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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Short Road Trips From Chicago

Tour Historic Lighthouses In Door County

Chicago Road Trips That Are One Tank Away

Door Countys 11 lighthouses open their usually closed doors during seasonal festivals. At one, Sherwood Point, some visitors will discover theyre eligible to overnight in the three-bedroom house. And, for the first time, people will be able to ride the elevator to the top of the new, 10-story lighthouse tower at the Door County Maritime Museum.

With their truths and tales, lighthouses obviously evoke fascination with a bygone era.

Its a way to feel history, Cana Island Lighthouse manager Hal Wilson observed. Its a visual reminder. How many peoples lives were saved by that light?

Apple River Canyon State Park Illinois: 146 Miles West Of Chicago

Every day, hundreds of drivers speed past the turnoff on US-20 for Apple River Canyon State Park, bound for getaways in Galena. Those travelers admire the view from the car, not realizing that if they wanted a peek at one of the area’s few remaining secrets, they should turn north on Canyon Park Road west of Stockton and drive for just 7 miles. The 297-acre Apple River Canyon State Park offers quiet amid the woods along Apple River. Hike the bluffs. Look for fossils. Listen for wildlife. Fish the riverand let the others head to Galena.

Olney Illinois & Santa Claus Indiana

If youre a fan of quirky roadside attractions like me, heres an oddball Illinois road trip to consider. Have you ever heard of Olney? Its a small town that for some reason has a large population of white albino squirrels. Its so cool to watch white squirrels running around the streets and parks!

Meanwhile, Santa Claus is an Indiana city where it feels like Christmas all year long. Holiday World and Splashin Safari Water Park are holiday-themed amusement parks. If youre not in the mood for roller coasters and thrill rides, head to the Santa Claus Christmas Store for quirky gifts or Santas Candy Castle, which has one of the most massive collections of sweets Ive ever seen.

The drive time for me was about 11 hours. You can easily include a loop over to Indianapolis or Louisville, or pass through smaller towns like Terre Haute or Bloomington.

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Chicago To Saugatuck Road Trip Planner

Here’s a sample itinerary for a drive from Chicago to Saugatuck. If you’re planning a road trip to Saugatuck, you can research locations to stop along the way. Traveling with a dog or cat? View pet-friendly stops between Chicago and Saugatuck. Camping along the way? View RV campgrounds between Chicago and Saugatuck. Find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions based on themost talked about places recommended by Trippy members.

11:00 am start in Chicagodrive for about 50 minutes

stay for about 1 hour and leave at 12:50 pmdrive for about 56 minutes

stay for about 1 hour and leave at 2:46 pmdrive for about 30 minutes

stay for about 1 hour and leave at 4:16 pmdrive for about 25 minutes

4:41 pm arrive in Saugatuck

driving 2.5 hours

Day Trips From Chicago: Cantigny Park

5 Best Short Road Trips from Chicago

Cantigny Park was gifted to Wheaton, Illinois, by philanthropist Colonel Robert R. McCormick and was officially opened to the public in 1958. This recreational and educational space provides visitors with a multitude of leisure opportunities. The park includes two museums, one dedicated to the legacy of Colonel McCormick and the other a tribute to military history.

It also displays acres of formal gardens and a statuary and has three miles of trails and a picnic area. There is a visitors center, an education center, and a 27-hole golf course with a youth golf academy and full-service clubhouse. Visitors will appreciate the onsite restaurants, walking tours, and seasonal kids activities.

1s151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL, Phone: 630-668-5161

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Boyne Mountain Resort Boyne Falls Michigan

Distance from Chicago: 346 miles, 5-hour driveSki slopes dont usually come to mind when folks think of winter in the midwest, but Boyne Mountain Resort will have you mistaking northwestern Michigan for Park City, Utah . Regardless, this snowy palace boasts 415 skiable acres, 60 downhill runs, seven terrain parks, and ski lifts soaring as high as 500 feet. There are plenty of options for all skill levels here, and if youre just starting out , you can glide down the bunny slope to your heart’s content without dropping any extra cash. Sister resort Boyne Highlands sports some more advanced slopes for those wanting a steeper challenge, and if you haven’t had enough winter adventuring, head over to Gaylord State Forest, which boasts trails upon trails of natural beauty.

