Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)
We’re talking scenic fall getaways around the state this season with Karla Flannery, Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism.
Galena (3 hrs. from Chicago)
Just a one-tank trip from the Chicago area, Galena, this idyllic historic river town, is the ideal destination for a fall getaway.
• Stay at the Arrowhead Treehouse – a 600 sq. ft lofted treehouse (sleeps 6+) that sits on the Dittmar Farms U-pick farm and overlooks the color-turning trees that hover over the Mill Creek River.
• Enjoy biking and hiking trails in Galena including a scenic 8.8 mile trail along the Galena River featuring breathtaking views of the towering bluffs.
• Check out Historic Main Street, which boasts half a mile of more than 125 independently owned shops and restaurants – rated one of the most beautiful Main Streets in America by Reader’s Digest.
• Stop by one of Galena’s Illinois Made makers with unique visitor experiences from local vineyard Galena Cellars, Blaum Bros. and Great American Popcorn Co.
Alton/Grafton (5 hrs. from Chicago) Great River Road
• Take a scenic bike ride along the Great River Road, recently named an All-American Road, in Alton and Grafton offering some of the best fall views in the state.
• Get a bird’s-eye view of Pere Marquette State Park and the Mississippi River on a ride on the Grafton Sky Tour.
• Take a haunted tour at the McPike Mansion, built in 1869 and is listed to have up to 12 spirits haunting the premises.
• Refuel at Post Commons, a new coffee bar inside Alton’s old U.S. Post office building with a tempting brunch menu.
• Enjoy seasonal Oktoberfest beer Old Bakery Beer in Alton – the region’s only 100% organic craft brewery.
Southern Illinois/ Shawnee Forest County (6 hrs. from Chicago)
• Head south to Shawnee National Forest where you can marvel over incredible fall foliage at Garden of the Gods.
• Spend the night at Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins – just a stone’s throw away from the Garden of the Gods in Elizabethtown, offering fully-equipped treehouses and classic log cabins.
• Celebrate Illinois Wine Month this month at the The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, featuring 11 award-winning wineries surrounded by unique inns, intimate bed & breakfasts and comfortable cabins, all nestled in the scenic Shawnee Hills of Illinois.
• Nothing beats apple picking in the fall at family-owned Rendleman Orchards in Alto Pass.
North Chicago + Lake County (1 hr. from Chicago)
• Head to Didier Farm’s Pumpkinfest in Lincolnshire (opening Sept. 18) is always a great time for the whole family to enjoy.
• Stay and make a splash at Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee offering 13 different water slides and lodge-style rooms for groups.
• Discover the changing colors of the season at Chicago Botanic Garden.
• Thrill-seekers can get more than they bargained for at Fright Fest at Six Flags where adrenaline-pumping rides won’t be the only things causing screams.
• Soon enough, Chicago will be encased in the orange and yellow maples and oak trees that make the parks and open spaces beautiful come mid-October. Head to the Lincoln Park area to see the leaves change during a walk at Lincoln Park Zoo – a free zoo, open for all ages to enjoy.
• Take a scenic stroll along the dock at Navy Pier where fall is in the air with the upcoming Pier Pumpkins display starting in October. You can also enjoy one of several architectural river cruises along the Chicago River.
• Enjoy a night out at Virtue, a Southern American restaurant, located in Hyde Park, that prides itself on unpretentious service, timing and providing value to the community.