Daily life can sometimes feel overwhelming or even a little mundane between getting the kids to school and activities. A short road trip is the perfect way to get some relaxing time away from the routine, with or without the kiddos. Thankfully, Westmont, Illinois, is surrounded by interesting and beautiful places just a few hours or so away. Next time you’re looking for a quick getaway from everyday life, consider taking one of these five relaxing day trips, and explore the Midwest.
Image via Flickr by Jim Bauer
Want to enjoy a big city but you’ve seen all there is to see of downtown Chicago? Check out Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This city has everything, from a rich history to vibrant art culture and beautiful parks along Lake Michigan. You’ll head about 94 miles north following Interstate 94 to get to the city with a pretty simple drive. If you arrive hungry, stop at the Milwaukee Public Market to dive right into the local food scene. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day offering coffee, pastries, cuisines from around the world, wine, and beer.
If you’re an art buff, you’ve got to visit the Milwaukee Art Museum. Famous works by world-renowned artists like Georgia O’Keefe (a Wisconsin native), Monet, Kandinsky, Picasso, Miró, and more grace the walls of this museum. Visitors are welcome Thursday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tickets cost $19 for adults with discounts for seniors, students, military, teachers, and children. You can reserve your tickets online ahead of time as you plan your trip.
Other must-see spots in Milwaukee include the Basilica of Saint Josaphat, the Pabst Mansion, Lakefront Brewery, Miller Park, and the Harley Davidson Museum. Don’t forget to enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Milwaukee RiverWalk while you’re there.
Loop around the southern tip of Lake Michigan up to Holland for a getaway that’s ideal for beer and history lovers. It can be a bit of a drive depending on when you go, as you’ll travel about 170 miles from Westmont, but this charming small town is worth it. Arrive early to allow plenty of time to soak in everything this area has to offer.
New Holland Brewing Company creates craft beer and spirits that are loved by locals and people around the country. Visit the Holland Brewpub for yummy menu items like unique pizzas, loaded sandwiches, and lots of kid-friendly options. The tap list is always changing, but they regularly offer New Holland Brewing staples like the Golden Sails lager, the Hazy River IPA, and The Poet oatmeal stout. If you’re not into beer, try one of their cocktails made with New Holland spirits including Lake Life Vodka, Beer Barrel Bourbon, and Knickerbocker Gin.
True to its name, Holland, Michigan, is home to a large Dutch population with tons of historic and cultural areas you need to check out. Visit Windmill Island Gardens to see a windmill that’s over 250 years old and tour a 36-acre island. If you’ve got kids along for the trip, head to Nelis’ Dutch Village and let them try on some authentic wooden clogs. The Holland Museum and Veldheer Tulip Garden are also worth a stop.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Lake Geneva is about 80 miles north and provides one of the most serene getaway spots within a few hours of Westmont. This picturesque town is perfect for adventure and relaxation. Get out on the water in a canoe or kayak, enjoy some thrills while water skiing or ziplining, burn some calories on forest hiking trails, or totally relax at one of several local spas.
The Geneva lakeshore path takes visitors around the lake through the yards of historic homes for an immersive experience of the area. A tour of the entire path would take a while as it covers 26 miles, so be sure to plan out your walk so the day doesn’t get away from you. A paved section of the path starts at the Lake Geneva Public Library, which is ideal for those with kids or mobility concerns.
Oak Park, Illinois
Just 15 miles from Westmont, Oak Park is an easy place to spend a day without a lot of driving. This charming town is home to many fun places to shop, eat, learn, and relax. Visit Scoville Park and its World War I memorial and then walk along North Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street to check out the area’s best restaurants, cafes, and boutiques. Grab dinner at Tre Sorelle Ristorante and enjoy some amazing Italian cuisine.
Illinois native, Frank Lloyd Wright, made Oak Park home to the largest collection of his architecture in the world. The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is a must-see. Indoor and outdoor tours are offered Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and ticket prices vary according to the type of tour you choose. Other Wright buildings worth visiting in the area include the Unity Temple, Robie House, The Rookery, and Bach House.
Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
Indiana Dunes National Park, is about 60 miles from Westmont, right on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Walk along more than 3 miles of shoreline through lush forests, over sand dunes, and around marshes. Choose from the nine different beaches to set up shop and relax for the day, or take on some of the challenging 50 miles of trails in the park. Whether you find sunbathing or working up a sweat relaxing, you’ll discover something to enjoy here.
The national park covers 15,000 acres of land, so there’s much to enjoy and explore. Most of the beaches offer free entrance, and the park welcomes visitors daily from dawn until dusk. If you decide to stay overnight, there are several campgrounds available for a fee with basic amenities.
These are Crème de la Crème of Westmont’s picks for enjoyable day trips within an hour or so of the city. Have you visited any of these spots? What did you think? Let us know if we missed a day time that you think is a must-try for our readers and maybe we’ll need to add it to our list.