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When you need a day trip from Chicago or a weekend getaway from the big city, you don't have to go far. These escapes—including Amish Country, Indiana; Galena, Illinois; and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin—are within a one- to three-hour drive and offer a Want to break away my Chicago Illinois of activities that will recharge your life. This stretch of Lake Michigan coastline offers wide sandy beaches, towering dunes, great birding, easy bike trails and interesting history. Head to neighboring Chesterton for creative burgers at the Octave Grill and a pleasant night at Dunes Walk Inn, a restored mansion.
See Midwest Living's trip guide to the Indiana Dunes area. This resort town of 7, has draws for summer and winter. Hotels, resorts and restaurants hug the lakeshore. Most visitors loll on the beach or cruise the lake during summer, but you can also experience the warmth of its winter in January and February during the annual Winterfest. See Midwest Living's getaway guide to Lake Geneva. Towns like New Buffalo picturedSt. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Holland, Saugatuck and Grand Haven provide pristine beaches, great shopping, lakeside restaurants and front-row view of sunsets over Lake Michigan.
The most accessible section of this shore extends from the Indiana line miles north to Ludington. How far you drive is up to you — each town has its own personality. Take a spin on the carousel at St. Joe, tour a working windmill in Holland or just stretch out on a beach - preferably with a view of a lighthouse. Read Midwest Living's trip guide to the southwest Michigan shore. Shops and restaurants in century-old buildings have long attracted visitors to this town of 3, But take time to hike, cruise the river or ski the slopes, sip local wines, taste beer and See Midwest Living's trip guide to Galena.
With its rolling terrain, state parks and Want to break away my Chicago Illinois traversed by the mighty Rick and Mississippi rivers, plus biking and hiking trails crisscrossing the area, the Blackhawk Waterways region of northwest Illinois promises outdoor recreation bliss. The region also helped shape the childhood of our 40th president, whose boyhood home opens its doors to visitors. See Midwest Living 's Northwest Illinois trip guide. A great weekend destination for both shoppers and history buffs, Cedarburg has a Main Street that's on the National Register of Historic Places and dozens of limestone buildings housing more than 70 boutiques, chocolate shops and restaurants.
See Midwest Living's trip guide to Cedarburg. For theater-lovers, summertime means outdoor Shakespeare. But in downstate Illinois, that takes on a fresh new form. Want improv Shakespeare? Sing-along Shakespeare? Or just a performance of his classics? Other draws to the area: Bloomington's restored s buildings house farm-to-table restaurants, shops and live-music venues.
Inside the three-story courthouse, a museum highlights the area's historical Want to break away my Chicago Illinois. See Midwest Living 's Bloomington-Normal trip guide. This town embraces the quirky and classy in its arts, museums, shops, dining venues and outdoor activities. Even its farmers market is a Bohemian rhapsody of local produce, entertainment, art and political activism on the state capitol square.
Wander the paths and trails at Olbrich Botanical Gardens or the University of Wisconsin Arboretum; admire the art at Chazen Museum of Art or the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; take a leisurely cruise around Lake Mendota or Menona; and be sure to work up an appetite-Madison's plus restaurants offer something for every taste. See Midwest Living's trip guide to Madison. Illinois' third-largest city spent years watching travelers whiz by on Interstate on their way east to Chicago. Now, thanks to a revitalized downtown, an emerging foodie scene, new cultural attractions and beautiful public gardens, word is getting out: You'd be crazy not to stop.
The tranquil Anderson Japanese Gardens pictured is just one of the draws to the area. See Midwest Living's story about Rockford, including a detailed trip guide. An hour west of Chicago's Loop, the Fox River provides a soothing backdrop to towns brimming with indulgent eats, stores housed in historical homes and posh places to stay. Three towns along the winding river offer restful diversions with a nod to history: Catch a household name playing at St. Charles' historical Arcada Theater, or just 3 miles south, explore Geneva's shopping district, where boutiques fill preserved storefronts.
And just minutes from Oswego's charming Main Street-with brick-paved sidewalks-is a family-run winery. Art, music and food festivals fill the calendar, and the compact downtown has just as diverse offerings. See Midwest Living's Milwaukee trip guide.
In tiny Nappanee, an Amish man parks his buggy by a gas pump, a living metaphor for the way new and old coexist in northern Indiana. But towns like Goshen, Middlebury and Elkhart also are modern communities. See Midwest Living 's Amish Country trip guide. Great outdoors, grown-up eats and classic clubs make for two cultured cities-especially appealing in the summer when University of Illinois students head home. See Midwest Living's story about a getaway to Champaign-Urbana.
