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Picture this scenario: Your group wants to plan an outing together, but where should you go? If you’d like to add a road trip to your group’s upcoming plans, then consider planning an excursion that includes exploring a new city or spending the day on a nature hike. Planning a day trip and using a chartered bus to get you there can be a great way to bond and spend time together as a group, too. Get out of Chicago and keep these four destinations in mind. All four destinations are located about 200 miles from downtown Chicago.

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Starved Rock State Park

2668 E. 873 Road
Oglesby, IL 61348
(815) 667-4211

Spend a day hiking trails and exploring nature when your group plans a trip to Starved Rock State Park. Located about 100 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, the state park is a must-see destination for groups who want to get away from it all — but maybe not too far away. The park boasts a number of activities for groups with all interests, including about 13 miles of hiking trails at different skill levels. Horseback riding, boating, historical homes and museums, and unique stores are in the area, too, providing visitors with a fun-filled day from home. You can also turn a day trip into an overnight excursion, as the park has lodging options.



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Galena, Illinois

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The members of your group want to get a touch of history, check out a few nature trails, do some shopping and maybe stop in at a winery or brewery before heading home. What’s a group planner to do? Consider adding the historic town of Galena to the list of group outings. Galena offers a number of activities for all interests, with the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, the Old Blacksmith Shop and a number of indie craft stores among the attractions in town. The area also has plenty of trails for hiking and biking, and is located about 160 miles from downtown Chicago.


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee might be known as Brew City, but there’s a lot more to this Wisconsin city than beer. Whether your group includes families, beer aficionados or art fans, there’s something for just about everyone in Milwaukee. You and your group can catch a baseball game at Miller Park, learn about history at the Milwaukee Public Museum, tour a brewery or take part in a festival or two. Milwaukee is also about 90 miles north of downtown Chicago, making it a convenient destination.


Springfield, Illinois

The history buffs in your group will enjoy following in Abe Lincoln’s footsteps when you plan a trip to Springfield, Illinois. The state capital is home to a number of historic sites where visitors can learn more about the sixteenth president of the United States, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. The city, which is located about 200 miles from downtown Chicago, also has biking and hiking trails, dining and live events throughout the year. Dining and shopping options, including plenty of antique stores, are also in Springfield.


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This article was written by Megan Horst-Hatch of for CBS Local.