Between runs, check out other draws like ziplining, tubing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, fat tire snow biking, SNO-GO biking, and, if that wasnt enough, a full-scale indoor waterpark for those who just cant kiss summer goodbye. Before tucking into bed inside your villa or lodge, unwind at the onsite spa, packed with an array of body treatments, like facials, massages, and BEMER therapy. Because, hey, youre worth it.

Porcupine Mountain State Park Michigan

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is pleasant in the spring and summer, but it is also one of the best fall road trips from Chicago. And no trip there is complete without a visit to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

With 60,000 acres of old-growth forest, meandering rivers, jaw-dropping vistas, and flowing waterfalls, the âPorkiesâ will impress any traveler. It’s kind of hard to believe you can find these views in the Midwest!

Drive Time: 6 hours 40 minutes

On the Way: Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

What to Do: Bond Falls, Lake of the Clouds, Escarpment Trail, Presque Isle Falls, Summit Peak Observation Tower, Big Carp River Trail, Union Spring Trail, and Porcupine Mountains Chairlift.

Where to Eat & Drink: White Pine’s Yooper Diner, Antonio’s Restaurant, and Hoop’n Holler Tavern.

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Lake Geneva For R& r On The Water

1.5 Hours from Chicago

If youre looking for a short day trip from Chicago, Lake Geneva is one of the best beach towns in the Midwest without fighting the throngs of people at North Avenue or along the Gold Coast, where you can spread out and breathe.

If youre hoping to soak in the sand and sun, you can stop by Big Foot Beach State Park, Lake Geneva Public Beach, or Riviera Beach. If youd prefer to do a little hiking, you can tackle the Lake Geneva Shore Path or one of Big Foot Beach State Park trails.

But beach hopping and hiking are far from the only nature activities to do in Lake Geneva. You can also go camping, ziplining, skiing, sledding, and so much more, making it a fun year-round retreat.

Where to Stay: As a former Playboy Club, the Grand Geneva Resort is the most iconic property, but there are plenty of other options.

Timbercreek Bed & Breakfast

Chicago Scene at Lake Lawn Resort

TimberCreek Bed & Breakfast is an upscale bed and breakfast in a building that was built specifically to appear like a barn. It is on a 25-acre property with a gate at the end of a picturesque winding lane surrounded by a stream and trees. The English Cottage décor spans the common areas and guest rooms with tile, brick, and hardwood floors, fireplaces, skylights, upscale furnishings, over-sized beds, artwork, and a whirlpool. Each guest room has its own bath and there is Wi-Fi throughout. A suite is handicapped accessible.

Guests can request access to hair dryers, irons, and laundry facilities. The Gathering Room is relaxing with floral couches, leather recliners, a stone fireplace, games, and magazines. The Breakfast Room hosts the morning breakfast and the Kitchen has tea and coffee. Rates start at $99 per night.

1559 E. State Route 9, Paxton IL, 217-379-2589

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Toronto & Niagara Falls

Chicagoans rarely consider Toronto, Canada as a road trip option, but its only 8 hours away if traffic and border crossings cooperate. Add another 90 minutes to reach Niagara Falls, one of the great natural wonders of North America.

Chicago and Toronto are incredibly similar. They have nearly identical-sized populations . Both have great museums, outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, culinary delights, and vibrant nightlife.

A few things Toronto has that Chicago doesnt: The Hockey Hall of Fame, the CN Tower, and a chance to paddle in the Harbor Islands. For a silly tourist attraction, check out the Bata Shoe Museum.

On the way to Toronto, youll pass through the town of London, Ontario, Canada. This city has lots of interesting attractions and fun things to do, so check it out!

