Category Archives: Seasonal Fun – Fall

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Fall Color Feature Image

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that surround the theme “fall color.” Check out a few of our favorite shots from around the state below! Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us by tagging #EnjoyIllinois and your photo could be featured.

For more unique Illinois destinations, events and attractions check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

Kickoff Image - Alton Riverfront Park arrow - (at) emilyblincoe

Our Mile Marker @emilyblincoe captured this vibrant shot of fall leaves at the Alton Riverfront Park.

University of Chicago - (at) starrynightbug

@starrynightbug captured this awesome perspective of the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park!

Starved Rock - (at) _iggygirl

How stunning is this shot of Starved Rock from @_iggygirl?

Castle Rock state Park - (at) happinesswinner

Instagramer @happinesswinner made a trip to Castle Rock State Park and captured this incredible shot.

DeKalb - (at) deanwickstrom

Instagramer @deanwickstrom shared this close up of a fiery red leaf in DeKalb.

Evanston - (at) chicagokiddieworld

Here’s another great close up of the fiery hues of fall from @chicagokiddieworld on Lake Michigan in Evanston!

Lake Forest - (at) katiegoingplaces

Instagramer @katiegoingplaces shared this road through Lake Forest decorated in autumn foliage.

Old Town - (at) mushroomstew

This shot of the trees in the Old Town of Chicago couldn’t be more sunny and bright! (Photo: @mushroomstew)

Galena Hiking - (at) sargoodeye

@sargoodeye went hiking on the trails at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa in Galena and took this beautiful shot.

McDonald Woods Forest Preserve - (at) hx81

Instagramer @hx81 captured this shot looking up into the trees at McDonald Woods Forest Preserve.

Matthiessen State Park - (at) druedgcombphotography

We love this shot of Matthiessen State Park shot by @druedgcombphorography.

(at) joeyclicks

Instagramer @joeyclicks captured this golden sunlight in the Prairie State.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

Outdoor Adventures Feature Image

There’s nothing like sitting outside on a cool, crisp fall day, watching the leaves turn colors and savoring the flavor of a great glass of wine. That glass of white or red is even more satisfying as a hard-earned reward after a day of outdoor adventuring.

The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail in Southern Illinois is home to 12 award-winning wineries within a scenic 25-mile stretch on Highways 51 and 127 in Shawnee National Forest. While the wineries offer beautiful views of lush green vineyards, cozy accommodations at rustic cabins and lodges, and of course, delicious wine, there are plenty of other activities that make the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail the perfect fall vacation spot.

Garden of the Gods

The most popular site in the Shawnee National Forest, the Garden of the Gods, is a hiker’s paradise. The panoramic views from the top of the quarter-mile Observation Trail are unparalleled, as visitors can gaze upon the breathtaking fall colors over miles of dense forest, as well as the incredible rock formations such as Anvil Rock and Devil’s Smoke Stack.

Trails to Adventure - Garden of the Gods (@mcdansley)

Thanks to Instagramer @mcdansley for this gorgeous photo of the Garden of the Gods.

Giant City Stables

For a more relaxed tour through beautiful Shawnee National Forest, stop by Giant City Stables, where you can experience the beauty of nature from horseback. Private guided tours of either 30 or 60 minutes are a great romantic activity in between vineyard stops along the wine trail.

Trails to Adventure - Giant City Stables (@jendugmo)

Adventure is waiting at Giant City Stables. Photo from Instagramer @jendugmo.

Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour

For a more exhilarating day along the wine trail, get your adrenaline pumping as you soar through the trees and above the valleys on 11 zip lines, the longest of which is more than 1,100 feet! There are also three suspension bridges and two short hikes on this exciting way to view all the diverse of flora, fauna and geology the forest has to offer.

Trails to Adventure - Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour (@thecreatornd)

Zip through the trees on the Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour like this adventurer, Instagramer @thecreatornd.

For more suggestions on outdoor adventures in Southern Illinois and more information about the wineries on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, find something more on EnjoyIllinois.com.

-Illinois Office of Tourism

This week we asked our Instagram followers to share photos that embody the theme “crisp” in honor of the fall season. Check out a few of our favorite photos from around Illinois below!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram for upcoming weekly challenges. Share your best photos with us anytime by tagging #EnjoyIllinois. Who knows, your photo could be featured!

For more Illinois travel inspiration check out EnjoyIllinois.com.

Instagramer @jayzombie (Jessica Zollman) captured this amazingly crisp photo at Eckert's apple orchard near Belleville in October 2014. It inspired this week's theme: crisp.

Instagramer @jayzombie captured this amazingly crisp photo at Eckert’s apple orchard in Belleville in October 2014. It inspired this week’s theme.

Instagramer @sarafinkey captured this beautifully lit flower at the Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Garden.

Instagramer @sarafinkey captured this beautifully lit flower at the Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Garden.

Instagramer @adoredcreation captured this eye-catching Illinois field at sunset.

Instagramer @adoredcreation captured this eye-catching Illinois field at sunset.

Instagramer @amazedbyyouphoto came across this stunning foggy scene at Les Arends County Forest Preserve.

Instagramer @amazedbyyouphoto came across this stunning foggy scene at Les Arends County Forest Preserve.

