Illinois March 22, 2018
16 Secret Reasons Illinois Is The Best State In The Nation
We don’t have to tell you that Illinois is fantastic, but you may not know all the reasons why. Everyone is familiar with our cities, food inventions, and festivals, but there are many secret attractions you may not know about.
From hidden resorts and restaurants to little-known parks and gardens, this list of 16 Illinois wonders are must-sees. Check them out:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Cache River State Natural Area, 930 Sunflower Lane in Belknap.
This a secret swamp of cypress trees that have been around for more than 1,000 years. This marvelous place is like something out of a fairy tale, and guests can explore it by boat or by walking along the 465-foot boardwalk. Get more details about this wicked awesome place
2. St. Charles Paddlewheel Riverboats, 2 North Avenue in Saint Charles.
Illinois' rivers are some of the best things about this state, and the most fun and intriguing way to enjoy them is on this riverboat cruise. Enjoy music, historical tales, and wonderful sights you can't see any other way.
to learn more about times and costs.
3. Pomona Natural Bridge, Shawnee National Forest, Natural Bridge Road in Murphysboro.
There's nothing like this amazing natural wonder. This 90-foot bridge is 30-feet high and perfectly safe to cross. The whole Shawnee is an oasis of hiking trails, waterfalls, rock formations, and other natural attractions. Get more details about this unique spot
4. Havencrest Castle, 140 N 5th Street in Savanna.
Created as a shrine for a couple's love, this magnificent home is occasionally open to tours (though you can always drive by). The only remaining resident is a man whose late wife was his everything. Check out the luxurious interior of this home
5. Stonehouse Farm, 3719 Suydam Road in Earlville.
Find peace and relaxation at this unique resort. You can camp in tents, cabins, and many other different style sof lodging. It might be the most beautiful campground in the state, and you can learn more about it
6. Gateway Geyser, Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, 185 W Trendley Avenue in East St Louis.
Representing many of the rivers of Illinois, this man-made geyser shoots water 630 feet into the air. Built in 1995, it is certainly a sight to see anytime of day during the summer.
to learn the full story behind this epic attraction.
7. Matthiessen State Park, 2500 Illinois Route 178 in Oglesby.
Often overlooked for nearby Starved Rock State Park, this lesser-known natural area is just as magnificent. It is one of the most incredible places in the state to take a hike, and you can learn more about it by clicking
8. Aikman Wildlife Adventure, 125 N Co Rd 425E in Arcola.
You'd never guess that Illinois is home to an exotic safari. Guests drive their own cars, walk, or take special tours of the park that is full of critters like zebras and camels.
for more information about this little-known place.
9. Eaglewood Resort & Spa, 1401 Nordic Road in Itasca.
Often overlooked for the hundreds of other places to stay and things to do in Chicagoland, this resort is a golf lover's dream. Guests also enjoy luxury rooms and amenities, spa treatments, and fabulous dining. Learn more about this wonderful getaway destination
10. Linmar Gardens, 504 S Prospect Street in Galena.
This is one of the most beautiful secrets in the state. It contains a gorgeous waterfall, a plethora of trees, as well as lovely fountains and other structures. It's the most whimsical treasure you'll find in Illinois.
to learn more about this unforgettable oasis.
11. Trails End Lodge, 1425 Skyline Drive in Cobden.
Nature lovers will want to visit this spot ASAP. Located in the Shawnee National Forest, this lodge-style restaurant is a local favorite that few outside the area know exists. It is known for American fare like steak, burgers, fried fish, and much more. Learn more about this delicious place
12. Dixon Springs State Park, 982 IL-146 in Golconda.
This lovely natural area is full of rock formations, tree-lined trails, and waterfalls. There are also playgrounds and camping opportunities. Get more information about this stunning park
13. RavenStone Castle, 4504 Il Route 23 in Harvard.
Stay the night or simply take a tour of this little-known castle. You'll be whisked back to Medieval times and enjoy themed rooms filled with antiques and ambiance.
for more details about this castle.
14. Lurie Garden, Millennium Park, E Monroe Street in Chicago.
Even if you've been to this popular park before, you may not realize that a secret garden hides within. Near the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the garden is surrounded by hedges and contains lovely flowers and shrubs.
for more details on this lovely spot.
15. Leone Beach, 1222 W Touhy Avenue in Chicago.
It may seem impossible, but this big city beach is a secret even to most Chicagoans. Regardless, it is a beautiful place to spend a summer day relaxing by the waves. Check out previous coverage of this incredible, secluded spot
16. Graceland Cemetery, 4001 N Clark Street in Chicago.
This wonderful, hidden spot is part graveyard and part park. It spans 119 acres and is its own arboretum with more than 2,000 trees. It was established in 1860 and is known for its incredible landscaping. Check it out
If you love learning Illinois’ secrets, check out this list of
11 abandoned places you should visit before they disappear forever.
What other secret attractions in Illinois do you love to visit? Share your favorite places with us in the comments below!