Plenty to do in Galena and Jo Daviess Counties in Illinois

This post was kindly provided to us by the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau. All of the photos in this article were provided by them.

Experience the vintage charm and contemporary spirit of Galena and Jo Daviess County… the region’s natural beauty, charming farmsteads, well-preserved historic sites, first-class golfing, regional cuisines, eclectic shops and tranquil spas. Located in northwest Illinois, three hours from downtown Chicago and 90 minutes from Madison, Wis., the destination affords visitors plenty of opportunities to relax, rejuvenate and recharge.

Pucture of the U.S. Grant Home

Ulysses S. Grant Home

The area’s 19th-century history and how it shaped the destination’s architecture continues to be a draw for visitors. The historic architecture here ranges from Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate, Galena Traditional, and Vernacular. Galena also produced nine Civil War generals, including Ulysses S. Grant, who later became the country’s 18th president. Both his home and that of Grant crony Elihu B. Washburne are now state historic sites. If you want to learn without walking, let our world-famous trolleys point out the notable local points of interest.

The destination is also known for a wide variety of other attractions. Experiential, hands-on tourism continues to grow, with jewelry making, knitting, crocheting and cooking workshops regularly available. Moreover, art galleries and many studios throughout Jo Daviess County are open to the public and often feature free demonstrations.

You can’t miss the outdoor recreational opportunities that await you around every curve. Breathe the fresh air while hiking or biking our trails. There are a number of state parks and preserves throughout the county that offer hiking and nature trails; some offer fishing and camping. Challenge yourself on the greens of our 10 championship golf courses or take a hot air balloon ride to get a bird’s eye view of the treetops. Afterwards, gallop along on a horseback ride through wooded trails and deep valleys.

The region’s wineries, Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Massbach Ridge Winery, and Rocky Waters Vineyard/Winery, offer tastings of their award-winning wines for a nominal fee. All three vineyards hold events throughout the year. For those who love to tickle their taste buds, visit the Galena Brewing Company on Galena’s Main Street. Their craft brews are manufactured on-site and tours are available for those interested in their operations.

Most importantly, you need a place to call home while in Galena and Jo Daviess County. Visitors who travel here by RV have four primary options to call home.

Apple River Canyon State Park is located in the northern part of Jo Daviess County near Apple River and the Wisconsin border. The park resides in a scenic canyon area that was formed by the winding waters of the Apple River. Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams and wildlife populate this area which was once a part of a vast sea bottom that stretched from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. This state park has seasonal camping for roughly 25 RVs, but does not have any electrical or water hookups.

Blanding Landing Recreation Area is on the east bank of the mighty Mississippi River near Hanover. The weather in this area runs from warm and humid in the summer to dry in the fall. The Mississippi River draws crowds of anglers each year to Blanding. The most popular species to catch are channel catfish, bluegill, walleye, crappie and northern pike. Other activities include boating and nearby hunting. The area is open May through October and has 30 sites with electrical hookups and seven sites without any hookups.

Palace Campground was founded in 1848, therefore making it the oldest operating campground in the state of Illinois. Situated on 50 quiet, wooded acres just outside of Galena they are equipped to handle more than 100 RVs at any time between April and November. They have a heated swimming pool, playground, outdoor movies, hayrides, a miniature golf course, arcade building, free Wi-Fi and much more. Sites are all equipped with a variety of hookup combinations.

Vel Terra Ranch and Family Campground is based on more than 165 acres near Elizabeth. With rugged hills, picturesque scenery, abundant trees, wildlife and natural rolling terrain, their campground is a perfect launching pad for your expedition to Jo Daviess County and the surrounding area. They have electric and water hookups at their seven RV campsites, which are open April through November.

Those traveling by RV to Galena/Jo Daviess County should always be aware of the parking and traffic patterns as many of our streets can be difficult for large vehicles to comfortably pass through. For more information on visiting northwest Illinois, call the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1.877.464.2536 or visit the Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau Web site for information on lodging, events, tours, dining, historic sites and much more.

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