For an unforgettable stay in Illinois, beautiful and historic Great Rivers Country holds endless opportunities to explore Illinois’ diverse landscapes and rich history. Travel through the region along the Great River Road in Illinois National Scenic Byway, which hugs the Mississippi River for 550 awe-inspiring miles from East Dubuque to Cairo. Selected as one of National Geographic’s “500 Drives of a Lifetime,” The Great River Road, delivers relaxing getaways, lively festivals, outdoor adventures and thousands of years of history along the way.
Begin your journey in the charming town of Galena, where a visit down Main Street will take you back in time to when President Ulysses S. Grant called this town home. Wander its historic streets and revel in boutique shops and farm to table restaurants, relax in a cosy bed and breakfast, play a round of golf at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa, visit wineries and breweries, or take a hot air balloon ride and enjoy the breath-taking view from above.
Stop along the towering bluffs at Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna for stunning views of the Mississippi River. Down the road, an authentic Dutch windmill stands tall above the river in the city of Fulton. At the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, sit in a giant combine, try one of the cutting edge simulators, and celebrate the farming pioneer’s inventive spirit. Board the Celebration Belle riverboat, with its authentic paddle wheel and hear tales of the mighty Mississippi.
Visiting Nauvoo is a journey back in time. Noted as a National Historic Landmark community and home to a rebuilt Mormon Temple, Nauvoo has over 60 restored historic buildings. Journey on to Quincy and try an original Maid-Rite sandwich while studying the diverse local architecture.
In Alton, see the confluence of three American rivers – Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois – and travel the 33 picturesque miles of the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. At Melvin Price Locks and Dam, you can see barges going up and down the river and steer a virtual barge at the National Great Rivers Museum. Follow the footsteps of Lewis and Clark where they set off on their westward journey to the Pacific at Lewis and Clark State Historic Site. Explore the largest prehistoric city north of Mexico at Cahokia Mounds and walk to the top of Monks Mound at this United Nations World Heritage Site.
Built on the banks of the Illinois River, Peoria is home to the world headquarters of machine builder Caterpillar. Start your tour in the two-and-a-half story mining truck then stroll along Peoria’s waterfront to the neighbouring Riverfront Museum.
Delight in Great Rivers Country! Observe bald eagles or enjoy the vistas along one of our scenic drives. Indulge on local foods, relax at a bed and breakfast, taste Illinois wines or craft beers, or experience our outdoors by hiking, kayaking, or braving a zip line as it soars over limestone bluffs.
Experience all of this and more in Illinois’ Great Rivers Country!