7 Must-Take Weekend Car Trips From Chicago

Chicago is a beautiful city, but sometimes it can feel like a bunch of blocks without many thrills. That's why summer is the perfect time to take a road trip from Chicago and go somewhere different. There are so many unique places to see and explore in the Midwest, and they're all just a short drive from Chicago! The best part? You can do them all in just a weekend!

7 Weekend Car Trips From Chicago


The Smoky Mountains

A road trip from Chicago to the Smokies is a must-do for vacationers looking to experience some of America's most stunning nature. This area of Tennessee draws more than 11 million visitors each year. With 850 miles of hiking trails, the Smokies are perfect for those who love the great outdoors. But if you're not into the outdoors, the area also has several museums and other attractions to keep you busy.

Louisville, Kentucky

Known as the "Kentucky Capital," Louisville is a must-visit for all bourbon lovers. Incredible beaches surround the city, and multiple distilleries to try.

Galena, Illinois

Another surprisingly laid-back destination is this historic town just an hour outside Chicago. The old architecture is the main draw, but you'll also want to check out some of the many museums in town.

Door County, Wisconsin

If you're looking for a bit of culture and sun, head to Door County, a 75-mile peninsula in northern Wisconsin surrounded by Lake Michigan and Green Bay. The area boasts 53 public beaches and five state parks, so there's plenty to do.

Janesville, Wisconsin

Suppose a weekend in the woods sounds more your speed. In that case, you'll be happy to know that Janesville is a popular destination for a little bit of everything: art, history, outdoor adventure, and various restaurants and shops. The Rotary Botanical Gardens are a must-visit for anyone in the area, and the Holiday Light Show is a beautiful sight to see from Thanksgiving through December.

Oglesby, Illinois

Located at the confluence of the Illinois and Vermillion rivers, Oglesby is a quiet river town that's a great spot for a relaxing day trip. The town is home to Starved Rock State Park, where you can spend the day enjoying the scenic views of the free-flowing waterfalls and hiking the trail to Devil's Staircase.

McHenry, Illinois

If your ideal getaway involves a bit of nature and lots of delicious foods, then McHenry is the place for you. The town is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and its public parks offer everything from biking and hiking to horseback riding. And if you're a fan of frozen custard, head to any of the dairy farms in the area for a taste of authentic frozen treats.