Want to take a really nice trip, but don’t want to spend the night? Don’t worry – there are loads of great trips where you get a lot in during just one day. Here are 11 suggestions for great day trips in Illinois.
1. Chicago Botanic Garden
You've never seen this many flowers in just one go. There are 385 acres in this area, including 26 gardens. Some notable gardens include the waterfall garden and bonsai collection.
2. Aikman Wildlife Adventure
Who knew there were wild animals in central Illinois? It feels more like Africa than central Illinois down here. Drive your vehicle through the park and see zebras, wallaby and more. There is a petting zoo, too.
3. Mississippi Palisades State Park
This 2500 acre state park is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple Rivers. The area is surrounded by large, 500-foot bluffs covered in forest. It looks super lush. There are trails with scenic overlooks to take it all in.
4. Illinois Beach State Park
There is not a lot of Lake Michigan shoreline left. At Illinois Beach State Park, you can see 6.5 miles of shore. Walk on the beach and go in the water. You can take a boat out there. There are also some trails to go through forested areas.
This town was once the home of the Mormons as they tried to escape religious persecution. And while the Mormons moved west for the most part, their mark is left on this town. Make sure to see the amazingly beautiful Mormon temple. There are also tons of historical reenactments you can see. This give you a glimpse of what life was like.
Arthur is a small Amish community in central Illinois. If you've never seen the Amish before, that in itself is a treat. There are many antiques stores to explore, and great restaurants. Make sure to get a slice of shoo fly pie.
Everyone has to visit Superman's hometown at least once. This town really embraces its Superman heritage. Strike a pose in front of Superman. There are museums and other Superman themed shops. There are loads of great photo ops here.
8. Cahokia Mounds
Once upon a time, this area of Illinois was the site of the most sophisticated pre-Columbian societies. They had complex religious and political views. Today, you can still visit the area where they lived and walk the grounds.
9. Starved Rock State Park
This might be the most popular day trip in Illinois. For spending an afternoon, you can get your fill of nature. Starved Rock truly has it all: canyons, waterfalls, rock formations, and loads of scenic overlooks. Bring your hiking shoes and a picnic.
This is one of the most charming towns in America. It is right off of the Mississippi River. The town has loads of cool shops and nice places to have dinner. If you do want to spend the night, there are some fantastic B&Bs.
11. Brookfield Zoo
Everyone likes a day at the zoo, and boy, can you get a full day in at Brookfield. There are over 450 species of animals. They have great displays for giraffes, elephants, and primates. You probably won't see everything in a day, even if you try, but it will definitely fill up a complete day.