The Prairie State
No one thinks of Illinois as an outdoor destination by any means. Nicknamed the prairie state, Illinois is mostly covered by area that would be considered a flyover zone by 99.9% of people. However, If you were to start searching for things to do here that doesn't include Chicago, you might find some interesting places that don't seem like they belong.
For example, Starved Rock State Park. Located about an hour away from Chicago, and sprawling through the palisades of the Illinois River is a state park that has seen better days. Bottles are everywhere, and almost all of the rock formations that are easily accessible have been defaced with carvings or graffiti. Somewhere here lies a metaphor for the state itself, but I'll leave that for smarter people. The best places at Starved Rock are a bit off the (literally) beaten path. If you can manage to get to the Ottawa Canyon, hopefully you can get the place to yourself and enjoy the view, if only for a little while.