Family Vacations to Illinois

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Illinois – Family Vacation Guide

Illinois is all about discovery. Whether your family wants to explore the great outdoors or learn about the skyscrapers, there is an activity for everyone.


Why Go

  • History

    The area boasts many historical features and you’ll find many museums, presidential landmarks and war reenactments in a short drive.

  • Beautiful Scenery

    The state boasts beautiful scenery no matter which direction you drive.

  • Chi-Town

    Chicago, the third most populous city in the US, is host to fantastic parks, restaurants, museums and more for families to explore.

  • Farms and Food

    For a true taste of the Midwest, visit Illinois during the fall for apple picking. People here take their food and baked goods very seriously, so you’ll join in on the fun before getting to eat a tasty treat.

Where to Go

Visit the booming and exciting city of Chicago or head out for a drive where Illinois becomes a mecca for both nature and history enthusiasts.


You can’t go to Illinois without exploring one of the U.S.’s major cities. This city is the go-to place for seeing the history behind America’s architecture. Take a boat cruise down the Chicago River to see and hear all about famous architects who designed the city. Kids will love being on a boat and parents will enjoy the chance to sit back and relax while still making the most of their vacation time. Once off the boat, let kids redesign the city at the Chicago Children’s Museum or wonder at the magic of sea life at the Shed Aquarium. Don’t forget to stop for a photo op at the famous Bean sculpture in Millennium Park. Here is our list of some of the other best kid-friendly activities in the city.

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Starved Rock State Park

If you want to get out and explore, this area on the Illinois River has beautiful trails and waterfalls the entire family can easily enjoy. Hike through sandstone canyons and keep an eye out for wildlife like white-tail deer and bald eagles. A popular trail leads to Lover’s Leap Overlook, where you can soak in views of the river and Starved Rock Dam. In addition to hiking, visitors can also kayak, canoe and even horseback ride.

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Historical Sites

If your family loves trivia or history, make a stop in the “Land of Lincoln” to learn all about the past president’s history. You can also explore the towns of Great Rivers Country, where time has stood still since the nineteenth century. The Mississippi River is also a great place to cruise by for more panoramic views of rolling hills and bluffs.

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Route 66

If you’re travelling out from the Chicago area, jump on Route 66 for a little history lesson. This road helped transform the Midwest from its once quiet nature to the booming production area it is today. If your kids are visual learners, stop to see some historical reenactments in the towns of Bloomington-Normal and Springfield.

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Getting Around

In the city of Chicago you can use the elevated subway (nicknamed the “L”) and the many bus routes for easy transportation. You’re going to want to have a car if you’re travelling anywhere outside of Chicago. Cities aren’t far apart, but cars allow for easy and convenient access. Besides, how else would you imagine driving down Route 66? If you’re looking for a beautiful drive, Illinois has many scenic road trips your family will love. Try Great River Road, Historic National Road or Illinois River Road. Each offers a special nature-made surprise.

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