Illinois is the heart of America's Midwest, the starting point for famous Route 66, home of the Windy City (Chicago), the Great Lakes and is rich with American history and cultural experiences. Open vistas and immense stretches of dazzling waving grassland, lakes and forests offer the perfect escape, whereas the bustling cities offer everything you need for a more vibrant trip with plenty of bars, restaurants, museums and attractions, there is plenty to keep the entire family happy on an Illinois Holiday.
Of course you wouldn't want to miss Chicago. The city that gave the world the skyscraper is a powerhouse of art, culture and superb architecture, and time spent getting under its skin pays back double. There's first-class museums, great performing arts (check out the Loop Theatre District), superlative shopping along 'Magnificent Mile' and delicious deep-pan pizzas whenever you need to refuel. Plus don't forget the beaches of Lake Michigan.
But there's the countryside to discover too, including over 50 State parks. Waterfalls, soaring bluffs, rugged canyons and bald eagle-spotting are the order of the day at Starved Rock State Park, where you can hike, kayak or cruise by paddleboat amid stunning scenery. Plus there's the surreal rock formations and steep cliffs of the Garden of the Gods to explore, deep in the Shawnee National Forest - as well as over 100 wineries, with a chance to sample the local produce.
History is another thing that's big on the agenda on an Illinois holiday - especially the state's talent for shaping presidents. Ronald Regan was born here; Ulysses S Grant called Galena home; Obama lived and worked in Chicago; but the state's biggest ties are to Abraham Lincoln, whose home was in Springfield, and where he is now buried. There's a scattering of fascinating sites to explore connected to these great men, and the Lincoln Museum is a must-see.
With many options for a trip to Illinois here are some of our suggested stops:
Follow the Great River Road along the Mississippi and you will find Alton, one of America’s infamous river towns. With plenty of historical ties, the Pere Marquette State Park and a riverbank amphitheatre there is plenty to see and do here on a short break in Illinois. Alton is also known as the most haunted small town in America and we would suggest taking part in one of the walking or trolley guided Haunted History Tours.
A gem in the northwest of Illinois, Galena is perfect for those that want to blend experiencing a traditional American town with a range of holiday activities. This is traditional America as you imagine it with a friendly and welcoming feel and home to a number for top tier golf courses, opportunities to try your hand on a paddleboard and is known for an incredible hot air balloon ride.
Route 66 passes directly through the home of Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois. It is a great choice on a trip to Illinois and will give you the chance to take a step back in time. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and an array of well-known architectural musts. Fast forward into the mid 1900s where you’ll be able to take in a movie in a traditional drive in style cinema at the Route 66 Drive In Theatre and be sure not to miss the Cozy Dog Drive In diner where they have been serving their renowned Cozy Dog hot dog for nearly 70 years.
If any of these have peaked your interest then be sure to get in touch with our tailor-made travel experts by calling 0208 290 9751