11 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Illinois with Family

Illinois is the land of “Lincoln” famous for its natural beauty, foliage, and scenic landscapes. The land of Lincoln is home to crowded towns as well as farmer’s land. Illinois has a rich history that significantly relates to arts, culture, sports, and politics. Further, it is the perfect spot to visit with your family.

For nature lovers, there are many places to visit in Illinois, where they can experience rolling hills, pristine towers, mountains, and waterfalls. In this comprehensive guide, we will compile a list of the 11 most beautiful places to visit with your family in Illinois.  Let’s get Started!

Most Gorgeous Destinations for Families in Illinois

Illinois is the hub of stunning places that not only attract regular solo visitors but families also. In the sea of exciting landscapes and picturesque scenery, it becomes hard to choose the first attraction to discover in Illinois. That is why, we have collected 11 great travel destinations that are highly recommended specifically for family trips in Illinois.

1. Chicago


Plan to visit Chicago? Wow, that great idea!  no doubt it is one of the world’s most exciting cities to explore with your family. Chicago is rich in history, culture, and arts. The small town warmly welcomes visitors across the world around the year.

What to Explore in Chicago?

➝ Chicago Museum Campus

➝ Boat Tours

➝ Chicago River


➝ Millennium Park

Navy Pier

➝ DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center

Things to Do

➝ Travel across an elevated trail on the 606

➝ Walk through a beautiful garden

➝ Bike to the ’burbs on the North Branch Trail

➝ Catch a foul ball at Guaranteed Rate Field

➝ Cruise around town on a Divvy e-bike

➝ See gorgeous seasonal blooms

Best Time to Go

➝ April

➝ May

➝ September

➝ October

2. Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods Chicago

The Garden of Gods is the second ideal destination in Illinois and is located in the Shawnee National Forest. It is the most beautiful natural wonder that offers plenty of stunning foliage scenes. Indeed, the park is home to a range of unique rock mountains that were created by nature in mullion of years.

What Is Special in Garden of Gods?

The Garden of Gods is home to unlimited species, especially the species of Dinosaurs. Further, towering formations, mountain bike trails, and thrilling hikes highlight the peak beauty of the spot.

Admission Hours

➝ 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM (May to October)

➝ 5:00 AM to 09:00 PM (November to April)

Activities to Do

➝ Take a Scenic Drive Over the Park

➝ Find out Outdoor Recreation

➝ Hit The Trails for Picturesque Background

➝ Amaze with Jeep Tour

➝ Find The Perfect Picnic Spot

➝ Take to the Trails for a Horseback Riding Venture

3. Great River Road

Great River Road Chicago

The Great River Road is a place in Illinois where travelers can experience an unforgettable venture. Great River Road is the best spot for those seeking historic yet scenic routes in the heartland of America. What is the best part? The best part is you can see the natural beauty during the drive from your comfort car.

Nearby Attraction

➝ Sunset Bay

➝ National Great Rivers Museum

➝ Monument Park

Where to Stay?

➝ River View Inn

➝ Water Views Inn

➝ McGarrity’s Inn

➝ River District Hotel

➝ Great River Lodge

➝ Root River Inn & Suites

➝ Rivertown Inn

➝ Riverfront Hotel

Where to Eat?

➝ Father Fats

➝ Jennings & Co.

➝ Belt’s Soft Serve

➝ Mikey’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill

➝ The Wooden Chair

➝ Belt’s Soft Serve

➝ Anchor Bay Bar & Grill

4. Burden Falls

Burden Falls

Burden Falls is the tallest waterfall in Illinois, but in the United States, the sea of waterfalls is considered very small. However, a great place to visit with your family. The picturesque background and plenty of bird and insect species views set it apart from the others.

Highlight Of Burden Fall

➝ Picturesque Waterfalls

➝ Hiking Trails

➝ Geological history

Where Is Located Burden Falls?

Cross the Great Central Lake, 45 in Ozark, take Ozark Road east, and then this road turns into Forest 402.

What You Can Do at Burden Falls with Your Family?

➝ Experience Bell Smith Springs

➝ Visit Stonefort Depot Museum

➝ Go to Shawnee Restaurant & Lounge

➝ Enjoy Jackson Falls Trail

➝ Explore Carrier Mills Park

➝ Hogg Hollow Winery

➝ Sand Cave

5. Leaning Tower

Leaning Tower

Leaning Tower is the world-famous spot to visit in Illinois. The tower needs some renovation but still counts in the list of top attractions in Illinois. Overall, a great place to click plenty of photos, admire nature, and explore more nearby wonders.

The Most Attractive Destinations Near Leaning Tower

➝ Piazza del Duomo

➝ Piazza dei Cavalieri

➝ Battistero

➝ Osteria in domo


Admission Fee for Leaning Tower

➝ The admission fee for the Leaning Tower is 25 Euros per head

➝ Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

6. Central Illinois

Central Illinois

Central Illinois is a peaceful place away from the busiest cities and crowds. A great spot that highlights the core values of the state and explores chances to learn about the state.

A luxury place to spend quality time with your family and enjoy nature’s beauty. You will find here a man-made lake including Shelbyville Lake and Springfield Lake.

What to Do in Central Illinois?

