Best Spring Break Road Trips from Chicago

Why a road trip during Spring Break?
There’s something about SPRING – be it the advent of blissful greens all around or the nippy weather still reminding us of the frigid cold which spanned months and giving us a vibe that we earned the clement temperatures.

I have made it a tradition to take a family road trip every year during the kids Spring Break and would strongly encourage you everyone to shrug the winter dawdling and get on the road.

Criteria for these road trips?

The place should offer mild weather and loads of family activities.

Tip: Naperville/Chicago has plenty of drivable options for the Spring Break but if catching some nice weather is on your agenda, you are looking at 5 hour+ driving at least. So, without further ado, here’s what I would recommend for the Chicagoans ready to create life long memories of the Spring Break.

1. Hot Springs (Arkansas) 

View from our cottage at Hot Springs

Hot Springs National Park is an ideal Spring Break destination – the temperatures are moderate, plenty of astonishing natural and man-made touristy bits on offer and the place is not wildly crazy like Florida. I would go out on a limb and say, Hot Springs is a hidden gem when it comes to Spring Break travel.

The drive, around 9 hours, is a bit of a stretch if you are not used to long drives but quite gratifying once you get out of Illinois, especially when you navigate through Mark Twain National Forest (that’s what motivated me for Ozark Camping Trip few months later).

The hot natural waters of Hot Springs have been drawing crowds from the time of native Americans. In recent times, the city has also gained popularity due to the spring training for base ball teams.

You can find the full blog here. I also found this link helpful to plan your travel. Some pictures to whet your appetite:

Another view from our cottage

2. St Louis (Missouri) and Springfield (Illinois)

St Louis is home to a ton of activities for the tourists. The most eminent being The Gateway Arch, of course.

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The Gateway Arch

If you plan in advance, you can get the tickets for the ride which take you to the top of the arch as well.

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The view from the Innsbrook cottage where we stayed

Another noteworthy mention is the City Museum in St. Louis, also called Monstrocity, which has exhibits constructed from the many eccentric products.

Monstrocity
Monstrocity, photo by Laurie Skriva, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

You can also merge St Louis trip with Springfield and see Illinois landmarks like The State Capital, Lincoln Museum, etc.

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The centre dome at the Capitol of Illinois

If the underground caves are your thing, Meramec Caverns are a must visit.

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The Stalactite formations at Meramec Caverns

The full blog for the vivid St Louis trip is here.

3. Cherry Blossom Festival at Washington DC 

The National Cherry Blossom Festival has an interesting history – it is celebrated every year in Spring to commemorate the gift of Japanese cherry trees from the Mayor of Tokyo city to the D.C. Mayor Ozaki, to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan. Of course, the relations turned much sour later as history tells us.

It is truly exhilarating to see a myriad of them in full bloom.

It was much prettier than it looks here

D.C. offers a multitude of world-class museums, most of which are free.

Finally, you have a swarm of historical monuments and landmarks – the Capitol, the White House and the many memorials dedicated to Presidents and MLK.

You can find full details of my Spring 2019 trip to DC here.

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Lincoln’s statue towering above all 

4. Chattanooga (Tennessee) 

Why? The Rock City, Ruby Falls, Scenic Train and opportunity to view other things on the way (like Parthenon in Nashville).


Do you have any suggestions for a Spring road trip? Share it in the comments section or better still, shoot an email to me at cagespear@gmail.com. I will put the best ones in this blog itself!

One thought on “Best Spring Break Road Trips from Chicago

  1. I found this blog super helpful! It offers a wide selection of fun-filled vacations for the entire family!

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