Take off in your RV come late spring for a wonderful adventure along the Illinois River Road. You can also enjoy the trip in the fall when the trees are turning color. But no matter the time you pick, this is a wonderful trip through some of the best of Illinois landscapes.
Stop at any wineries you see along the way. The rich wine making traditions of this state will impress you with some of the finest. Your embarkation point will be in Ottawa, Illinois. Here the Illinois and Fox Rivers meet and Lincoln’s career began. Lots of natural beauty here and plenty of outdoor activities all around. You should remember that binoculars are to be included in your travel gear so you can get great views of river wildlife.
Buffalo Rock State Park is a must for your RV vacation itinerary. See two bison that make this their home, and visit the observation decks so you can look out over the river. Walk through the park on the Woodland Trail and just absorb that wonderful nature. Catlin County Park is another one not to miss. You can get out and stretch, taking in the amazing forest of hickories and maples. See if you can identify the many different species of trees and plants. Of course the wildlife is awesome, and if you love bird watching, you will be in your element here.
Princeton will be your next stop. This lovely place provides many activities for young and old. Woodlands you can visit nearby are Miller-Anderson Woods Nature Preserve and the Warnecke Woods. You’ll find RV camping at Condit’s Ranch Campground overlooking the Illinois River. Enjoy swimming, hiking and fishing at Condit’s Ranch.
If you like lakes, you’ll like Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area, with more than a dozen lakes scattered throughout the area. This is prime habitat for birds of all kinds. Hike the trails to see the wide variety of aquatic vegetation along the shores.
When you reach Peoria, stop to take in the rich beauty of this area. Outdoor lovers won’t be able to resist hiking along the river, fishing or biking along a forest trail. Go to Peoria Zoo for a relaxing visit to the animals there. One must-see is the Apple Blossom Farm. When visiting in the fall, you’ll find it open from August through December. Stock up on apple cider, jams or doughnuts. Yes, the bakery is stupendous.
Visit the home of Abraham Lincoln at New Salem State Historic Site when you come to Havana, Illinois. Again, if here in the fall months, there is nothing better than driving along Spoon River Drive to marvel at the autumn colors. Then it is time to get over to Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge. A paradise for bird lovers, this refuge boasts amazing numbers of species. Bald eagles come here because of the wetlands, and you’ll see everything from Great Blue Heron to songbirds and sandpipers.
Even if your journey along the Illinois River Road is done for now, this is a wonderful place to return again and again. There is always more to see and do, things you may not have had time for on this trip. So anticipate packing up that RV once again and taking off through the varied landscapes of Illinois again next year.