Instagramer @brainofjsg enjoys taking bike rides in the countryside and stopped to capture this crisp sunset.

Instagramer @brainofjsg enjoys taking bike rides in the countryside and stopped to capture this crisp sunset.

Instagramer @diminished_thoughts snapped this vibrant and crisp Illinois sunset.

Instagramer @diminished_thoughts snapped this vibrant and crisp Illinois sunset.

Instagramer @michaelcourier captured the scenic Illinois plains from an Amtrak train near Kewanee.

Autumn has officially arrived in Illinois! From hiking under brightly colored forest canopy to getting lost in a winding corn maze, the new season offers plenty of new ways to experience the great outdoors. Check out these five ways to experience the great outdoors in Illinois’ Great Rivers Country this fall!

Drive the Great River Road—Fulton

There are few views more spectacular than the Great River Road’s bluffs in autumn. This scenic drive follows the mighty Mississippi River as it curves along the western edge of Illinois and meanders for more than 550 miles through charming small towns and woodland along the way. It’s the perfect fall road trip!

Brightly colored trees line the Great River Road in fall. (Photo courtesy of @VisitAlton on Instagram)

Brightly colored trees line the Great River Road in fall. (Photo courtesy of @VisitAlton on Instagram)

Bike the Grand Illinois Trail—Atkinson

Outdoor adventurers will love biking under stunning forest canopy along the Grand Illinois Trail this fall. The trail boasts 535 miles of tree lined pathways stretching from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, then looping back along the Illinois River and Hennepin Canal. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience the great outdoors during its most magnificent season.

Cruise downriver with the Spirit of Peoria—Peoria

Take in the crisp autumn air while cruising on the Spirit of Peoria, an old-fashioned replica of a 19th-century riverboat, which docks at the Peoria RiverFront. Visitors will be entertained by live ragtime piano and banjo music while gazing at the colorful leaves lining the Illinois River.

Outdoor adventurers will love this cruise down the Illinois River. (Photo by Instagramer @murraystate21)

Outdoor adventurers will love this cruise down the Illinois River. (Photo by Instagramer @murraystate21)

Hike Pere Marquette State Park—Grafton  

At 8,000 acres, Pere Marquette State Park is the largest state park in Illinois, making it one of the most magnificent displays of fall colors in the state. Grafton visitors will love guided fall tours that overlook the convergence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.

Instagramer @jarzuagas loved hiking through this leafy forest.

Instagramer @jarzuagas loved hiking through this leafy forest.

Explore the Great Godfrey Maze—Godfrey  

What better way to explore the great outdoors than adventuring through a seven-acre corn maze? The Great Godfrey Maze features two separate mazes, allowing family and friends to race against one another. Godfrey Maze visitors can also cruise the farm by train, and even zip line through this vast outdoor playground!

Exploring the Great Godfrey Maze is the perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon.

Exploring the Great Godfrey Maze is the perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon.

For more Illinois trip ideas to celebrate the beauty of fall, visit EnjoyIllinois.com.

–Illinois Office of Tourism

 

Cutting through Illinois is a 300-mile stretch of Route 66 that still captures the imaginations of travelers from around the world. The midway point of Route 66 in Illinois is the state capital, Springfield – home to a variety of museums, roadside attractions, diners and more, all bursting with the nostalgia of the Mother Road’s golden age.

The Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival in Springfield pays homage to all that the road has to offer, including classic cars, drive-in movies, quirky roadside attractions and diners. Taking place September 25-27 this year, the fun-filled event features more than 1,100 automobiles and expects more than 85,000 spectators to converge on historic downtown Springfield.

The International Annual Route 66 Mother Road Festival is an event that draws visitors from all over each year!

The International Annual Route 66 Mother Road Festival is an event that draws visitors from all over each year!

While exploring Route 66 history in Springfield, travelers must visit the birthplace of the battered, fried, hot dog on a stick that most people call a corn dog today. Springfield’s Cozy Dog Drive In is the home of the hot dog on a stick phenomenon – and coined the phrase “Cozy Dog” for their variety. Considered a historic Route 66 landmark, the drive-in has been a popular local spot since its opening in 1949.

The Cozy Dog Drive In is home to the original corn dog! (Photo credit: Instagramer @nathanmichael)

The Cozy Dog Drive In is home to the original corn dog! (Photo credit: Instagramer @nathanmichael)

The original brick road of Route 66 still exists in Auburn, about a 30-minute drive from the city center. Visitors can cruise the brick road, getting a feeling for what the original drive was really like.

The original brick road in Auburn.

The original brick road in Auburn.

Along Route 66, you’ll see a number of quirky roadside attractions, such as the large “Muffler Men” statues. Springfield is home to the Abe Rail Splitter and the Lauterbach Muffler Man statues, both offbeat attractions perfect for a road trip photo op!

The Lauterbach Muffler Man statue is stands tall in front of the Lauterbach Auto Service in Springfield.

The Lauterbach Muffler Man statue is stands tall in front of the Lauterbach Auto Service in Springfield.

The kitsch, nostalgia, and people make this a road trip you’re sure to remember. Plan your Springfield trip today at enjoyillinois.com.

 

–Illinois Office of Tourism