Explore the Best Places to Visit Near Chicago

Chicago is a bustling city with a vibrant culture and an array of attractions that make it a popular tourist destination. But if you’re looking for a change of pace and want to explore the beauty of the Midwest, there are plenty of incredible places to visit near Chicago. From charming small towns to stunning natural landscapes, these destinations offer something for everyone. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best places to visit near Chicago, along with popular FAQs to help you plan your next adventure.

6 Best Places to Visit Near Chicago

1. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Located just two hours from Chicago, Lake Geneva is a picturesque resort town known for its beautiful lake, historic mansions, and charming downtown area. Visitors can take a boat tour of the lake, stroll along the Shore Path, or explore the shops and restaurants in the downtown area. Other popular activities include golfing, hiking, and visiting local wineries.

2. Starved Rock State Park

If you’re looking for stunning natural scenery, Starved Rock State Park is a must-visit destination. Located about two hours from Chicago, this park features 13 miles of trails that wind through canyons, waterfalls, and rock formations. Visitors can also enjoy camping, fishing, and boating on the Illinois River.

3. Galena, Illinois

Nestled in the rolling hills of northwest Illinois, Galena is a charming small town known for its historic architecture, quaint shops, and scenic views. Visitors can take a tour of the town’s many historic sites, including the Ulysses S. Grant Home and the Belvedere Mansion. Other popular activities include hiking, golfing, and exploring the town’s many art galleries and antique shops.

4. Indiana Dunes National Park

Located just 45 minutes from Chicago, Indiana Dunes National Park offers 15 miles of beautiful shoreline along Lake Michigan. Visitors can hike the dunes, swim in the lake, or explore the park’s many trails and wildlife viewing areas. The park also features a visitor center with exhibits on the area’s history and ecology.

5. Saugatuck, Michigan

Saugatuck is a charming resort town located on the shores of Lake Michigan, about two and a half hours from Chicago. Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and swimming on the lake, or explore the town’s many art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Other popular activities include hiking the trails at Saugatuck Dunes State Park and visiting local wineries.

6. New Buffalo, Michigan

New Buffalo is a popular beach town located about an hour and a half from Chicago. Visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing on Lake Michigan, or explore the town’s many shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Other popular activities include hiking the trails at nearby Warren Dunes State Park and visiting local wineries and breweries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best time of year to visit these destinations?

A: The best time to visit these destinations depends on your preferences. Summer is a popular time to visit, as the weather is warm and many outdoor activities are available. However, fall and spring can also be great times to visit, as the crowds are smaller and the scenery is beautiful.

Q: Are these destinations family-friendly?

A: Yes, all of these destinations offer a variety of activities for families, including hiking, swimming, and exploring local attractions. Many of the towns also offer family-friendly events and festivals throughout the year.

Q: Can these destinations be visited in a day trip?

A: Some of the destinations, such as Lake Geneva and New Buffalo, can be visited as day trips from Chicago. However, others, such as Starved Rock State Park and Saugatuck, may require an overnight stay to fully experience all they have to offer.

Q: What is the transportation options for getting to these destinations?

A: The best way to get to these destinations is by car, as they are all within driving distance of Chicago. However, some destinations, such as Lake Geneva and New Buffalo, can also be reached by train or bus.


Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or an outdoor adventure, the destinations near Chicago offer a wealth of opportunities for exploration and relaxation. From the stunning natural beauty of Starved Rock State Park to the charming small towns of Galena and Saugatuck, there is something for everyone. So pack your bags and hit the road – the adventure awaits!