Sweet home Chicago – Hottest Hotspots beyond the city

Sweet home Chicago – Hottest Hotspots beyond the city

Kayaking on Chicago River late summer afternoon with Willis Tower far right, Trump Tower on the left.

Chicago is one of the United States’ largest cities. Famous for its architecture, art and cultural institutions and top restaurants, the ‘windy city’ draws millions of tourists every year.

But many people don’t make the time to travel out of the city to explore some of the amazing gems nearby. Land a bargain car hire deal with DriveNow, and venture out of the city. Here are some exciting destinations within a few hours of Chicago.

Hike the Empire Bluff Trail

Drive five hours from Chicago into Michigan for one of the region’s most popular short hikes. The 2.4 km trail leads you through beech-maple forest to coastal boardwalks that overlook Lake Michigan. The hike rises above the deep blue waters and sand dunes, offering spectacular views of the coast. Beware of some steeper sections, but for the most part it’s a family-friendly hike. Pack some lunch so you can enjoy the scenery before heading back to your car.

Kayak Chicago River

Follow a certified instructor who will show you how to kayak. Once you have a few tricks and techniques under your belt, you’re ready to start your day on the water. There’s also the option of kayaking Lake Michigan or even paddling the Chicago River at night. See the city skyscrapers light up from a distance.

Find your inner kid at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre

Immerse yourself in all things LEGO. At LEGOLAND Discovery Centre it’s almost as if you’ve jumped into a city of LEGO bricks! One of the most popular things to see here include MINILAND, which features iconic Chicago landmarks. Admire the Chicago skyline which is built from 1 million LEGO bricks. You can also tour the LEGO factory, play and improve your LEGO-building techniques or watch 4-D cinema.

Enjoy the outdoors at Indiana Dunes

About 45 minutes southeast of Chicago, on the southern tip of Lake Michigan and in the state of Indiana, are the famous Indiana Dunes. The breathtaking scenery is what makes this area so popular for beach-goers. The wide sandy beaches, easy walking and riding trails through dunes and forest make this a perfect place to get active a sunny day.

Explore Starved Rock State Park

Drive an hour and a half southwest of Chicago to uncover a natural gem along the Illinois River. Starved Rock State Park features several steep sandstone canyons which were formed by glacial meltwater. The park also has 14 waterfalls and many trails. All lead to stunning views and you’re likely to encounter wildlife, such as deer and maybe even eagles along the way.


Brianna Piazza

Brianna Piazza

Brianna Piazza is an Australian television reporter and part-time travel blogger. Originally from Melbourne, she's currently living in Cairns where she works for WIN News and spends her weekends exploring the outdoors Far North Queensland.

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