Illinois is home to a plethora of hidden gems waiting to be explored. Some are less hidden than others. Parks, historic sites, roadside attractions. Go find fun.

Illinois Road Trips

As winter's frost thaws and nature awakens, there's an undeniable buzz in the air—an excitement level you can feel signaling the arrival of spring.

The promise of warmer days ahead ignites a sense of adventure in me, and I know just the cure for my cabin fever. Planning road trips around Illinois to explore its many tourist attractions.

Illinois' Hidden Gems

Some of these stops are to see something that is not widely known or recognized but has exceptional quality, value, or beauty.

It could be a person, an object, an experience, or even small Illinois towns that are often overlooked or undiscovered by many people, but when found, it is treasured and appreciated by those who discover it.

MORE: You Need to Take The Ultimate Illinois Waterfalls Road Trip


MORE: Best Time to Visit Illinois’ Tallest Waterfall, It’s Over 100 Feet Tall

The term "hidden gem" suggests that something valuable and worthwhile is hidden beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered by those who take the time to seek it out. That's YOU.

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Illinois' Best Tourist Attractions

Shawnee National Forest via Facebook
Shawnee National Forest via Facebook

One such 'hidden gem' is the Shawnee National Forest, a vast expanse of wilderness with stunning natural beauty and tons of recreational opportunities.

Another must-see destination in Illinois is the charming town of Galena, which is known for its beautifully preserved 19th-century architecture, unique shops, and cafes.

The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is home to the remains of an ancient Native American city that dates back to the pre-Columbian era.

With so many hidden gems to explore on foot, in a car, or even by boat, Illinois is a true treasure trove for adventurous travelers.

Have fun planning your road trip.


MORE: Check Out 5 Biggest Reservoirs in the State of Illinois

20 Hidden Gem Spots from Across Illinois You Must Visit

Illinois is home to a plethora of hidden gems waiting to be explored. Parks, historic sites, roadside attractions, boutique hotels, and more. Go discover.

Gallery Credit: Steve Shannon

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