Fun Day Trips Near Chicago

Sometimes, you just don’t have the time to take a full week’s vacation. At times like these, it’s nice just to take a drive away from the city and relax in a new place. There are a number of fun day trips near Chicago, and we tried to compile the ones that are within an hour or two of driving distance.

Evanston, Illinois (15 miles): This nearby Lake Michigan beach is only a half hour or so from the city and offers posh bed and breakfasts.

Crystal Lake, Illinois (50 miles): Whether you like the idea of a fun downtown area brimming with shops and cafes or a relaxing spring-fed lake with a new recreation area, Crystal Lake has something for you.

Indiana Dunes (54 miles): Charming local restaurants, towering sand dunes, and easy bike trails await at this stretch of coastline along the waters of Lake Michigan.

Indiana Dunes - Fun Day Trips

Fox River Valley (60 miles): This historical town overlooks the winding, scenic Fox River, and offers a nearby shopping district in Geneva.

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (60 miles): 19,000 acres of wildflowers, regional fauna, and hiking trails await you at this restored prairie.

There are many more fun day trips besides these, but this is a great jumping-off point for anyone looking for a spontaneous one-day adventure outside of Chicago.