Who's Got Cabin Fever? 5 Ideas for a Staycation near Chicago

You don't have to travel far to enjoy a great getaway with your family

By Sara Yaniga, Macaroni KID Chicago March 11, 2023

Feel the need to get away but want to stay close to home because of the pandemic? We get it! So we've rounded up five great staycation ideas for Chicago. Whether you want to get away overnight or just for a day trip close to Chicago, here are five ways to enjoy a family staycation within a short drive of Chicago, IL.

1. Get "Awave From it All" in Michigan City

Pack light because this beautiful Beachwalk Resort Community vacation rental has everything you need to get "Awave from it All"!  This rental has plenty of space to bring your friends or family and is only about an hour and a half from downtown Chicago in Michigan City.  The main house can sleep 11 with four bedrooms, and the guest house has three bedrooms to sleep 5, ideal for large families or two families to share. Amenities include a heated community pool, basketball court, gas grill, fire pit kayaks, and plenty of space for relaxing!  

Macaroni Kid Chicago subscribers can save 10% when they book by contacting

2. Illinois' Only Lakefront Hotel

Just about one hour north of Chicago is the only hotel where you can step from the lobby right onto a 6-mile stretch of lakefront beach like no other near the city.  The Illinois Beach Resort offers a picturesque spot for relaxation or adventure along Lake Michigan. This beach, located in Zion, IL, has always been our favorite to explore, hunt for sea glass or sit and read a book.  The hotel also offers complimentary bike rentals for exploring the trails in a new way, an indoor atrium pool, a hot tub, and more!  This location is great for a night or two away from the busy city.

**Update: as of 03/01/23 the pool area is under construction for renovations

3. Lake Geneva Getaway at the Mill Creek Hotel

At just under 2 hours away by car, the resort town of Geneva Lake has been a summer and winter favorite of Chicagoans for many years.  There is no shortage of options for a place to stay, but one stands out to me for many reasons.  First, Mill Creek Hotel is an all-suite boutique property nestled ideally between all that downtown Geneva has to offer and a quiet wetland preserve.  There are only 30 suites, all appointed to give your family the comforts of home while visiting. I love to have the convenience of a kitchen when traveling with the kids for making easy meals after a long day of fun.  Mill Creek Hotel also offers the amenities often found at larger properties such as: parking, free wifi, breakfast buffet, fitness center, indoor pool and whirlpool, but never losing the charm and service of a smaller property. The best amenity is that as a guest here you will find yourself an easy walk to shopping, restaurants and the beach.

4. The Abbey Resort

This was our first day of summer vacation destination last year and it was fantastic! Just about an hour and a half drive from downtown Chicago, this gem was exactly what we needed to reset our minds. As the only full-service resort on the shores of Lake Geneva, The Abbey Resort in Fontana, Wisconsin, offers unique activities from lakeside dining to make-and-take events, along with resort amenities such as indoor and outdoor pools, family activities, live music, and full-service spa!

Walk a section of the Lake Shore Path, or stay in and watch a movie in the Immersion Cinema. If you're looking for suggestions, ask our knowledgeable staff, who are experts in helping you plan the perfect itinerary, or check out our current Weekly Activities document to see the current schedule of events. The Abbey Resort always has some great packages and specials, so be sure to check HERE before booking!

5. The Neighborhood Hotel Grand Beach

The Neighborhood Grand Beach is your escape — a place where nature’s bounty is celebrated and pure comfort is prioritized. Imagine your day beginning with the sounds of nature, coffee by the campfire, followed by a dip in the glistening pool or yoga near the ravine. The adventurer explores the woods and waters of Harbor Country, followed by a round of golf or tennis. Meanwhile, the relaxed vacationer continues to bask (possibly reclined) amongst the native trees and greenery. The day comes to a close with a barbeque garnished with fresh herbs from the garden + s’mores under the stars (or in the plush living room for indoor folks).

Your suite is the ideal blend of rustic and luxury while the common spaces are campy-hip with warm touches that even smell good (think wood-paneled walls, aromatic pine trees, smoky embers). This is your place for adventure, connection, or to just chill.

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Does your family have a favorite getaway spot that you would like to share?  Drop me a line at!

Note: This article contains only information I have personally found useful in my own family travel planning and adventures. No hotels or locations paid to be included and there are no affiliate links included.