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25 SCENIC STOPS OF SUMMER | Planning a Road Trip Has Never Been More Inviting



PLAN A ROAD TRIP & LET THE SCENIC FUN BEGIN.....

Don't let summer end without enjoying the carefree moments that only a road trip can bring as you soak up the sun and awesome adventures together with friends and family.


We put together a list featuring 25 Scenic Stops of Summer – near and far– in hopes of encouraging you to try to visit as many as you can. View each website for COVID-19 updates. #summer2021 #25sceneictopsofsummer


STOP #1 – NAVY PIER Located In Chicago, Illinois From its versatile journey as a crucial dock for freights to becoming a training complex for the Navy during World War II and to finally being redeveloped as a massive one-stop entertainment destination on Chicago's Lake Michigan shoreline, the Navy Pier has served diverse functions over the centuries. This 3,300-foot (1,010-meter) long pier named in honor of the Great War's naval veterans hosts a legion of recreational options that span museums, restaurants, retail, entertainment, and outdoor activities. A whirlwind attraction that juts out into the Great Lake, the pier's highlight is the iconic Ferris Wheel that spins against the Chicago skyline. Dinner cruise ships ply the waters around the pier, inviting visitors to step aboard a vibrant extravaganza. The pier is also home to the botanical Crystal Gardens, the Chicago Children's Museum, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater that showcases Shakespearean productions www.navypier.com



STOP #2 – BIG SABLE POINT LIGHTHOUSE Located In Ludington, Michigan The Big Sable Point Lighthouse features its original keepers' quarters, which is attached to the tower. The quarters provide housing for the lighthouse's summer volunteers, a gift shop, and a video room for visitors. Several different displays highlighting the history of the lighthouse are available for guests to enjoy. Visitors can also climb the 130 steps to the watchtower room, walk out on the catwalk, and witness spectacular views of the Ludington State Park and Lake Michigan. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.visitlundington.com www.splka.org

STOP #3 – CATARACT FALLS Located at Cataract State Park In Spencer, Indiana Known as some of the prettiest falls around, this is a scenic stop you’ll cherish for a lifetime. The largest waterfall in the state of Indiana can be found here, dropping for a total of 86 feet, with the upper falls making up 20 feet of this number. Be sure to wear your hiking shoes, as the hike to the falls is graded “of moderate difficulty” and less than three miles in length, with the best time to visit between December and May. As Cataract Falls is made up a long series of cascades, many of the trails within Cataract State Park are within site of the beautiful falling water. Don’t forget your camera! View website for COVID-19 updates. www.cataractfalls.com



STOP #4– JAPANESE GARDEN Located In Geneva, Illinois Colonel George Fabyan's historic home, with his collection of Asian artifacts plus Japanese gardens sits in Geneva just off of Batavia Avenue along the banks of the Fox River. This lovely oasis was originally designed in 1910 by Japanese landscape architect Taro Otsuka as a private garden for George and Nelle Fabyan. With original stone designs throughout the gardens, this local treasure is cherished by many. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.ppfv.org/fabyan-japanese-garden




STOP #5 – MARENGO CAVE Located Near Benton, Indiana Along I-65 Located in Marengo, Indiana is a unique and awesome cave! Marengo Cave has walking tours, gemstone mining, canoeing, and even "The Crawl", which allows children to crawl through a maze. There is lodging and cave exploring available. Don’t forget to find out what you should bring and wear to go cave exploring! View website for COVID-19 updates. www.marengocave.com


EnjoyIllinois.com

STOP #6 – ILLINOIS STATE CAPITOL BUILDING Located In Springfield, Illinois Just beautiful, isn’t it? For as beautiful and breathtaking as it appears on the outside, it has just as much signifigance on the inside. Home to the Illinois State Legislature since 1877, the Capitol also houses the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer. Its 361-foot high dome—74 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol—towers over the west side of downtown Springfield. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Italian Renaissance Revival building and its numerous paintings and sculptures or watch the Senate and House of Representatives in action from the balcony-level galleries. Other structures of note in the Capitol Complex include the Illinois Firefighters and Police Officers Memorials, the Illinois State Museum and the Illinois State Library. The perfect scenic stop with a mix of history, too. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.easyaccessspringfield.org

