Road Trip Ideas Plus 29 Other Things You Can Do In Illinois This Summer (That Are Inexpensive)
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Road Trip Ideas Plus 29 Other Things You Can Do In Illinois This Summer (That Are Inexpensive)

Illinois and summer adventures don't always go together, but here are some things you can do to avoid boredom.

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Person on beach running in waves
Clare Regelbrugge

Some of these activities may seem like really trivial things to do during this summer, but Illinois can be kind of mundane. This summer, my goal is to really live in the moment and spend quality time with loved ones. These are all fun things that can be done at a low cost so that memories of a lifetime can be made!

1. Spend a day completely barefoot (even when outside).

Person in dress walking barefoot

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This is kind of a weird one, but my old yoga teacher used to tell us that keeping shoes on all day can really make you feel less grounded, so this is a way to combat that. It just sounds like a cool experiment.

2. Have a water balloon fight.

Water balloons in bowl surrounded by three pairs of feet on pavement

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I have always wanted to do this but I have never gotten the chance to. It's a good way to cool off in the summer heat while also serving as a way to take your aggression out on your friends.

3. Go to the lake and paddle board with friends.

Two women paddle boarding in water under moonlight

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I live in the middle of a cornfield, so the nearest option for a beach day would be either Lake Michigan or Lake Geneva. A day at the beach is much needed and I have never paddle boarded before. It looks like surfing but for more lowkey people. Kayaking is also a feasible option. I have done this with my cousins before and it is one of the best times we have had. Bumping into each other and splashing are fun ways to reconnect with people you haven't seen for a while.

4. Go to a drive-in movie.

Two girls sitting on top of truck admiring the view

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This has a built-in road trip requirement and allows you to not only get outside, but get cozy with friends too.

5. Pay it forward.

Person putting coins in piggy bank

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I was also thinking about ways to give back this summer. I realized how there will probably be a greater emphasis on carryout/drive-thrus, so this is an awesome thing to do this summer to not only make you feel better but others as well.

6. Eat from a food truck.

Food truck with neon lights

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I've heard that some of the best food comes from food trucks, so this was a must on my list.

7. Throw pennies in a fountain (and maybe swim in it too).

Water from fountain spraying droplets

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I always see people making a wish with pennies and I don't know why, but I have always wanted to do this. I was also reminded of how much fun fountains can be from the "Friends" intro.

8. Wake up to watch a sunrise.

Sunrise over large body of water

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Sunsets are apparently really overrated. Also, I've heard there's something about being awake when everything is so quiet that is really awesome.

9. Make a fort in the backyard.

Tent outside with living room setting

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I used to do this when I had a treehouse, but I am willing to accept this fun challenge so that I can feel nostalgic about my childhood.

10. Go to Chick-fil-A.

Chicken sandwich in to-go container

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I need to see what everyone is talking about. Why is their chicken so good???

11. Make fireside s'mores.

Slightly burnt s'more in fire

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This is a classic essential for summer. Period.

12. Sleep under the stars.

Bright starry sky

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I am completely into astronomy and this sounds so amazing. Plus, light pollution is better at home right now, so it's a win-win.

13. Run through sprinklers.

Kid jumping through lawn sprinkler

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I miss doing this. I have to do it as a young adult. Maybe it will be as fun as it was when I was a kid?

14. Climb trees.

Woman hanging off of tree upside down

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This one is another childhood throwback. Plus, it gives you a great view.

15. Pull an all-nighter and run the streets of my town at night.

Highway at night with streetlights

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I have never actually pulled an all-nighter, (I've always given into falling asleep), so this combination sounds so fun and adventurous. Also, city lights are cool at night.

16. Get tan.

Woman laying on beach with towel and eating watermelon

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A summer necessity! I have seriously been craving some Vitamin D after being a hermit the last few months.

17. Have a paintball fight.

Various colored paint splashed on young girl

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I was watching "10 Things I Hate About You" and this sounds like so much fun, even if it is a DIY project.

18. Road trip with friends to a national or state park.

Foggy forest with tree trunks shown

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Keeping a connection with nature is essential and this sounds like an awesome option to get out of town. For me, Starved Rock State Park is always a destination for my friends and I during the summer with its exciting waterfalls and thrilling cliffs. You don't see a lot of that in Illinois.

19. Feed ducks.

Little boy feeding ducks with bread near waterfront

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I have also never done this, and it sounds like a good way to get out and enjoy the local animal life.

20. Go thrift shopping.

Girl browsing clothes at thrift store

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If you are sick of going to Urban Outfitters and want to find unique retro clothes on your own, you should definitely do this. It is better to have your own style that no one can copy.

21. Learn to skateboard or longboard.

Person with vans pushing longboard

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Tired of using your childhood bike for short distance errands like me? This is the perfect solution.

22. Set off fireworks.

Girl with sparkler

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You can have your own fireworks display this year!

23. Play tag in the pouring rain.

Man standing with arms open with pouring rain

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This just seems like it would give off a different kind of vibe.

24. Go to Six Flags (if possible).

Cart on winding rollercoaster at amusement park

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Nothing beats going on scary rides with your homies.

25. Learn guitar (or another instrument).

Girl strumming guitar in office

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This could be a valuable skill for the future, especially if you want to start an indie band like I do.

26. Make dance vids with friends.

Two girls dancing

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TikTok? Oh yes.

27. Visit a sunflower field and take a photoshoot of my friends.

Girl with braid standing in sunflower field

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If you are like me, taking pictures of my friends and getting their best angles is one of my favorite things to do. Sunflower fields are the perfect backdrop for this.

28. Take a night swim.

Lights reflecting on pool water at night

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Whether its in a pool or at a beach, the atmosphere of swimming at night is something that cannot be matched.

29. Go camping.

Campfire with backpack and other camping tools

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I never have been a true fan of camping, except for when it was required in my Girl Scout days. I am trying to change my mindset on this because it is an awesome way to connect. No internet to get in the way of things, just true bonding.

30. Explore Chicago for the day.

Sunset between skyscrapers in Chicago over traffic

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Chicago has so much to offer and I think that a lot of us that live in the suburbs often take it for granted. It's got Navy Pier, so many museums, so much good food, and so many other activities to offer. The lakefront itself is teeming with things to do. Concerts like Lollapalooza are energizing and fun and it is just a great place to invest some time especially when it is fairly close to home.

I hope this list gives you some inspiration on how to live up your summer 2020! Go make it the best summer yet!

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