A Little Time and a Keyboard: 8 Fall Road Trip Ideas from Chicago

8 Fall Road Trip Ideas from Chicago

Sunday, August 31, 2014

We do have a couple of more weeks of summer to enjoy---and, boy, I will be enjoying them! Yet, fall is right around the corner so you may want to look ahead and plan those fall road trips! Here are a few ideas for a fall getaway!

Spring Grove and McHenry, Illinois

Two of my FAVORITE fall destinations can be found not too far off of 12 as you head north to Wisconsin. Stade's Shades of Autumn Festival is such an old fashioned good time! A fun petting zoo, corn cannons, pumpkin cannon, corn maze, pedal cars, zipline and more will keep your kids busy and smiling! I love that Stade's sells a bracelet for unlimited attractions (with the exception of two). This is great for younger kids!

Spring Grove is home to Richardson Adventure Farm--famous for the World's Largest Corn Maze! The Corn Maze features different designs each year and is a total work of art to behold! Of course, running it is fun and there are different challenges you can accept! There are plenty of exits, so worry not! The Farm is more than the Corn Maze though--all sorts of amusements including my daughter's favorite--the ziplines will make for a wonderful family day!

Old World Wisconsin

Last September, we visited Old World Wisconsin and I think that the fall is the perfect season to visit. Old World Wisconsin is quite a large site set in a preserve with a number of working farms reflecting ethnic groups that settled Wisconsin. Considering how much there is to see and explore, cooler fall temperatures make the visit quite pleasant allowing you to see more! During September and October, Old World Wisconsin holds Autumn on the Farms where you can witness and help with farm chores necessary to handle the harvest and prepare for winter. Different activities are highlighted each weekend. Old World Wisconsin is located in Eagle which is about 1.5 hours from the Chicagoland area. If you are in the area, also squeeze in a stop at the Elegant Farmer for epicurean treasures!

Peoria, Illinois

Peoria is about a 3 hour drive from the Chicago area. Wildlife Prairie Park in nearby Hanna City is one of our favorite places to visit when in Peoria. A stunning nature preserve with native animals including bison in a large pasture, fall is the perfect time to spend a day exploring. The Caterpillar Visitor's Center, Riverfront Museum and Luthy Botanical Gardens are all great additions to a Peoria itinerary. For food--definitely check out One World near the Bradley campus. One World is a coffee house the is so much more--great breakfasts, lunches and baked goods!

Racine, Wisconsin
Racine is a 1-1.5 hour drive from here, making it an easy option for families looking to explore without going too far. September 12-14 marks Fall Harvest Days including a tractor pull, farm equipment show, corn shucking, sawmill demo, flea market and much more. Plus, it is not far from Apple Holler so you can make a stop there as well. The weekend of September 27-28 also will be a family fun time. There will be a Party on the Pavement on September 27 with amusements, an art fair, antique car show and more in Downtown Racine. September 28 is the Preservation Racine Tour of Historic Places day for touring historic places in Racine. The tour is self guided but will be a good way to learn about Racine. When in Racine, don't forget to grab a Kringle from one of their great Danish bakeries!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Of course, fall brings Oktoberfest and where better to celebrate Oktoberfest than Milwaukee! October 10-12 Sprecher has a downtown Oktoberfest with a Kids Zone, Bags Tournament, Stein Hoisting, music food and more. Nearby Glendale hosts Wisconsin's oldest Bavarian Celebration every weekend in September with food, entertainment and music. If you are in Milwaukee don't forget to explore and hit highlights like the Discovery World Museum, Milwaukee Public Market and Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee is about 2-2.5 hours from the Chicagoland area.

Coloma, Michigan

If your fall travels take you to Michigan, Jollay Orchards in Coloma, Michigan has a harvest festival that includes apple and pumpkin picking. Also in Coloma, you will find Grandpa's Cider Mill, The Chocolate Garden and Contessa Wine Cellars. I have to say that Contessa Wine Cellars has my favorite location of all of the Michigan wineries I have been to. A gorgeous winery on a hill overlooking a vineyard. Just beautiful. Coloma is about 2-2.5 hours from the Chicagoland area.

Hendricks County, Indiana

Those who have been reading for awhile know how much we loved our visit to Hendricks County, Indiana. Thinking about the more rural areas we went through, it is probably gorgeous in the fall! Avon has a Zombie Walk on September 27 which is certainly going to be a lot of fun! Plus, there will be a prairie maze at McCloud Nature Park September 13-October 31 and a corn maze and more at Beasley's Orchard September 19-October 31. Check out our series for more finds! Hendricks County is about 4-4.5 hours from the Chicagoland area.

Santa Claus, Indiana

Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort has extremely festive Halloween weekends starting September 19. The fun includes festively frightening activities and a cabin or site decorating contest. Lake Rudolph is in a truly picturesque forest setting--a really beautiful spot for fall! Lake Rudolph is about 5-6 hours from the Chicagoland area.

Of course, there is much more to do throughout the fall! Get out there!


  1. What a bunch of great road trips you have compiled! What is a bags tournament?

    1. Bags basically is like a bean bag toss--so a bean bag toss tournament. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you are having a nice weekend!

  2. Love these ideas! We visited Hendricks County a few years back in the late fall, and it was a pretty nice time to be there. Places like Milwaukee are definitely on my Midwest bucket list (I really want to see the art museum there), and I'm wondering if Racine still has a Kewpee Burger! I've heard a lot about Old World Wisconsin as well...it looks like a great place for a history buff like me :)

    1. We will be going to Racine in a couple of weeks. Is the burger at the Kewpee Sandwich Shop, I assume? You would definitely like Old World Wisconsin. It is amazing! Definitely a whole day trip! It is one of those places that wowed me as a child and an adult!

    2. Dominique - Absolutely! Kewpee Sandwich Shop is alive and well in Downtown Racine. Still serving up burgers and hand-dipped shakes.

    3. Yes, Kewpee's is still open on Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Racine.

  3. These places all look really fun! Yet another reason we need to plan a family trip to the Chicago area!

    1. Thanks! Let me know when you guys decided to come this way--I could definitely give you a list of neat places!

  4. So many great places to visit. It's hard to pick a place to begin! I think I'd love to visit Old World Wisconsin to start.