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Help w/X-Country Trip Leg 2: OH-Chicago

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We are planning a cross country trip for this fall. It may not happen depending on dh's work situation, but needs to be planned so if we can go, we'll be all prepared :)


I'm hoping the WTMers can help! Here's what I'm looking for (and I'll be posting a new thread for each "leg" of our trip):


-recommendations for inexpensive chain or other hotels in these areas

-recommendations for inexpensive but nice, clean, safe campgrounds in these areas

-recommendations for "must see" things in these areas


Our second "leg" will be from OH to Chicago, likely stopping for a night in Indiana. Not sure about how long we'll be in Chicago, a night or two, and we do have friends there so we may be staying with them.


Here's what we have already expressed interest in seeing, but we'd love feedback on whether they're worth it or not. We know we will not be able to see everything we'd like to, it's more or less a wish list to cull from. Also, not knowing any of these areas, the things we'd like to do may just be too far from the area we'll be staying in.


-Indiana Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore

-Amish country (what towns would be best?)

-South Bend (is Notre Dame worth a visit?)

-Lincoln's birthplace (too out of the way?)

-Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Oriental Institute, river cruise, Millennium Park, Mississippi Palisades State Park


We would so appreciate any help from those of you who are familiar with these areas!!!

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The Dunes are absolutely GORGEOUS!!!! Really, really nice. We aren't huge beach people, so that would probably be a shorter stop for us, but you could spend a day there!


Amish Country - Shipshewana Indiana. Worth the stop and it's not too far off the highway (I'm assuming you're taking 80/90?). Eat at the Blue Gate! It's owned by a fellow WTM mom and her husband. You can't miss it - it's in the center of town. Browse at the beatiful furniture made by the Amish. There is a hotel in Shipshewana that has a water park in it. I haven't stayed there, but it looks fun! (I grew up 20 minutes from Shipshewana and our town has hitching posts at the local WalMart!!!)


ETA - almost forgot - there is a museum there - Menno-Hof. It's all about Amish history. Very nice place.


When are you going? Because IF you are going to be there within a day of a Notre Dame game, you won't be able to get a hotel within an hour from ND. We had to plan my wedding around the ND schedule to make sure there'd be enough room in the hotels in my hometown! :001_smile:


Your trip sounds fun!!!

Edited by Jennifer in MI
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Depending on where you are staying in Chicago, Springfield is 3-4 hours drive. I did think the (somewhat) new Lincoln museum was great, but it's not exactly in the Chgo area. Also, the Miss. Pal. Park is at least 3 hours west.


If you are going to Milennium Park, I'd also do a quick walk through of the Chicago Cultural Center (free) nearby.


Don't know how old your children are or if anyone is an architecture buff, but the cruises and walking tours by the Chicago Arch. Foundation are superior to the others. But the regular Wendella cruises, etc. still give lots of fun information.

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I agree with Shipshewana and Meno-Hof. Well worth the visit if you are interested in Amish/Mennonite history.


Lincoln's birthplace is in Kentucky, about 8 hours south of Chicago. The Lincoln Museum in Springfield is 3-4 hours south of Chicago as pp said, but I don't recommend it for children under 12 (JMO).


The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is very good for children school age and up.

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Oriental Institute is great and free. Parking can be challenging in that area. There is a pay parking garage north of the museum. Stay north of the midway area if you are looking for street parking (the large, long grassy area south of U of C). The neighborhood south of U of C is a little rough.

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