This remarkable pocket of land along the Illinois River includes 18 sandstone canyons; 14 waterfalls; abundant wildlife and birds; Belle of the Rock paddleboat excursions; and guided hikes, special events and interpretive programs. Spend the night in rooms or cabins and enjoy a hearty meal at Starved Rock Lodge, built in the s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. If you're up for more exploration, also visit neighboring Matthiessen State Park, where 5 miles of trails carve into the mile-long canyon, passing rocks, waterfalls and beautiful, sometimes dizzying, vantage points.
Starved Rock State Park. Zion is located in Lake County, which bridges the gap between Chicago's Cook County and the Wisconsin border with family attractions and nature trails. For more fun, be sure to visit Six Flags Great America. See Midwest Living 's Lake County trip guide. Though it's home to the Fighting Irish, it's not all football in South Bend. The St. Joseph River provides a great place for water sports and serves as a sparkling backdrop for a weekend of shopping and dining in the hometown of the University of Notre Dame. See Midwest Living's South Bend trip guide.
Sitting on a rocking chair on a veranda at Indiana's Turkey Run State Park inn feels surprisingly like taking refuge deep in Want to break away my Chicago Illinois forest. The only sounds? Wind rustling through the trees. Owls hooting. Squirrels chattering. Brooks babbling. Maybe that's why quiet types flock here-bird-watchers, hikers and history buffs eager to explore Parke County and its covered bridges. Inspiration flows on both sides of the Grand River, particularly near downtown. Grand Rapids' ArtPrize extravaganza every other fall is part art walk, part city tour and and entirely vacation-worthy.
Ford Presidential Library and Museum. See our Grand Rapids trip guide. Sun, sand and. Most people come here for quiet weekends of swimming, sunning, boating and water-skiing in the crystal-clear lake, but the legendary Road America course is popular with amateur racers and their fans. Nearby Kettle Moraine State Forest also offers outdoor rec of another type with trails for biking, hiking and running. Round out the weekend with a stay in one of the area resorts such as the Osthoff pictured. See Midwest Living's itinerary for a two-day Elkhart Lake getaway.
Chocolate Shop. Read Midwest Living's itinerary for a two-day getaway to Lake Mills. Glencoe is one of the few cities bordering Chicago along Lake Michigan. The communities of the North Shore seem farther from the bustle of downtown, thanks to abundant green spaces, including the Chicago Botanic Garden. 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.
Hike the bluffs. Look for fossils. Listen for wildlife. Fish the river—and let the others head to Galena. See Midwest Living's trip guide to Apple River. This area is famous for its supper clubs that serve nostalgia and hearty portions. It all goes down easily with an old-fashioned drink. See Midwest Living's story about Beloit's supper clubs.
Experience landscape that once rolled across the Midwest like an ocean at this restored prairie. Spot birds, hear frogs, hike and bike, see wildflowers and unwind among the 19, acres at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. It's Want to break away my Chicago Illinois a train ride from Chicago, but Woodstock feels anything but suburban.
The historic town square famously featured in Groundhog Day is adorable, with great home decor shops and a cozy bookstore. Come for the summer activities or the annual Groundhog Day Festival in early February. By The editors of MidwestLiving. Pin More. Indiana Dunes: 54 miles southeast of Chicago. Start Slideshow. Credit: Courtesy of Indiana Dunes Tourism. Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Galena, Illinois. White Pines Resort. Limestone buildings create a scenic backdrop in Cedarburg. Bloomington-Normal, Illinois: miles southwest of Chicago.
Madison, Wisconsin: miles northwest of Chicago. Rockford, Illinois: 90 miles west of Chicago. Fox River Valley, Illinois: 60 miles west of Chicago.
Credit: St. Charles Riverboat Cruises. Photo courtesy of St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau. Milwaukee: 93 miles north of Chicago. Amish Country, Indiana: miles east of Chicago. Champaign-Urbana: miles south of Chicago. Illinois Beach State Park. South Bend, Indiana: 95 miles east of Chicago. Turkey Run Inn, Indiana: miles south of Chicago. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin: miles north of Chicago. Credit: Courtesy of The Osthoff Resort. Lake Mills, Wisconsin: miles northwest of Chicago. Grosse Point Lighthouse. Fishing is popular at Apple River. Throwback restaurants.
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie: 60 miles southwest of Chicago. Woodstock, Illinois: 60 miles northwest of Chicago. Replay gallery. Pinterest Facebook.Want to break away my Chicago Illinois
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