Get away from Chicago for a weekend of swimming in indoor & outdoor pools, relaxing at a spa, skiing, a game of golf, boutique shopping and museums. Many nearby hotels, resorts and inns offer affordable room rates and seasonal packages. Whether you are looking to relax on the beach, hike, bike, or go on a fun shopping trip, there is plenty to choose from within a few hours of Chicago. We've included excellent options for couples and families.
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»Grand Geneva Resort - 1 hour 30 minutes from Chicago
Grand Geneva Resort is conveniently located between Chicago and Milwaukee, offering a getaway filled with romance and adventure. The property has newly renovated guest rooms and suites, a golf course, fitness center and a spa. If you are planning a family trip, Moose Mountain Falls Waterpark offers 50,000 square feet of heated watersides, tubing on the lazy river, hot tubs and lounge chairs. Call ahead of time to purchase day passes which are based on availability and may be sold out on peak holiday weekends.
The Fitness Center offers classes such as cycling and yoga. Try your skills on the 35-foot climbing wall at the gym - if you've always wanted to try climbing, here is your chance. There is also a basketball court, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, an indoor lap pool and locker rooms with sauna and steam rooms. After the workout, visit the wellness center for a relaxing massage.
There are 36 holes of championship golf, featuring The Brute and The Highlands courses. The Brute offers one of the most challenging layouts in the Midwest. The Highlands is a Scottish style course. Other activities include lake cruises, tours of the historic downtown and shopping. Choose from three main restaurants serving a variety of dishes, including the Champagne Sunday Brunch. In the winter The Mountain Top offers downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing. Weekend specials start at $80 per person (website).
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»Golf, Pools & Spa - 30 Minutes from Chicago
Located 30 minutes from downtown Chicago, Hilton Chicago/Indian Lakes offers 225 acres of fun, including scenic golf, indoor and outdoor pools, and luxurious spa treatments. Many dining choices are available, whether you want a romantic dinner for two or a family restaurant. Nightly rates start at $129, including free internet access. The resort often offers special packages for families (630-529-0200, website).
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»Grand Traverse Resort - 5 hours
Located on 1,400 acres on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is a popular spot for families. There are four 18 hole golf courses, including The Bear designed by Jack Nicklaus, The Wolverine by Gary Player, and Spruce Run by William Newcomb. For those who wish to improve their game, the Jim McLean Golf School can help golfers of any level get even better.
There is a 100,000 square foot spa complex which features treatment space, workout facilities and a tennis center. Arrive early for your treatment to enjoy the sauna, two indoor swimming pools, four whirlpools and the relaxation room. Play tennis, work out and take a yoga class to improve your fitness.
The resort offers three accommodation choices: condominiums, rooms in the hotel or the seventeen-story Tower with views of Lake Michigan. The 236 condos, located either on the fairways or the beachfront, all have a furnished dining area, kitchenette, a living room with a queen-size sofa sleeper, and a bedroom with a queen-size bed. The condos are great for families. Rooms in both the Tower and in the hotel have elevated views of the lake and are centrally located near the restaurant, the spa, and the Tower Gallery of Shops. Guests can select from three restaurants, the Trillium Restaurant and Lounge located on the 16th and 17th floors of the Tower, the more casual Sweetwater Café, and the Grille at the resort's clubhouse. Summer is the best time to go because the warm weather enables guests to try out all of the resorts activities. However, the spring and fall months are less crowded. The resort is within reasonable driving distance from Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Lansing (800-236-1577, website).
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»The Abbey Resort - 1 hour 40 minutes
The Abbey Resort is a full service getaway on 90 scenic acres near the Fontana harbor, offering 334 deluxe guestrooms, 13 spacious suites and 13 villas. The 35,000-square-foot Avani Spa offers massages, facials, wraps, aromatherapy and saunas on your weekend trip.
Resort facilities include a fitness center, aerobic studio, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a disk golf course, and a games arcade for kids. Dining options range from casual cafes to gourmet restaurants, including 240 West, Café Latte, the Waterfront Restaurant Bar & Grill, Bar West and Porto. Weekend activities include watersports, bike rides, golf, walking and jogging around the lake. Rooms start at $89 per night (website).
»The Newport Resort - 4 hours 30 minutes
The Newport Resort is a family-friendly getaway in Door County, just minutes from the beach. The resort has 59 rooms and suites with whirlpool tubs, cozy sitting areas and kitchenettes. There is an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, and game room. Guests can read in the library, unwind in the lobby lounge, and stroll through the garden. Located within walking distance of numerous eating establishments in
Egg Harbor, the Newport Resort is a great choice for family vacations and romantic retreats. Sandy beaches, world-class golf courses, and state parks offer plenty of outdoor entertainment during the summer, and cross-counting skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding in the winter. Rooms start at $79 per night (website).
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»The Knickerbocker on the Lake - 1 hour 30 minutes
The Knickerbocker on the Lake is a restored boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. The property is within walking distance of a number of restaurants, museums, theaters, and transportation options. The 160 guest rooms and suites are decorated with period-influenced furniture and modern conveniences such as fully equipped kitchenettes and Wi-Fi. Some suites have views of the picturesque Lake Michigan shoreline.
The full service Knick Salon and Spa offes invigorating treatments, while the Juneau Room is a spacious area ideal for hosting special events. Guests can work out at the 24-hour fitness center, request custom tailoring and valet dry cleaning. The Knick Restaurant offers upscale dining, with a menu that provides something to suit every gourmand. Weekend guests should not miss the bountiful Sunday brunche. Rooms start at $119 per night (website).