Winters in the Windy City are long, and as the seasonable chill begins to set in, you might be considering a change of scenery. Here are some Midwestern winter getaway cities you can visit in a weekend.
Door County Visitor Bureau
Door County, WI. Aptly dubbed the Cape Cod of the Midwest, Door County is just as charming under a blanket of snow. Shops and inns stay open for winter guests, who flock to town for the 250 miles of snowmobile trails, skiing and ice fishing. Explore a winter trail on horseback at the Kurtz Corral or take in a dinner and a show at Third Avenue Playhouse.
Ely Chamber of Commerce
Ely, MN. Ely offers the ultimate vacation in terms of winter recreational activities. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and dogsledding are just a few options that visitors can choose from. Motels, bed and breakfasts and cabins are all available for reservation during the winter months. Ely's downtown area is also filled with both casual and fine dining options, along with local craft shops.
Canoe Bay, WI. Children aren't allowed in Canoe Bay, where 300-acres of forests and lakes provide the perfect backdrop to a calming winter getaway. Choose from deluxe rooms, private cottages and tiny houses among others to experience all that the area has to offer. On-site snowshoeing, downhill skiing and ice fishing are all located within reach. A fitness room, robust library and spa amenities complete the Canoe Bay experience.
Mackinac Island. Located in the midst of Lake Huron, Mackinac Island boasts tropical views and a vibrant community with endless nightlife activities. Cars are banned on the island, where the horse and carriage still reigns supreme. Famous for its century-old fudge stores and award-winning lodging, Mackinac features pub crawls, dancing and live entertainment.
Old Mission Peninsula, MI. Chateau Chantal is a charming winery and Old World Inn, stocked with wine of all varieties. In the winter, visitors escape the cold by sipping a glass of red or white wine and gazing over a frozen Lake Michigan.
Stillwater, Minnesota. Named one of USA Today's Most Picturesque Small Towns in America, Stillwater's small-town charm is amplified during the winter months. Three different ski areas surround the town, with easy access to cross-country trails, snowboarding and ice fishing. Stay overnight at a bed and breakfast, many of which are over 100 years old, and experience the town's lively holiday festivals. Local wineries and breweries along with local boutiques and restaurant provide much to do during a weekend getaway.
Bayfield, WI. This small Wisconsin town has become infamous for its ice caves, where icicles several feet in length dangle off the edges of the town's many caves during the winter. Visitors can choose from an endless array of winter activities, including snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling and crosscountry skiing. Dogsledding is also available for those who wish to embrace the backcountry. Cabins, cottages and bed and breakfasts are all available for rent in Bayfield, with many options open for a stay along the shores of Lake Superior.
Galena, IL. Galena is well-known for its well-maintained 19th century buildings and architecture. Escape the city by visiting one of the town's three wineries and test your skills at one of Illinois' best golf courses. The small town is packed with restaurants and coffeehouses, art galleries and boutique shops. Visitors can join a guided ghost tour, relax at the local spa and enjoy downhill skiing and snowboarding, among other winter recreational activities.
Hocking Hills, OH. Hocking Hills state park is home to Old Man's Cave and Cedar Falls -- both destinations that turn into frozen wonderlands during the winter months. Rent a cabin or lodge and enjoy the huge icicles that form within the park's many caves. Every year, the park also holds an annual Winter Hike (parks.ohiodnr.gov).