Top 8 Summer Road Trips Outside of Chicago
It’s summer vacation which means it’s time for a break from the city. With so many great cities all around Chicago, there are plenty of options for places to see. Whether you want to spend the afternoon at the park or you want to learn something at a museum, our list has you covered. Check it out below to discover your next vacation hot spot.
8. Indianapolis, Indiana (3 hours from Chicago)
Indianapolis has something for every member of the family. It is home to the Indy 500 so watching a race should be on your list for sure. The city has a fantastic and interactive children’s museum that will teach kids of all ages and there are several other museums throughout the city that cover everything from history to music and art. Indianapolis has several scenic parks which are perfect for walks between museums and Indy car races. If you want to take in nature in the city outside of a park, they have a zoo and conservatory as well.
7. St Louis, Missouri (4 and a half hours from Chicago)
If you want to explore Missouri, St. Louis is the city for you. First stop has to be the famous Gateway Arch which is a notable landmark within the city. It has the typical parks and zoos of most cities including a botanical garden as well as a park specifically for elk. Check out the Myseum, the Science Center, American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, and the World Chess Hall of Fame to learn some things while on vacation. Be sure to catch a baseball game while you’re in the city as well.
6. Gurnee, Illinois (1 hour from Chicago)
If your family loves amusement parks, this is the place to be. Home to Six Flags amusement park and several other entertainment facilities, Gurnee is a great for fun loving families who enjoy theme parks, rides, and other types of entertainment. Additional things to do in the city outside of Six Flags include Jump America, a trampoline park and the Amazing Mirror maze.
5. Holland, Michigan (2 and a half hours)
As a tribute to the country of the Netherlands, Holland allows for visitors to explore authentic Dutch culture. Hang out in Neil’s Dutch Village to sample some Dutch delicacies and see how the Netherlands was over 100 years ago. Check out Windmill Island Gardens to see windmills in action and see the Holland Museum for a true Dutch history lesson. Be sure to go during Tulip season to see the Veldheer Tulip Garden in bloom.
4. Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1 and a half hours from Chicago)
Milwaukee has plenty to offer from tons of science and history museums including the Discovery Museum and Children’s museum to their appreciation for horticulture. When you’re not learning all about the world in a museum, spend an afternoon in the city’s Veteran’s Park and check out the Grohmann Museum, an art installation in the middle of the city.
3. Hannibal, Missouri (4 and a half hours)
For all of the Mark Twain fans, Hannibal is definitely a pilgrimage you and your family must make. The city features Mark Twain’s boyhood home which has been transformed into a museum that showcases his life. Explore the Mark Twain caves in an afternoon and go see the Mark Twain memorial lighthouse too while out on a walk. Another must have experience in Hannibal is a river boat cruise as it is the perfect tribute to Twain’s works.
2. Utica, Illinois (1 and a half hours from Chicago)
If you’re up for a vacation filled with state and national parks, this is a great place to go. Utica has three parks within its borders and all of them are beautiful locations that are perfect for photos. Starved Rock State Park features unique rock formations and waterfalls all throughout the park with 13 miles of hiking and biking trails. Often overlooked, Matthiessen State Park has many of the same features as Starved Rock with bridges and a deeper forest. The last state park within the area is Buffalo State Park. It’s located on an old bluff and overlooks the Illinois River.
1. Rockford, Illinois (1 and a half hours from Chicago)
Not too far from the city, Rockford can provide a refreshing break with several different things to do. The Anderson Japanese Garden gives visitors a feel for traditional Japanese gardens while also offering beautiful wildlife to look at. For the kids, there is a great interactive science museum called the Discovery Center Museum as well as the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens. Check out the Rockford Art Museum for an interesting array of art.