By: Katie Knudtson

With the weather getting warmer our thoughts start turning to the upcoming and long-awaited season: summer. We’ve been working hard throughout the year writing papers, making and practicing presentations, and all around trying to decide what to do with the rest of our lives. With only a few weeks left however, we start worrying less about what to do with our lives and more with what we’re going to do this summer.

Yes, some of us will be working, have summer school, internships, or any of a dozen other things on our to-do list. But who says we can’t have a little fun too? It’s called summer vacation for a reason.

If you’re looking for ideas on what to do with yourselves then here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Out of State Excursions

The ideal get away is always somewhere far away from where we are—a weekend in a city in one of the great 50 states of America. Trip Advisor has a list of the Top 25 Destinations in the United States including New York City (pictured right), Orlando, San Francisco, San Diego, New Orleans, Miami, Boston, Savannah, or Nashville ( ). They all have their own charms. Traveling Teams suggests a few Best Summer Vacation Spots of 2016 including Mackinac Island in Michigan where you can actually go horseback riding and of course get the famous fudge that’s named after it. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho is always a fun place with camping, fishing, hunting, and enjoying nature. Marco Island (picture left) if you’re craving that fun in the sun. (I personally suggest Shell Island—you can find the coolest shells there). (

2. Road trip

Just get some friends together, hop in the car, and go on an adventure. I’m just kidding—you might need a little more planning than that. However, a road trip is a time honored tradition. Seeing the sights, finding the hidden jewels of small towns and roadside restaurants, and enjoying the great land we live on. There’s so many different places to go and now with our technology you don’t have to worry about following the wrong line on a piece of paper. Unless of course you want to get lost—sometimes that makes the best adventures.

If you want to take that trip but don’t know where to start, Outside Online has 10 All-American Summer Road Trips that you can use. Including—but certainly not limited to—the Southern Colorado Loop (left), The Grand Canyon, Arizona, to Moab, Utah, and Duluth, Minnesota to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Michigan. ( But that’s not all you can do. It’s a road trip. You can go anywhere you want. Chicago to Milwaukee to Indianapolis to wherever your heart takes you. A great website to help plan it out is

3. Day in Chicago

If you’re looking for something a little closer to home and maybe just smidgen less expensive, how about spending the day in the Windy City? Take the train down. The Lincoln Park Zoo has free admittance. The Museum of Science and Industry is always changing, showcasing over 800 displays. The light/motion activated floor piano is always my favorite. Check out the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, or the Willis Tower (pronounced Sears Tower). Take a walk along the Chicago River. Or if you’re feeling adventurous Kayak down it. If you don’t want to spend too much money you can always walk around Millennium Park, check out the bean, walk down Michigan Avenue, or at Navy Pier, and of course swim in Lake Michigan (Beach Day!).

4. The Illinois Adventure

If you want to stay around Illinois but still want to go out on an adventure there is still plenty to do. We may be known for Chicago but we still have a few surprises. On Enjoy Illinois there were 10,866 items on this website alone. From Starved Rock State Park in Utica, the Garden of the Gods in Karbers Ridge (pictured left), Shawnee National Forest, the KeyLime Cove waterpark, Six Flags Great America, Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln’s Home National Historic Site in Springfield, and so many more! ( ).

So if you’re looking for an escape this summer try one of these ideas. I personally have been dying to take a road trip somewhere. Just a few more weeks and we’ll be there. Until then, keep studying, keep working hard, and just remember: summer is just around the corner!! Be strong!