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4 Summer Getaways within a Few Hours Drive

Now that school’s out and there’s sunshine to spare, it’s time to think about heading out on the road for some family fun. Here are four ideas for nearby summer destinations, including our favorite one a couple of hours north:

Trip #1: Green Lake, WI

Hiking in Green Lake WI

Green Lake, WI is one of the Chung family’s favorite summer getaway spots.

Green Lake, WI is one of the Chung family’s favorite summer getaway spots.

This is the family favorite for Ben, Sanny and the boys. Located 30 miles west of Fond du Lac, Green Lake is “known as the oldest resort town west of Niagara Falls.” What do Ben and his family enjoy while they’re there? Canoeing, hiking, camping swimming and biking.

You may also like:

  • Golfing on the Golf Courses of Lawsonia, which offers two different courses and was voted Wisconsin’s Course of the Year in 2008.
  • Thrasher Opera House, a restored historical theater that offers music, theater, opera and dance performances.
  • Fishing in Big Green Lake, which is the deepest natural lake in Wisconsin and is known as one of the best fishing lakes in the state for novice and experienced anglers alike.
  • A romantic getaway that includes a candlelight dinner at a local restaurant, wine tasting at Vines and Rushes, and massages at Evensong Spa.
  • Festivals like the Water Ski Show in late July, Harvest Fest in September, the Green Lakes Fine Arts Fair or even Heidel House Resort & Spa’s 5th annual beer tasting event that feature more than 100 different Wisconsin microbrews.

Trip #2: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, MI

Porcupine Wilderness State Park, Upper MichiganIf you like the kind of vacation that includes hiking, camping, paddling, swimming, picnics and other outdoor recreation, then Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is the place for you. Located 15 miles west of Ontonagon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the 60,000-acre park is one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest and features towering virgin timber, secluded lakes, and miles of wild rivers and streams.

Areas of attraction include Lake of the Clouds, Summit Peak observation tower, and the scenic Presque Isle River corridor, which hosts the state’s second largest waterfalls. And keep your eyes open─black bears are common in the “Porkies.”

Trip #3: Cedar Rapids, IA

Brucemoor Estate IowaOur neighbor to the west might not be the first place you think of when planning a road trip, but there’s plenty to do there that will keep the whole family happy, especially if you share a love of learning.

Start with the African America Museum of Iowa, where you can trace Iowa’s African American history from its origins in western Africa to the present—through slavery, the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. Then try Brucemoor, a historic 26-acre estate with a 19th-century mansion and gardens. Throughout the year, the estate features outdoor theater, concerts, specialty tours, festivals, garden walks, family programs, holiday celebrations and more. Don’t miss the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, which houses more than 7,200 works of art from many eras, or the National Motorcycle Museum, which has one of the finest collections of vintage motorcycles in the world.

When you need a break from the museums, check out a Cedar Rapids Kernels game. The Kernels are the Class A Affiliate of the Minnesota Twins and play through August on Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.[/two_third]

Trip #4: Illinois Wine Trails

Illinois wineriesWant to stay in your home state? Like the kind of trails that don’t involve hiking? Illinois is home to six official wine trails, more than 100 wineries and more than 450 vineyards. The wineries offer a variety of experiences: classes, tours, tastings, restaurants, comedy shows, music festivals and more. Pick a trail close to home or venture to the southern end of the state.

If that’s not enough wine for you, you can continue the tasting into Michigan and tour the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country, which stretches across the southwestern corner of Michigan from the Indiana-Michigan state line, north to the Kalamazoo River and east toward the city of Kalamazoo.

Before you head out on any trip, be sure to schedule a pre-trip check with Hong Kong Auto Service. You don’t want an unexpected breakdown to put a damper on the family fun.

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