How To Plan A Fun Road Trip from Michigan To Chicago

Are you planning on spending your spring break or summer vacation in Chicago? Traveling from Michigan? Then you need to read this post- I’m sharing tips on how to plan a fun road trip from Michigan to Chicago.
Planning a road trip to Chicago? Here's how you can do it: Plan a fun Road Trip to Michigan to Chicago


How To Plan A Fun Road Trip from Michigan To Chicago

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a love of road trips. Now that I’m well into my adult years the love of going on a road trip hasn’t faded, and I’ll take any opportunity I can get to take an adventure to my next destination. Most recently I journeyed to the Windy City and were able to take in some of the sights and sounds of Chicago while we were there.

Taking a road trip from Lansing to Chicago will only take about 3.5 hours if you’re driving straight through. However, who wants to drive straight through?! I don’t, not if I have the time to stop and smell the roses. And, smell the roses we will! Check out all of these awesome stops on a road trip from Lansing to Chicago.

Hyundai 2016 Santa Fe-4


Whether you’re starting your trip in Lansing, or ending it here, it’s a great city to be in! There are tons of things to do to keep the whole family entertained. has a list of “hot spots” and fun places in Lansing.

If you’re looking for something outdoorsy, look at Cooley Gardens and Fenner Nature Center.

Hungry? Get the best breakfast in Lansing at Golden Harvest. Dusty’s Cellar has breakfast, and lunch (take out). Scope other spots out on Yelp!

Find over 150 things for free/cheap to do in Lansing! 

Things To Do Chicago-15

Battle Creek

Planning your road trip has a lot to do with answering the question, “How much time do we have?”. You want to figure out not only how much time you have for your entire trip, but also for each stop! Knowing these things will help you decide where to make stops.

For example, if you have a few hours to enjoy, head to the Binder Park Zoo and spend some time with the beautiful animals and outdoors. An hour or two would be sufficient to visit the Dr. John Harvey Kellogg Discovery Center and learn about the history of Battle Creek, but if you wanted to, you could spend an entire day there and in the Historic Adventist Village.

Where you stop also depends on the time of year! Are you visiting Battle Creek in the summer? If so, you could spend some time at Full Blast Water Park.

Things To Do Chicago-9

You guys are not going to believe this, but I found a FREE list of 269 things to do in area code 269 (Kalamazoo)! Spending an entire week wouldn’t mark all of these things off your list, so just pick a few and run with it.

You might want to stop by Zooroona (featuring weekly belly dancing) or Cosmo’s Cucina for dinner.

Learn something and take a few photos at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. This stop is a great place to get out and stretch!

The Stetson Chapel on the KZOO Campus is the perfect photo opp if you’re nearby. It’s not something I’d drive around town for, but if you’re right there… why not?

If you decide to make a day of it in Kalamazoo, I think Hidden Kalamazoo Tours sound fun.

Things To Do Chicago-8

Michigan City, Indiana

If your legs are cramping and you’re ready to stretch them out, shopping is the perfect cure! While there are many shopping outlets between Lansing and Chicago, one of my favorites is the Lighthouse Premium Outlet Mall. Just a few of the shops worth mentioning include Adidas, Coach, Gymboree, Hollister, Justice, and The Children’s Place.

Things To Do Chicago-12

Of course if you’re not in the shopping mood, consider one of these attractions:

Barker Mansion
Great Lakes Museum of Military History (Bonus! It’s educational, too.)
Old Lighthouse Museum (Here’s a link to help plan your trip.)
Washington Park Zoo

While planning your road trip, be sure to map out all of your “wish list” stops first. Then, call each spot to make sure it will be open on the day you will be arriving at that location. If you can’t hit your wish list stops on the way there, you might be able to on the way back – so don’t forget to check hours and operations for both ways on your trip.

Best Tween Game Apps to Keep Busy

Plants VS Zombies
Jelly Crush
Best Fiends
Papa Louie (tons of games in this series)

Things To Do Chicago-7

Road Trip Games and Game Ideas

We like mixing it up between electronic games/apps, travel board games, singing fun songs, and playing games like “I Spy”.

