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Door County, Wisconsin
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The most secluded getaways from Chicago

Escape Chicago at these cozy secluded getaways located throughout the Midwest.

Written by
Sarah Medina
&
Emma Krupp
Contributor
Lindsay Eanet
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Living in the city is great, but it's natural to crave time in a place that's a bit more relaxing every once in a while. If your budget precludes you from jetsetting around the world, that doesn't mean you have to stay hunkered down. Instead of pining for a far-flung trip, might we suggest a Midwestern weekend getaway from Chicago? We rounded up a list of the most incredible remote destinations throughout the region, perfect for holing up for a few days and exploring nature. Go hiking along Lake Michigan or book an extra cozy Airbnb cabin near Chicago in Wisconsin or Michigan—whatever your mood, a host of peaceful options await you. Pack up a car and take a roadtrip to visit the most secluded getaways from Chicago. 

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best day trips from Chicago

Secluded getaways from Chicago

The Saugatuck and Douglas region is mostly famous as a summertime destination, which makes sense: With 10 spectacular miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the sparking beaches and charming waterfront towns make for a perfect summer getaway. Enjoy swimming, hiking and exploring at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, and when you've had enough nature, explore the unique gifts at the colorful Butler Street Shops. At night, enjoy a pint at Saugatuck Brewing Company

Known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County is made up of more than a dozen small towns located on a beautiful 70-mile peninsula surrounded by the shimmering waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay. With 53 public beaches, five state parks, and 300 miles of shoreline, there's plenty of space to get away from it all. Cave Point County Park is a marvel in all seasons—kayak, swim and explore the underwater caves in the summer, or don some snowshoes and explore the othewordly frozen majesty in winter.

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Sand and solitude are what you'll find at this national park in Indiana which features 15,000 acres of gorgeous nature. For hikers, there are 50 miles of trails over the park's namesake dunes but you'll also encounter wetlands, prairies, rivers and forests. The park includes 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan, with nine beaches for every kind of vacationer. Relax at the Lake View Picnic Area at Kemil Beach, splash around or play some sports at the popular Porter Beach, or try to tackle the mighty Mount Baldy, the largest "living" dune in the area, which moves about 5–10 feet every year.

The stunning beaches of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore should be on every Midwesterner's bucket list. The Lakeshore offers 35 miles of scenic coastline, forests and dunes in northern Michigan. The massive Dune Climb offers scenic views in the summer, or take in endless vistas of the water at the Pyramid Point Trail. More adventurous travelers can enjoy hiking, kayaking, tubing and canoeing, or even looking for fragments of shipwrecks that sometimes appear along the water.

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Famous for its lakes, cranberries and the site of a notorious FBI shootout, Manitowish Waters is made up of 10 lakes and more than 4,200 acres of Wisconsin’s Northwoods. The crystal-clear waters offer an abundance of water sports, while the area in general is prime for fishing, bird watching, hiking, biking, and cross country skiing in the snowier months. Once dinner calls, head to the Little Bohemia Lodge, where you can still see the bullet holes from the 1934 shootout between gangster John Dillinger and the FBI.

The city of Baraboo's claim to fame might be Circus World Museum (this is the hometown of the Ringling brothers), but you're here for Devil’s Lake State Park, located just south of the city. The largest state park in Wisconsin offers numerous hiking trails but also a number of areas for rock climbing (for visitors of any skill level), as well as eight miles of bike trails and more than 400 campsites. 

NOTE: An annual park sticker or trail pass is required to visit state parks and trails. Buy before you go: passes are not available for purchase at the parks. Parks may also limit entrance based on capacity. 

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Hoosier National Forest, in the hills of south central Indiana, offers rolling hills, back-country trails, and rural crossroad communities across 203,000 acres. Try your luck on Two Lakes Loop Trail, which features exciting rock formations, babbling rivers, and multiple campsites along the lakes. 

Shawnee National Forest
Photograph: Shutterstock

8. Shawnee National Forest

It's a bit of a trek to this spot between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers at the opposite end of Illinois, but the views from the awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods wilderness area are worth the trip. Reflect or take a dip by Jackson Falls, or find some inner peace on the more than 400 miles of hiking and equestrian trails. There's plenty of camping, but if you prefer, Shawnee Forest Cabins provide options with Wi-Fi, hot tubs and fireplaces. Oh, and you can rent a treehouse

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