The Ultimate Illinois Waterfalls Road Trip Is Right Here – And You’ll Want To Do It

Sometimes, you just want to get out with the family, or maybe even by yourself, to unwind. Sure, you could do the obvious, touristy things, but why go on a typical trip that is super-crowded and way overpriced? Here is a super cool trip that you and your family will be talking about for years to come, and the best part is that it won’t cost you much money at all. We dare you to take our epic waterfall road trips in Illinois, especially this one!

We already did the heavy lifting by creating a handy map of the trip:

So you’ve got the list, the map, and no excuses! So get a full tank of gas, pack some sandwiches, and hit up these waterfalls. Oh, and post some great pics of your trip on the Only in Illinois Facebook page. 

Which one of our waterfall road trips in Illinois are your favorites? Let us know! If you have any ideas for future articles, tell us about them here.

Address: Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve, 35W003 State Rte 31, South Elgin, IL 60177, USA
Address: Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, Lemont, IL, USA
Address: Matthiessen State Park, 2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Address: Starved Rock State Park, 2678 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Address: Burden Falls, Illinois 62987, USA
Address: Ferne Clyffe State Park, 90 Goreville Rd, Goreville, IL 62939, USA
Address: Kinkaid Lake, Illinois, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center

Waterfall Road Trips in Illinois

August 12, 2021

Are there any waterfalls near me in Illinois?  

Well, the answer depends on which part of Illinois you’re in. There are plenty of waterfalls in southern Illinois, some in northern, and very few in the central area of the state. In southern Illinois, the beautiful Ferne Cliff Waterfall is waiting for you. You could also visit Burden Falls, inside the Shawnee National Forest. If you’re in the northern part of the state, you’ll want to check out not one but two waterfalls in Oglesby: Giant’s Bathtub Falls and Cascade Falls, both tucked inside Matthiessen State Park. Click here for the ultimate waterfall hike in the state of Illinois!  

What are some of the best natural wonders in Illinois? 

Folks living in Illinois are lucky to live in a place filled with so much natural beauty. Some of that beauty could definitely be classified as wonders, as they seem like something out of a fairy tale. One of our favorite unusual-but-awe-inspiring wonders in the state is the intriguing Cave in Rock – which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a cave overlooking the Ohio River with a 55-foot mouth, which seems pretty imposing the first time you see it in person. Illinois Beach State Park is breathtaking enough to classify as a “natural wonder”, with six incredible miles of Lake Michigan shoreline so pristine you might forget you’re in a land-locked state. The Garden of the Gods, in Herod, is home to 300-million-plus year-old rock formations and some of the most unique geology in the state. Every one of them is magic in its own way, and we strongly recommend a visit to every one.  

What are some fun things to do in Illinois? 

Interestingly, Illinois is a Midwestern state with no shortage of fun and interesting things to do! Some of the must-see attractions in the state are the world-famous Willis Towers Skydeck, where you’ll be able to see an incredible view of up to 50 miles across four states! There’s also an amazing view of Lake Michigan, seemingly as a bonus. There is also Chicago’s gorgeous Navy Pier, complete with a Ferris wheel and plenty of waterside activities. We also strongly suggest a stroll around Lincoln Park – it’s six miles in length, so you’re bound to find a nice, quiet spot somewhere. Finally, we love the Anderson Japanese Gardens, in Anderson. There’s a special peace to them that you’re sure to fall in love with.  

Address: Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve, 35W003 State Rte 31, South Elgin, IL 60177, USA
Address: Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, Lemont, IL, USA
Address: Matthiessen State Park, 2500 IL-178, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Address: Starved Rock State Park, 2678 E 875th Rd, Oglesby, IL 61348, USA
Address: Burden Falls, Illinois 62987, USA
Address: Ferne Clyffe State Park, 90 Goreville Rd, Goreville, IL 62939, USA
Address: Kinkaid Lake, Illinois, USA