Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right Illinois icon-chevron-right Chicago icon-chevron-right The most secluded getaways from Chicago
Mackinac Island
Photograph: Shutterstock

The most secluded getaways from Chicago

These secluded getaways from Chicago provide all the fun and none of the people

By Sarah Medina
Advertising

In summers past you might have found yourself battling for space on Chicago's best beaches or hitting up popular vacation destinations like California and Portugal. Not so much this year, right? This is the summer where we stay a little closer to home and appreciate everything the Midwest has to offer. These secluded getaways from Chicago have everything you're looking for—beaches, watersports, hiking—and significantly less people. All you have to do in hop in the car and take a roadtrip from Chicago to one of these spots in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and beyond, then bask in the nature and solitude. 

RECOMMENDED: The best day trips from Chicago

Secluded getaways from Chicago

Indiana Dunes State Park
Indiana Dunes State Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Indiana Dunes National Park

Sand and solitude is what you'll find at this national park in Indiana which includes 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. For those seeking a little sun, the park hugs 15 miles of the shouthern shore of Lake Michigan (though the beach is likely to have more people around). Complete your stay with a night spent at Dunewood Campground (available April 1–Oct 31).  

Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island
Photograph: Shutterstock

2. Mackinac Island

No cars. No chain hotels. Just world-famous Mackinac Island Fudge. Sounds like the perfect getaway to us. Hike, bike or paddle around the island, also known as the "Jewel of the Great Lakes," before ending the day with a ferry ride under the mighty Mackinac Bridge while enjoyoing world-famous fudge, of course. Oh, and did we mention that the only way to get around on the car-free island is by bike or horse-drawn carriage? Fun. 

Advertising
Door County, Wisconsin
Door County, Wisconsin
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Door County, Wisconsin

Known as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County is made up of more than a dozen small towns located on a beautiful 75-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. Try the car-free island campsite at Rock Island State Park or a secluded, beachy trip to Newport State Park.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

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. Some spots, like Clinch Park and Bryant Park, can get crowded quickly, so seek out the more secluded Haserot and North Bar Lake beaches for a uninterrupted, scenic views. If you have access to a boat, Manitou Islands is another spot where you're unlikely to see crowds of people. 

Advertising

5. Manitowish Waters

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. Once dinner calls, head to Little Bohemia, where you can still see the bullet holes from the 1934 shootout between gangster John Dillinger and the FBI.

Devil's Lake State Park
Devil's Lake State Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Devil’s Lake State Park

The city of Baraboo's claim to fame might beCircus 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. Come winter, it also has the best hill sledding around. 

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. 

Advertising
Hoosier National Forest
Hoosier National Forest
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Hoosier National Forest

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. 

The Oriole in Saugatuck, MI
The Oriole in Saugatuck, MI
Photograph: Courtesy Airbnb

8. Saugatuck, Michigan

Sun. Sand. Water. As far as the eye can see. With 10 spectacular miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the Saugatuck and Douglas region is perfect for a summer getaway. In fact, these neighboring towns have garnered a lot of national attention recently for their beauty and small-town vibes. But don't let that deter you; while Oval Beach might be nationally recognized, there are tons of other, more secluded, sandy patched to make a trip worthwhile. 

Need more travel inspiration?

Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising