These are the very best day journeys from Chicago IL.
Once I was rising up in Iowa, Chicago was the main metropolis close to us. I bear in mind my older cousin taking street journeys and returning with thrilling tales of the large metropolis. It wasn’t till school once I had moved to the South that I managed to go to Chicago for the primary time.
Chicago is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and is a vibrant metropolis well-known for its deep dish pizza, museums, and immediately recognizable structure.
There’s lots to do in Chicago already, however it additionally makes an amazing base to discover the Midwest (particularly Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan) once you want an escape from town.
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Final Up to date: August 17, 2020
15 Spectacular Day Journeys from Chicago
I do know once you consider the Midwest, you image limitless corn farms (there’s that too!). But past the cornfields, it’s a area crammed with tradition and beautiful landscapes as these day journeys from Chicago will show.
1. Oak Park, Illinois
Distance: 9.1 / 15 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Frank Lloyd Wright House & Studio, Ernest Hemingway Birthplace, Unity Temple
What to Eat: Pete’s Crimson Hots, Freddy’s Pizza, Rustico
Oak Park is true subsequent to the West facet of Chicago. Earlier than the world found Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect spent his early days designing houses for the residents of Oak Park, and town is a gold mine for his work.
First, take a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright House and Studio. Afterward, go to his Unity Temple, thought-about to be the primary trendy constructing in historical past. Then, take a stroll round a small part of Oak Metropolis to understand Wright’s 25 houses nonetheless standing.
There may be a couple of well-known resident from Oak Metropolis. Famend writer, Ernest Hemingway was born right here and you’ll tour his Victorian birthplace too. And, should you want a respite from structure and interiors, you may benefit from the unique crops on the Oak Park Conservatory.
2. Glencoe, Illinois
Distance: 24.Three mi / 31 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Chicago Botanic Backyard, Skokie Lagoons, House Alone Home
What to Eat: Frank & Betsie’s Restaurant, Bake Do-it-yourself Pizza
The village of Glencoe on Chicago’s north shore is a fast and straightforward day journey from Chicago. The principle attraction is the Chicago Botanic Backyard. Spend the day in any of the 27 gardens and cease to scent the roses (and all the opposite flowers).
For those who’re not in a rush to get again to town, discover the Skokie Lagoons Nature Protect, the place you may stroll round lagoons searching for wildlife or lease a kayak and benefit from the tranquil waters.
Don’t go away Glencoe with out exploring the village itself. Moreover charming boutiques and eating places to peruse, there are historic houses, together with 13 by Frank Lloyd Wright, and probably the most well-known home within the space that was featured in House Alone.
3. Morton Arboretum, Illinois
4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL 60532, map
Distance: 26.1 mi / 36 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Climbing Trails, Acorn Tram Journey
What to Eat: Manna Kitchen, The Bavarian Lodge, Burrito Parrilla Mexicana
Lisle is a part of Better Chicago, however there’s a lot to do to make it a day journey. The Morton Arboretum is a residing museum encompassing 1,700-acres and lots of of sorts of timber and crops. Spend a leisurely day immersed in inexperienced forests on any of its 16-miles of mountain climbing trails.
Highlights embody a mild stroll across the Meadow Lake or a visit into woodlands through the Heritage Path. You can even see all the park on the narrated Acorn Tram Journey, and in the midst of an hour, you tour the arboretum’s woodlands, wetlands, and prairies.
4. Illinois Seaside State Park, Illinois
1 Lake Entrance Dr, Zion, IL 60099, map
Distance: 47.5 mi / 1 h 5 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Swimming, Climbing Trails, Fishing
What to Eat: Taqueria Los Naranjos, The Shanty
Who doesn’t love a time out on the seashore? The Illinois Seaside State Park isn’t any abnormal seashore outing. Situated alongside a 6.5-mile stretch of seashore on Lake Michigan, this state park gives an assortment of landscapes from sand dunes, wetlands, and black oak forests.
Discover the world on any of the 5 miles price of trails together with the simple Camp Logan Path. Afterward, chill out on the sand and uncover why it’s one of the vital scenic seashores within the Midwest.
5. Indiana Dunes Nationwide Park, Illinois
1215 N State Rd 49, Porter, IN 46304, map
Distance: 48.9 mi / 59 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Sand Dunes, Historic Houses, Climbing Trails
What to Eat: Fiddlehead Restaurant, The Polish Peasant, Mucho Mas
Indiana Dunes Nationwide Park is an ideal escape from town the place you may breathe within the contemporary air. Sand dunes hug the shore alongside a 15-mile stretch of Lake Michigan.
