8 Beautiful Day and Weekend Trips to Take Around Chicago

The scenic landscapes of the Midwest are glowing as this summer comes to a close. Escape to nature by taking one of these day trips, transporting you into a whole new world.

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Temperatures are warming up, flowers are blooming and animals are grazing. The scenic landscapes of the Midwest are glowing. Escape to nature this summer by taking one of these day trips, transporting you into a whole new world.
Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby, Ill
nIt's the perfect time to take a drive to Starved Rock Park to see the amazing waterfalls active. Relax and explore the 13 miles of trails, towering canyons, wildflowers and forest animals. With flowers carpeting the forest floor, view the variety of color in the meadows of Starved Rock Park. DISTANCE: 94 miles from downtown Chicago.
Door County, Wis.
nDoor County offers 'Seasons of Bloom,' when the landscape comes to life in an abundance of bright, multicolored blossoms. There are tons of events happening in Door County and the area offers scenic beauty, relaxation and rejuvenation. DISTANCE: 245 miles from downtown Chicago.
Matthiessen State Park, Utica, Ill.
nWith canyons, streams, prairie and forest the combination of Matthiessen Start Park is a sight to see for all visitors. Previously named Deer Park, with its high deer population, visitors have a possibility of seeing deer and other wildlife. Walk through the upper and lower dells to experience the canyon walls and exposed sandstone with ground water seeping out along the canyon. DISTANCE: 97 miles from downtown Chicago.
Garden of the Gods, Shawnee National Forest, Harrisburg, Ill.
nSee some of the most stunning rock formations at the Garden of the Gods with its garden of sandstone sculptures and untouched wilderness. Located at the Shawnee National Forest, the park contains a variety of plant and animal life adding to its scenic beauty covering more than 3,300 acres in Southern Illinois. DISTANCE: 339 miles from downtown Chicago.
Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, Ill.
nEscape to a place of peace and tranquility at the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford. Stroll through one of the paths taking in all the sights the gardens have to offer, including waterfalls, ponds and flowers styled after Sukiya design and architecture. DISTANCE: 85 miles from downtown Chicago.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Chesterton, Ind.
nThe Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore covers 15 miles of Lake Michigan’s southern shore with a vast range of offerings. Enjoy 45 miles of trails through the dunes, wetlands, prairies, rivers and forests. Take a walk on the beach, camp, fish, boat or horseback ride. The outdoor opportunities are endless. DISTANCE: 51 miles from downtown Chicago.
Wellfield Botanic Gardens, Amish Country, Ind.
nWellfield Botanic Gardens just north of downtown Elkhart is a year-round pocket of beauty on 36 acres featuring moments of lush gardens, whimsical sculptures and crystalline waters. In visiting the Wellfield Botanic Gardens, one can see another great sight Amish County has to offer, The Quilt Gardens. These gardens are an annual display open May 30 to October 1 at 19. DISTANCE: 109 miles from downtown Chicago.
Linmar Gardens, Galena, Ill.
nNestled in the hillside, Linmar Gardens overlooks the historic town of Galena, Illinois. Take a guided tour, viewing the flowing brooks, ponds and twenty-foot waterfall all lined with Midwest flowers and plants. Find unexpected delights, such as a sunken garden built in the ruins of one of the first African-American churches in Illinois. DISTANCE: 164 miles from downtown Chicago.
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