Illinois, also known as the Land of Lincoln or the Prairie State, is a Midwestern state in the United States of America. This US state is the sixth-largest by population and 25th largest by land area. Illinois is one of the most popular US states across the world, known for its diverse culture, rich history, exotic natural treasures, and mouth-watering cuisines. From the picturesque Millennium Park to the silent and serene Shawnee National Forest there are so many opportunities to make unforgettable memories.
Illinois is centrally located in the heart of America and is a very popular place amongst tourists for its large urban centers like Chicago, small quaint towns like Galena, and green farmlands. A car rental in Illinois is highly recommended as it would allow you to explore and discover multiple exciting locations across this Midwestern state.
Capital City- Springfield
Largest and the Most Popular City- Chicago
Popular Destinations in Illinois
Stated below are some of the most happening and popular destinations in Illinois, United States.
Chicago is also known as the Windy City is the most populated city in Illinois and the third most populated city in the United States. It is one of the most famous cities in the world among travelers. Chicago is a very vibrant city known for its history, architecture, nightlife, food, adventure parks, zoos, and jazz, the list is endless. With endless opportunities filled with fun and excitement, Chicago is a must for everyone’s bucket list. With a sprawling skyline, there’s something for everyone in the city.
With so many reasons to visit and explore Chicago, it’s no wonder that so many international car rental suppliers offer their services in this windy city. We bring you the best car rental deals from leading rental companies in Chicago like Thrifty, Sixt, and Dollar. Simply book your rental car in Chicago and travel at your own pace.
Must-See Attractions in Chicago:Field Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park Zoo, Millennium Park, Art Institute of Chicago, and Chicago Riverwalk.
Shawnee National Forest
Shawnee National Forest is a US National Park located in the Ozark and Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois, it spans an area of 280,000 acres (1,100 km²). It is very popular amongst locals and foreigners alike as it is centrally located from nearly 30 US cities. Shawnee National Forest has a unique combination of flora and fauna. Who knows, if you are lucky you might even sight a Black Bear or a Mountain Lion.
Take a trip out to Shawnee National Forest and breathe in the fresh air away from the hustle and bustles of cities. You can take on a popular hiking trail or even go camping with your loved ones. From modern camping facilities to older more natural camping grounds, this park has it all. Please keep in mind that campsites work on a first-come, first-served basis and are open from April 1 through Dec 15. Other popular outdoor adventures include sightseeing and fishing. Shawnee National Forest is located nearly 5 hours away from the city of Chicago.
Popular Hiking Trails: Rim Rock National Recreation Trail, Garden of the Gods, and Jackson Falls.
Rockford is the third-largest city in Illinois after Chicago and Springfield. It lies in the northern part of the state at the banks of Rock River. Rockford, also known as the City of Gardens, has a distinct cultural identity with a lot of architectural gems and beautiful gardens like Anderson Japanese Gardens, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, etc. Outdoor lovers can visit the lush green Rock Cut State Park which is spread across an area of 3,092 acres. Kayaking and canoeing at Rock River are also overly popular. Rockford is famous for its delicious cuisines and nightlife, grab a bite at Woodfire Brick Oven Pizza or grab a drink at the renowned Octane.
Must-See Attractions in Rockford: Rockford Art Museum, Burpee Museum of Natural History, and Sinnissippi Park and Golf Course.
Looking for a good photography opportunity? Well, this quaint town won’t disappoint you. With multiple 19th-century buildings featuring french and gothic architectural styles, beautiful countryside, and colorful stores, this town is the ultimate vacation spot for travelers. Galena often known as the “The City that Time Forgot” is simply a charming getaway. While most of the town is on the National Register of Historic Places there is a lot to do and experience for everyone, from picture-perfect parks to scenic driving routes. Galena even offers kayaking, biking, zip-lining, and canoeing opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can even take on many tours of historic buildings all over Galena. Nature lovers can grab a pair of binoculars and take part in bird watching of more than 200 different species.
Must-See Attractions in Galena: Galena US Grant History Museum, Ulysses S. Grant Home, Thunder Bay Falls, and Dowling House.
Ever wondered why Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln? It’s because President Abraham Lincoln used to live in Springfield from 1844 to 1861. The city of Springfield offers tourists great insights into the life of one of the greatest American Presidents. Springfield is not only a historic goldmine it’s also the capital city of Illinois. Whatever interests you might have Springfield has a lot to offer for all with a wide variety of culinary dishes, museums, and quality accommodations.
Must-See Attractions in Springfield: Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, Lincoln Tomb, Illinois State Museum, and Washington Park Botanical Garden.
Best Time to Visit Illinois
Illinois has a humid type of climate with the appropriate amount of rainfall. The summers here are sunny with clear skies while during winters it snows. Although the best time to visit depends entirely upon your travel plans, April to May and September to October are the best times to visit “The Land of Lincoln ”. From September to October, you can even take advantage of various festivals in Illinois like Quad Cities Hot Air Balloon Fest, Long Grove’s Apple Fest, and Sycamore Pumpkin Festival.
Travel with Car Rentals in Illinois
A huge metropolitan area like Chicago has a good transport infrastructure but if you plan to travel to small towns like Galena and lush green forests like Shawnee National Park it would be difficult to travel while depending on public means of transport. So, it’s best to rent a self-drive car in Illinois and travel with the utmost comfort. Book a cheap Illinois car rental with USACarsRental and move at your own pace within great cities like Chicago and Springfield. Check out our guide on How to Book a Cheap Car Rental in the USA and book the deal that suits you best.