No matter how much you love city life, every now and then everyone feels the need to get out of town for a few days to unwind. Whether you’re looking for a low-key spot to relax or something interesting and new, there are several spots around Chicago close enough for a weekend recharge.
Galena City Hall
312 1/2 N. Main St.
Galena, IL 61036
Galena definitely moves at a slower pace if you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. It’s a charming town known for its antiques and history, as well as the picturesque windy roads that are enjoyed by motorcycle enthusiasts. The Farmers Guest House is a cute place to stay that’s a five-minute walk from the downtown area. The owners are happy to point you in the direction of local attractions. The Galena Kandy Kitchen is always worth a visit with candies made the old-fashioned way and hand-dipped chocolates. Afterwards, burn off your candy consumption on the Galena River Trail, which is about four miles long and is available to bikers, hikers and joggers alike. Make sure to do some antique hunting downtown and stop by Ulysses S. Grant’s home for a dose of history.
Starved Rock State Park
Route 178 and Route 71
Utica, IL 61373
For an active and rustic getaway, nothing beats Starved Rock State Park. Only an hour drive from Chicago and right along the Fox River, the park offers more than just hiking along the 13 miles of beautiful trails. If you’re into water sports, kayaks, jet skis, paddleboats, canoes and even water cruises, are all offered by the park. You can stay on the lodge on the grounds, or try the Fox River Bed and Breakfast and take advantage of its Friends and Family Plan for a still rustic and yet more plush experience on your getaway.
Kenosha History Center
220 51st Place
Kenosha, WI 53140
If you’re looking for something quirky and different, why not try out Kenosha? It’s known for being home of the Jelly Belly Visitor’s Center as well as housing the largest flea market in the county. For something a little more grounded, check out the Kenosha Historical Society and Museum to learn more about the history of Kenosha and Wisconsin itself. The Southport Bed and Breakfast is steps from the beach with private entrances to guest rooms and jacuzzi tubs en suite to make the evenings a little more relaxing and romantic.
Saugatuck City Hall
102 Butler St.
Saugatuck, MI 49453
Saugatuck is a low-key lakeside town with some culture to boot. It’s been described as like an artist colony and also feels like a New England coastal village. Anyone can go to the Express Yourself Art Barn which offers pot throwing, bead stringing, painting and glass fusing and spend some time honing their creative side (regardless of talent). Charter Fishing and lake outings are available in abundance for those wanting to spend some time on the water. And there’s even apple orchards and a vineyard if you’d like to sample some locally made products.
Kishauwau on the Vermilion
901 N. 2129 Road
Tonica, IL 61370
If you’re looking for something more secluded and completely relaxing, look no further than Kishauwau on the Vermilion. It has a strict policy when renting out its cabins to ensure that all guests are able to enjoy the solitude of the land without being bothered by noisy parties. Formerly a Boy Scout Camp, the park is close enough to Starved Rock and Matthiesen State Park to be able to enjoy hiking if you like. Or enjoy some horseback riding at Cedar Creek Ranch or experience the Vermilion River from canoe or raft.
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Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.