Fun Day Trips Around Chicago for Families

Families with kids have a wealth of day trip options in the Chicago area. Water slides and roller coasters are a scant hour’s drive from Chicago at Six Flags Great America. A slightly longer drive will take visitors to Metropolis to visit Superman and to Garden of the Gods and Illinois Beach State Park for camping and hiking. Or get your kids in the car and take a road trip up historic Route 66.

1015 Howard Ave, Des Plaines, IL 60018, USA
A walking path, golf course, fishing pier, paddleboat rentals, and volleyball courts ensure that everyone gets to experience nature in their favorite way at this 76-acre park. In the summertime, listen to one of the frequent live concerts while the kids burn off energy running around on the grass.
7128 Barry St, Rosemont, IL 60018, USA
In the warm months, the Rosemont Park District’s Barry Recreational Center offers a fun, inexpensive way to keep kids cool—by splashing around in a safe play area with lots of fountains. At $5 a head for non-residents, it’s as cheap and easy a thrill as you can imagine (especially if you’re five years old).
House on the Rock, Wyoming, WI 53588, USA
A 14-room house that’s now a museum designed and curated by Alex Jordan to house his vast and interesting collections of stuff, it’s easy to spend a whole day in the House on the Rock and never even get to the rest of the 200 acres surrounding area. If you like steampunk, Oriental art, merry-go-rounds, mechanical clocks, wax figurines, the weird, the collectible or the unusual then you should pack up your kids and take them to House on the Rock. At a little over 3 hours from Chicago, it’s a most worthy day trip. To quote one visitor “you’ll be shocked, taken aback, intrigued, inspired, amused, entertained, and bewildered” and who doesn’t want that? Tours through the house are self-guided allowing you to take as much or as little time as you’d like with the collections. Don’t leave before you stand in the Infinity Room and look through the glass cocktail table at the forest floor 156 feet below you.
50 Illinois 145
Get everyone outdoors and spend a day hiking, climbing and picnicking in one of Illinois’ most beautiful parks. Garden of the Gods is part of the Shawnee National Forest and has 5.5 miles of interconnected trailways meandering around beautiful limestone rock formations. Some of the trails go by cliff edges with 100 foot drops into gorgeous bluffs with views over the forested lands of the Midwest, especially beautiful in the fall when the trees are changing colors. Garden of the Gods is a 5 hour drive from Chicago but they have camping facilities. Bring hiking boots or walking shoes and look out for deer on the hilly road into the park. Park admission is free and camp sites cost $5 with the nearest town about 20 minutes away.
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