As wonderful as Chicago is, there are some times when you need to just get out of town and a trip to the tropics simply isn’t in the budget. What to do? Pack up the car and head to some of these family friendly Road Trip Destinations for Chicagoans. Here are some of our favorite local options that are short on travel time but big on FUN.
I have written previous posts about one of our favorite vacation destinations, The Wisconsin Dells, but that isn’t the only great water based vacation in the state of the “cheese heads.” Sorry, Packer fans, I can’t help it.
Two summers ago we traveled to Sheboygan, Wisconsin and had an amazing time at the Blue Harbor Resort. Not only was the hotel beautiful with kid friendly rooms and restaurants, but they also have amazing pool facilities.
We spent hours upon hours in the indoor waterpark, outdoor pool, miniature golf course, and our absolute favorite—the beach! Although it was a little chilly when we visited (in July, isn’t it supposed to be hot then?!?) we had a great time walking on the pier, exploring the sand dunes, and just enjoying the beautiful view.
Since the American Club in Kohler isn’t too far away, it was a great place to visit for spa treatments for mom and dad, as well as a great family dinner at the Horse and Plow. The boys got a thrill from checking out the beautiful scenery outside the famous golf courses, including their grandpa’s favorite Whistling Straights.
Lastly, don’t overlook another fun Midwestern city–Milwaukee! Just about everything there is family friendly, from their hands on museums to their beautiful market and even the secret spy restaurant! You can check out my tips on visiting Milwaukee here.
Tim Allen sure isn’t lying in his “Pure Michigan” commercials. It is such a beautiful state with so many quaint and fun family friendly towns to visit. Last summer we booked a house for a long weekend in Coloma, Michigan, and had an amazing time enjoying the local beaches, parks, and forest preserves. Next time we will be bringing some babysitters so we can enjoy the wineries as well!
Since Coloma is nestled between Benton Harbor and South Haven, we had tons of options for family friendly activities when we wanted to take a break from cooking and hanging out at the rental home.
In South Haven, there are a ton of delicious and family friendly restaurants, as well as a giant pier and lighthouse (and a beach too) to enjoy. We liked going to South Haven for dinners, ending our day with some fresh ice cream and watching the sail boats while listening to local musicians play in the local park.
While Benton Harbor is another beautiful town on the beach, we spent more of our time in the beach in St. Joseph. We had a great time climbing on the water-inspired sculptures, the kids’ parks nestled on the beach, the ENORMOUS and interactive water fountain, as well as the whimsical carousel. We could have spent our entire trip at this one beach, rain or shine.
Don’t think that we Chicagoans need to escape the Land of Lincoln in order to have fun. I went to college for my undergraduate degree at Augustana College, one of the best parts of the Quad Cities. But trust me, that isn’t all that the Quad Cities have to offer.
John Deere started his company in Moline, Illinois, and there is a huge museum set up for visitors to learn all about the famous American company, as well as enthrall truck loving toddlers like my boys. The fact that you can touch tractors and combines, as well as climb up into them is worth the drive from Chicago.
Speaking of Augie, our campus is the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful weather and help your kids expend some energy. The rolling hills, especially the ones located along our iconic slough path, provide tons of entertainment and relaxation for nature lovers of all ages.
Finally, there is the fantastic Family Museum, which is on par with children’s museums in more Metropolitan areas, such as the Kohl Children’s Museum, DuPage Children’s Museum, and Chicago Children’s Museum. Located in Bettendorf, Iowa, it is a great way to learn and play with your little ones. You can read all about why your family should visit the Quad Cities here.