As autumn quickly approaches, Illinois has some unusual suggestions to experience the season’s vibrant colours, from soaring above the beautiful foliage during sunset to gliding through golden tree tops.
The Illinois Office of Tourism recommends the six most thrilling ways to experience the season throughout the state:
- Canoe down the Mississippi River in Alton with a backdrop of burnt orange leaves and limestone bluffs. Big Muddy Adventures offers a series of half-day and full-day canoe trips on the river from Pere Marquette State Park to Alton. Afterwards, celebrate your excursion with a visit to the Old Bakery Beer Company, an organic craft brewery in downtown Alton.
- Zip line through the fall foliage in southern Illinois. Fly across 83 acres of Shawnee National Forest for a bird’s-eye view of the autumn colours. The Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour is Illinois’ first tree-based, eco-friendly zip line consisting of eight zip lines and three aerial suspension bridges. At Aerie’s Resort in Grafton, experience an unforgettable two-hour canopy tour along the Mississippi River.
- Soak in an aerial view of fall foliage during a hot air balloon ride in Galena. Galena On The Fly offers hot air balloon rides from sunrise to sunset, year-round. While in the air, families have 360-degree views over three different states. Back on the ground, tour one of the oldest vineyards in Illinois and taste award winning wine at Galena Cellars.
- Horseback ride through Giant City State Park in Makanda and take in the natural sandstone structures and autumn beauty. Riders are guided by experienced wranglers on a 3.2-mile private trail that winds through the beautiful Shawnee National Forest. Later, explore the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail with visits to family-owned wineries, Alto Vineyards and Blue Sky Vineyard.
- Bike among the gorgeous trees and riverfront communities down the scenic Great River Trail (GRT) in the Quad Cities. Boasting abundant wildlife and stunning views of the Mississippi River, the trail is a favourite among locals. Afterward, riders can revive themselves with craft brews at the Bent River Brewing Company.
- Wind your way through a 10-acre corn maze filled with haunted surprises at Jonamac Orchard in Malta, then unwind with Jonamac’s signature hard apple cider or apple wine. For a sweeter challenge, try your luck at the country’s first and largest apple tree maze, featuring 2,500 apple trees at Royal Oak Farm Orchard in Harvard. For pumpkin picking, take a road trip to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, one of the largest family owned pumpkin farms in the U.S.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism manages industry efforts that result in sustainable and significant economic and quality-of-life benefits for Illinois residents.