Are you in search of vast expanses of open sky? Do you prefer the majesty of soaring peaks or dramatic ocean views from your windows? Are you looking to escape it all, or do you absolutely need culture and a Zagat-rated restaurant within walking distance? Somewhere between these seven hot spots favored by Chicagoans, you’re sure to find the perfect fit.
Park City, Utah
This former Winter Olympics host is known for high-quality ski slopes. Summer is equally appealing, with the annual Oakley Rodeo, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting and more. All that plus 150 restaurants in town? We’re sold. parkcity.org
Green Lake, Wis.
The deep glacial lake is the star of the show, with fishing, boating, canoeing and sailing all popular summer pastimes. The pace of life is slower here, but what’s your hurry, anyway? cityofgreenlake.com
La Jolla, Calif.
Located just north of San Diego, this stunning seaside village has temps in the 70s most of the year. Walk along bluffs or beach, learn to surf or perhaps venture north to Torrey Pines for a round of golf with to-die-for views. lajollabythesea.com
Santa Fe, N.M.
Opera lovers flock here in the summer months for festival season, but the arts are a yearlong draw in this lovely Southwestern city. From film fests to art walks, culture (and sunshine) abounds. santafe.org
Big Sky, Mont.
Known as the gateway to the awe-inspiring Yellowstone National Park, it’s not surprising that hiking, riding and biking trails abound here. Come wintertime, schuss the 400 inches of annual powder by day and enjoy Rocky Mountain steaks. visitbigsky.com
Harbor Country, Mich.
An easy two-hour drive from the North Shore, enjoy beautiful Lake Michigan beaches, abundant orchards, craft breweries, top-notch wineries, excellent antique shopping and world-class dining. harborcountry.org
Relax by the pool, bodysurf in the Gulf of Mexico, hit the links, visit the Polo Grounds, indulge yourself during Restaurant Week or catch a spring training game—there’s plenty to do here. visitsarasota.com
Photography by: Park City photo by don Miller / iStock / Getty Images Plus; Sarasota photo by Sean Pavone / Shutterstock; La Jolla photo by Brandon Colbert Photography / Moment / Getty Images;Big sky photo by Todd Williams/Wikimedia Commons;harbor Country photo by John Rav / Moment / Getty Images; Green Lake photo Courtesy of Green Lake area chamber of commerce; Santa Fe photo by DenisTangneyJr / iStock / Getty Images P