Some of the most beautiful places in the world are right here in Illinois. From natural wonders to man-made gardens, you’ll be blown away by the sights in our home state.
Get that camera ready for the most lovely places in all of Lincoln land. Keep scrolling for 16 breath-taking locations you must see.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Anderson Japanese Gardens (Rockford)
This exotic paradise of tranquility and nature is a must-visit for all Illinoisans. There aren't many other places where you can see plants like the ones they have here. Visit anytime of year for an unforgettable, picturesque experience.
2. Matthiessen State Park (Oglesby)
There is a plethora of wonders to be found at this majestic park. Be it summer, winter, or a season in between, this is one of the most beautiful places in the state. There are rock formations, waterfalls, and gorgeous foliage throughout.
3. Cantigny Park (Wheaton)
This 500-acre park is a stunning world of man-made gardens and other wonders. Fountains, flowers, forestry, and so much more can be found here. You'll want to get lost amongst the shrubbery all day.
4. Mississippi Palisades State Park (Savanna)
This the best place to go for views of the Mississippi River. The world feels bigger here, giving you plenty to take pictures of. You don't want to miss this epic state park.
Possibly the most beautiful town in all of Illinois, this resort village is known for its charming, vintage downtown and picturesque hills. Outside of the main town, breath-taking countryside abounds.
6. Illinois Beach State Park (Zion)
Lake Michigan is certainly one of the most beautiful things about Illinois, but it is accessible from many places. One of the best is this state park full of great beaches. You'll feel like you're relaxing on the ocean here.
7. Burden Falls (Watkins Ford)
Part of the Shawnee National Forest, this is one of the best waterfalls in the state. You'll find stunning views here even if there is a crowd of people around. Stop in early for the best picture-taking opportunity.
8. Garden of the Gods (Herod)
This majestic land of rock formations is one of the most unique sights in the state. Many do not even know that Illinois is home to such wonders, yet the Shawnee National Forest is a treasure trove of natural gifts. Hike and bask in the beauty of nature here.
9. Garfield Park Conservatory (Chicago)
Everyone loves a visit to this fabulous collection of gardens. From ferns and palms to desert succulents, you'll find beauty and wonder afoot everywhere you go. Catch attractions both indoors and outdoors.
10. Chicago Riverwalk (Chicago)
Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the best way to get incredible views of its architecture is to take a stroll down the river. Especially at night, this romantic walk is the perfect way to end any night.
11. Buckingham Fountain (Chicago)
At the center of Grant Park, this huge water spout is one of the most beautiful places in the state. While it's lovely during the day, it is more spectacular at night when light shows enhance the scene.
12. Shakespeare Garden (Evanston)
Planted in the early 1900s, this marvelous oasis is situated on the campus of Northwestern University and is the first of its type in the U.S. This unique place is perfect for a scenic stroll.
13. Starved Rock State Park (Utica)
Another wonderland of rock formations and hidden waterfalls, this lovely park contains numerous trails, and you'll want a shot each step of the way. It is gorgeous here year round.
14. LaSalle Waterfall (Utica)
Also part of Starved Rock, this is one of the best waterfalls in the park. Located about two miles from the visitor center, this awe-inspiring sight is a must-see before you kick the can.
15. Gateway Arch (St. Louis)
Though technically not in Illinois, you can see this impressive structure from our side of the Mississippi. The best time to view it is at night when the city is all aglow.
16. Falling Springs (Cahokia)
One of several rock formations in the state, this one looks like a crying cave. Witnessing these gigantic bluffs in person is worth any drive or hike you may need to take to get here.
What other beautiful places are there in Illinois? Share your favorite spots with us!