STOP #7 – VIEWS ALONG THE CHICAGO RIVER Downtown Chicago’s Architectural Tour This river tour will leave you in awe! Be inspired by the captivating, visual art that is Chicago’s legendary architecture, and the exceptional architects who created this ever-changing, dynamic legacy for all to enjoy and admire. This comprehensive tour navigates through the heart of the city on all three branches of the Chicago River while a professionally-trained architectural guide tells the story of more than 130 years of innovation in design, style and technique and why it is important today. Wendella features a variety of distinctive tours, all focusing on the history and architecture of the city and led by a trained professional tour guide. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.wendellaboats.com


ChooseChicago.com

STOP #8 – ART ON THE MART Art on theMART is back! The free show lights up the Chicago Riverwalk with a stunning light display each night at 8:30 and 9 p.m. Grab a spot near the water and enjoy projections inspired by the blockbuster art exhibits on Frida Kahlo and the Obamas. Enjoy this absolute stunning display that will give you memories to last a lifetime. www.artonthemart.com



STOP #9 – FABYAN WINDMILL Located In Batavia, Illinois The Fabyan Windmill is an authentic, working Dutch windmill dating from the 1850s located off Illinois Route 25. After years of planning and effort to restore the historic Fabyan Windmill to its original grandeur, including a trip to the Netherlands for authentic timber and gear work, the Windmill made its public debut in June 2005 with a Grand Reopening Celebration. A truly unique piece of history. This 68 foot, 5 story structure sits on the east side of Fabyan Forest Preserve and is a working windmill. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.kaneforest.com/historicsites/fabyanwindmill.aspx

STOP #10 – ILLINOIS BEACH STATE PARK Located In Zion, Illinois Illinois Beach is a unique and captivating natural resource for all to enjoy. It was created by the titanic forces of glacial advance and retreat and the steady winds that breathed across expansive Lake Michigan. The park has dunes and swales with sprawling marshes, forests of oak and vast arrays of animal life and vegetation. The 4,160-acre park, consisting of two separate areas, offers ample opportunities for swimming, boating, picnicking, hiking, fishing, camping and just appreciating nature. Stretching leisurely for six and a half miles along the sandy shore of Lake Michigan in northern Illinois, Illinois Beach State Park encompasses the only remaining beach ridge shoreline left in the state. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.stateparks.com

STOP #11 – CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN Located in Glencoe, Illinois A majestically beautiful outdoor setting, truly. In every season at the Chicago Botanic Garden, there are activities and programs, and breathtaking beauty throughout the 385 acres, including 27 gardens, four natural areas — including prairie and woods — and 81 acres of water. You can explore the wonders of the Garden by walking or by taking a tram. Tram tours include a panoramic overview or the intimate view of the gardens of the main island. To enhance your visit, head online first to download Garden guides of individual gardens. Detailed information on special events, exhibits, garden walks, and tram hours is available online as well in the Events Calendar. We think you’ll really love this place! View website for COVID-19 updates. www.chicagobotanic.org

STOP #12 – DELLS SCENIC RIVERWALK Located at the Wisconsin Dells Now easily accessible to the public for the first time in 75 years, this ¼-mile paved path offers visitors not only a breathtaking view of the Dells' unique scenery, but sprinkles in game tables and comfortable benches inviting guests to relax and take in all of Mother Nature's glory. Walk, bike or run the Dells Scenic River Walk. It's free and open to the public year-round. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.wisdells.com

