When you’re ready to get away from the hustle and bustle of work in Milwaukee, jump in the car and head just a few hours to some of Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois’ cities with popular water and winter attractions. Get your fill of waterparks in Baraboo, Wisconsin, or ride the famous Ferris Wheel in Chicago during your weekend getaway. Vacation rentals range from cozy cabins in the woods to big-city condos for your next trip. Consider these cities when making your itinerary for some much-needed time away.

1. Baraboo, Wisconsin

Visit the water park capital of the world when booking a vacation rental in Baraboo, adjacent to Wisconsin Dells. Just a two-hour car or train ride gives you the opportunity to make a splash at Noah’s Ark water park or thrill the kids with a day at the Kalahari Resort’s safari-themed water park. Enjoy the beauty of nature in Baraboo when touring the International Crane Foundation’s headquarters to see exotic birds and walk the trails of this 225-acre property. Don’t leave Baraboo without taking a boat ride to see the gorges and rock formations that make the Wisconsin Dells area a popular vacation destination.

2. Minocqua, Wisconsin

Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the Minocqua area to take advantage of the scenery on the Bearskin State Trail and the waters of Lake Tomahawk. Travel from Milwaukee to Minocqua in just a little over four hours to spend your days petting the exotic animals at the Wildwood Wildlife Park and Nature Center or getting wet and wild with Wild Side Flyboarding. Highlight your adventurous side and get an aerial view of the lake and forests when ziplining with Northwoods Zip Line or feel the need for speed on board a boat tour with Minocqua Pontoon Cruises. A winter weekend getaway gives you the chance to snow ski or snowboard down the slopes at the Minocqua Winter Park and Nordic Center.

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3. Madison, Wisconsin

Make your weekend getaway educational when planning your trip to Madison, located just an hour and a half from Milwaukee. Take a tour of the Capitol building that is nestled between two lakes, or walk down historic State Street to the University of Wisconsin campus. When traveling during the summer, spend your Saturday morning shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables at the Dane County Farmers’ Market before treating the kids to an afternoon at the Henry Vilas Zoo. Stop in at Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry for a juicy burger or snag some Italian cuisine at Ian’s Pizza to take back to your vacation rental.

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4. Kohler, Wisconsin

You need only an hour to travel from Milwaukee to Kohler and settle into a vacation rental in this small village that is home to the annual Festival of Beer and Food in the spring, and Food and Wine Experience in the fall. Spend your weekend getaway touring this city that originated as a model town by the Kohler Company in 1900. Check out the Walderhaus Museum to learn more about the city’s history, or take a factory tour at the Kohler Design Center. Golfers can get in a game at the Whistling Straits Golf Course, whereas shoppers can get in some retail therapy at The Shops At Woodlake Kohler.

5. Valparaiso, Indiana

Treat your creative side to a weekend getaway in a city rich with culture. Valparaiso, Indiana, is located a little over three hours from downtown Milwaukee and is known for its vibrant arts scene. See the masterpieces on display at the Brauer Museum of Art’s Center for the Arts and then dive into the area’s rich history with a guided tour of the Porter County Museum. Valparaiso doesn’t disappoint when it comes to nature activities with the Taltree Arboretum and Gardens in the city’s center, as well as Rogers-Lakewood Park. Before retiring to your vacation rental, catch a performance at the Memorial Opera House or the Chicago Street Theatre.

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6. Chicago, Illinois

Big city excitement awaits you when making the 2 hour 15 minute trip to Chicago from Milwaukee. Take a thrilling ride on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier while watching the boats floating by on Lake Michigan. Shoppers flock to the Magnificent Mile where retail stores and sales are plentiful. You can’t make a trip to Chicago without capturing a selfie on the sky deck of the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, or experiencing the underwater sea creatures at the Shedd Aquarium. Get your fill of history with a tour of the Field Museum of Natural History or cater to the art lovers when stopping in at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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7. Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Make the trip to Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh in just an hour and a half for some fun in the sun. Take the family for a boat ride on the lake with On the Loos Cruises or explore the area on land with a hike through the Wiowash Trail. One of the biggest attractions of this Wisconsin city is the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Aviation Museum. Admire the historical artifacts and let the kids explore the planes during a guided tour. When winding down for the day, take a leisurely walk through the Paine Art Center and Gardens before retreating to your vacation rental.

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