Early summer is a great time to get back in touch with nature; the weather is warm, but not hot enough for the mosquitoes to be out yet, and the trees and plants are all springing back to life. Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin is a reasonable two-hour drive from downtown Chicago, and offers 30 miles of trails through beautiful landscape, which was shaped by melting glaciers thousands of years ago.
Stay: Obviously, camping is the most popular accommodation option for those who visit Kettle Moraine. Reservations are highly encouraged – particularly during holiday weekends – and you can make them directly on the park’s website. If roughing it is not your idea of good time, however, you may want to check out Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast, a cozy B&B that is only a five-minute drive from the forest, with a rustic-chic decor, a mini spa and a full breakfast served every morning.
Do: Hiking is the thing to do at Kettle Moraine, of course, and the hiking site AllTrails has identified 17 different trails you can take, with notes on difficulty and views. You can also take in the view from your car, as the Wisconsin State Park System has also helpfully identified driving trails. If you want a break from hiking, you can check out the Shalom Wildlife Zoo, which features America’s largest petting zoo and a new tiger exhibit.
Eat: For the most part you’ll find casual restaurants around the forest, however there are some more upscale options, like the gastropub Crave in Campbellsport, which serves up craft beer and cocktails, as well as ribeye and glazed salmon. If you are looking for more of an authentic option, try El Pig’s Butt Bar-B-Q in Kewaskum, where you can pick up a Southwestern Egg Roll (an Egg Roll filled with smothered chicken and dipped in Ranch dressing) and Potato Boats.