Driving From New Jersey To Chicago and Back

Mac'nCheese

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Feb 9, 2010
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I will be driving from NJ to Chicago and back this summer with my wife, daughter -15 and two sons —11&7. Just wondering if anyone had any secret fun places to stop on the way. Thank you
 

Gutwrench

Contributor
Jan 2, 2011
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I will be driving from NJ to Chicago and back this summer with my wife, daughter -15 and two sons —11&7. Just wondering if anyone had any secret fun places to stop on the way. Thank you
Let’s see...one wife, one daughter, two sons, one vehicle, and 750 miles?

I’d say every Total Wine and More you pass or Doctor Kevorkian’s museum in Dayton.
 
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ejb190

macrumors 65816
Indiana Dunes State Park/Indiana Dunes National Park. Just on the outskirts of Chicago (on a good day, you can see the skyscrapers from the beach). The Great Lakes - unsalted and shark free!

If you are coming through Indianapolis, check out the Indianapolis Children's Museum. My wife and I love going there, and we don't even have kids! Indy has a great zoo, but Ft. Wayne's is considered better by many. The Indianapolis Speedway Museum is cool too, though I haven't been there in years.

For a quick stop, there's an museum at Grissom Air Reserve Base in Bunker Hill. Some cool aircraft to look at. Or the Museum of the Air Force, Dayton, OH. Could spend a day there.

Pick up a minor league baseball game somewhere along the way. There are teams all over the midwest. And the tickets are 1/3 the price of a major league game. Players are often way more accessible as well.

I love the DC idea. I've been trying to get my wife there for years. There's nothing quite like feeling the wear of the limestone steps at the Capitol under you feet and realizing you are walking in the footsteps of giants.
 
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velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,618
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Georgia
Well you could stop off at Lake Erie and look at a bunch of fresh water. Which will be much different than the Atlantic. Where you just look at a bunch of salt water. On a more serious note there are a few islands you could visit on Lake Erie.

If you are taking the 80. There is Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. It's and amusement park.

Then there is Historic Fort Wayne in Fort Wayne, IN.
 
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RootBeerMan

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2016
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I will be driving from NJ to Chicago and back this summer with my wife, daughter -15 and two sons —11&7. Just wondering if anyone had any secret fun places to stop on the way. Thank you
You need to go over to Roadfood.com and visit the forums. Lots of trip reports about very similar trips that can be searched. Restaurants and things to see. And, if you joined up and asked there are usually a few people to lend a hand. If you're in northern Indiana, stop in for lunch in Huntington, IN at Nick's Kitchen. Great pie and they are the joint that originated the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. There is also Antiqology for craft sodas and ice cream.
 
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Longkeg

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2014
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S. Florida
Or push on a few hours more into Iowa to visit the second largest ball of twine in the upper Midwest
OK, going of on a tangent here - but don’t you mean Minnesota? There’s a twine ball in KC. One in Wisconsin. There’s one in Branson, MO, but purest don’t approve because it’s made of nylon. But the one in Darwin, MN got a song written about it by Wierd Al Yankovic. Surely that marks it as a national treasure!
 

Gutwrench

Contributor
Jan 2, 2011
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OK, going of on a tangent here - but don’t you mean Minnesota? There’s a twine ball in KC. One in Wisconsin. There’s one in Branson, MO, but purest don’t approve because it’s made of nylon. But the one in Darwin, MN got a song written about it by Wierd Al Yankovic. Surely that marks it as a national treasure!
There’s a life sized statue of Garth Brooks carved out of butter at the Iowa State Fair. Leave room for that!
 

RootBeerMan

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2016
1,288
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In far northern Indiana, just before you get to Chicago, there's Indiana Dunes Nat'l Park. Nice place for a swim!
https://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/swimming.htm

In Chicago there are lots of things to do. Shedd Aquarium is nice and the Museum of Science and Industry is cool, as is the Field Museum. Visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio is nice, too. A beautiful home!

Not to be missed:

Hoosier Mama Pie Company: http://www.hoosiermamapie.com/
Lou Mal Malnati's for Chicago's abomination Deep Dish Pizza. https://www.loumalnatis.com/
Like Mexican? The you cannot afford to miss a trip to Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill! Great food by a world class chef!: https://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/frontera-grill/

You cannot visit Chicago without having an Italian Beef (dipped, please!). So seek out a Portillo's (the kids will love it. Get chocolate cake shakes, you won't regret it!) or the masterpiece making Al's #1 Italian Beef. https://www.alsbeef.com/

And there are some truly magnificent Chinese restaurants there, too. Not to be missed.
 
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lowendlinux

macrumors 603
Sep 24, 2014
5,173
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North Country (way upstate NY)
There's are great little soul food place about 15 minutes from the Newark airport :p

If you take the northern route there's Niagra Falls, the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, you could hit the Adirondaks, Cooperstown for the baseball hall of fame, visit USMA, The Flats in Cleveland.
 
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