By Jina Bute
Everyone knows there is plenty to do in Chicago, especially in the summer months. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to get away from the city every once in a while. Here are six spots ideal for a quick weekend escape.
Door County, Wisconsin
Distance from Chicago: Approximately 244 miles
Covering about 750 square miles, the Door Peninsula points off the northeast coast of Wisconsin into Lake Michigan. The area offers more than 300 miles of shoreline to experience the culture through a variety of art galleries, wineries, boutiques and concerts. For specific cuisine, be sure to try local specialties such as fish boils and orchard-fresh cherry pie. Visitors can also enjoy the outdoors by exploring lighthouses, biking forest trails, lounging at the beach, chartering fishing boats or kayaking.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Distance from Chicago: Approximately 80 miles
A perfect getaway for the family or a group of close friends, Lake Geneva is a popular resort community on the shores of Geneva Lake in southern Wisconsin. Accommodating for every season of the year, the town is packed with activities and amenities such as ziplining, shopping, swimming, boating, golf, nightlife and spa treatments. In the warmer months, enjoy long walks and a leisurely cruise around the lake. In the fall, attend big events like Oktoberfest and Halloween happenings around the area.
If you are looking to be immersed in nature, history and a small-town vibe, Galena provides all that and then some.
Distance from Chicago: Approximately 170 miles
If you are looking to be immersed in nature, history and a small-town vibe, Galena, tucked away in northwest Illinois, provides all that and then some. Stroll along its quaint Main Street and peruse a variety of restaurants, cafes and boutiques. Play a round of golf at the renowned Eagle Ridge Resort or go on a hike or kayak excursion. Finally, don’t forget to end the night with a ghost tour.
Distance from Chicago: Approximately 190 miles
Collectively called the “waterpark capital of the world,” the Wisconsin Dells is a small town along the Wisconsin River in the south-central part of the state. While most notable for its water theme parks like Noah’s Ark and Mt. Olympus, the Dells is also home to Mirror Lake State Park, best known for nature trails and camping. The Dells also offers casinos, wineries, golf, nightlife and much more. Perfect for a spring or summer getaway with friends or family, the Dells remains one of the more popular vacation destinations in the Midwest.
With 18 canyons and more than 13 miles of trails, visitors to Starved Rock can access waterfalls, natural springs and overlooks with breathtaking views.
Distance from Chicago: Approximately 95 miles
Located on the shores of Lake Michigan and known as a city that likes to have a good time, Milwaukee offers plenty of historical, cultural and social attractions for a weekend of exploring. Visit the newly expanded Milwaukee Art Museum or the Mitchell Park Horticultural Society, which hosts an annual show of the same flora illustrated in Georgia O’Keefe’s famous paintings. If you’re a fan of history, visit the famous Pabst Mansion or the Milwaukee Public Museum. Lastly, your weekend trip to Milwaukee would not be complete without a tour of the Miller or Lakefront Breweries and a Brewers game at the beautiful Miller Park.
Starved Rock State Park
Distance from Chicago: Approximately 93 miles
Best known for its sandstone canyons formed by glacier meltwater, Starved Rock State Park is an expansive wilderness area located on the Illinois River. With 18 canyons and more than 13 miles of trails, visitors can access waterfalls, natural springs and overlooks with breathtaking views. Plenty of camping, boating and fishing opportunities exist as well.