Road Trip Box of Questions
Mad Libs on the Road
Travel Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Spot It! On the Road
Games on the Go
Road Trip Games for Tweens
Ultimate Road Trip Atlas

Hyundai 2016 Santa Fe-6

Car for the Road Trip

My favorite part of the whole trip was the trip itself. Loading up the car and driving from point A to point B was the most exciting part for me. Not just because of my love for traveling but also for the fact that I was able to rent and test drive the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe for the entire trip. In my mind, and this is just my personal opinion, this was the perfect road tripping mid-sized SUV. Everything from the exterior to the interior just screamed road trip material, not to mention luxury.

Hyundai 2016 Santa Fe-5

Able to seat up to 7 passengers, the Hyundai Santa Fe 2016 boasts an impressive amount of interior room. With such a spacious inside, this was the perfect car to take on a road trip with us. Even more impressive was the good gas mileage we got on our trip. We got an impressive 18 MPG in city mileage and an even better 25 MPG on the highway, so we weren’t having to stop to fill up again all the time. Available in 7 stellar colors to choose from, this vehicle is a great option if you’re looking for a mid sized SUV that is comfortable, stylish and good on gas.

Hyundai 2016 Santa Fe-1

Some of the key features that we loved while test driving the Santa Fe include:

  • 8 inch touchscreen
  • Leather seats
  • Panoramic Sunroof {I have to have this in our next vehicle! I LOVED this feature!}
  • Dual front automatic temperature control with CleanAir ionizer
  • YES Essentials Stain Resistant cloth
  • Integrated Memory system for driver side seat and mirrors
  • Heated seats {comes in handy on a cold Michigan morning!}
  • 40/20/40 split-folding 2nd row bench seat
  • Split-row folding 3rd row bench seat {and I loved all of the trunk space!!}
  • Center Armrest with Storage Compartment
  • Power Lock doors
  • Power Windows
  • Roof rack side rails
  • Heated Side Mirrors
  • Side Mirror turn signal indicators
  • Chrome door handles

Hyundai 2016 Santa Fe-2

There are so many included features that we loved for the Santa Fe. If you’re looking for a mid sized SUV to take you on your next trip or just on errands around town, I would highly recommend this one. It’s beautiful, it’s stylish and it’s pretty good one gas, three things that I look for most in a vehicle.
Connect with Hyundai on their social media sites like Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Youtube and never miss the latest news.

And be sure to check out all of the things you can do once you get to Chicago:


Disclosure: Thank you to Hyundai and Drive Shop for loaning us this 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe. While I did receive this SUV to review, you are reading 100% my own and honest opinion.

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  1. This is a great post. So many of these tips are also great for long trips as well. It’s all about planning when you’re road tripping.

  2. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)
    March 3, 2016

    That sounds like a fun road trip. I have always wanted to go to Chicago!

  3. March 3, 2016

    As a Chicagoan I have done the reverse drive many times since we like to vacation in Michigan. You give so many great tips and suggestions.

  4. There are so many fun things to do in Chicago! The Hyundai seems like a comfy and dependable! Thanks for sharing your fun adventure!

  5. March 3, 2016

    I love Hyundais and road trips and this sounds like it was an amazing trip!! I have always wanted to go to Chicago!!

  6. March 4, 2016

    That vehicle looks so spacious for a big family. I love that my kids can have room to distance each other if they get to crazy.

  7. March 4, 2016

    I’ve never been to either Michigan or Chicago. I know, I know, I need to. But I love Road Trips so much!

  8. March 5, 2016

    Looks like a fun-filled trip for the whole family. We need a vegicle as big as this to meet our needs.

  9. Handsome SUV! I’ve always preferred SUVs because I love taking my family with me everywhere I go! The Santa Fe would be perfect for road trips! Loving all those great features. Riding in comfort and style is the best way to go!

  10. March 5, 2016

    I have family in Chicago, but it has been ages since I’ve been there to visit. That shall change someday soon!

  11. Maggie Branch
    March 5, 2016

    Hello, fellow Michigander! These are awese road trip tips on the way to Chicago! I live up in Cadillac and it isn’t a bad drive but your car games would definitely make it more fun.

  12. March 6, 2016

    My friend also drives a Sante Fe and it’s wonderful especially for a family of five. I would love to also road trip with my family and shop and dine in different places.

  13. March 6, 2016

    Sounds like a fun road trip! I’ve never been to Michigan before, but I have been to Chicago!

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