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Road trip ideas?
July 1, 2010 9:05 PM   Subscribe

I need all of you clever, fun mefites to help me figure out were to go on my road trip from Chicago...

Here are the specifics... We will be leaving Chicago on Thursday morning and must be home by late Sunday (only to be back at work by Monday morning, so if it's a really late return on Sunday, that's fine.) Neither of us mind being in the car for long periods, and half of the allure of this trip is the actual driving. I guess that means a destination that is 10 (or even more?) hours away is not undoable. I know it is a very short period of time, and that a long drive would leave us little time at our destination; that is totally fine. Any ideas where to head to? Thanks guys!
posted by muxnaw to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well. you could do a Minnesota trip. Go to Minneapolis, spend a night. Go to Duluth and check out Lake Superior and then head back. Chicago to Minneapolis is about 6-6.5 hours. Duluth is 8.5 hours from Chicago (only a couple hours outside of Minneapolis). Maybe go to Minneapolis and do a day trip to Duluth. Duluth had a charm to it. Some good breweries. Good fish (if you eat seafood). The road into town is cut in the side of hill, a series of switchbacks that offer some great views of Superior. Minneapolis/St Paul are just fun. See a Twins game at their new park.

Alternately, get down to St Louis. Some fun areas, good art museum. The arch. 6-6.5 hours.

I'd factor the weather forecast before driving off, as it looks like the plains may have storms over the weekend.

Safe travels.
posted by zerobyproxy at 11:08 PM on July 1, 2010


The House on The Rock in Spring Green, WI. About 3 hours away from Chicago-- spend the night, then head over to Dyersville, Iowa to see the Field of Dreams (before it's sold and most likely wiped off the face of the earth). Actually, looking at the mileage/travel time, switch it up-- Drive out to Iowa first (3 hrs from Chicago). Visit FoD, then head up to House on the Rock the same day, which is only 1.5 hrs away from FoD and has more to do over a day and a half.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:16 AM on July 2, 2010


I'll be heading to Minneapolis in August and I live in northwest Indiana, not far from Chicago. I've been advised not to take 94 by another Mefite due to construction, but if you are willing to brave it (check Google Maps Traffic) the Jelly Belly factory is along the way in WI. You could also hit the Mall of America in MN.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:52 AM on July 2, 2010


Drive up the eastern coast of the lake, visit Sleeping Bear Dunes Natl. Lakeshore and go wine-tasting in the Leelanau Peninsula.
posted by jon1270 at 2:14 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, road trips from Chicago... Here are some of our favorites:

The UP of Michigan: Very peaceful, beautiful lakeshore beaches, quite rustic and often quirky, plus there's Lakenenland which is a mind-blowing collection of junk sculptures

Amish country in Indiana: Including Nappannee and surrounding towns. There's Amish Acres, lots of interesting flea markets and the like, plus it's just fun driving through the country looking at the Amish homesteads mixed among more modern spreads. NB: Everything, and I mean everything, is closed on Sunday. But on Sunday you could go to:

Columbus, IN: This is an architectural marvel, stuck in the middle of farm country. The buildings -- public and commercial -- are truly marvelous and well worth seeing.

Land Between The Lakes: Spanning both Kentucky and Tennessee, this is a beautiful and peaceful natural area. (NB: I haven't yet visited the area, but I've flown over it and have it on my list of road-trip destinations.)
posted by DrGail at 4:46 AM on July 2, 2010


Minneapolis in the summer. Ahhh... Don't go unless you are prepared to want to live there. Minneapolis is awesome. My wife and I did a weekend there and stayed at a hotel downtown. We explored day (I'm from there) and night. I would recommend driving up 35 which hugs the Mississippi river nearly the entire way. Very scenic and since you're into the driving part, I think you'd love it. You're looking at an 8 hour drive, maybe more.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:20 AM on July 2, 2010


You could do a circuit route through Mackinac Island in Michigan--it's about 8 as the Google Maps flies going the easterly route through Indiana/Michigan, and 9 hours along the westerly route through the UP and Wisconsin.
posted by drlith at 5:27 AM on July 2, 2010


I love road trips! I like to say that we're taking the road trip tour of the upper Midwest.

We've been to Des Moines, Minneapolis, Madison (+The House on the Rock,) Milwaukee, and Ann Arbor.

Madison is a great weekend trip. The last time we went up there it was Friday evening and we came home Sunday. Minneapolis I would wait until you had more time. Don't get me wrong -- I fell in love with the place and just last night was lamenting to my husband that we didn't live there. There's just so much to do! Ann Arbor is a fun weekend trip, too. I loved Des Moines and think that could be a fun weekend. The art museum is free!

Now I want to go to the UP of Michigan.
posted by sugarfish at 6:09 AM on July 2, 2010


Washington Island on Door County. Approximately 6 hour drive from Chicago (does not include ferry ride to the island). Camping or resorts, beaches, biking, quiet. Great if you like a leisurely couple of days, terrible if you want any kind of nightlife or city excitement.

If you have $$, I would highly recommend staying at the American Club in Kohler, WI on your way up to Door County. (Or stay at The Inn at Woodlake, which is less expensive, and you can have breakfast/dinner at the main club.)

It'd really be helpful to know what you're interested in. There's plenty of canoeing, kayaking and fishing along the lakefront. There are art museums on your way. There's quaint shopping in Cedarburg, Port Washington, and throughout Door County. If you're a foodie I can't help you too much, but there are plenty of nice restaurants in Milwaukee and the aforementioned American Club is a five star place.
posted by desjardins at 6:20 AM on July 2, 2010


One of the best road trips I ever took from N. IL when I was in college was to Memphis, TN. Great nightlife and even better food. Not enough driving? Continue to New Orleans.
posted by torquemaniac at 7:32 AM on July 2, 2010


I did the House on the Rock and that place is crazy. Perfect for a road trip. Try Wisconsin Dells if you are into cheesy tourist stuff although, really, the upper Dells are very pretty. Oh, yeah, and the circus museum in Baraboo. That place rocks! Round it out with a trip to Madison and that would be a great road trip.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:24 PM on July 2, 2010


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