Illinois’ Best Weekend Getaways from Chicago

The Windy City is a fantastic place, but even its own residents need to get away from the big-city bustle from time to time. Outside of Chicago and its vast suburban sprawl, colloquially known as “Chicagoland”, Illinois immediately opens into the deep forests and the endless vista of plains that characterize the midwest. Illinois has much to offer. A short road trip will lead weekend road warriors to an array of natural, historic, and tourist-friendly places.


Located in Illinois’ northwest corner, Galena is home to only 3400 residents, but host to more than one million visitors annually. This quaint, historic, and lovely little town is packed with activities and attractions for everyone. A great place to stay is Farmers Guest House, a bed and breakfast in the area. Galena’s main avenue is lined with boutiques, art galleries, and a variety of dining options. The town has a unique history centering around General Ulysses Grant’s post-Civil War life, and history buffs will enjoy the “living history” tours available. Outside of town, Galena also has access to skiing, fishing, and water sport activities.

Starved Rock State Park

Illinois’ number one attraction is only 95 miles southwest of Chicago. Starved Rock is a great place to see geological beauty mixed with Illinois’ own American Indian history. Popular with outdoor enthusiasts for its access to canyon waterfalls, hiking, boating, and eagle watching, Starved Rock is the perfect summer or fall weekend getaway. Visitors can book a stay at the expansive Starved Rock Lodge or one of its nearby cabins.


Wilmette is located only 14 miles north of Chicago, but offers a lovely retreat away from urban stress and chaos. Boasting two beaches and a large, private marina, visitors can enjoy walking the lakeshore or biking through Wilmette’s many picturesque areas. Take a charter boat cruise on Lake Michigan, enjoy fine lakeside dining, or rest your toes in the sand at nearby Elmwood Dunes Preserve. Wilmette is also home to its own rendition of the Taj Mahal, the beautiful Baha’i Temple.

Gurnee – Keylime Cove indoor waterpark resort

Head north to Gurnee, where you’ll get as close to the Florida Keys as a midwestern resort can get. Keylime Cove offers a 65,000 sq. foot, entirely indoor tropical paradise. Accommodations range from simple guest rooms to large, multi-room suites. Families seeking refuge from Chicago’s arctic winters can enjoy pools, water slides, a lazy river, and much more.

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