Benefit from the cowl of black oak forests or recognize the great thing about the wetlands and marsh, a super spot for birding and wildlife viewing. Different outside actions embody swimming and fishing. With 50 miles of trails, you’re certain to remain energetic.
Don’t miss the Dune Ridge Path (0.7 miles), Paul H. Douglas Path (3.Four miles), and the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk (0.9 miles). The nationwide park additionally protects 60 historic buildings together with the Bailly Homestead and a collection of homes from the 1933 World’s Honest that you would be able to tour.
6. Kankakee River State Park, Illinois
5314 W, IL-102, Bourbonnais, IL 60914, map
Distance: 57.Eight mi / 1 h 7 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Kankakee River, Climbing, Canoeing
What to Eat: Burgers & Beer, BrickStone Brewery, New York Metropolis Deli
Unspoiled landscapes make up the great thing about the Kankakee River State Park. Although it’s roughly an hour from town, this sooner or later journey from Chicago will make you are feeling such as you’ve entered one other world.
For hikers, there’s a 3-mile path showcasing the great thing about the canyon partitions that includes a waterfall. When you’ve got a motorcycle, benefit from the 11-mile bike path that follows alongside the river. You can even lease a canoe and spend the day on the river.
7. Midewin Nationwide Tallgrass Prairie, Illinois
30239 IL-53, Wilmington, IL 60481, map
Distance: 60.1 mi / 1 h 06 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Tallgrass Prairie, Bison Herd
What to Eat: The Launching Pad, Nelly’s Restaurant on Rt 66, New China Restaurant
Midewin Nationwide Tallgrass Prairie is the one tallgrass prairie east of the Mississippi River. This distinctive spot ensures a tranquil day of hen watching and mountain climbing any of the 22 miles of trails. Hikes you may’t miss embody Turtle Pond (4.Zero miles), Prairie Creek Woods Loop (2.Zero miles), and Henslow’s Path (5.Three miles). You can also’t go away with out seeing the wild herd of bison reintroduced into the area in 2015.
8. Dayton Bluffs Protect, Illinois
2997 IL-71, Marseilles, IL 61341, map
Distance: 79.9 mi / 1 h 21 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Fox River, Waterfalls, Native American Burial Mounds
What to Eat: Lone Buffalo by Tangled Roots Brewing Firm, Sandi’s Bar & Grill, Court docket Avenue Pub
A real hidden gem in Illinois is the Dayton Bluffs Protect, the place you may expertise acres of prairies, woodlands, Native American burial mounds, waterfalls, and the Fox River.
As a comparatively new park, you get to really feel such as you’re within the wilderness. A 2.7-mile loop mixes the prairie and woodlands options. When you’ve got a full day, there are smaller trails to discover within the park too.
9. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
201 Wrigley Dr, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, map
Distance: 82.Eight mi / 1 h 31 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Lake Geneva, Large Foot Seaside State Park, Black Level Property and Gardens
What to Eat: Fitzgeralds Genoa Junction, Mars Restaurant & Resort, Joni’s Diner
Deliver your swimsuit and funky off within the water or take a cruise round Lake Geneva.
On Lake Shore Path, you’ll go mansions from the Gilded Age. When you’ve got the power, rent a motorcycle and full the 20-mile circuit across the lake.
To see how folks lived in splendor prior to now, take a tour of the Black Level Property and Gardens or chill out at Large Foot Seaside State Park.
10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
400 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203, map
Distance: 92.2 mi / 1 h 34 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Milwaukee Artwork Museum, Harley Davidson Museum, Mitchell Park Domes
What to Eat: St Paul Fish Firm, Swingin’ Door Trade, The Vanguard
Milwaukee is famend for its beer, however there’s a lot to find. The Milwaukee Museum not solely gives guests a cultural expertise inside with its huge assortment (together with the biggest assortment of Georgia O’Keefe) however the exterior leaves you in awe with its trendy design and moveable wings.
If you suppose bikes, Harley Davidson instantly involves thoughts. Expertise the historical past of this cultural firm and examine over 400 bikes. Or, take within the residing museum of the Mitchell Park Domes, the place crops from around the globe thrive in numerous ecosystems.
11. Oglesby, Illinois
Distance: 101 mi / 1 h 42 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Starved Rock State Park, Matthieson State Park
What to Eat: Uptown Grill, Haze Smokehouse, Stone Jug Barbecue
Towering sandstone canyons and picturesque waterfalls mix to make Starved Rock State Park, a must-visit should you love the outside. With 18 canyons and 13-miles of trails, there’s limitless magnificence to see from a hen’s eye view or deep inside canyons.
Fashionable trails embody the Starved Rock and Sandstone Level Overlook Path, Saint Louis Canyon Path, and French Canyon Path.
Deep canyons and bluffs are additionally the dominant options of Matthieson State Park. Comply with the river into the canyon to Cascade Falls. Uncommon rock formations dot the 5 miles of mountain climbing trails throughout the park. Take a activate the simple Dells Canyon and Bluff Path or go for a extra concerned hike to the Vermillion River.
12. Fennville, Michigan
Distance: 140 mi / 2 h 24 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: West Facet County Park, Fenn Valley Vineyards, Crane Orchards
What to Eat: Blue Goose Café, Salt of the Earth
It’s simple to overlook time as you benefit from the easy pleasures discovered at Fennville, Michigan. Lose your self within the beautiful views throughout Lake Michigan at West Facet County Park or chill out whereas sipping a glass of wine on the Fenn Valley Vineyards.
You can even really feel like a child once more as you decide fruit contemporary from the orchard at Crane’s U-Decide Farm. The totally different seasons dictate what fruit is offered, and the 20-acre corn maze is the spotlight
13. Apple River Canyon State Park, Illinois
8763 E Canyon Rd, Apple River, IL 61001, map
Distance: 144 mi / 2 h 23 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Nature Trails, Limestone Bluffs
What to Eat: JJ & Freddies, Stella’s Café & Catering
The passage of time is superbly on show on the Apple River Canyon State Park. For thousands and thousands of years, the Apple River slowly carved its manner via the rocks, creating the canyons seen as we speak. There are 5 trails for a mixed whole of round 5 miles the place you may spend the day in serenity.
14. Holland, Michigan
78 E eighth St, Holland, MI 49423, map
Distance: 150 mi / 2 h 31 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Downtown, Windmill Island Gardens, Large Crimson Lighthouse, Seashores
What to Eat: Salt & Pepper Savory Grill and Pub, El Huarache, New Holland Brewing
Think about touring to Europe with out having to depart the nation. That’s what it seems like as quickly as you set foot in Holland, Michigan. Dutch influences are in every single place making Holland one of many prettiest cities within the US.
Downtown Holland is crammed with charming outlets, eating places, and breweries. You particularly can’t miss the magical Windmill Island Gardens the place over 10,000 tulips erupt in coloration in spring. Additionally, take a look at DeZwaan, the one true Dutch windmill within the US, in motion.
End the day by stress-free on one of many many seashores and the Large Crimson Lighthouse, probably the most photographed lighthouse in Michigan.
15. Grand Rapids, Michigan
171 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, map
Distance: 181 mi / 2 h 54 min
Issues You Can’t Miss: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids Museum of Artwork
What to Eat: Butcher’s Union, The Inexperienced Properly, The Mitten Brewing Co.
The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is a component backyard and half artwork museum and is the one spot you shouldn’t miss in Grand Rapids. Strolling within the 158-acre web site is an expertise you received’t overlook with over 10 totally different gardens and sculptures by famend artists like Rodin and Degas.
Persevering with your inventive expertise, traverse Calder Plaza to behold the mammoth, purple sculpture, La Grande Vitesse, an icon of town. Then, proceed to the Grand Rapids Museum of Artwork to understand, not solely the 19th and 20th century artwork, but in addition the primary licensed LEED museum within the US.
For those who’re a historical past buff, step again in time as you discover the museum detailing the lifetime of Gerald Ford, the 38th president of america. Tour a reproduction of the Oval Workplace and pay your respects to Ford and his spouse, Betty, at their remaining resting place on the museum grounds.
Extra Chicago Day Journeys Beneath Three Hours
- Six Flags Nice America (44.6 mi / 51 min, map)
- Rockford, IL (88.6 mi / 1 h 31 min, map)
- College of Notre Dame (94.Three mi / 1 h 42 min, map)
- Madison, WI (147 mi / 2 h 23 min, map)
Map of the Greatest Day Journeys from Chicago
Greatest Locations to Keep
- The Peninsula (luxurious)
- Loews Chicago Resort (mid-range)
- Millennium Knickerbocker (price range)
- Seek for an Airbnb in Chicago
- 60 Hikes Inside 60 Miles: Chicago: Together with Wisconsin and Northwest Indiana
- Jap USA Journey Information
- Chicago Journey Information
- Rand McNally Street Atlas
What number of of those day journeys from Chicago have you ever carried out? Any others we must always add to our checklist?
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“Discovery consists not of looking for new lands however in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Native Adventurer, which is among the prime 5 journey blogs within the US. They consider that journey might be discovered each close to and much and hope to encourage others to discover domestically. They discover a brand new metropolis in depth yearly and at present base themselves in Las Vegas.
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