from the local experts at Visit McHenry County & Explore Elgin Area

Enjoy the best of adventure and architecture just outside of Chicago in the McHenry County and Elgin AreaDiscover the great outdoors with time on the water, the best of local cuisine, and all of the rich history that surrounds to create memories that will last a lifetime with the one you love.

Many attractions have reopened with limited capacity or different operating hours. Inquire with attractions ahead of time for up-to-date travel policies and health and safety information.

  • Richmond
  • McHenry
  • Crystal Lake
  • Elgin
  • Pingree Grove
  • Pingree Grove

Explore the Highlights
  • Day 1: Richmond and McHenry

Start your adventures with a paddle down the Nippersink Creek. This meandering scenic paddle can be a quick four-hour trip through seven miles of the creek or take up to six hours to complete the full 11 miles. Paddlers can rent kayaks or canoes from Scull and Oars, or if you have your own equipment, Scull and Oars will provide shuttle service after your visit. You are sure to work up an appetite after paddling the Nippersink. Just a few miles from Pioneer Landing is Richmond BratHaus, a local favorite serving up brats, burgers and bier. Walk off your dinner with a romantic stroll down the McHenry Riverwalk. Running along Boone Creek from Green Street to Riverside Drive, you will enjoy scenic views of the Fox River. Now it’s time to relax. Lay your head in a comfortable bed at Hampton Inn McHenry. This newly renovated property is exactly what you will need to recharge before your next day of adventure.

  • Day 2: McHenry, Crystal Lake & Elgin

No morning is complete without a hearty breakfast to get you energized for your day. Café 31 North is the perfect place to refuel. Don’t miss the garden- fresh omelet, quinoa benedict, or even their vegan-friendly tofu scramble. Your next adventure also gets you on the water, but in a different way. The Quarry Cable Park is a next-generation cable wake park located within the beautiful Three Oaks Recreation Area in Crystal Lake. This multifaceted facility allows wakeboarders of all skill levels to wakeboard like never before; that is, without a boat! In addition to wakeboarding, The Quarry also offers a sandy beach for spectating, sand volleyball courts, baggo, lakeside patio, and pro shop. Grab a bite to eat at the Lakeside Bar & Grille and watch the sunset over the lake. We promise you’ve never seen a sunset like one at The Quarry.

  • Day 3: Elgin, Pingree Grove & Dundee

The historic residential district in Elgin is made up of a number of Painted Lady, Victorian style homes and Sears homes. See why filmmakers come to Elgin to put a classic feel into their productions. Walk through historic downtown Elgin at your own pace to explore the architecture of these historic buildings. Follow along digitally and enjoy curated audio for each spot on the tour. After all that walking, it’s time for a treat to cool off. The Milk House in Pingree Grove is a perfect spot. Locals voted this as their number one spot to get a refreshing treat last summer, and even more recently Milk House was inducted into the Illinois Makers program because of their dedication to providing farm-fresh ingredients with a spark of creativity that’s hard to find elsewhere. Treat yourself to a handmade waffle cone or try out a number of flavors with an ice cream flight! Mockingbird Bar & Garden creates a unique dining experience with their incredible outdoor patio and small plates prepared in the wood burning oven. Experience a fresh, handcrafted cocktail with your meal while you perhaps sit fireside to enjoy each other’s company into the evening.