BY: Viktor Vincej
Chicago is one of the most famous cities in the United States and all it takes is one visit there to see why. In addition to having a strong historical legacy, it also has it all – from exceptional restaurants to world-class sports teams to a rich history in comedy and more.
But what many people don’t realize is that Illinois has a lot more to offer than just downtown Chicago itself. Not only are there great attractions and points of interest to explore in the state but many can be fully experienced within the context of a nice weekend getaway.
Outdoor enthusiasts in particular will love Geneva, located just a short 40-minute drive from Chicago proper. It’s a quaint town on the Fox River that has a number of great restaurants (including brunch opportunities), nature preserves, and quaint shopping. It’s an ideal location to enjoy a full-day getaway with the entire family.
If you’re looking for a summer weekend getaway that is quintessentially Illinois, look no further than Rockford. It’s surrounded by cornfields, and it brings all the best qualities of an urban environment with a rural preserve into the same convenient destination. While there, be sure to check out attractions like Mary’s Market or the Japanese Gardens.
Gurnee would be a great summer weekend getaway in Illinois for people who like to keep things on the adventurous side. Maybe the most notable attraction there is Six Flags Great America, which was built in 1976. It has a number of roller coasters, along with just about everything else that you would expect from one of the more famous amusement parks in the country. Gurnee also has plenty of shopping opportunities as well, the most notable being the Gurnee Mills Mall. It has over 200 outlets and full-price stores.
If you’re looking for one of the more unique hot spots in Illinois that also happens to be nestled alongside the Mississippi River, Galena fits that bill in more ways than one. From a single location, you can see two additional states – Iowa and Wisconsin. All told Galena is filled with historical sites that date back hundreds of years, golf courses, vineyards, boutique stores – you name it, and you’ll likely be able to find it in the area.
Even at a cursory glance, Rosemont has it all. Not only is it conveniently located just a few minutes away from O’Hare Airport, but it has shopping opportunities, fine and casual dining spots, and even gambling. Whether you’re looking for an “adult’s only” trip or a family-friendly adventure in the thick of the Windy City, Rosemont is absolutely a place you’ll want to add to your list.
Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort
Located in beautiful Volo, Illinois, Fish Lake Beach Camping Resort is a family-friendly hot spot that offers softball, volleyball, mini-golf, and a variety of other activities. Visitors can also enjoy a number of great water sports like swimming, boating, paddle boarding, and beyond.
In the end, the next time someone tells you that the only thing to see in Illinois is Chicago itself, you can rest easy knowing that there is a world of incredible locations just waiting to be experienced on your own terms.
One of the great overlooked summer weekend getaways in Illinois takes the form of Starved Rock. Not only does it allow you to explore 18 natural canyons, but there are also miles upon miles of hiking trails, almost 2,600 acres of protected land, and more. It also has a rich history that goes all the way back to the 1760s.
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