Getting away without going away

If busy schedules, tight budgets or family obligations are preventing you from taking a dream vacation this holiday season you’re not alone. Many families find themselves sticking closer to home for vacations.

This trend is so popular it even has its own catchphrase—staycations. The good news is you can create that same"getaway” feeling for your family if you have the right attitude and itinerary. Here are some suggestions on how to get away without traveling very far from home.

A Winter Wonderland. If a ski trip isn’t in your plans, don’t despair. You can still enjoy many of the winter activities offered in places like Vail or Aspen right here in the Midwest. Take advantage of the ice skating rink at Millennium Park to practice your figure eights and pirouettes. If you’re looking to break out the skis and teach the kids how to fly down the mountain, visit one of the area’s resorts. Alpine Valley Resort in Wisconsin ( offers more difficult ski runs while Villa Olivia ( in Bartlett is a good choice for beginners. Sledding enthusiasts don’t need to go far either. Cricket Hill at Montrose Harbor and the sledding hill located southeast of Soldier Field are popular destinations when the snow starts to pile up. End your day with hot chocolate by a cozy fire just like you would at the ski lodge.

A Winter Warm-Up. Are you dreaming of sun, sand and splashing in the waves? Break out the bathing suits and take your gang to an indoor water park. A good local walk-in option is the CoCo Key Water Resort ( in Arlington Heights. If you’re looking to get away overnight, try the recently opened KeyLime Cove Water Resort ( in Gurnee. Another good way to experience that summertime feeling is a trip to your favorite ice cream parlor (who says that an ice cream cone is a summertime-only treat anyway!).

You can still capture that relaxed vacation feeling without the hassle or expense of air travel, gas prices or traffic nightmares. Treat yourselves to a"staycation” and take advantage of the wonderful family activities close to home.

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