The 25 Best Day Trips from Chicago for Every Style of Adventure (2024)

Chicago Illinois is one of America’s great cities. It is also perfectly situated for exploring. Home to the world’s first skyscrapers, Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States, and rather surprisingly so, as it seems to rise out of nowhere, from the middle of the cornfields. The city buts up against vast Lake Michigan and is home to the Cubs, The White Sox, and ‘Da’ Bears, and has the “world’s largest free-admission food festival:” The Taste of Chicago. It also happens to be home to the world’s best pizza (sorry New York). Chicago is an awesome city to explore, but nature lovers, and those looking to escape the city life, will find no shortage of great day trips from Chicago!

If the Windy City is your home, or you have spent a few days exploring, and you are ready to head for less hectic surroundings, Chicago is also perfectly situated for great day trips and weekend getaways. In this guide, we will show you some of the best day trips from Chicago to catch your breath and slow down a bit. Within a three-hour drive from Chicago, you can find wineries, amusem*nt parks, charming Dutch towns, and beautiful state parks, a trip for every kind of adventurer!

Scavenger Hunts in Chicagoland

Before you head out to the surrounding areas, let us take you on a proper tour of the Windy City, with our Chicago Loop Scavenger Hunt. This app-led adventure will take you through the heart of Chicago on a journey filled with photo and trivia challenges meant to rack the brain and cause intense laughter. Our hunts are informative and tons of fun!


25 Day Trips From Chicago

Disclaimer: The distances and time recorded in this guide were taken from Google Maps at the time of writing. They are driving distances from Downtown Chicago. They may vary drastically depending on what day and time you choose to make your trip. We advise that you double-check the timing while planning your day. Also, bear in mind that many of these destinations can be reached by train or metro and may be faster that way!

1. Rockford

​Distance: 95 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 40 mins

Rockford is a great day trip from Chicago for those with kids on board. Head straight for Discovery Center Museum, and let your kids dive into more than 300 interactive exhibits. They will playfully learn about air and flight, agriculture, their own bodies, and even the science behind color, light, and electricity. The museum is part of the great Riverfront Museum Park Campus. So, you can very easily make a full day (or two) without even leaving the park. Stop next door at the Rockford Art Museum, and then head to the Burpee Museum of Natural History(they have a baby T-rex.)

Once you’ve had your fill of artifacts and art, the Anderson Japanese Gardens offer some much-needed fresh air. The gardens cover 12 acres and are filled with beautiful koi ponds and walking paths through the well-manicured flower and botanical gardens. The gardens are actually on the private property of businessman, John Anderson. After visiting the Japanese gardens in Portland, he fell in love with the zen and brought it home to his very wet backyard in Rockford.

If you prefer your plants tropical, then head for the 11,000 acres of Nicholas Conservatory. Rock Cut State Park is a great place for a picnic or to stretch your legs on the lovely trails. Rockford also has a distinctly Swedish history on display at the Erlander House Museum. You can also try out traditional Swedish food at the Stockholm Inn. From exploring the land of ancient dinosaurs to chowing down on Swedish meatballs, Rockford Illinois is the perfect day trip from Chicago for families.

2. Chicago Botanic Garden

Distance: 25 miles

Travel Time: 43 mins

The Chicago Botanic Garden is in the suburb of Glencoe, just north of the city. Not only does the garden boast over 385 acres of natural beauty. They also have fun programs throughout the year to entertain your crew. The model railroad is interesting and displays scale models of several popular American landmarks. Make sure to download the Model Railroad BINGO game before you go.

From November to January, The Chicago Botanic Gardens are transformed into one of the most impressive Christmas light installations in the Midwest. It’s so much more than Christmas lights, with a cacophony of light art installations falling from the sky and popping up from the earth. Traversing the gardens during the holidays is nothing short of magical! Tickets sell out very fast though, so make sure to book early.

The gardens are a quick trip from Downtown Chicago and the perfect place to get away from the city for a little nature break.

