This year the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show comes to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center on February 10 and 11. It is a great opportunity to get ideas and inspiration for your next adventure and to get information from local tourist bureaus, adventure companies, and lodging groups. I have been attending for several years now, and I always use the show as a springboard for my next trip.
Here are some of the adventures I have found myself on that started at the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show. You too can find your next trip in February when the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show comes to the Chicago area.
Past adventures that started at the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show
The very first year I attended the show, I attended a Destination Theater presentation on Costa Rica. I heard about friendly people, rainforests, beaches, birds, and animals. It sounded a lot like my favorite country Thailand, yet a lot closer.
Since that first year attending the show, I have been to Costa Rica three times. Last year I had my most incredible trip featuring Costa Rica’s two most outstanding national parks. I visited Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast and then flew to Corcovado National Park in the Osa Peninsula. I saw sloths, toucans, macaws, tapirs, trogons, and so much more.
Links: Corcovado wildlife adventure
Wildman Ranch Wisconsin whitewater and snowmobiling
The first year I attended the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show, I stopped by the Wildman Ranch booth. It is hard to miss. They are usually situated right at the entrance and feature a full sized inflatable raft in front of their exhibit. I introduced myself to Ken who informed me about the adventure opportunities in northeast Wisconsin.
A few months later, I paddled an inflatable kayak through class III-IV rapids on the beautiful Peshtigo River. I could not believe such an incredible adrenaline filled experience waited for me less than five hours away from my home in Chicago. I had a blast camping in their campground and then paddling through Horserace Rapids.
A few years later, I returned in the winter to go snowmobiling through the Wisconsin northwoods. Wild times are truly found at Wildman Ranch. They also have ziplining, rock climbing, paintball, kayaking, and high ropes adventure. Definitely check them out at the show and in person.
Traverse City fishing, biking, and kayaking
A few years ago, I stopped by the Traverse City booth and dropped my card. I got an email a few days later and a trip to this jewel in northern Michigan hatched. I fished for smallmouth bass and lake trout, and I kayaked and biked on a tour of the many craft breweries in town. After two nights in Traverse City, I stopped by beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes for a night of camping and hiking. I even cooked my lake trout over the fire at the campground.
Several times I have stopped by the Dominican Republic Tourism booth. Last November I finally made it in person to this Caribbean island. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. I spent two days in Santo Domingo to acclimate to the country and enjoyed walking around the Old City. When I traveled across the island to Puerto Plata, it rained for four solid days. All tours were cancelled. I hoped to do some deep sea fishing and also swim through waterfalls, but the island was experiencing flooding due to the constant rain. I still enjoyed my time there and hope to return.
Munising and Pictured Rocks
Talking with the booths that represent Munising, Michigan and Pictured Rocks Boat Tours, I was inspired to hike the North Country Scenic Trail through Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore. I spent two nights camping along beautiful Lake Superior and hiked 40 miles in three days during the area’s peak fall colors.
Get inspired and informed for your next trip
This year I look forward to another year at the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show. I am wondering what booth, what speaker, what presentation will spark my desire to plan my next trip. The exhibits represent destinations from the Midwest, all over the U.S., and international locations like Thailand and places in Africa. Some of the speakers on tap this year include Rick Steves, Samantha Brown, and Pauline Frommer. Once again, the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show will get the travel year off to a great start.
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