STOP #13 – STATUES ON THE FOX RIVER BRIDGE Located In Aurora, Illinois With the area’s rich presence of Victorian and Italianate architecture, Aurora has countless numbers of certified National Register of Historic Places buildings. Several designated historic districts come with their own bed and breakfast inns, theaters, museums and more. With statues located throughout the city over the Fox River on Memorial Bridge and more, a day spent in downtown Aurora will provide for plenty of scenic views. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.enjoyaurora.com

STOP #14 – THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK Located In Spring Green, Wisconsin Simply amazing! The House on the Rock began in 1945 when a man named Alex Jordan had a towering goal: to build a retreat as awe-inspiring as the view from the rock upon which the House would eventually be built. What took shape on and around Deer Shelter Rock is a truly remarkable achievement. The House was only the beginning. In the years that followed, Alex expanded his vision beyond the House and collected and built on a massive scale. In the end he had created the world-renowned attraction known as The House on the Rock. Pictured is a bridge on the property. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.thehouseontherock.com


Photo by @skoobie7783


STOP #15 – HISTORICAL DOWNTOWN GALENA Located in Galena, Illinois As the sky turns orange and the sun sets behind the Mississippi River, a hot air balloon slowly rises into the air over Galena, Illinois. Expansive views of the hilly landscape come into focus, with church steeples popping out above the tree line and scenic rivers and lakes appearing in the distance welcome you to all that is Galena Country. You’ll understand the real meaning of the phrase “shop ’til you drop” once you hit the streets of Galena Country. Voted one of “America’s Best Main Streets” by Fodor’s Travel and Parade.com, you’ll love browsing through Galena’s 19th-century downtown with more than 100 storefronts featuring clothing, jewelry, collectibles, specialty items, gifts and more. But that isn’t all you’ll find. You don’t want to overlook the many charming shops that are scattered throughout nearby villages and the scenic countryside. Can't get to the stores? Shop the following online stores in Galena Country from the comfort of your home! . www.visitgalena.org/Things-To-Do/Shopping

STOP #16 – DEVIL’S LAKE STATE PARK Located In Baraboo, Wisconsin Located in the Baraboo Range in eastern Sauk County, just south of Baraboo, Wisconsin. Devil's Lake State Park is the biggest state park in Wisconsin. Filled with outdoor attractions and activities from the 400 State Bike Trail in one corner to Lake Wisconsin on the other– this is a favorite camping site for many. Activities include biking & area trails, canoe & kayaking fishing, golfing, power boating and rock climbing. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.devilslakewisconsin.com


STOP #17 – MILWAUKEE PIERHEAD LIGHTHOUSE Located In Milwaukee, Wisconsin The Milwaukee Pierhead Light is an active lighthouse located in the Milwaukee harbor, just south of downtown. This aid to navigation is a 'sister' of the Kenosha North Pier Light and is rich in history. This is favorite place for many to take pictures of the Milwaukee skyline at night. The light was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 2012. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.lighthousefriends.com




STOP #18 – CAVE OF THE MOUNDS Located In Blue Mounds, Wisconsin Less than 3 hours from Naperville, Cave of the Mounds National Natural Landmark is truly something to see in your lifetime. Celebrating 75 years since the Cave opened for tours, it has become the premier cave in the upper Midwest and the jewel box of America’s major show caves. Guided tours of this geologic wonder follow paved, lighted walkways departing regularly every day of the year. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.caveofthemounds.com

STOP #19 – DOOR COUNTY Located In Milwaukee, Wisconsin If you haven’t been yet, then this summer is a great time to plan a weekend trip to this special place. Some of the highlights of Door County parks include the Cana Island Lighthouse, the Ellison Bluff overlook, the rocky shoreline of Door Bluff Headlands, and of course the must-see waves crashing into the shore at Cave Point (pictured here). The 19 county parks dotting Door County are all located on the water, and many double as historic landmarks. These often overlooked gems include some of the most jaw-dropping overlooks, secret picnic spots, and shoreline hikes, plus boat launches, beaches, playgrounds, and pavilions. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.doorcounty.com


