Daytrips / Weekend Trips from Chicago

Daytrips / Weekend Trips from Chicago

The United States is a huge country. Everything is just bigger. The coffee mugs are huge and so are the distances in between towns. Back in Europe, it takes a couple of hours to get to the next country – here in Chicago it takes a couple of hours to get to the next big city. 

After one year in Chicago, I want to present you my top places to go to for a day trip or a short weekend trip by car. When you ask Americans they will not shy away from recommending day or weekend trips that will require 6 hours one way. Personally, that’s a bit much effort for my European soul so I tried to find places which are within comfortable reach. I hope you will enjoy my recommendations and I look forward to hearing yours and exchange experiences!

roadtrip, chicago, excursions, where to go, day trip
Photo by averie woodard

1. Indiana Dunes - When in need of some sand under your feet

The Indiana Dunes are located on the southern shore of Michigan in Indiana. You will find long sandy beaches and some nice walks (not hikes). You will not even need 1 hour to get there but you will find yourself in another world. The only disturbing thing for me is the nearby industrial area which does not quite fit into the natural look of this beautiful area. If the beach is too crowded you only need to walk a couple of minutes to leave the food stands behind you and you will be all by yourself. Have you been here during winter? Would love to hear if it’s worth the ride when it’s cold or even snowy. 

Duration

50 min

2. Starved Rock - Some hikes and waterfalls

Starved Rock was my first “hike” in America. It’s more like a comfortable walk – however, you will come across some stunning nature, big rocks, and waterfalls. It takes a little bit longer to get there but I will definitely come back. The area is known for its steep sandstone canyons formed by glacial meltwater. The trail is easy to walk and offer some nice views. 

Duration

1h 45 min

3. Milwaukee - a nice art surprise

Only 1,5 hours away from Chicago I did not expect to find such a great contemporary art museum with this amazing selection. The architecture just blew my mind. Also, Milwaukee is nicely located at the lake and I will definitely come back in the summertime when the whole city is not frozen. Back in winter the temperatures have been a bit challenging for a comfortable hike outside. This city definitely deserves another visit. 

Duration

1h 30 min

Share the article with a friend

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on xing
Share on email

4. Madison: American history in a walkable town

Also in the range of about 2 hours, there is Madison with its beautiful capitol. The capitol of Wisconsin moreover convinces with a very nice pedestrian area and the very favorable prices. We enjoyed good food and many free entrances for a change. 

Duration

2h 30 min

5. Detroit: Industrial charm and hipster vibe

If you have time to stay for a night I can recommend Detroit. The city is surrounded by a magical vibe of industrial charm, a tough history, and economic recovery. You will find inspiring art on each corner and really nice small shops and coffee shops. 

Check out my detailed blog post about how to best spend a weekend in Detroit. Get all my personal tips about where to stay, where to eat and shop. 

Duration

4h 20 min

6. Lake geneva: Fancy homes and delicious ice cream

Not far away you will reach Lake Geneva, a beautiful small lake with a tiny town next by. You can walk the town and enjoy the many little shops and some delicious ice cream to eat. It’s a lot of fun during summertime. You can take a guided boat tour and learn about all the fancy buillings around the lake. 

However, we have also visited Lake Geneva in wintertime when the lake was frozen and cars have been parking on the ice. It’s always nice to visit. 

Duration

1h 30 min

7. Holland: The place to be during spring time

Holland is a city on the shore of Lake Macatawa, in Michigan. As a European, it is wired to see windmills and Dutch decor in America. It must be great to go there when tulips are blooming and when it is warm enough to walk the beachfront. We have been there in wintertime on our way to Detroit but will definitely come back. Also, Holland offers a nice small-town charm with restaurants, cafes and smaller shops. 

Duration

2h 30 min

These are the 7 day/weekend trips we did so far and I hope there will be some more this year. I would love to learn where you like to go to when you want to have a break from the city. For some of the destinations above, you will find a detailed description by following the links or visit the travel section of sharethelove. 

Thanks for stopping by and sharing the love!

Kate from Share the Love, expat, expat wife, expat life

7 thoughts on “Daytrips / Weekend Trips from Chicago”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Interested in More chicago or travel tips? here we come:

chicago, sharethelove, travel guide

5 things to know before moving to Chicago

Almost one year ago we packed our stuff and moved to Chicago. It’s unbelievable how quickly time goes by when you have fun.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Chicago. Many of them are true and some of them are totally exaggerated. In the following, I tell you 5 things you should know when thinking about moving to Chicago.

Read More »
arizona, roadtrip, travel, travel guide, sharethelove, expat

6 US-Travel ideas for 2019

2018 has been a travel intense year and I can’t recommend the destinations we visited enough. 2019 will be exciting again, including some upcoming solo trips I am pretty happy about. Check out this list for some inspiration!

Read More »
arizona, roadtrip, travel, travel guide, sharethelove, expat

The best 1-week road trip through Arizona

I just came back from a perfect 1-week road trip through Arizona and a bit of Utah. Those states are really magical when it comes to nature and a definitive recommendation! If you are planning a 1-week road trip through the US check out this itinerary for inspiration!

Read More »
fall in chicago, chicago, city trip, travel, travel guide, autumn

Fall in Chicago: Where to go & What to do

Everyone is thinking about the great summer weather and the brutal winters in Chicago. However, there is a very short but sweat season in between! At the moment, we are lucky enough to experience this excellent autumn weather in Chicago which made me think of my favorite places this season. Are you planning a short trip to Chicago? Or do you live in Chicago and just need a kick in the *** to start exploring? Check out my autumn highlights in the city.

Read More »


7 thoughts on “Daytrips / Weekend Trips from Chicago”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *