Tall Paul holding a giant hot dog at the annual Happy Wiener Fest on Route 66 in historic Atlanta, Ill.
Take a Trip
Discover something new in Illinois
Will you be one of the more than 50 million people who will explore Illinois this year? January may seem like an odd month to talk about this, but there are plenty of daytrips that can get you and your family out of the house and help keep cabin fever at bay.
It’s also a good time to think about that spring or summer vacation. You may only think of the more traditional out-of-state destinations like exotic locales or tourist magnets, and sure, the Bahamas are lovely and the Grand Canyon is big, but does an out-of-state trip include a visit to a double-decker outhouse? Or a history lesson brought to life like visiting Lincoln New Salem’s Historic Site? Or a trip to discover gangsters and superheroes? If not, you’re missing out on what you can find right here in Illinois.
With more than 110 historic sites, 4,300 miles of shoreline, almost a 1/2 million acres of state parks, not to mention all the small and unique places to visit, you can easily find some interesting daytrips, weekend adventures or official summer family vacations in your own backyard. So load up the kids and gas up the car and get moving!
We’ll be reviewing some of these destinations throughout the year as space allows in this publication. If you’re anxious to get started now, check out the books or Web sites below for more information.
• Illinois Travel Counseling System at 1-800-2-CONNECT puts you in touch with an expert travel counselor who can answer your questions, make trip suggestions or prepare a full itinerary and send it to you in minutes by fax or e-mail. Or visit the Web site www.enjoyillinois.com. You can take a virtual journey through the regions of the state via the Web site.
• Daytrip Illinois: A Travel Guide to Daytrips in the Land of Lincoln, 2nd edition by Lee N. Godley and Patricia M. O’Rourke.
We got our copy of this book from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) online store at www.dnr.state.il.us. The book features maps, outlined routes based on Interstates and detailed information about sites and towns along each route. Phone numbers, addresses and Web sites are also offered to gain more information.
• Oddball Illinois: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places by Jerome Pohlen.
We also got this book from IDNR. It features places such as the birthplace of Popeye the Sailor, the two-decker outhouse, the world’s largest ketchup bottle and much more. If you’re looking for unusual sites to see as a destination itself or to view on your way elsewhere, this is a great guide.
• Illinois Travel Guide
Divided by region, this book tells you what you can find in Chicago, Chicagoland, Northern, Central, Western, Southern and Southwestern Illinois. Attractions, dining, hotels, historic sites, shopping and how to find more information are all listed. You can request your book by calling 1-800-2-Connect.
• Tales and Trails of Illinois by Stu Fliege
We found this interesting look at Illinois, published by the University of Illinois Press, www.press.uillinois.edu, at a local bookstore. Whether you’re a history buff or a parent trying to share history with your children, this book offers gangsters, hangings, salt and coalmines, Illinoisans who changed the world and much, much more. You can find museums and statues and other ways to make history come alive by visiting the places reviewed.
© 2007 Illinois Country Living Magazine.