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25 Best Places To Visit Near Illinois

25 Best Places To Visit Near Illinois in 2024

Illinois, often referred to as the "Prairie State," is a land of captivating contrasts. From its bustling urban centres to its serene rural landscapes, this state in the Midwestern region of the United States offers a diverse range of experiences for travellers. But why limit yourself to just one state when there's a world of beauty waiting just beyond its borders? In this blog, we'll take you on a virtual journey to 25 breathtaking places near Illinois that are totally worth a visit. Each destination in the list has its own unique charm, offering a chance to create unforgettable memories and discover new horizons. Scroll down and let us know your next haven!

25 Breathtaking Places Near Illinois

  • Door County, Wisconsin: Where Nature Paints a Canvas of Tranquility
  • Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: Elegance Meets Natural Beauty
  • Hocking Hills, Ohio: Unveiling the Mysteries of Ancient Rock Formations
  • Saugatuck, Michigan: Where Art, Beaches, and Serenity Converge
  • Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa: Discover Ancient Native American History
  • Brown County, Indiana: Immerse Yourself in the Colours of Autumn
  • Caves of Missouri: Exploring Missouri's Subterranean Wonders
  • Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota: Serenity Beckons by the Lakeside
  • Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin: Nature's Playground
  • Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri: Recreation and Relaxation on the Water's Edge
  • Star City, Indiana: A Quaint Town Charm Under Open Skies
  • Nauvoo, Illinois: A Glimpse into History
  • Lake Michigan Shoreline, Indiana and Michigan: Where Sand Meets Sky
  • Cahokia Mounds, Illinois: Unearthing Ancient Civilizations
  • Amish Country, Indiana: A Sojourn into Amish Life
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan: Sculpted by Nature
  • Effingham, Illinois: Crossroads of America
  • Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin: Where Adventure and Water Combine
  • Mark Twain National Forest, Missouri: Serene and Serenading
  • Mackinac Island, Michigan: Stepping into a Bygone Era
  • Leavenworth, Kansas: Midwest Meets Bavaria
  • Quad Cities, Illinois and Iowa: Where Riverfront Meets Culture
  • Lake Okoboji, Iowa: Lake Okoboji's Lakeside Bliss
  • Starved Rock State Park, Illinois: Starved Rock's Majestic Beauty
  • Cincinnati, Ohio: Cityscape and Riverfront

1. Door County, Wisconsin: Where Nature Paints a Canvas of Tranquility 

Door County is known for its picturesque coastal scenery, lighthouses and cherry orchards. Don't miss Peninsula State Park which is one of the best hiking trails near Illinois that offers stunning lake views.

  • Location: Northeastern Wisconsin
  • Major Attraction: Peninsula State Park
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring to Fall
  • How to Reach: Drive via US-41 N or take a ferry

2. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: Elegance Meets Natural Beauty

If you are looking for weekend retreats near Illinois then this resort city nestled around a crystal-clear lake is a stellar choice offering boat tours, upscale dining and historic estates.

  • Location: Southeastern Wisconsin
  • Major Attraction: Geneva Lake
  • Best Time to Visit: Summer for water activities, fall for foliage
  • How to Reach: About 1.5 hours drive from Chicago

3. Hocking Hills, Ohio: Unveiling the Mysteries of Ancient Rock Formations

A nature lover's paradise featuring awe-inspiring caves, waterfalls and lush forests. This is reckoned as one of the top outdoor attractions near Illinois that is perfect for hiking and adventure.

  • Location: Southeastern Ohio
  • Major Attraction: Old Man's Cave
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and Fall
  • How to Reach: Approximately 5 hours drive from Chicago

4. Saugatuck, Michigan: Where Art, Beaches, and Serenity Converge

A coastal town known for its art galleries, sand dunes and charming bed-and-breakfasts. With its blend of natural beauty and creative energy, Saugatuck stands as a serene escape for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

  • Location: Southwestern Michigan
  • Major Attraction: Oval Beach
  • Best Time to Visit: Summer
  • How to Reach: Around a 2.5-hour drive from Chicago

5. Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa: Discover Ancient Native American History

Explore over 200 prehistoric mounds built in the shapes of animals, overlooking the Mississippi River. The monument offers not only a glimpse into the past but also a serene escape into the natural beauty of Iowa's landscapes, making it a captivating destination for history enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

  • Location: Northeastern Iowa
  • Major Attraction: Mounds and scenic overlooks
  • Best Time to Visit: Spring and fall
  • How to Reach: About 3.5 hours drive from Chicago

6. Brown County, Indiana: Immerse Yourself in the Colours of Autumn