Premier Summer Getaway Destinations in Illinois

Galena | Rosemary Williams

Illinois is filled with towns and cities that serve as idyllic summer retreats. Let’s look at some of the state’s top towns to visit this summer.


Geneva, an affluent suburb of Chicago, is perfect for a quiet summer getaway along the Fox River. Visitors can canoe or kayak along the river or explore the town’s scenic waterfront parks and trails. Historic downtown Geneva has over 160 shops and restaurants, Victorian-era homes, and pleasant local specialty businesses. Geneva also hosts vibrant summer events, including the renowned Geneva Arts Fair.


Galena is a charming little city near the Mississippi River in northwest Illinois. Downtown Galena boasts gorgeous historic architecture, showcasing many preserved red brick buildings dating back to the 19th century. With a reputation for having one of the best Main Streets in America, downtown features an array of boutique shops, superb resorts, and famous historical sites. Picturesque natural landscapes also envelop this quaint town, including Horseshoe Mound Preserve, which offers scenic panoramic vistas of the surrounding rolling green hills. 

Downtown Galena | Keren Roeglin


Woodstock is an outer-edge suburb of Chicago that has a classic small-town ambiance. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with numerous Victorian-era buildings still in use today. Downtown Woodstock comprises antique stores, gourmet restaurants, and artisan shops selling handmade products. Summer in Woodstock brings a lively atmosphere, with many city events and festivals to enjoy, including the outdoor Woodstock City Band Concert Season, weekly farmers markets, and more.


Rockford is a large city along the Rock River in northern Illinois. The city is celebrated as a cultural hotspot, boasting top-notch museums and exquisite gardens. Among its renowned museums are the Burpee Museum of Natural History and the Rockford Art Museum. Meanwhile, the serene Anderson Japanese Gardens offers a breathtaking and zen setting for exploration. Rockford caters to outdoor lovers as well, with renowned golf courses and 42 forest preserves.

Anderson Japanese Gardens | Bruno Coimbra


The Central Illinois city of Bloomington is known for its incredible history. It showcases historic buildings, museums dedicated to famous figures like Abraham Lincoln, who once worked in the town, and Victorian-era homes. Downtown serves as an excellent spot for strolls on warm summer days, with its inviting art galleries, shopping destinations, and appealing restaurants. Also, summer brings a vibrant farmers market to Bloomington, while the city’s many parks and trails fill with visitors seeking outdoor enjoyment.


Springfield, Illinois’s capital, is a picturesque city in central Illinois. Its busy downtown has incredible architecture, including the gorgeous state capitol building. Springfield thrives as a bustling hub, teeming with restaurants and stores. During the summer, it bursts with an abundance of festivals and events. From theater performances in the park to delightful wine and cheese events, there’s much to love about Springfield. However, the highlight of the summer is undoubtedly the Illinois State Fair, a grand spectacle featuring thrilling rides, delectable food, captivating shows, and so much more.

Springfield | Andrew Adams
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