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Danvers Mail

View of Main Street in downtown Galena, Illinois.

Staycation Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

During a time when the price of, well, pretty much everything keeps increasing, many families find themselves feeling like long and luxurious vacations are simply out of the picture. Instead, many families are opting for a “staycation” - a smaller trip, or multiple small trips, closer to home. A staycation can drastically cut the cost of fuel and lodging, while also providing an opportunity to learn about the places that are closer to home that one might otherwise have passed up. If you’re feeling like that trip to the Gulf of Mexico or beyond just isn’t in the budget this year, here are some ideas for smaller trips within state lines:

Galena - Galena is one of my favorite Illinois destinations and is ideal for a weekend getaway with the whole family. Perfect for the outdoorsy types, Galena is host to numerous hiking trails near the Mississippi River and, in the winter, is home to Chestnut Mountain Resort; a perfect place to teach the kiddos how to ski. In town, tourists can find numerous little mom and pop type shops with their own individual styles. Wine is in abundance thanks to the many wineries and restaurants in the area. The history buff in your family can take different tours centered around Ulysses S. Grant, who lived in the city before he mustered back into the U.S. Army at the beginning of the U.S. Civil War.

Starved Rock State Park - with an interesting bit of history behind it, Starved Rock is a beautiful place to cool down and unwind. Waterfalls, canyons and rock formations, and hiking trails await the adventurous types. Visitors have varied restaurant options if they are willing to drive a bit to nearby towns like Utica or Ogelsby. Multi-day guests can stay at the Starved Rock Lodge or rough it in the nearby campgrounds.

Illinois Beach Resort - if you find yourself wanting something a little more beach like, the Illinois Beach Resort is right up your alley. Located in a state park, the resort is the only Illinois hotel located directly on Lake Michigan. Visitors can engage in the activities associated with a full beach vacation, including fishing, sailing, and swimming. Be warned though - the water in Lake Michigan can be pretty chilly. The Illinois Beach Resort is located within striking distance of Chicago if one wanted to head to the city for a day trip. 

If you are looking to keep your vacation close to home this year, you live in the perfect state. From Chicago to Carbondale, there is something for everyone in every nook and cranny. Decide what your vacation priorities are and you’ll be able to find something to keep the family busy in locations that won’t break the bank.

Erik Malmgren

Erik Malmgren was the Mail Correspondent covering the Mackinaw, Deer Creek and Heritage Lake communities from August 2021 until July 2022.