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It is only natural that the home of the Sock Monkey is also a great family fun destination as we discovered on our weekend getaway to Rockford, Illinois. After an exciting weekend exploring some of the highlights of The Forest City, I left convinced that Rockford offers tremendous opportunity for families to experience an easy, affordable, and fun-filled vacation.

We began our first day in Rockford with breakfast at Greenfire, a farm restaurant that featured a wide variety of organic and fresh foods in a modern atmosphere. Starting our day with a healthy and satisfying meal proved important for the winter hiking we would soon enjoy at our first attraction, Klehm Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

I find botanical gardens to be at their best during the winter snow, and we were fortunate that Rockford experienced a gorgeous snowfall the day before our arrival. Klehm Arboretum was simply stunning covered in snow, and the scenery surrounding us as we hiked the garden grounds really took our breath away!

A history lesson on Rockford was up next at Midway Village Museum, where we toured a Victorian village consisting of 26 historical buildings while taking in more incredible winter scenery. At the Midway Museum we learned about Rockford’s past, including the origins and history of the Sock Monkey.

Burgers and shakes were on deck at Beef-a-Roo, a local restaurant that serves my son’s favorites, including fries smothered in ketchup. After that tasty lunch, we were now ready for an afternoon filled with water slides and lazy rivers at CoCo Key Indoor Water Resort, one of Illinois’ largest indoor water parks.

Dinner was one of the highlights of the day at Lino’s Restaurant, an Italian foodie destination with phenomenal service and an intricate atmosphere that wowed our whole family. We followed Lino’s with a Rockford IceHogs game, where we enjoyed hockey from the sold-out BMO Harris Bank Center.

Our evening concluded at the Hilton Garden Inn, which was home to one of the best family pools I have ever seen, a large and modern room, and fantastic personal service all setting the stage for a restful evening as we prepared our second fun-filled day in Rockford!

— Adam Sommer, Illinois Mile Marker

Thank you to our partners for making this trip possible, including the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Hilton Garden Inn. Want to follow in Mile Marker Adam Sommer’s footsteps? Travel the below map!


View Illinois Mile Markers: Rockford Itinerary in a larger map

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Adam Sommer

Family Travel with Dad
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Adam is a St. Louis based travel writer focused on family-friendly travel with a special emphasis on the American Midwest. Adam’s personal travel blog, Visit Flyover Country, chronicles his family’s travels throughout America’s heartland.

Adam enjoys discovering new places with a family atmosphere; relishes local, unique, & kid-friendly dining establishments; and simply loves to talk travel. Kid-friendly attractions usually drive Adam’s itineraries, including zoos, children’s museums, and anything related to trains, super heroes or dinosaurs. Illinois is one of Adam’s favorite states to visit, so he looks forward to seeing more of the Land of Lincoln!