STOP #20 – CLOUD GATE At Millenium Park Cloud Gate is British artist Anish Kapoor's first public outdoor work installed in the United States. The 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect Chicago’s famous skyline and the clouds above. A 12-foot-high arch provides a "gate" to the concave chamber beneath the sculpture, inviting visitors to touch its mirror-like surface and see their image reflected back from a variety of perspectives. Inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture is among the largest of its kind in the world, measuring 66-feet long by 33-feet high.View website for COVID-19 updates. www.cityofchicago.org

STOP #21 – FARNSWORTH HOUSE Located In Plano, Illinois Located nearby, this is a historical place with a unique story. Farnsworth House in Plano was built in 1951 by the world-renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The house is considered a world-famous masterpiece representing modernist domestic architecture and minimalist design. The house, which looks like a “glass box,” is known for its aesthetic approach to nothingness, yet it was revolutionary in the architecture community. Today, visitors can join a tour of the house and grounds and learn more about this stunning work by van der Rohe and how it came to be along the banks of the Fox River in Plano. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.farnsworthhouse.org

STOP #22 – THE WISCONSIN GREAT RIVER ROAD 250 Miles of Peacefulness The Wisconsin Great River Road parallels the majestic Mississippi River along 250 miles of the state's western border. It's one of the most scenic roads in the Midwest, flanked by 400-foot-high sandstone bluffs and historic little river towns. Boating, fishing and birding are popular pastimes along the road; several state parks and wildlife refuges make access easy. River towns offer visitors diversions such as hunting through antiques shops, dining on catfish and other local specialties, and spending the night at inns and B&Bs, many of them a century old. (800) 658-9424. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.wigreatriverroad.org

STOP #23 – GARDEN OF THE GODS Southern Illinois More than 320 million years ago, the wind and rain patiently started to chisel away at large deposits of sedimentary rock located in what is now, Shawnee National Forest. Over the years, the elements have sculpted some of the most stunning and extraordinary rock formations known to man. This garden of sandstone sculptures and vast untouched wilderness was fittingly named Garden of the Gods covering more than 3,300 acres of forest. With plenty of trails for backpacking and horseback riding, nature lovers love it here. The most popular trail is Observation Trail. It’s of average difficulty and is occasionally marked with educational signs outlining the history and geology of the region. Nice wooden decks for viewing the rock formations are present with magnificent bluffs which drop more than 100 feet down, but provide breathtaking views of the forests below and beyond. The park and its campsites are open year round. A must visit for all! View website for COVID-19 updates. www.shawneeforest.com/GardenoftheGods


STOP #24 – HISTORIC ROUTE 66 Largest Water Tower In the World In the Shape of a Catsup Bottle Since 1926, driving down Route 66 has been the experience of a lifetime for travelers, adventurers, desperados and dreamers. Historical Route 66 made its way through many towns and Collinsville was in its path. Here is where you will find the largest water tower in the world in the shape of Brooks Catsup Bottle. Yep, it's true.


At 170-feet tall, the largest water tower in the world is the Brooks Catsup Bottle in Collinsville. It was built in 1949 to supply water to the catsup plant below. The water tower was refurbished by the request of the Catsup Bottle Preservation Society. Now it is a beautiful, historic attraction off Route 66 and is known worldwide. More about this attraction. www.historic66.com

STOP #25 – STARVED ROCK STATE PARK Located In Ottawa, Illinois Starved Rock State Park is a wilderness area on the Illinois River in the U.S. state of Illinois. It’s known for its steep sandstone canyons formed by glacial meltwater. Several, including the St. Louis, French and Wildcat canyons, have waterfalls. A wooded trail leads to Lover’s Leap Overlook, with views of the river and Starved Rock Dam. Park wildlife includes white-tailed deer, bald eagles and migratory birds. Pictured is an amazing view from behind Lasalle Falls. View website for COVID-19 updates. www.starvedrockstatepark.org

Photos submitted unless otherwise sourced via various public domains.





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