I highly believe that everyone one loves a good road trip, with the right people of course. And road trips in the fall just seem to be better because of all the pretty scenery you get to drive through as you make your way to your destinations. If you want to take a road trip in this fall and live near or on Illinois State University campus, I have come up with a few fun fall road trips in Illinois to take with your friends!
1. Ghost hunt at Peoria State Hospital.
Now, this specific road trip might not be for everyone because it involves an abandoned hospital. But, I have come across a ton of people who find abandoned locations pretty cool so I thought this might be the perfect road trip for someone out there. Located about 1 hour from ISU’s campus, this hospital has been shut down since 1973. It is mostly known for housing ghosts so if you are interested in some ghost hunting, I recommend heading there to prove or disprove these stories. But, make sure to plan soon because the hospital is scheduled to be demolished by January 1st 2017.
2. Enjoy the foliage at Starved Rock State Park.
For all my nature loving readers, grab some friends and head to Starved Rock State Park. Also located about an hour (north) of ISU, Starved Rock is a very popular place to hike especially during the fall time when all the trees are changing colors and the weather isn’t too unbearable.
3. Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is about 1 hour and 10 minute drive from campus. There, you can visit many museums, the state capital, and parks for hiking. Many of the museums located there have to do with Abraham Lincoln considering that was where he lived.
4. Explore Route 66!
The historic Route 66 is extremely close to ISU. Just a 10 minute drive to the highway, you can follow historic 66 to many great places. You might not want to take it all the way to Los Angeles because that would take at least 2 days, but maybe drive down it for a few hours and see what you can find.
5. Hike the Garden of the Gods.
This road trip is probably the farthest from campus. Taking a little over 4 hours, head to southern Illinois and check out Garden of the Gods. Another great place for hiking and some pretty breathtaking views. In the fall, the views will be absolutely stunning since all the leaves will be changing to the gorgeous fall colors. You won’t want to skip out on this trip.
6. Check out the many museums in Downtown Chicago.
Chicago is the most obvious of the fall road trips in Illinois. The drive to the city from campus is about 2 and a half hours. There are so many things to do. From shopping to walking across Navy Pier to visiting one of the many museums there is something for everyone. Especially if you’re not from the Chicago suburbs or from Illinois it might be a great thing to go visit since the drive isn’t too long.
7. Get spooky at Fright Fest Six Flags.
Located in Gurnee, the drive takes about 2 and a half to 3 hours depending on the route you take. If you and your friends are a fan of amusement parks I highly recommend. Also, in beginning in September all the way until Halloween, you can experience Fright Fest. Basically the park is decorated for Halloween and around 5 pm workers come out dressed as clowns, werewolves, etc.and try to scare everyone. So, if you don’t like getting scared, I suggest leaving before 5pm.
8. Catch a game in Champaign.
About an hour drive from campus, head down to Champaign. With UIUC being there, you can go see a football, basketball game or just explore campus. If that isn’t your thing, there are other things as well. Visit the Virginia Theater, Art Museum, Planetarium, or one of the few parks and hike the trail.
9. Visit the cute animals at the St. Louis Zoo.
St.Louis is located about 2 and a half hours from campus. If you have been to Chicago multiple times and have decided that you are sick of it, I don’t know how you could be, you can gather a few friends and head down to St.Louis. Visit the Gateway Arch, the zoo, museums, etc.
10. Take a drive down Great River Road.
Located around 2 hours north west from campus, take a drive down the scenic highway. This is arguably the best of the fall road trips in Illinois if you want to take some Instagram worthy photos. Driving down the entire highway would take about 36 hours straight but if that’s not really your idea of fun, stop by the small towns to shop or spend the night.