3. Oak Park

Distance: 9 miles

Travel Time: 22 mins

Oak Park is a suburb just east of Downtown Chicago. The city prides itself on diversity in every walk of life. So, it is an eclectic city, where everyone, and every way of thought, are not only accepted but treasured! It also happens to be the perfect day trip for architecture lovers. Oak Park was the home to the famous Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and showcases his own home, plus several more of his perfectly designed houses. Guided tours can be booked through the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. You can also do a walking tour through Wright District, just make sure to see the incredible Unity Temple, a church Wright designed that is stunning and unexpected, in that FLW kind of way.

4. Brookfield Zoo

Distance: 17 miles

Travel Time: 29 mins

The iconic Brookfield Zoo has been entertaining and educating families since 1934. The zoo covers 216 acres of natural animal habitats that are home to more than 2,000 animals. Visit the new baby wallabies, see the dolphin show, or get up close and personal to the resident Polar Bear. Travel to the Savannah to meet giraffes, rhinos, and zebras, before heading for Tropic World and coming face to face with a giant gorilla. Brookfield is a leader in conservation and animal care, as well as public and advanced zoological education. If you are unable to visit, send them a donation instead. They are doing some great work!

5. Springfield, Illinois

Distance: 218 miles

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Okay, Springfield is pretty far for a day trip, definitely pushing the boundary, but it can be done if you leave early. Springfield is a great destination if you are interested in history. It’s Illinois’ capital city and home to the beautiful Old State Capitol building. The old girl is a Greek-Revival masterpiece that is full of history. Honest Abe gave his famous “House Divided” speech from here, and he also lay in state here for a couple of days after his 1865 assassination.

Visitors can tour the Capitol on their own or take a 30-minute docent-guided tour. The grounds also host several special events throughout the year including Civil War Encampments and Holocaust Remembrance Day.

While in Springfield, you can also tour Lincoln Home, a national park celebrating the life and legacy of the 16th president. It was the only home ever owned by President Lincoln and the docents here do a great job walking you through his life from rural Kentucky to the White House. After that, you might as well stay on the Lincoln train and head for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. You will be a bonafide Lincoln expert by the end of the day!

For a little fresh air, head over to the trails at the Adams Wildlife Sanctuary. This urban park is 40 acres of trails and woodlands, right in the center of Springfield. The estate belonged to long-time Springfield natives, the Adam’s Family (not the creepy ones). The home was built in 1869 and inhabited by the family until the death of Miss Margery Adams in 1983. It’s quite an oasis and definitely worth a stop.

Truthfully, Springfield is much better suited to a weekend getaway or more. In addition to what we already detailed, the city also offers modern government sites like the Ilinois Governor’s mansion. It’s the home of the 1908 Race Riot Walking Tour, The Air Combat Museum, and The Camp Butler National Cemetary. There are plenty of great restaurants and breweries to explore too!

6. Kalamazoo, Michigan

Distance: 146 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Kalamazoo is loaded with fun activities. Gilmore Car Museum has a huge collection of vintage and antique cars. Actually, it has one of the top five automobile collections in the US, with more than 300 fully-restored pieces including rare Studebakers and Model A’s. The museum covers 90 acres and is a must-see for car and motorcycle lovers.

The Air Zoo Aerospace and Science Museum is a blast. See a replica of the Wright Flyer, WWII Hellcats, and the final remaining Blackbird Stealth Plane. The museum also has a spacecraft wing with a 1970s replica command module and shuttle. The kids will love the interactive exhibits and flight simulators.

Other things to do in Kalamazoo: (yes, Kalamazoo is the funnest word ever, and it is very hard to refrain from over-rhyming) Anway, visit the Kalamazoo Nature Center with its forest footpaths and butterfly gardens, and the oldest brewery in Michigan, Bell’s Brewery. While you certainly can’t cover all of Kalamazoo in a day, you can see a lot. It’s one of the best city getaways from Chicago.

