2. The Dunes
Location: 1100 North Mineral Springs Rd., Porter, Ind.
Located 50 miles southeast of Chicago you'll find the Dunes. Heading to the Indiana Dunes State Park makes for an excellent fieldtrip from the Windy City, complete with miles of trails, lakefront beaches, marshes, an off-road bike trail, and tree graveyards. 1.25 hours away by car and 90 minutes by the Metra, this park is much more than sand.