For somebody living in Chicago, a weekend break outside of the city once in a while is a good idea – especially if you take your family and kids along. Since you have landed on this page, it means that you agree with us that a family weekend getaway is a good break from the stress filled life we all live in.
So what are you waiting for? Choose any destination from our list of the best family weekend getaways from Chicago, and have fun with your family. Relax on the beach, go on a hike, a bike ride perhaps or do some shopping. Just get out of the house.
All of these weekend getaways from Chicago are within a few hours of the city. Do note that these getaways are also good for couples and elders.
Weekend Getaway # 1: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
It is not without reason that Wisconsin Dells is known as the Water park capital of the World – they are everywhere, which your family is sure to love on their weekend break. They will have the best time of their lives. Some of the most popular water parks around are – Mt. Olympus, Noah’s Ark Water Park, Kalahari Waterparks, Wild West Waterpark etc. According to us, the best is Mt. Olympus. If you want something beyond just water parks, there are other family and kid attractions such as: Timber Falls Adventure Golf, Timbavati Wildlife Park, Ghost Outpost and Extreme World. If you want to surprise your kids, try the Buffalo Phil’s for lunch or dinner for the food will be delivered on a train.
Distance from Chicago: 3 hours and 30 minutes of driving
Weekend Getaway # 2: Saugatuck, Michigan
Saugatuck is a small, little resort town that every family will remember for years after their weekend getaway. The first and best thing to do with family here is to take the chain ferry across the town to Oval Beach. Oval Beach is a lot of sand and sand dunes, a lot of swimming and a lot of sand castle building which can leave the best of memories for the family. This town is also very walk friendly so we recommend a nice evening walk where you can stop to get into art galleries or do a bit of shopping. If your weekend getaway is being planned during summer don’t miss the best activity – fruit picking. There are many places such as Crane’s U Pick Orchards etc where you can take your kids for a session of fruit picking.
Distance from Chicago: 2 hours of driving
Weekend Getaway # 3: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
If you are planning a weekend getaway with family to the Lake Geneva area you have two choices – stay at the sprawling resort called Grand Geneva or stay outside. Either way, Lake Geneva can keep you and your family occupied during the whole weekend getaway. If your kids like animals, Dan Patch stables is a must visit where they can go on pony rides and pet the animals in the free petting zoo. To involve rest of the family you can play the miniature Golf at Paradise Golf Park. There is of course, America’s Action Territory Fun Park, where your kids can freak out on bumper boats and cars. If you want to stay at one place and enjoy your weekend with family, we recommend Grand Geneva resort. The best thing there is the Moose Mountain Falls, a 50000 square-foot water park.
Distance from Chicago: 1 hour and 45 minutes of driving
Weekend Getaway # 4: Ottawa, Illinois
A weekend getaway from Chicago to Ottawa with family is special in its own way. It is beautiful and inspiring, with its own set of outdoors and indoor activities for adults as well as kids. If you love hiking you should try out the Starved Rock State Park or the Buffalo Rock State Park. For those who just want to laze around during the weekend break, there is the Picnic Groove, where you can just chill doing nothing. For a biking session with the whole family no place is better than I & M canal trail – and you can rent bikes too. If you want to take your family into the water, there is a private beach from where you can rent boats and kayaks and canoes.
Distance from Chicago: 1 hour and 40 minutes of driving
Weekend Getaway # 5: Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis is a great weekend destination for both family and kids – there is enough to keep all members of the family happy on this break. There is the Planetarium and Dinosphere, which your kids will freak out on, not to mention the adults. If you want a quite time, the best thing to do is walking or biking with the family on the Monon Trail. Also check out the Conner’s Prairie for we are sure your whole family will love it. When it is time for shopping there is always the Broad Ripple neighbourhood you can go to.
Distance from Chicago: 4 hours of driving
Other good family weekend getaways from Chicago that find an honorable mention in our list:
Weekend Getaway # 6: Illinois Apple farms
Illinois is known for some amazing apple and pumpkin picking farms and families from Chicago just love them. Just make sure before you embark on this weekend getaway, you know what you will do with all those apples you will pick. Different varieties are better suited for different purposes, so it’s best to check with the farm beforehand. Illinois also offers seasonal fun such as hayrides and craft fairs – so don’t miss them on your weekend getaway.
Distance from Chicago: 1 hour and 30 minutes of drive
Weekend Getaway # 7: Indoors water parks
Imagine it is winter and your family still wants to have some water park fun during a weekend break. What do you do? Simple, you and your family (don’t forget the kids!) head out to the indoor water park where the fun continues throughout the year. In fact, some families use the indoor water parks even during summer, to avoid the sunburn. While the best of indoor water parks are concentrated in Wisconsin Dells, you can try other places as well.
Distance from Chicago: Depends on where you decide to go for your indoors water park experience
Weekend Getaway # 8: The Traverse city experience
At the foot of the Grand Traverse Bay lies the Traverse City offering families and kids visiting the best of weekend fun. The nearby Great Lakes temper the weather here to a great extent so it is pleasant throughout the year. It is in Traverse city that you see the best of Michigan’s beautiful peninsulas, golf resorts – both big and small and waterfront hiking areas. For families and kids, there are other activities such as parasailing, hot-air ballooning, skiing, water sports and of course fishing.
Distance from Chicago: 5 hours and 30 minutes by road. You can also take a flight in which case it should not take you more than an hour to reach your weekend getaway destination.
Weekend Getaway # 9: History Lessons in St Louis
If you want your family weekend getaway to also be a lesson in history, there is no better place that St Louis which boasts of a rich African American culture. You should visit the signature arch, which is an honor erected for the efforts of the people who made the westward journey possible. At the base of the Arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion – a tribute to the Buffalo soldiers, the black pioneers who helped settle the Western plain. Also not to be missed by your family and kids is the Old Courthouse, which is one of the foremost historical black heritage sites in the nation. Happy history lessons!
Distance from Chicago: 4 hours by road