Galena Log Cabin Getaway

Galena Log Cabin Getaway covers 45 acres of secluded land as well as the Adventure Creek Alpaca and Labradoodle Farm. This working farm has 12 log cabins, each with one room and over 660 square feet plus an open loft. There is a modern bathroom featuring a six-foot double-whirlpool tub and large skylight. Cabins have a queen bed downstairs with a double bed in the loft, satellite TV, a fridge, a microwave, and a gas log fireplace. Other amenities include DVD players, central air and heat, and platform rockers. Four of the cabins are dog-friendly.

While at this inn, you can visit or enjoy the alpaca farm, and even take an alpaca for a walk. They also breed Goldendoodles, which guests can spend time with. Guests can hike 1.5 miles along the Adventure Creek or head to Casper Bluff or along the Mississippi River. There is very little light pollution in the area, which means gorgeous views of the stars on clear nights. Rates start at $189 per night.

9401 W. Hart John Rd., Galena IL, 815-777-4200

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Galena For A Trip Back In Time

2.5 Hours from Chicago

One of the best spots to snag a B& B and snuggle up, Galena was voted one of the best small towns in the US for its history, architecture, and outdoor attractions. Eighty-five percent of the towns buildings are listed on the National Register Historic District.

You can learn about the towns mining history at the Elizabeth History Museum, wander around Main Street, visit President Ulysses S. Grants former home, go for a ghost tour, or hike the Galena River Trail. Unique period attractions like candle making, coffee cupping, goat trekking, and spoon carving will have you feeling far removed from city life in no time.

Where to Stay: The DeSoto House Hotel has hosted dignitaries like Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas that retains its historic charm.

Cozy Up In A Secluded Adorable Cottage Or Cabin

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With social distancing in mind, secluded cottages and cabins are proving to be increasingly popular escapes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airbnb travelers are also more interested in unique spaces, like treehouses, yurts and barns. Scenic places in nature-filled oases are getting booked up quickly as already-restless travelers look ahead to winter, owners say.

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Apple River Canyon State Park

Nature lovers looking for respite from city life will find it at Apple River Canyon State Park in the rolling hills of northwest Illinois. Inside the park, visitors can see the Apple River carving its way through a limestone canyon.

Anglers will appreciate early spring trout fishing along with summer sunfish and small-mouth bass fishing. Four picnic areas along the scenic river give visitors an opportunity to barbecue and make use of park grills, tables, and nearby restrooms. Hikers are advised that the five rugged trails crisscrossing the woods present potential hazards. Flora and fauna are abundant in the park.

8763 E. Canyon Road, Apple River, IL, Phone: 815-745-3302

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Best Road Trips From Chicago For A Weekend Getaway

View of Chicago from the Hancock Center

Escape Chicago for a few days with one of these 10, drivable weekend getaways and short road trips starting in Chicago.

Though COVID-19 has stalled many travel plans, AFAR continues to cover the world theres always room for inspiration. Note that, due to the virus, some of the following venues may be closed or only open for delivery or takeout. Please check each venues website for the latest.

Despite cries about that winter weather, Chicago is inarguably blessed with a little something we like to call location, location, location: With prime real estate on Lake Michigan, the Midwest city is about as far by car from Minneapolis as it is Toronto and Nashville . In this sense, its an ideal jumping-off point for a road trip weekend getaway, whether you want to put some serious miles on your car or be somewhere new by the time your kids are done watching Cars. Lets get going.

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Weekend Getaways Near Chicago: Bishops Hall

Bishops Hall was built in 1916 and features Georgian revival style architecture and sits in historic Oak Park. All rooms are decorated in the Georgian style. There are three guest rooms to choose from, each of which is unique and features a private bath and queen-sized four-poster bed. Amenities vary by room but some have balconies, separate dressing rooms, marble baths, fireplaces, multiple seating areas, claw foot tubs, steam rooms, and European hand showers. Every room has toiletries, hair dryers, and robes along with chocolates and fresh flowers.

Guests can enjoy the garden and terrace. The morning begins with a full breakfast available in one of several rooms, giving guests the option of being social or enjoying a private meal. You can eat breakfast on the balcony or terrace in nice weather. Rooms start at $175 per night. Keep reading for more resorts near me.

605 Iowa St., Oak Park IL, 708-383-7774

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