Jump to content

  • Amanda Simkin

    Amanda Simkin, a lifelong Chicagoan, created her blog (queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com) to share how she celebrates motherhood in Chicago. She offers “insider’s guides” for both well-known and off-the-beaten-path family-friendly gems. Her fans include Red Tricycle Chicago and Chicago Parent Magazine.

    5 family-friendly Midwest vacation spots you can drive to

    Want a family vacation without the stress of plane travel? Try these Midwest vacation spots in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana.
    You know the saying “Midwest is best?” Well, if you ask me, the Midwest truly shines in the summer months…the glistening lakes, wealth of greenery, and tons of unique places to relax and unwind. It’s a complete 180 from the harsh winter months that we suffer through.
    That’s why we always plan a Midwestern summer family vacation. We can avoid the drama and expenses involved with an airline flight, support local businesses and keep our money in the hardworking Midwest. And, I’m not going to lie….it is VERY hard to resist Tim Allen and his “Pure Michigan” commercials.
    Are you looking for some great family-friendly vacation spots in the Midwest? Then look no further than this list:
    Coloma, Michigan: This small town is nestled between St. Joseph and South Haven so you can explore the benefits of both areas when staying in Coloma. Typically we would spend our vacation beach and park hopping since there are so many to choose from, enjoying bonfires and spiced up s’mores every chance we get. Highlights include berry picking, old fashioned carousels, wineries and Silver Lake beach. 
    Driving time: 2–3 hours
    Long Beach, Indiana: Splashing around on the shores of Long Beach truly makes Lake Michigan feel like an ocean. And when you are sick of swimming, explore the gorgeous sand dunes throughout the area. We especially love taking a trip to Long Beach because it is so close that we can make a day trip out of it. We recommend going on a Saturday since Sunday traffic can be pretty brutal.
    Driving time: 1–1.5 hours
    North Shore, Minnesota: Although this is the farthest destination on the list, one could argue that it is the most fabulous. Why? Two words: whale watching. Yep, you and your family can partake in whale watching on the north shore of Lake Superior. There are tons of lodges and resorts to choose from, and other highlights include hiking, waterfalls, state parks…the options are endless.
    Driving time: 7–8 hours
    Sheboygan, Wisconsin: Ever notice the Sheboygan shout-out in Home Alone? It was probably because  of its wide array of family-friendly activities like interactive water fountains, children’s museums, and a gorgeous lighthouse pier, in addition to the popular Blue Harbor Resort. Even if you are renting a house in Sheboygan, be sure to get a day pass for the indoor waterpark at Blue Harbor-you won’t be disappointed! Also, don’t miss out on taking a short drive to the American Club and dining at either the Horse and Plow (casual, great food for all ages) or getting some ice cream from their beautiful garden ice cream fountain. Interested in larger waterparks? Then simply drive a little further to the top resorts in the Dells.
    Driving time: 2.5–3 hours
    Starved Rock, Illinois: There is no question as to why Starved Rock is the top attraction in Illinois. It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Set up camp or rent your own cabin while exploring all the Starved Rock has to offer: fishing, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, bird watching, small town shopping and local wineries…what more can you ask for?
    Driving time: 2 hours
    I do understand if palm trees are calling your name, and if that is the case, here are some great tropical locales for Chicagoland families, as well as some tips for navigating your way through Chicagoland’s airports.
    Related articles:

    Amanda Simkin

    Amanda Simkin, a lifelong Chicagoan, created her blog (queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com) to share how she celebrates motherhood in Chicago. She offers “insider’s guides” for both well-known and off-the-beaten-path family-friendly gems. Her fans include Red Tricycle Chicago and Chicago Parent Magazine.

    Photo: South Haven, Michigan

    More related articles

    Dear Teacher, We’re Taking Our Child Out of School for Vacation

    Some will argue that vacations are no reason to take a child out of school, and I am also very aware that just being able to take a vacation is a privilege. But if you are able to take a trip and decide to do so during your child’s schooldays, here are a few tips on how to write that note to your child’s teacher.

    Fueling Healthy Adventures: Tips for Nurturing Picky Eaters on the Go

    Juggling picky eating during family travels requires creativity, preparation, and a dash of flexibility. By understanding the reasons behind picky eating while on the road, at the airport, or overseas, and implementing practical tips, you can transform mealtime into an opportunity for nutritional exploration. As a dietitian, my emphasis is on creating lasting memories of nourishing adventures for your child, ensuring they receive the nutrients their growing bodies need.

    Returning Home from Vacation: Five tips to ease the transition.

    Vacations are awesome. But what’s more awesome are the everyday moments that create your life with your children.

    Making Travel Au-some

    Traveling with children can be fun, exciting and challenging and traveling with a child with a special needs child adds a whole new dynamic. And yes, there are moments when I look at my husband and wonder, “Why did we sign up for this? Are we crazy?” and then we remember, we are turning therapeutic moments into valuable experiences and making lifelong memories.

  • Join NPN!
    Become a part of our Chicago parenting community. Learn about member benefits and start connecting to other city parents today!

Privacy Policy Membership Terms

© 2024 Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago

  • Create New...

Important Information

Thank you for visiting our site. Browsing this site is an acceptance of our We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. and Terms of Use.