Stuck in the Peoria area for Spring Break, or don’t have the time or resources to take off the whole week? There are plenty of options for weekend trips only a few hours from campus, and here’s a few gathered by yours truly, The Scout.
Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby, 1.20 hrs: Starved Rock has plenty of trails easy enough for the most inexperienced hikers. If you’re feeling only minimal love for the outdoors, you can chill at the lodge while the rest of your group braves the great outdoors. The lodge serves tasty food and contains a lovely gift shop. Rumor has it that if it’s a rainy day, there’s a large bowling alley nearby, as well.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, Springfield, 1.5 hrs: Springfield is a short distance away from Peoria, and there’s plenty to see, including the Lincoln Museum, where lots of wax figurines are promised. Walk around downtown, find somewhere to eat or shop until you drop.
Alton, 2.31 hrs: Alton has lots of museums, including the Historic Museum of Torture Devices. If museums aren’t your thing, drive around on the Great Rivers scenic route. There’s no shortage of spooky sights, with the paranormal research center and ghost and vampire tours.
Galena, 2.47 hrs: This historic town has multiple features such as shopping, ski lifts, hiking trails and historic sights. Galena has plenty of wineries and breweries, and is located just across the Mississippi from Dubuque, Iowa. It also has haunted city tours, canoeing, hiking trails, as well as several historical sites such as president Ulysses S. Grant’s home.
Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Pontiac, 1.10 hrs: This museum has tons of memorabilia from Route 66 and the cities along the way. You can pass by this site quickly, even on the way to Springfield.
In case of “OH NO, I can’t leave Peoria:”
Wildlife Prairie Park: This 2,000-acre zoological park is open daily to see the animals (lions, tigers and bears, oh my.) There are also options to rent a cabin for the weekend to go hiking.
Spirit of Peoria: You can still spend spring break on a boat, just not on the balmy seas of the Gulf of Mexico. The authentic riverboat takes trips down the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and people can pick from either day trips or multiple-day trips.
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, AKA, you’re entirely uninterested in any of the above: Pass go and collect $200. Arrive in Chicago.