Summer Destinations to Visit Near Chicago

Chicago, one of the greatest cities in the world, is known for its deep-dish pizza, the Bean and being “The Windy City”…but sometimes—especially during the summer— you want to get away. We have rounded up four of the hottest summer destinations near Chicago for this Summer, all driving distance, and guaranteed good time.

Lake Geneva, WI

Lake Geneva is one of the most popular lake cities in the midwest, only a 1 hour and 30 minute drive from the Chicago area. Located in southeastern Wisconsin, this resort city was built by wealthy Chicagoans with historic mansions and estates on the lake and in the woods and beautiful resorts and views. There are lots of activities to do in Lake Geneva—most famously, taking a walk along the Lake Geneva Shore Path, a lakefront of 26 miles full of historic mansions, gardens, water sports, and more. Lake Geneva is a relaxing and close getaway from the bustling city of Chicago, and a great place for your next family trip.

Mackinac Island, MI

This next location is a much longer drive, but worth the trip. Mackinac Island is a popular summer destination island in Lake Huron in Northern Michigan and there are no cars allowed. Both ferry ports, in Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, are about a 6 hour drive from Chicago. You can also arrive by plane to the island or via ferry ports. After a mere 15-minute ferry ride, you will arrive in the relaxing and quaint Mackinac Island. With beautiful beaches, hikes, plenty of activities, and world-famous Mackinac Island fudge, this destination is perfect for your next family vacation or romantic getaway.

Starved Rock State Park, IL

If you are looking for a more adventurous and athletic trip, Starved Rock State Park is for you. Starved Rock State Park is a short 1 hour and 45 minute drive from Chicago in the middle of Illinois. Starved Rock offers hiking, fishing, boating, visiting waterfalls, horseback riding, and many more outdoor activities within its 13 miles of trails. Since June 15th, the park is now open from 7am until 8:30pm. Along with the Starved Rock Lodge, there are many villas and cabins nearby to stay in. There are also guided hikes, trolley tours, and river cruises at the park, and many famous wineries, breweries, and museums in the area. Overall, Starved Rock is a great short trip for your next adventure with friends, family, or solo!

Traverse City, MI

The final summer destination we rounded up for you is Traverse City, Michigan. Traverse City is a 5-hour drive from Chicago, located in Northern Michigan on the water. This destination is a more exciting and metropolitan choice, with a variety of restaurants, shopping, activities, along with many beaches and outdoor attractions. Traverse City is beautiful and has things to do in all seasons, but summer is best for visiting the beaches and enjoying the outdoors and everything they have to offer. Traverse City is also known for its wine country and has plenty of wineries and vineyards to visit.

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