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Scenic Areas in Illinois

Milwaukie, Oregon
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Scenic Areas in Illinois

What are some of the most scenic parts of Illinois? We like small towns, rolling hills, antique shops along the way. On a visit last year we flew into Chicago and stayed in the St. Charles area. Took several day trips, but mostly saw strip malls and flat land.

Chicago is a convenient nonstop flight for us and we would like to explore more of the midwest.

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Scenic Areas in Illinois

Way too many options. Start here - http://www.enjoyillinois.com/home.aspx

Milwaukie, Oregon
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2. Re: Scenic Areas in Illinois

Thanks, Dave. I have already studied the website you recommend. I also have a couple of guidebooks and tourist office brochures from our visit last year. I was hoping to get some PERSONAL "favorites" from Fodorites that might fit my general description.

Illinois
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3. Re: Scenic Areas in Illinois

I think the most scenic area in northeastern Illinois is Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks. They are little pockets of canyons, waterfalls and hills, and only about a 1.5 hour trip from Chicago. Galena is another pretty area in the northwestern part of Illinois.

Illinois
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4. Re: Scenic Areas in Illinois

Agree with both Starved Rock and Galena areas. There is a nice lodge at Starved Rock State Park. During the warmer months they have live entertainment on their outside veranda. There are also a few great restaurants nearby. We prefer these to the food at the lodge. If you are into wineries, they have about 4 or 5 of them. In the fall, the area hosts a wine festival featuring wineries from all over the state. It is a great day with wine sampling, food vendors, and live entertainment. There is also the LaSalle Speedway nearby if you are into clay track modified car racing.

Galena area has the rolling hills and antique shops that you are looking for. It is on the Mississippi River. Check their web page for special events. You could also take a day trip into Dubuque. Chestnut Mountain ski lodge is very close and has great views of the river. During the summer, they have Alpine slides goind down the ski run. Great for kids. About 1/2 hour south of Galena is Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna, IL. They have great hiking trails with great views of the river. If you aren't into hiking, you can drive to the several overlooks. They all have parking available.

PM me if you would like more specific information.

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5. Re: Scenic Areas in Illinois

I agree with the two previous posts. I also find the drive from Savannah, IL to Sabula, IA absolutely breathtaking though I am shaking as I drive across the bridge every time :)

Bakersfield...
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6. Re: Scenic Areas in Illinois

The most scenic part of Illinois is Southern Illinois. Fly into St. Louis and drive the 1.5 hours to the Carbondale area. It's in the Shawnee National Forest and lots of rolling hills. There are many wineries with good tasting wines (Alto Pass Winery being one the older wineries in the area). There are also bed and breakfast places to stay or you can get a cabin at Giant City State Park. I lived in Chicago and Southern Illinois and the southern part of the state in much prettier then anything you'll find in Chicago or the starved rock area.

Milwaukie, Oregon
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7. Re: Scenic Areas in Illinois

Thanks, SS. Your suggestion sounds more like our style. Places we have enjoyed on other travels include eastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York. So. IL sounds similar. I'll read those sections of my travel books again and do a bit of Internet research. I think we'd rather drive from Chicago, though, than take a connecting flight to St. Louis. We live on the west coast and have FF miles on airline to ORD. Changing planes is such a hassle these days, and I particularly hate the commuter airlines. Maybe I can find a semi-scenic route (non-freeway)?

8. Re: Scenic Areas in Illinois

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