Venturing outside of your day-to-day comfort zone and experiencing the wonders that Illinois has to offer can bring new experiences without having to travel too far. These day trips within two hours of Wheeling, IL are all extremely accessible and a fun way to spend the day.
A quick 40-minute drive from Wheeling, Oak Park is known for its Prairie-style architecture, Write-designed buildings, and the Unity Temple. Two of the most popular destinations in Oak Park are the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, as well as the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District which offers both guided and individual tours.
Located on the southeastern side of Lake Michigan, The Indiana Dunes encompass 15,000 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and dunes rising 200 feet high across 15 miles of beaches. With open space to explore and get some exercise, the dunes are also located on the migratory flight path of various Midwest wildlife and bald eagles.
If you’re visiting during October, be sure to make reservations to explore the give original homes from 1933 that are part of the Century of Progress Home Tour.
Home to the lakefront campus of Northwestern University, The North Shore is a quick drive from Wheeling.
If you stop by the Northwestern campus, visit the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art (free admittance) and kayak or paddleboard out of the Sailing Center. The 1873 Grosse Point Lighthouse hosts various art shows throughout the year and adjacent from it is Wilmette, the only white-domed, garden-encircled Baha’i House of Worship, the only one in the United States.
Two of our staff favorites also include the Chicago Botanic Garden and Lake Forest’s Market Square. The 385-acre botanic garden features 27 themed gardens with various walking and bike paths that will have you in awe. Market Square features high-end boutique shopping, a perfect way to end a girls trip!
Referred to as Chicago’s version of the Hamptons, Lake Geneva is a small historic town that became a getaway after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 as a way for wealthy families to escape the charred city. Now the town is home to independent shops and restaurants along the shore, as well as several outdoor activities such as horseback riding, zip lining, skiing, and a 21-mile shoreline path.
On your drive to Lake Geneva, be sure to stop at Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets, Mars Cheese Castle, Apple Holler Orchard, and the River Valley Ranch mushroom farm.