➝ Go to the Presidential Library

➝ Explore Urbana’s Market

➝ Enjoy Lake of the Woods

➝ Discover from the University of Illinois Arboretum

➝ Krannert Center to see Art Performance

➝ Experience Homer Lake Forest

➝ Meadowbrook Park and Crystal Lake Park

Best Accommodation Near Central Illinois

➝ Vrooman Mansion

➝ Sunset Inn & Suites

➝ Ameristar Casino Resort Spa St. Charles

➝ Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette

➝ Big Horse Inn & Suites

➝ Pere Marquette Lodge & Conference Center

7. Ottawa


Ottawa is designed according to the tourist mind, with plenty to see and do making it an exciting spot for all age visitors.

It is a city in Illinois and as per population home of one million people. Ottawa is known for its rich heritage, culture, landscapes, and history.

A Must-Explore Destination Near Ottawa

➝ Rideau Canal

➝ The Canadian Museum of Natural History

➝ The National Centre for the Arts

➝ Central Experimental Farm

➝ Gatineau Park

➝ The Dominion Arboretum

➝ The Royal Canadian Mint and museum

➝ The Canadian Thayer Centre

Top Famous Restaurants in Ottawa

➝ Zak’s Diner

➝ Elgin Street Diner

➝ Tulip Restaurant

The Best Time to Visit Ottawa

➝ March to May

➝ September to November

Exciting Things to DO in Ottawa

➝ Discover ByWard Market

➝ Visit Bytown Museum

➝ Go to Parliament Hill

➝ Canada Aviation and Space Museum

➝ Canadian Museum of Nature

➝ National Gallery of Canada

➝ Visit Gatineau Park

8. Chicago Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk

The Riverwalk is a valued visiting spot by visitors any time of day or year. All age visitors can experience stunning architectural sights at night that make it a special place to go with your loved ones.

Highlights of Riverwalk

➝ The River Theater

➝ The Cove

➝ The Swimming Hole

What Activities You Can Do and Enjoy?

➝ Visit Kayak down the Chicago River

➝ Explore public art

➝ Take an architecture boat tour

➝ Climb to the top of the Bridgehouse Museum

➝ Sip wine on a riverfront patio

➝ Dine with a view

➝ Go for fishing

Where to Eat?

➝ Dorrego’s

➝ The River’s Edge Cafe & Patio Bar

➝ Zocca Cuisine D’Italia

9. Rockford


Rockford is known as the biggest city in Illinois states.  Somehow, it is famous as a forest city because it has over 20,000 acres of green space and foliage beauty. You can find the most dramatic cultural sight in Illinois in Rockford. Further, the oldest music club is also situated in Rockford.

Best Time to Visit Rockford

Ideal seasons are spring and fall, and if consider months April to May and October to November are best.

Fun Things to DO

➝ Explore plenty of museums

➝ Visit adventurous parks to enjoy with kids

➝ Go gaming

➝ Attend events

➝ Treat yourself

➝ Enjoy mouthwatering cuisines

Best Restaurants in Rockford

➝ Alpine View Restaurant

➝ Machine Shed Restaurant

➝ The Norwegian

10. Galena


Galena is one of the most-visited attractions in Illinois. The great thing is that you never get bored here, there is something for all types of visitors. Whether, you are a food lover, a nature explorer, seeking a calm outdoor time, or a peaceful space, undoubtedly, Galena is the way to go.

Best Time to Go to Galena

Summer is the best time to visit Galena with family

Best Restaurants to Taste Food

➝ Courtyard Restaurant

➝ Dillon’s

➝ Big Bill’s Sandwich Shop and Coffee Bar

➝ Fried Green tomatoes

Events in The Town

➝ The Cocktail Adventure Tour

➝ Sunday All You Care to Eat Brunch Buffet

➝ Galena ARC Annual Dinner

➝ Intermediate Watercolor Class

11. Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest is the biggest forest in Illinois spread over 280,000 acres of land. As it is considered a national forest in Illinois, attracts several people who want to explore special places, stunning sights, and natural beauty.

Highlights of Shawnee National Forest

➝ Bell Smith Springs

➝ Pomona Natural Bridge Trail

➝ Garden of the Gods

➝ River to River Trail

➝ Lusk Creek Canoe

Best Time to GO

➝ Spring

➝ Fall

Top 3 Restaurants

➝ The Iron Whisk Bistro & Bar

➝ Peachbarn Winery & Café

➝ Mase’s Place

Activities That You Can DO

➝ Hiking in the Garden of the Gods

➝ Take a selfie in the Shawnee National Forest

➝ Visit Pounds Hollow

➝ Go on a picnic under the Golden Circle

➝ The Rim Rock Hike

➝ Visit Ox-Lot Cave

Final Notes

When it comes to finding the best places to visit in Illinois the possibilities are endless. From Natural attractions to museums and modern sights, Illinois offers plenty of destinations that draw the attention of potential visitors.

It is a place that welcomes one and all, whether you’re a solo traveler or plan to visit with family, there is something special for everyone. Playgrounds for kids, a museum to explore history, a national park to see nature beauty, hiking trails mountains, and much to explore in Illinois. Thus, make a plan, gather your things, and set out to explore Illinois right now! Enjoy a wonderful journey!

Read Also: 

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