The great outdoors might mean skyscrapers in the heart of Chicago, but just a short drive out of the city are fantastic day trips.

5 Fun Day Trips From Chicago

The great outdoors might mean skyscrapers and brilliant architecture in the heart of Chicago, but just a short drive out of the city are some of the most fantastic day trips the country has to offer. Fresh air, wildlife, and a sea of stars are all easily found. So if nature is calling – answer it, by trying out one of these fun day trips just out of The Windy City.

Hiking Trails

(Image via Flickr CC - John W. Iwanski)
(Image via Flickr CC – John W. Iwanski)

Right outside of Chicago are some of the best hiking trails in the Midwest. Depending on the time of the year you plan to visit, you can expect to see colorful wildflowers, waterfalls, butterfly gardens and native wildlife that includes herds of deer, wild turkeys, woodchucks, Canada geese and maybe even a fox or a bobcat. Both Waterfall Glen and the Burnham Nature Sanctuary and Path offer an excellent experience for outdoor enthusiasts.

Lake Fun

Lake days are truly fun for the whole family, and you can choose to boat, swim, fish, paddleboat, jet-ski, kayak, canoe and snorkel just out of Chicago. Fans of fishing can get lucky by catching northern pike, bass, bluegill, catfish, and sunfish in the beautiful Illinois waters. The Beck Lake Forest Preserve is just one of the excellent lakes that you’ll find nearby.

Camp Out

While you’re most likely visiting Chicago to experience the hustle and bustle of the big city, you’re sure to enjoy spending at least one night camping under the stars. It’s a wonderful way to connect with your family without Wifi – and there’s nothing like the smell of a campfire. Choose a spot to pitch a tent, bring your RV or even rent a cabin for a bit of luxurious camping. Jellystone Park Chicago is just one nearby option, just a quick drive from Chicago.

Rafting and Tubing

An exciting day on the rapids is just waiting for you outside the city limits. Enjoy a thrilling, fast-paced rafting adventure or take it easy on a tube float and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature.  Vermillion River Rafting is close and offers both experiences.

A Day of Golfing

(Image via Flickr CC - Dan Perry)
(Image via Flickr CC – Dan Perry)

For some, it’s not a vacation if a game of golf isn’t included. Fortunately, you’ll find world-class golf courses near Chicago that will satisfy even the most serious player. The Glen Club is one of the area’s most popular courses. And those with children can enjoy a game of minigolf both within and outside the city limits.

Whatever the sport or experience you’re looking for is, it’s just a short trip from Chicago. Get your taste of the outdoors for the day, then head back to the city in time for the Chicago nightlife for the best of both worlds.

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