Winter Road Trip Ideas: Warmer Destinations Within Hours of Chicago

Although there is no shortage of snow for sledding or ice for ice-skating during the winter months in Chicago, sometimes it is nice to de-thaw and have a change of scenery to break up the monotony of ski jackets and snow pants! You don’t have to go the whole 24 hours it takes to hit the beaches of Florida to get a reprieve from the frigid temperatures. These winter road trip ideas are about nine hours from Chicago. Although they might not be bikini destinations, they will provide some sun and fun!

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Arkansas might not have hot, steamy beaches throughout the winter months, but the average
temperature is about 52 degrees, even during the winter. It also has a vast number of things to do outside and beautiful hiking areas to peruse. If being active outdoors is your “thing,” then Eureka Springs is a Eureka Springs Downtownperfect winter road trip idea! Eureka Springs is a vacation town that has a unique Victorian feel, and it is set up in the hills of the Arkansas Ozarks. Not only is it a great place for the entire family to mountain bike and shop the quaint downtown, it is an amazing romantic getaway for just the two of you! Choose a wonderful bed and breakfast nestled up in the most exotic surroundings and forget about the zero degree temperatures raging at home!

Pigeon Ford, Tennessee

It might not be sunny and 80 degrees in Tennessee during the winter months, but the average temperature is about 50. This is much better than the freezing winter days of Chitown! Pigeon Ford is one of the best places for families to play and stay together. Enjoy a zipline canopy tour in the mountains or walk the downtown area looking for unique treasures. There is a little something for everyone. In fact, Pigeon Ford is known as the “Wisconsin Dells” of the South because there is something to do around every corner. Pigeon Ford is one of the best family winter road trip ideas there is!

Lexington, Kentucky

Kentucky is only about seven hours from Chicago. Kentucky might only provide about a twenty-degree warm-up, but during the super cold times, those twenty degrees can feel like heaven. For the equestrian lover, Keeneland is a famous horse racing arena that attracts people from around the globe. Or, if you are an aviation fan, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky is a perfect day destination. Throughout Lexington, there are historical museums to see, hiking and trails to cover, and East Coast cuisine to indulge in. You might not get to sun your buns, but it is a welcomed change of scenery that isn’t too far from home.

Memphis, Tennessee

You don’t have to be an Elvis fan to appreciate Memphis, Tennessee. If you do go around the holidays, Graceland is one of the most amazing places to get into the holiday spirit. Walk around and see videos ofMemphis, TN Downtown the “King of Rock n’ Roll” and his humble beginnings. Then, swing by Beale street to view where the heart of music was born. Sun Studio, where Johnny Cash got his start, is a must. And don’t forget to pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. by visiting the National Civil Rights Museum. Memphis is truly the heart of the heartland. It is a great destination to see that the American Dream is still alive and kicking!

Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock isn’t just known as the state that Bill Clinton was elected from, it has an abundance of things to do during the winter months. Check out the Arkansas State Capital, which was built in 1899. It use to house the most notorious criminals in Arkansas. Or, take the children to the Museum of Discovery, the oldest museum in Little Rock. There are over 14,000 items on display to amaze the masses. After you work up an appetite, hit the River Market District to fill up on some of the best Southern Style food that the Old South has to offer. Or, take in a bike ride on the Big Dam Bridge, that covers over 20 miles of trails to enjoy. Of course, before you go, stop by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. There is a little something for everyone!

Before you hit the road, make sure your vehicle is ready for your winter adventures. At least a week before you leave, schedule a pre-trip check with Auto Lab to ensure that your car is good to go!

Posted in Road Trips.