With spring (technically) here and summer on the not-too-distant horizon, Chicago’s finally starting to come alive. But, tempting though it might be to stay within city limits, it’s also the perfect time to take some road trips, too. From exploring Mother Nature to indulging in a romantic retreat and more, here are five Total Charters-recommended getaways to schedule this season.
For nature: Starved Rock State Park
There’s a reason that this bastion for all things outdoors is one of the state’s most beloved destinations: From fishing on the Illinois River to traversing 13 miles of trails, ample opportunities abound be one with nature and unplug from city life. While there’s beautiful wildflower, plants and animal life to fawn over, casual and hardcore hikers alike will definitely be drawn to the park’s many canyons, 14 of which boast waterfalls. Your legs and Instagram are about to log some mileage. 2668 E. 875th Rd., Oglesby, IL, 815.667.4726
Recommendedcharter:Servicing Chicago and surrounding areas, Chicago Charter Bus Company's fleet of minibusses makes its a go-to for a group outing like this.
For romance: St. Joseph, MI
Just two hours outside of the city, this cozy town in the southwest corner of the state is close enough for a quick day trip, but brimming with enough natural beauty, nearby wineries and more to warrant a longer getaway. Lookout points to catch a scenic Lake Michigan sunset permeate the town, but the experience is best enjoyed on the snap-worthy shores of Silver Beach, whose vistas are framed by a picturesque lighthouse and pier.
Recommended charter: With service to cities nationwide, National Bus Charter is at the ready when it comes to a quick Midwest jaunt.
For jaw-dropping beauty: Traverse City, MI
Want to explore even more of the Mitten State? A longer trek up the state’s west side rewards you with Traverse City, home to—among its many other rave-worthy features—Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, once minted “America’s Most Beautiful Place” by Good Morning America (after a quick Google search, we won’t dispute). Dazzling displays of nature aside, TC also boasts a shoppable downtown, ample breweries and the perennially popular National Cherry Festival.
Recommended charter: With Wifi-equipped busses touting ample luggage room, TVs and more, GOGO Charters's vehicles make for smooth sailing on the road.
For luxe R&R: Lake Geneva, WI
A quick jaunt from Chicago, this resort town has long been a preferred go-to for Chicagoans looking for relaxing escape. Small surprise why: from touring the waters with a narrated boat tour on the Lake Geneva Cruise Line to hitting the links at Geneva National Resort (which features Arnold Palmer-, Gary Player- and Lee Trevino-designed courses), this Midwest treasure is at no shortage of primo options for unwinding. Your short game might not improve, but your weekend definitely will.
Recommended charter: Whether you need a big motor coach or a smaller minibus, Total Charters has you covered.
For a fierce sports rivalry: St. Louis, MO
Serious Cubs fan or not, seeing The Northsiders square off against one of their most storied rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, is a definite must-see on any sports nut’s summer bucket list. But why do it from a crowded Wrigleyville bar when you could make the actual trip to Busch Stadium? Give it a go when the team travels there for multiple series this summer. The final score might not always be favorable, but it’s about the journey, not the destination (or so they say).
Recommended charter: Boasting service to St. Louis, Total Charters is a must-book.