Elgin Area will continue to monitor and provide updates related to COVID-19 across our social channels and our website. Learn More

Plan a Family Getaway

A 3 Day Itinerary

Summer is a great time to escape with the family. Elgin area businesses and attractions have continued to implement strong health and safety standards to ensure the peace of mind for you and your family. Visit to relax, have fun, unwind and enjoy the Summer of 2021 with your loved ones. And we’ve already done the planning and research for you!


Day 1

Start your trip with the basics, checking in to where you’ll be staying. Hotels in the area sometimes offer deals and specials to Summer travelers. Check out this page for a Full List of Accommodations→ in the area. As your coming into town you may even pass 2 Toots Train Whistle Grill, a fun stop for lunch where meals are delivered via toy trains!

After checking in, head to South Elgin for the afternoon. Epic Air Trampoline Park and Panic Escape Room Games are both fun ways to expel that extra energy from the car trip into town. But if fresh air, and time outside is what you’re looking for, stop by SEBA Park. This park is outfitted with equipment for picnicking and play. During the Summer, food trucks come to provide a fun dining experience. Plus the Fox River Trail runs directly through it, so you and the fam can hop on the trail and do some natural sight-seeing! You will also find The Fox River Trolley Museum nearby for a unique outdoor museum experience.

If you haven’t eaten you’ll probably be pretty hungry! The Village Tavern, Nick’s Pizza and Pub and The Village Squire, all serve excellent food and are very family-friendly locations!


Day 2

Get the day rolling by heading to Elgin for an exhibit! There are many museums in the Elgin area like the Elgin History Museum or the Elgin Public Museum that feature interactive exhibits that are great for kids. Near the Elgin public museum you’ll find Lord’s Park. Lord’s Park is a scenic park known for it’s beautiful pavilion and zoo where you can visit the bison! Another great museum is Elgin Fire Barn No.5, this was the last fire barn to be decommissioned. Built in 1903, this historically recognized landmark now houses the city’s fire-related collection of memorabilia; including trucks! Gail Borden Public Library also features exhibits throughout the year. The exhibits here are temporary so check to see if there’s one ahead of time→.  Otherwise there are still a number of kid-oriented events at the library→ that are held as well.

A more exhilarating activity is at The Centre of Elgin where you can spend time swimming or rock climbing! There’s also Escapade 360, an award-winning escape room venue with multiple rooms and shows off some high tech features that can be discovered! You can also head over to Festival Park located near the riverfront. The kids can cool off in the splash pad, and explore the unique playground! This park is also used as an event venue, notably for the concerts in the park, organized by the nearby casino.

Whenever the grumblies hit, the downtown area in Elgin is home to a wonderful restaurant the kids will love. The Blue Box Cafe is a Doctor Who themed café serving up breakfast and lunch fare. There’s also Danny’s Pizza, a local favorite pizza place and Paul’s Family Restaurant, a homey all-day diner. Also, there’s Alexander’s Cafe which is conveniently located near many of our Elgin Area hotels, they serve up an amazing breakfast and great lunch options as well!


Day 3

After checking-out, head over to Burnt Toast or Southern Belles for an amazing breakfast to start the day. Then for a final all-day activity, head over to Santa’s Village Azoosement and Water Park, this Christmas-themed amusement park is home to thrill rides, a zoo, kiddie rides and Santa Springs, their water park! It’s easy to spend a whole day here, or you can just come by to enjoy the water park! For more outdoor adventure, you can stop by Randall Oaks Zoo– a barnyard zoo home to a variety of kid-friendly farm animals for viewing, petting and feeding. Come visit the cows, mini horses, emus, alpacas, reptiles, fox and Great Horned Owls! And if your family loves animals Enjoy Pioneer Farm offers the opportunity to hold and interact with baby farm animals in the Spring and Summer months.

Older kids may enjoy an afternoon at Paintball Explosion. This paintball park hosts open play on the weekends and rental equipment is available. You can also play among old rides and attractions from Santa’s Village. Underground Retrocade is a way to enjoy stepping into the past for an afternoon. Enjoy numerous cabinets of arcade games! And you can forget the quarters, for $15 you get a wristband for unlimited plays!

If you want to grab a quick bite before hitting the road back home, we recommend visiting Woodfire Dundee or Van’s Frozen Custard and Burgers. The custard at Van’s is one of the Elgin Area’s Confection locations. As is Around the Corner Candy for grabbing a treat to enjoy in the car.

Visitor’s Guide

Get our Visitor’s Guide for all you need to know about the Elgin area.

Read Your Guide