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Great River Road in Illinois

Enjoy eye-catching scenery, engaging historical attractions, and dozens of friendly communities along this National Scenic Byway.

Mississippi Palisades State Park Illinois

A trip along the Great River Road in Illinois is a trip through stunning scenery, welcoming river towns, and inspiring historical and cultural attractions.

Often named one of the best small towns in the country, Galena—a small town of approximately 3,000 people in the northwestern corner of Illinois—is known for its historic downtown, which has more than 100 19th-century storefronts that are to home to charming shops, boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. In fact, Galena’s Main Street has been dubbed the “Best Main Street in the Midwest” by Midwest Living.

History lovers have plenty to explore along the Great River Road in Illinois. De Immigrant Windmill—a 100-foot-tall (30 meters) functioning windmill that sits atop a levee in Fulton—and the adjacent Windmill Cultural Center educate visitors about the area’s Dutch heritage. Moline is home to the John Deere Pavilion, which honors the company’s proud Midwest history with hands-on exhibits, interactive displays, and the chance to get up close and personal with the iconic green-and-yellow farm equipment.

Visitors also can explore the town of Nauvoo, considered to be one of the most accurately restored and historic towns in the country—don’t miss fun activities like pioneer games and horse-drawn wagon rides. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves the remains of an ancient culture that flourished in the Mississippi River region from 700 to 1400 A.D. In Prairie du Rocher, visitors can get a taste of what life was like in French-controlled Illinois in the 1700s at the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site.

Want to get out and explore the Mississippi River region? The Great River Road in Illinois is home to abundant parks and natural areas, including Giant City State Park in Makanda. The 4,000-acre (16.2 square km) park sits in the middle of the Shawnee National Forest and offers a wide array of activities, from learning about the area’s early Native American inhabitants to recreational pursuits like camping, hiking, fishing, and more.

Contact Information

Address 581 S. Deere Road, MacombGet directions