The 25 top Illinois summer trips you need to go on this year

May 28, 2014

It’s time to look ahead to the summer months of June, July and August in Illinois. The weather will (hopefully) stay warm and the kids will be getting out of school, so it’s time to start planning those Illinois summer trips. Have a free day or weekend with nothing planned? Then the list below is for you.

We picked out 25 great summer getaways in  Illinois. Whether you’ll have to travel across the state or just to the next town over, there’s something for everyone from nature hikes to concerts to baseball games. It’s all fun in the sun!

Note, not one of these activities is located within the city of Chicago (not even the Chicago Botanical Garden). We won’t deny there is a plethora of summer events and destinations in Chicago, but this list serves to introduce you to what the rest of the state of Illinois has to offer.

So get out there and explore the Land of Lincoln this summer, from the Shawnee National Forest to historic Galena and all the miles in between. But make sure you are prepared before you go. Check out these helpful apps, including one for camping in Illinois along with apps to help you stay up-to-date on the weather and traffic.

And now, without further ado, we present a list of the 25 top Illinois summer trips to make this year.

Hike at Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park

Catch a Kane County Cougars or Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball game

Kane County Cougars, the Cubs Single-A affiliate

Get your hands covered in barbeque sauce at Ribfest in Naperville

  • July 2-5, 2015

Ribfest in Naperville, Ill.

Catch a show at Ravinia

Ravinia Festival

Eat fried foods at the Illinois State Fair in August, then the Sandwich Fair in September

  • Illinois State Fair: Aug. 13-23, 2015
  • Sandwich Fair: Sept. 9-13, 2015

Illinois State Fair

Visit historic Galena in the northwest corner of the state

Historic Galena, Ill.

Paddle down the Fox River in the Mid-American Canoe and Kayak Race

  • June 7, 2015

Mid-American Canoe and Kayak race down the Fox River

Check out the Cahokia Mounds in southern Illinois

Cahokia Mounds in Southern Illinois

Step back in time with a visit to New Salem

New Salem, Ill.

Embrace nature with a trip to the Shawnee National Forest

Shawnee National Forest in downstate Illinois

Get your kicks on the Route 66 Scenic Byway


Soar at Six Flags Great America

Six Flags Great America

Spend time overlooking the Vermilion River at Matthiessen State Park

Matthiessen state park

Get away from it all with a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe

Chicago Botanic Garden

Take the kids, or a date, to the Brookfield Zoo

Tiger at the Brookfield Zoo

“Big wheel keep on turning…” ride on the Spirit of Peoria riverboat

Spirit of Peoria Riverboat

Rub the nose at Lincoln’s tomb

Rubbing the nose at Lincoln's Tomb

More nature, this time at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle

Trees at the Morton Arboretum

Arthur, Ill. – “the Heart of the Illinois Amish Country”

Illinois Amish country

Rev the car enthusiast’s engine at the Volo Auto Museum

The Bluesmobile at the Volo Auto Museum

Cool off at Illinois’ largest water park, Raging Waves

Raging Waves waterpark in Yorkville, Ill.

Indulge in Swedish Days in Geneva

  • June 23-28, 2015

Swedish Days in Geneva, Ill.

Play 18 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, then check out the PGA’s John Deere Classic held there

  • John Deere Classic: July 6-12, 2015

TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.

Caught World Cup fever? Remedy that with a Chicago Fire match at Toyota Park in Bridgeview

Chicago Fire match at Toyota Park

Play the ponies at the Arlington Million at Arlington Racetrack

  • Arlington Million: Aug. 15, 2015

Arlington Park

Get out there this summer, open up that map (or if you’re not old-fashioned, fire up that GPS) and explore Illinois.

NEXT ARTICLE: 10 Must-See Illinois Parks


  1. 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites in Illinois
  2. The musical lineup for the 2015 Illinois State Fair
  3. 21 famous people buried in Illinois
  4. Boo! 50 Most Haunted Placed in Illinois
  5. Want to tell your elected officials what you think of the state of governing in Illinois? Use our Sound Off tool. 

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