4 Unforgettable Illinois Fall Drives

historic-route-66-300x158The great state of Illinois is full of beautiful fall drives and sites you can’t see anywhere else in the United States. Once you get out of the vast prairies, you’ll find yourself in a unique ecosystem that even native residents don’t know about. The beautiful fall foliage, deep colors, and breathtaking beauty is only a short drive away, no matter where you live. Here’s a few to check out if you’re ever in The Prairie State.

Historic Route 66

As one of the first long highways in the country, Route 66 connects Chicago to Los Angeles. There’s a reason this is one of the most often traveled roads for road trippers and even famous people, such as Paul McCartney. In Illinois, you’ll ride outside the city and hit the countryside. While corn fields aren’t particularly exciting, there’s a certain interesting quality to them. Perhaps one of the coolest spots in Illinois comes when crossing into Missouri, as you cross the Chain of Rocks Bridge. This bridge, which spans the Mississippi River, shows the mightiness of the waterway, and when coupled with the colorful autumn trees, is quite a sight.

Illinois River Road

The Illinois River Road, which cuts through central Illinois, is full of awesome sights that bring to mind the works of nature-filled paintings and poetry. The byway that follows the river puts you through numerous landscapes, such as bluffs, forests, and rolling hills. If that isn’t enough, you get a chance to dine at some delicious little joints that only locals know about. There’s nothing better than a nice drive before and after a great meal.

Lakeshore Drive

Although it’s full of traffic, the drive on Lakeshore is nothing short of magnificent. Seeing the Chicago skyline on one side and Lake Michigan on the other is beautiful, as you combine nature with manmade structures. As it turns to autumn, the tree-lined streets just off Lakeshore are alive with color, making for a stunning visual display. Just don’t make a habit of driving this route in winter, or you’ll have to deal with a foot of snow.

Great River Road

This road runs nearly the length of the Mississippi, and showcases the amazing river, along with numerous other sites. Perhaps one of the best places to go is Alton. In the fall, bald eagles leave their perches from as far north as Alaska to find refuge in the lovely fall temperatures. In addition, you’ll get to see downtown Alton, which is more than 100 years old and features many shops and restaurants, all of which are ridiculously affordable. Just north of the city you’ll find the Piasa Bird, an ancient painting by Native Americans on one of the cliff faces. It’s truly a beautiful thing to see.

These are only a few of the great places to go for a drive in Illinois as the temperatures cool down and the foliage becomes something you only see in movies. No matter where you choose to go, you’ll undoubtedly see something memorable, especially with people you care about.



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