7. Skokie, Illinois

Distance: 15 miles

Travel Time: 23 mins

Skokie is home to The Illinois Holocaust Museum, the second-largest Holocaust museum in the United States. It covers over 65,000 square feet, all dedicated to the horrors of the Holocaust and the memories of the survivors. The museum is a labor of love from the Chicago area Holocaust survivors. They opened the tiny, store-front memorial, in Skokie, in the 1970s, when the city was being threatened with neo-nazi marches and parades. In 2009, they scored a major upgrade to the new, modern museum, and it is definitely worth a visit!

Just in case a trip to Italy isn’t in your near future, no worries, Skokie also randomly has a half-sized replica of The Leaning Tower of Pisa known as “The Leaning Tower of Niles.” The Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park is also the perfect place for a picnic and a stroll!

8. Evanston, Illinois

Distance: 14 miles

Travel Time: 37 mins

If you are looking for a true day trip, Evanston is an easy jot north of Chicago. We recommend starting at the Baha’i House of Worship, which is actually a bit north of Evanston, in Wilmette. The architecture is out of this world. It’s unique and extremely beautiful!

Evanston also has some quirky museums. The Block Museum of Art is located on the camp of Northwestern University. It’s an outdoor sculpture museum showcasing 16 works of art. Take a walking tour for something free to do in Evanston. The Halim Time and Glass Museum has an incredible collection of stained glass, as well as clocks from around the globe. The American Toby Jug Museum has the largest collection of its kind in the world, with over 8,000 Toby jugs (Philpots) and character jugs. Evanston also contains several small house museums detailing the history and culture of the area. It’s the perfect day trip for the art and history lover!

9. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

​Distance: 83 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 30 mins

Lake Geneva is a resort lovers paradise. It has long been a haven for wealthy Chicago families. If you want to spend your day sipping co*cktails and gazing at the natural beauty of Geneva Lake, then there is no shortage of fancy resorts to choose from.

However, you don’t need to be super wealthy or even step foot on a resort to enjoy Geneva Lake. Outdoor sports are king here too. Rent a paddleboard or kayak to cruise the lake or stroll around Lake Shore Path, where you can admire the incredible mansions. The 26-mile trail was once a Native American path used to travel between several Potawatomi Tribal villages. The trail was later used by migrant workers, and finally, after The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, several wealthy families escaped the city and built their new summer palaces on the shores of Geneva Lake.

You can now stroll the path with the beauties of nature on one side and man-made beauty on the other. The mansions are inhabited, so please stay on the trail and be respectful of private property. Once you are done strolling, take a dip in the cool waters and relax in the sun on Riviera Beach. Lake Geneva is the perfect day trip from Chicago for water lovers and those who just want a relaxing day outside!

10. Morton Arboretum

Distance: 26 miles

Travel Time: 37 mins

Just west of Downtown Chicago, in the suburb of Lisle, the Morton Arboretum where you can learn everything ever wanted to know about trees. These guys are a little obsessed, in the best way! The arboretum is exceptional in the fall when the leaves are changing colors, but they also have special events year-round for adults and children, including marathons, holiday light installations, and whiskey dinners. The park offers a guided tram tour that is well worth your time as well. There are over 16 miles of trails to explore and a Children’s Garden where kids can splash in the streams and climb and slide on nature-themed exhibits made just for them! It’s beautiful. It’s fun, and it’s a great relaxing day away from the city.

11. Michigan City, Indiana

Distance: 60 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 5 mins

Michigan City lies on the southern border of Lake Michigan. The Century of Progress Historic Homes is a collection of buildings from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair that was moved by barge to Beverly Shores. Once a year the buildings are open for tours in conjunction with the National Parks Service. The houses are incredibly modern-looking and must have been a sensation in 1933. Four of the houses are inhabited by sub-leasers who worked in conjunction with the park service to renovate and preserve the homes.

Move on to the Old Lighthouse Musem, the oldest lighthouse in Indiana, or stroll around the Washington Park Zoo. Michigan City has some great breweries to explore as well, but its real claim to fame (and the reason it makes this list) is Indiana Dunes National Park. This park is beautiful with over 50 miles of trails and 15 miles of shoreline. It used to be called the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and the wide swaths of beach, flanked by towers of sand are still certainly the main attraction. The state park of the same name is right next door, and it showcases the three tallest sand dunes. Bird-watching is a favorite past-time here, along with horseback riding in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. Kayaking or fishing on the lake is also a great way to spend a few hours!

