Now that the days are longer and there’s sunshine to spare, it’s time to think about heading out on the road for some fun. For the next several months we’ll be highlighting some road trip possibilities to jump start your trip planning! Here are a few to consider.
1. Did you know there are more than 100 wineries and 450 vineyards located throughout Illinois? There are six official wine trails that wine lovers can traverse and discover a variety of wines in just one trip. The wineries offer a variety of experiences: classes, tours, tastings, restaurants, comedy shows, music festivals and more. Pick a trail close to home or venture to the other end of the state.
If that’s not enough wine for you, you can continue the tasting into Michigan and tour the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Country, which stretches across the southwestern corner of Michigan from the Indiana-Michigan state line, north to the Kalamazoo River and east toward the city of Kalamazoo.
2. If the great outdoors is your thing, then head to Starved Rock State Park, which is located just southeast of the village of Utica along the south bank of the Illinois River. The park is known for its 18 canyons, which slice dramatically through tree-covered, sandstone bluffs for four miles. There are 13 miles of hiking trails and waterfalls, as well as fishing and boating, hunting, picnicking and hunting.
If you are interested in spending a few days at the park, there is a lodge with 72 luxury hotel rooms and 22 cabin rooms (and a restaurant). There’s also camping at 129 Class-A Premium campsites.
Outside the park in LaSalle County, enjoy paddlewheel boat tours, the Ottawa Mural Walking tour, several historic mansions, concerts by the Illinois Valley Symphony, a number of museums, shopping, rafting, boat trips, wine tastings and more.
3. If you’re looking for pure relaxation, try Mackinac Island, which is located in Lake Huron off the coast of Michigan between the state’s upper and lower peninsulas. No motor vehicles are allowed on the island (except for some service and emergency vehicles) so you have to take a ferry and the rely on your feet, bikes, carriages or horses to get around.
There are a variety of lodging options, including resorts, historic inns, bed-and-breakfasts and cottages. For entertainment, there’s Mackinac State Park, Fort Mackinac, horse-back riding, carriage tours, hiking, shopping, diverse dining options, nightly entertainment, festivals, Victorian architecture to admire and more.
And did we mention the fudge? Mackinac Island has had a tradition of fudge-making since shortly after the Civil War, and there are seven companies with shops all over the island. There’s even an annual Mackinac Island Fudge Festival.