglesby.
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Moraine Hills State Park
Distance from Chicago: 50.4 milesDriving Time: 57 minutes
Located in northeast Illinois, full of lakes and wetlands, Moraine Hills welcomes everyone whos into hiking, biking, fishing, and birding. Visiting this park is free of charge.
There are more than 10 miles of trails available to hikers and bikers. Those routes go through wetlands, forests, and uplands.
For those who want to try out some fishing, Lake Defiance, Fox River, and especially McHenry Dam are popular spots for that.
The waters have a great variety of fish. Here, you have the choice to either fish from the shoreline or rent a boat.
Alternatively, you can bring your own kayak or canoe to explore the wetlands of the park. Also, during the summer in June, there are programs for kids, mostly related to fishing.
Overall, the area is around 2,500 acres with rich wildlife yet a tranquil atmosphere. Definitely a good choice to relax in nature and get away from the city!
Best Day Trips In Illinois
Illinois and the surrounding areas are home to several good day trips easily accessed from Chicago or Milwaukee. Enjoy outdoor adventure in the rural Midwest along Lake Michigan, the Mississippi River, or any of the smaller bodies of water in between. Explore the 19th century history of early Dutch, Mormon and European settlers to the region, and end the day with a craft brew or a visit to a historical winery.
We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
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Best Day Trips From Chicago Illinois
Even with all Chicago, Illinois, has to offer, sometimes it just feels right to get away for a day. Exploring a sleepy river town, fishing in a river surrounded by towering canyon walls, or answering the call of your inner history buff, can leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Here are top day trips from Chicago that will awaken your soul and enhance your well-being.
We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.
Day Trips From Chicago: Naperville
Naperville is a prairie town turned award-winning small city that has earned accolades from Money Magazine Best Places to Live, Kiplinger Best Places for Early Retirement, Zero Population Growth Top Five Kid-Friendliest Cities, and many others.
Besides Napervilles small town charm, the best reason for a day trip here is Riverwalk, the citys 1.75-mile walkway along the DuPage River. Highlights include Moser Tower a beautiful 158-foot bell tower, a clock tower, three fountains, a covered bridge, heritage sculptures, an amphitheater and labyrinth, and paddle boats. Visitors can also visit the popular Centennial Beach and Grill, a sandy beach waterpark and restaurant.
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