12. Holland, Michigan

Distance: 151 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Holland is in one word … adorable! Dutch, Calvinist settlers arrived in the region, in the mid-1800s. They built a village resembling their homeland, and Holland is still the go-to place to experience Dutch culture in the area. There is even a tulip garden, how very Dutch! Veldheer Tulip Gardens has over 5 million tulips. We would suggest visiting Holland in the spring so that you get to experience the flowering!

Several restaurants and breweries around town offer traditional foods from the Netherlands, and when you feel sufficiently fat, head for Windmill Island Gardens, because no Dutch town would be complete without some windmills. The center-piece mill is over 250 years old and was transported to the area in the 1960s. For a bit of the international in a day trip from Chicago, you can’t beat a visit to Holland!

13. 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 (and crowded) 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 it’s manageable for families, even with young kids. The Starved Rock Lodge is 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 can’t beat a day trip to Oglesby.

14. South Haven, Michigan

Distance: 123 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 56 mins

South Haven is one of the best small towns on Lake Michigan. It is the home of the Michigan Maritime Museum The museum has permanent and rotating exhibits, highlighting Michigan’s maritime history and shipwrecks, but the favorite is the interactive Friends Good Will. It is a replica of an 1810 Top-Sail Sloop that is available for sailing tours. Guests can take a cruise on the replica tall ship, just like a sailor in the War of 1812. While the old girl is a bit creaky, it’s a pretty cool experience.

Other than the museum, South Haven also offers some great outdoor activities. Bikers will love the over 30-mile Kal-Haven Trail, which links South Haven to Kalamazoo. Bikes can be rented from several shops in town. Van Buren State Park offers beautiful Lake Michigan beaches to lounge on too. If you happen to be in town during August, you can celebrate with the locals at the Blueberry Festival. The town comes alive with live music, pie-eating contests, a 5K, and all other-manner of blueberry-themed events.

15. Galena, Illinois

Distance: 164 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Galena is a great day trip destination for history buffs. Galena was home to General Ulysses S. Grant and his family and features several prominent historic sites. Grant had actually ended his military service by the time he moved to Galena in 1860 and was working as a store clerk, but when the Civil War broke out, he was called back into action. The Ulysses S. Grant Home was presented to the war hero upon his return in 1865 by the citizens of Galena. He lived there until taking his spot in the White House years later.

For more Grant-centered info, head to Galena & U.S. Grant Museum. It explores the history of Galena, including exhibits on blacksmithing, leatherworking, and lead mining. Both the Gran Home and the museum are housed in beautiful, red-brick Italianate villas. Speaking of Italianate mansion, consider spending the afternoon at the Belvedere Mansion and Gardens!

For the paranormal folks out there, Galena also happens to have several haunted locations. Join a ghost tour for an evening of spooky fun!

16. Fairbury, Illinois

Distance: 107 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 45 mins

Fairbury is a road trip for the foodies. Fairbury is the location of two farm-to-table sites that service restaurants all over Chicago. Kilgus Farmstead is a dairy farm offering 1-hour tours detailing the milking process and the making of homemade ice cream, complete with samples! Slagel Family Farms specializes in hormone-free, farm-raised meats. They also offer interactive tours, complete with butchering demonstrations, followed up by a full farm-fresh dinner. The dinners take place in their charming barn, and make for a perfect date night! Make sure to stop by each farms’ grocery store to stock up on fresh eggs and other local goodies from nearby farms.

