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One of the best ways to experience all that Illinois has to offer is by taking a road trip or tour around the state. Whether you want to head off on Route 66 or hop on a motorcycle for a speedy tour of some of the state’s unique attractions and sites, you’ll find plenty of open roads to explore during your adventure.
One of the best ways to hit the road in Illinois is by going on a road trip on Route 66. This historic road will take you through the cities of Joliet, McLean, Pontiac, and other famous cities around the southeast. You can begin your journey in Chicago to enjoy some city culture, get a taste of deep dish pizza, and catch some live music. It’s also home to major attractions such as the 110-story Sears Tower and the home stadiums of the Bears and Bulls sports teams. Route 66 begins at the intersection of Adams Street and Michigan Avenue, so you can explore the wealth of attractions and sites around Lake Shore Drive during your trip.
Make your way down Route 66 to visit destinations like Cicero, Berwyn & Lyons, Countryside, Romeoville, Joliet along the banks of the Des Plaines River, Wilmington, and more. You’ll find dozens of roadside attractions to enjoy along the way, such as the Polk-A-Dot Drive-In that caters to Route 66 travelers with a classic diner experience. You can also make a pit stop at the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame & Museum to see dozens of artifacts, murals, and exhibits telling the story of this famous roadway. Continue making your way down Route 66 to see historic cities and more attractions at Edwardsville and Mitchell. The Chain O’Rocks Bridge is the toll bridge that connects Illinois to Missouri so continuing down Route 66 will take you to Missouri.
Motorcycle riding is a popular activity throughout the state because there are more than 138,000 miles of public roads available for riders. Many cities are extremely rider-friendly, so you can expect to find group meetups, festivals, and other events dedicated to motorcyclists throughout the year. You can make your way to Effingham in southern Illinois for events like the August Adventure Ride, a popular event for Harley Davidson fans. In August, the Budweiser Grand Nationals Weekend and the Central Illinois Friends Ride will take you to the town of Morton where you can enjoy group rides and other fun events with fellow motorcycle enthusiasts.
If you really want to hit the open roads with your motorcycle, you’ll want to make your way to one of the state parks on northern Illinois. Starved Rock State Park and Lowden State Park are some of the most popular destinations for motorcyclists because they have miles of open roads that are accessible to motorcyclists. As long as you keep an eye out for wildlife and have mapped out your routes, you’ll be ready to hit the roads weaving through and around state parks.
One of the quickest rides through northern Illinois is the Rock River Run. This takes you from Dixon to Rockford and spans just over 40 miles. You can make pit stops in small towns including Byron and Oregon, and also see the Black Hawk Statue as you make your way through Lowden State Park. If you just want to hug the roads around downtown Chicago, you can make your way to the shores of Lake Michigan for a 22-mile ride along North Sheridan Road. You’ll find several rest stops around Sunrise Park and can even go swimming or sailing at Sunrise Beach.
Another option is the 140-mile ride that starts in Peoria and takes you through Starved Rock State Park and Buffalo Rock State Park. Peoria is where the Budweiser Grand Nationals Weekend takes place and you can catch races like the Grand National TT Motorcycle Races there.