Few destinations can stand up to Chicago, but sometimes we all need a break from the concrete, crowds, and traffic. Some prefer the relaxing vibe of small town charm, others an escape into the great outdoors, or perhaps a little of both.
With this in mind, we consulted with current and former Chicago residents, pulled out our maps, and mixed it all up in our super scientific trivago lab and came up with the best weekend getaways near Chicago.
Chesterton, Indiana — 47 Miles
Yoga on the Dunes
If you’re planning a road trip to Chesterton, Indiana, you’ll want to make sure you’re there by Saturday morning when the town hosts a weekly (from May through the end of October) family/artisanal European Market. For the afternoon, head over to the Indiana Dunes State Park where you have access to hiking trails (including the nine-mile Calumet Trail), camping, and a number of events, like Beach Yoga, critter feeding, and an “edibles walk” where you learn what you can eat along the trails — meaning no more hangry fights with your significant other who forgot to bring a snack.
Your Chesterton Hotel
You get bang for your buck at the Best Western Indian Oak in Chesterton, but there are opportunities to splurge a bit if you like. Rooms can come with a fireplace, a balcony, a spa, and even adjoining rooms if you’re traveling with a large group or family. Indian Oak also offers massage service, a steam room, an indoor pool, hot tub, and exercise facilities. Hungry? You’ll find Gelsomo’s, an Italian restaurant, right across the street with other nearby restaurants covering everything from Mexican to Thai.View on trivago
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin — 80 Miles
Hiking and Canopy Tours
Locals say it’s easy to fall in love with Lake Geneva, pointing to the diversity of opportunities packed into the town of about 8,000. One of the more popular adventures for weekend getaways and road trip travelers from Chicago are the canopy tours. Lake Geneva Canopy Tours will get you out on the ropes year-round for a canopy course with eight different zip-lines covering 100 acres. Prefer staying closer to the ground? They’ve also got nine miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.
Your Lake Geneva Hotel
Near the shores of Lake Geneva sits the four-star The Mill Creek, within a stone’s throw of Big Foot Beach State Park. Suites come equipped with a kitchen, spacious living areas, private balconies, and a whirlpool bath to rest up after taking advantage of the fitness center. You’ll also find onsite a solarium pool and tub, and an outdoor deck open to guests. When you’re ready to head out on the town, you’re just a three-minute walk from the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre.View on trivago
Starved Rock State Park — 94 Miles
Down into the Canyon
Look through a gallery of images from Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park and you’d never guess it’s just 90-minutes outside of Chicago. Although you can walk for miles on end across the Wind City, there’s no substitute for the crunch of the trail, and at Starved Rock, you’ve got 13 miles-worth waiting for you around the Illinois River and the seasonal waterfall at St. Louis Canyon. You can also sign up for a canyon tour for $25/person that will take you for a scenic stroll to Council Overhang and Ottawa Canyon.
Your Starved Rock Hotel
Brightwood Inn is situated conveniently just four minutes (by car) south of Starved Rock State Park and within the confines of Matthiessen State Park. This B&B is perfect for a romantic getaway or even for travelers simply looking for a bit of peace and tranquility surrounded by the serenity of the wilderness. Brightwood makes it easy to relax with your in-room hot tub, fireplace, and a homemade breakfast every morning. They’ll also help you get your heart pumping with state park trails, canoeing on the Fox River, horseback riding, skydiving, cycling on the I&M Canal towpath, and white water rafting on the Vermillion River.View on trivago
Saugatuck, Michigan — 142 Miles
A World-Renowned Beach
Freshwater beaches, natural serenity, and a creative art community encapsulate Saugatuck, Michigan. You might not know much about it, but travel media have long taken note of this region with Condé Nast Traveler crediting Saugatuck with one of the “Top 25 Beaches in the World” where travelers can find a secluded stretch of sand and take in an awe-inspiring sunset. More active travelers can work their way through rolling dunes or, come winter time, go cross-country skiing along the frozen shore or in the snow-covered woods. Once you’ve inevitably worked up an appetite, the plethora of locally-sourced restaurants and neighborhood coffee shops are there to energize you before you head back into the wild.
Your Saugatuck Hotel
At Hidden Garden Cottages & Suites, you get privacy and convenience. Located right in the heart of downtown Saugatuck, everything you could possibly need is within walking distance — and we’re not just talking about restaurants. Oval Beach is under a mile away as well as Mt. Baldhead Park and the Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area. When you’re at the Inn, you’ll be treated to 27 years-worth of hospitality with a number of package specials available for a little icing on the cake on your weekend getaway.View on trivago
Sheboygan, Wisconsin — 148 Miles
Bratwurst Capital of the World
More Lake Michigan fun awaits in the Wisconsin town known as “The Spirit on the Lake.” Bonus points for holding claim as the bratwurst capital of the world. Need proof? Head to the Old Wisconsin Sausage Outlet Store, a local favorite for over 50 years. Needless to say, you’ll need to make the most of the outdoors to burn up those bratwurst calories and Sheboygan does not disappoint. The lake itself offers surfing, kite surfing, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, jet skiing, boating, and fishing. By land, you can bike, hike, climb, and golf before celebrating your healthy excursions with more food and drink. Then again, Sheboygan also keeps more zen-like travelers in mind with spas to relax the body.
Your Sheboygan Hotel
Right downtown and steps away from Lake Michigan, you’ll find one of the town’s highest guest-rated hotels in GrandStay Sheboygan. No matter what you book, you’ll get a full kitchen and a number of modern amenities in this pet-friendly hotel. If you’re staying for a few nights, you’ll have to take advantage of the indoor pool & whirlpool and exercise room. Need help finding your way around? GrandStay Sheboygan can point you in the right direction of restaurants, shopping, nearby attractions, and upcoming events, like the annual Dairyland Surf Classic — the globe’s largest lake surfing competition.View on trivago