17. Monroe, Wisconsin

Distance: 137 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 12 mins

Our second foodie location is the village of Monroe. Monroe is in the middle of cheesemaker territory! Learn all the ins and outs of the cheese industry at the National Historic Cheesemaking Center, then head for Alp and Dell where you can find more cheese varieties than you ever imagined. They are almost all local, and the staff there are experts. They can help you make wine and beer pairings like a pro. Take a walking tour of the town and visit cute Courthouse Square. The Green County Courthouse is on the National Registry of Historic Places and has lovely Romanesque architecture. Take the interactive tour and have your picture made in a judges gown and gavel!

If you want to spend a bit of time outside, hike part of The Badger Trail, a 40-mile journey that links to Madison. It traverses several small towns, wooded areas, and old tunnels, and it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon outdoors.

18. Peoria, Illinois

Distance: 128 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 28 mins

Peoria has had a huge revitalization over the last few decades. The old Warehouse District is now a conglomerate of unique art galleries, funky boutiques, and yummy eateries. The Riverfront District has seen even more gentrification and is full of breweries, museums, and even a really great farmer’s market on the weekends. Peoria seems to always be having a festival by the water, and when they aren’t, you can take a ride on a historic riverboat.

Wildlife Prairie Park is located just outside Peoria. It consists of 1800 acres and is home to over 150 animals. The park has its own tourist train and a safari bus, so you have two choices for tours. You can make a full day of the park. Encounter the animals. Hike or bike the miles of trails, play disc golf or go visit the lakes.

Whether you are a shopper, a group of friends looking for a unique night out, or a nature lover, Peoria is a great day trip for you!

19. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Distance: 86 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 25 mins

The little city of Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan has made quite a name for itself. It is famous for Summerfest Music Festival. The Milwaukee fest has been rocking for over 50 years and plenty of Country Music and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have graced the stage there. With 11 stages rocking at once, it is a pretty epic show.

The Milwaukee Art Museum has a stunning collection and is housed in a seriously innovative building. Many families argue that the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is one of the best in the USA. Betty Brinn spent her childhood in foster homes and orphanages, so her rise to a successful place in the Milwaukee business world was an impressive one. She spent her life advocating for disadvantaged women and children, and the museum is her legacy.

Milwaukee is home to legendary beer maker, the Pabst Brewing Company. The Pabst Mansion is now on the National Register of Historic Places and offers guided tours. It’s a monster. The huge Harley-Davidson Museum is a top tourist attraction as well.

Honestly, we would recommend that you give Milwaukee a full weekend unless you just want to visit one or two specific sites. It’s a great city, and there is a lot to see!

20. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Distance: 179 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 45 mins

Grand Rapids is the premier location for beer lovers. The city is loaded with great microbreweries. Grand Rapids is also home to some great museums, including the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.

If you happen to be in town during ArtPrize, then lucky you. The annual event wraps the city in new and innovative art. It’s an outdoor/indoor art competition usually lasting 18 days. Artists create works that are displayed in galleries, museums, public parks, and even restaurants and bars. The whole city is transformed, and it is definitely worth seeing if you are in the area1

Our ultimate guide to “The Best Things to Do in Grand Rapids” will give you more great ideas should you decide to stay a little longer in Grand Rapids.

21. Explore the Sunflower Fields

Distance: 41 miles to Johnson’s (Other farms vary.)

Travel Time: 47 mins to Johnson’s (Other farms vary.)

From early July to late September, the fields surrounding Chicago are ripe with happy Sunflowers. The yellow beauties are not only soothing to the soul, but they are the perfect day trip for photographers. Whether you are a landscape photographer, you need a perfect family photo, or you just want a color Instagram selfie, the flower fields are for you! There are many private farms with varying degrees of availability, but one of the biggest and best is Johnson’s Farm. Not only do they have over 20 acres of sunflowers, but you are also allowed to pick them! They also offer a Fun Farm for children complete with an obstacle course, pedal karts, train and tram rides, a goat farm, and a jump pad. It’s a full day of fun!

Each farm has different rules about photography. Some require you to book an appointment in advance and pay a photographer’s fee if you plan on bringing professional camera equipment.

22. Fennville, Michigan

Distance: 141.3 mi

Travel Time: 2 hrs 15 min

Fennville is in Michigan’s fruit belt. Chicagoans flock in droves to the country to pick peaches, cherries, and apples, depending on the season. Fennville is our favorite town to make a home base. Crane Orchards is popular for U-pick tours, and the hard ciders at Virtue Farms are top-notch. They supply many of the local restaurants in town with fresh goodies, but you can also sip a cider right on their beautiful property. Featherstone Antique Mall is a great place to peruse for treasures. There is no better pie than what you will find at Crane’s Pie Pantry. Plus the adorable restaurant/bakery/winery is located in the most charming centuries-old barn! It’s lovely.

In June, you can enjoy the Fenn Valley Wine Festival, a celebration of live music and local wines. No matter what you do in Fennville, end your day at Salt of the Earth, everyone’s favorite farm-to-table local eatery.

23. Southbend, Indiana

Distance: 96 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 35 mins

Home to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Southbend India is a pretty typical Midwestern city. There is a great History Museum housed in a lovely Victorian Mansion, and the city has a wonderful farmer’s market, but Notre Dame really runs the show here. The student population is 20,000 strong and the campus is beautiful. Take a tour of the campus noting the gold dome of the Main Building, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. The University of Notre Dame is older than the city of Southbend, itself, and tradition runs deep! It’s the perfect day trip for football lovers!

24. Madison, Wisconsin

​Distance: 147 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Flanked by lakes, Madison is the capital of Wisconsin and a long but good day trip from Chicago. Madison is another university city, so the vibe is young and fresh. History lovers, start with a tour of the Wisconsin State Capitol building. Not only do you learn a little about the city and see some beautiful architecture, but you will also walk through one of the best farmer’s markets in the region, so come hungry! It’s open every Saturday from April to November.

The farmers’ market isn’t the only place to get good food, though, Madison is loaded with fancy cheeses and craft beers. One of the local favorites is the Malt House. The dive has been serving up brew since the Civil War years and has plenty of local goldens on tap. For those fancy cheese lovers, head to Fromagination, where you can sample artisanal cheese and learn all about pairings from the cheesemongers.

Biking is a big thing in Madison, and their local BCycle stations allow you to rent a bike for 30 minutes segments and explore the trails around Lake Monona. We also highly recommend a stroll through the Olbrich Botanical Gardens!

Tired and ready for a beer? Try our Madison Bar Crawl Scavenger Hunt and find all the best brews!

25. Gurnee, Illinois

Distance: 44 miles

Travel Time: 45 mins

Gurnee is a getaway for shoppers! Gurnee Mills is a huge shopping complex with over 150 stores. Whatever it is you need, you can find it here. If you hate shopping, no worries. Gurnee is famous a popular destination for one other reason—Six Flags Great America. The giant amusem*nt park is full of traditional coasters and waterslides and wave pools at Hurricane Harbor Water Park.

For thrills seekers, shoppers, and families, Gurnee Mills is the perfect Chicago day trip!

Closing Thoughts

Chicago Illinois is a thriving city with plenty of action, but within just a few hours of the chaos, you can explore quiet state parks, wander lush sunflower fields, learn Civil War history, and enjoy the fruit of the vine. We hope you found your next day trip idea here.Use the comment section to let us know where you’re going!

For more vacation ideas, check out our guide to the best day trips from Boston! And keep your eyes on our travel blog for more tips and travel ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some good day trips from Chicago?

There are several great day trips from Chicago! The city is perfectly situated to visit small towns around Lake Michigan. Popular choices include Grand Rapids, Madison, and Milwaukee.

What is there to do around Chicago?

Start with a scavenger hunt of the city, then take a day trip from Chicago to the Dutch village of Holland, tour Notre Dame in Southbend, or spot wildlife in Peoria.

What is a good nature day trip from Chicago?

The windy city is surrounded by rural areas, perfect for hiking, kayaking, and exploring. That means there are some fantastic day trips from Chicago, like Starved Rock State Park and the Indiana Dunes.

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The 25 Best Day Trips from Chicago for Every Style of Adventure (2024)
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