Family Road Trips from Chicago


Chicago is a fantastic hub for family road trips, offering an array of destinations and attractions within driving distance. Whether you’re looking for a short road trip or a weekend getaway, you’ll find plenty of options for a memorable family road trip.

Road Trip Destinations

When planning family road trips from Chicago, there are several options to consider. Weekend getaways are perfect for a quick escape, while day trips offer the opportunity to explore nearby attractions. Additionally, there are numerous best road trips from Chicago that are worth exploring.

Weekend Getaways

For families seeking a weekend escape, destinations like Milwaukee, Lake Geneva, and Indianapolis are within driving distance from Chicago. Each of these cities offers its own unique charm and an array of family-friendly activities to enjoy.

Day Trips from Chicago

If you’re looking for a shorter excursion, consider day trips to Starved Rock State Park, the Indiana Dunes, or the scenic routes along Lake Michigan. These destinations provide a perfect opportunity to experience nature, hiking trails, and picturesque landscapes on a day trip from Chicago.

Best Road Trips from Chicago

When planning a longer road trip, options like the Wisconsin Dells, Galena, and Saint Louis are great road trip destinations near Chicago. These areas offer a diverse range of outdoor adventures, scenic drives, and family-friendly attractions.

As you plan your family road trip from Chicago, consider popular destinations like Starved Rock, Milwaukee, and Lake Geneva. These areas provide a mix of outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and scenic landscapes, making them ideal for family travel.

Starved Rock

Starved Rock State Park is a captivating destination known for its stunning waterfalls, hiking trails, and outdoor adventures. Located just a few hours from Chicago, it’s an excellent choice for a family road trip, offering a blend of natural beauty and recreational activities.


With its rich history and vibrant waterfront, Milwaukee is an enticing destination for families. Home to attractions like the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, it’s an ideal city for a family-friendly road trip from Chicago.

Lake Geneva

Located in Wisconsin, Lake Geneva is a picturesque destination featuring beautiful lakes and charming downtown areas. Families can enjoy activities such as boat tours, lakeside beaches, and outdoor adventures, making it a delightful addition to a family road trip itinerary.

Scenic Drives

Exploring the scenic drives around Chicago can add to the excitement of your family road trip. Consider the drive time to various destinations, the stunning routes near Illinois and Wisconsin Dells, and the gorgeous scenic drives that offer panoramic views and natural beauty.

Drive Time to Various Destinations

Understanding the drive time to various destinations can help families plan their road trips effectively. Whether you’re headed to Starved Rock State Park, the Wisconsin Dells, or other nearby areas, knowing the approximate driving time from Chicago can streamline your travel plans.

Illinois and Wisconsin Dells

Illinois and Wisconsin Dells are renowned for their scenic beauty and abundant recreational opportunities. From water parks to outdoor adventures, families can enjoy a diverse array of activities during their road trip, all while taking in the breathtaking landscapes.

Gorgeous Scenic Routes

Embarking on a family road trip from Chicago opens up the opportunity to traverse gorgeous scenic routes. Whether it’s the rolling hills of Galena or the stunning vistas along Lake Michigan, these drives offer families the chance to create lasting memories against a backdrop of natural splendor.

Outdoor Adventures

For families seeking outdoor adventures, the road trips from Chicago present a myriad of options. From exploring hiking trails to visiting national and state parks, and partaking in water activities, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enjoy nature and the great outdoors.

Hiking Trails

Experience the beauty of the Midwest’s natural landscapes by exploring the many hiking trails available to families on road trips from Chicago. Whether it’s the scenic trails at Starved Rock State Park or the rugged paths at Indiana Dunes National Park, there’s something for every hiking enthusiast.

National and State Parks

Family road trips present the perfect opportunity to visit national and state parks, such as Indiana Dunes National Park and Starved Rock State Park. These destinations offer families the chance to immerse themselves in nature, enjoy outdoor activities, and discover the natural wonders of the region.

Water Activities

From the shores of Lake Michigan to the water parks near Chicago, families can partake in a variety of water activities during their road trips. Whether it’s swimming, boating, or enjoying water parks and beaches, there are ample opportunities for aquatic fun and relaxation.

Family-Friendly Attractions

When embarking on a family road trip from Chicago, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions to include in your itinerary. Zoos, amusement parks, water parks, and cultural and historical stops offer diverse experiences for families to enjoy together.

Zoos and Amusement Parks

Make a stop at zoos and amusement parks along your family road trip for an exciting and memorable experience. Destinations like the Milwaukee County Zoo, Six Flags Great America, and the Great Wolf Lodge offer plenty of entertainment for families of all ages.

Water Parks and Beaches

Include visits to water parks and beaches as part of your family road trip itinerary for some aquatic fun and relaxation. Destinations like the indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge or the beaches near Lake Geneva provide opportunities for water-based enjoyment and leisure.

Cultural and Historical Stops

Enrich your family road trip with cultural and historical stops, such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield or the historical sites in Galena. These stops offer insight into the region’s history and culture, providing an educational and enriching experience for the whole family.

10 Awesome Road Trips from Chicago That Will Make Your Adventure Unforgettable

A: Some popular weekend road trip ideas from Chicago include Galena, New Buffalo, and the Indiana Dunes State Park.

Q: How far is Galena from Chicago and is it a good trip for families?

A: Galena is approximately a 3-hour drive from Chicago and is a great trip for families with its charming downtown, historical sites, and outdoor activities.

Q: What are some attractions to visit in New Buffalo for a family road trip from Chicago?

A: In New Buffalo, families can visit the beautiful beaches, explore the town’s shops and restaurants, and enjoy outdoor activities such as boating and hiking.

Q: What makes the Indiana Dunes State Park a great destination for a road trip from Chicago?

A: The Indiana Dunes State Park offers both indoor and outdoor activities, including hiking, birdwatching, and beach activities, making it a perfect road trip destination for families from Chicago.

Q: How can I plan a weekend road trip from Chicago to Galena?

A: To plan a weekend road trip from Chicago to Galena, you can take the scenic drive through the countryside, book accommodations in Galena in advance, and create an itinerary of activities and attractions to explore.

A: Recommended activities for a weekend road trip from Chicago include visiting historical sites, exploring downtown areas, enjoying outdoor recreational activities, and visiting local attractions and landmarks.

Q: Are there any other short road trips from Chicago that are perfect for families?

A: Yes, there are several other short road trips from Chicago that are perfect for families, such as visiting nearby towns, state parks, and vacation destinations that are just a few hours away from the city.

Q: What are some must-see attractions near Chicago for a family road trip?

A: Some must-see attractions near Chicago for a family road trip include the Illinois Dunes State Park, charming towns like Galena, and the beach town of New Buffalo.

Q: How can I keep my family entertained during a weekend road trip from Chicago?

A: You can keep your family entertained during a weekend road trip from Chicago by planning a mix of outdoor and indoor activities, including visits to parks, beaches, museums, and family-friendly attractions.

Q: Are there any specific family-friendly accommodations near Chicago for a weekend road trip?

A: Yes, there are several family-friendly accommodations near Chicago for a weekend road trip, including hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals that cater to families and offer amenities for kids and parents.

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