Summer Travel Destinations
Summer is approaching, and that means road trips! In the spirit of the season of hitting the road, we have researched and listed 11 of our favorite road trip destinations. Here’s the best part: all of them are between just 1 and 6.5 driving hours from Peoria, IL and all include links to further information.
1. Bavarian Village – Wisconsin Dells, WI
The Bavarian Village is a step back in time to traditional Germany. Said to easily be one of the more charming cultural attractions in the country, children and adults will enjoy watching and taking part in reenactments of traditional Bavarian dancing. The whole family can enjoy the shops and traditional German food and drink at the heart of this German-inspired village. Although there doesn’t seem to be a website specifically for the village, a few quick Google searches can help find reviews and photos. The Bavarian Village is located at 400 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965, and is about a 4-hour drive from Peoria.
2. Bishop Hill – Bishop Hill, IL
Once a bustling 19th-century settlement for a group of Swedish immigrants seeking religious freedom, Bishop Hill is now a quiet country village where the charm and character of the original colony have survived the test of time. Bishop Hill is a National Landmark Village, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and it is an Illinois State Historic Site. Walk through history by visiting the museums, unique gift shops, art galleries, eateries, and beautiful architecture. This one will only take you one hour to get to from Peoria. Learn more here: http://www.bishophill.com/index.php
3. Fantastic Caverns – Springfield, MO
One of the natural wonders of the U.S., Fantastic Caverns is one of the top Missouri attractions for the whole family and is America’s only ride-through cave. Visitors embark on their journey through the cave comfortably in a small red tram. There is also a gift shop and visitor center where you can learn even more about the caves. If you’re looking to make a full day of the expedition, then Springfield, Missouri has plenty of other family-friendly things to do. Visit the lions at the Dickerson Park Zoo or try out the 1984 Arcade, which features tons of old-fashioned arcade games. Driving time from Peoria, IL: 6 hours. Click here to learn more: http://www.bransonplanner.org/fantasticcaverns/
4. Galena, IL
Explore century-old buildings where more than 90 unique shops, restaurants and bars reside. Enjoy hiking trails, a beautiful river, and quaint bed-and-breakfasts in this well-preserved small town. Take a hot-air balloon ride, treat yourself to a spa day, take a pottery class, you get it, the options are endless. Plan about a 3 hour drive from Peoria. Check it out: https://www.visitgalena.org/
5. The House on the Rock – Spring Green, WI
There is so much to see at The House on the Rock that we don’t even know where to begin. Everyone should visit at least once. Aside from the actual attraction, there is also a beautiful inn, a resort and even a golf course. Which is great, because you may not fit all the attraction’s sights in a single day. (Wear comfortable shoes for all the walking and prepare to have your mind blown.) Driving distance from Peoria, IL: 3.5 to 4 hours. Here’s the website: https://www.thehouseontherock.com/index.htm
6. Legoland Discovery Center – Schaumburg, IL
Here, your entire family will be able to explore more than nine different attractions, check out the 4D movie theater and, of course, build to your heart’s content. Plan for enough snacks for about a 2.5 hour drive from Peoria. Learn more about all the activities here: https://chicago.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/
7. Silver Dollar City – Branson, MO
This 19th-century-mining-town-theme-park has at least forty thrilling rides, live performances, fun shows and demonstrations (candymaking, blacksmithing, etc.), old fashioned shops for unique souvenirs, and even a huge natural cave attraction. (That still doesn’t cover it all.) This destination is about 6.5 hours of driving from Peoria. Check it out here: https://www.silverdollarcity.com/theme-park
8. St. Louis, MO
This city is one most of us have already visited at least once before, but it’s still a fantastic family road trip destination and one of our favorites. The Gateway Arch, Six Flags, Forest Park (which is larger than even New York City’s Central Park), museums, incredible and endless dining locations, a famous craft beer scene, the St. Louis Zoo, and so much more. The City Museum itself has been been voted the Number One Family Attraction in the World. They even have options to stay inside overnight. From Peoria to St. Louis, plan for a 2.5 hour drive. Learn more about the City Museum here: https://www.citymuseum.org/
9. Starved Rock State Park –
With a history dating back to 8,000 BC and offering one of the most unique natural destinations in Illinois, Starved Rock State Park is a must-visit for nature buffs. The park is home to 18 canyons and more than 13 miles of hiking trails that take you by incredible waterfalls, sandstone overhangs and bluffs, as well as an abundance of wildlife. Camping within the park is available, but if you’re looking for a more comfortable way to end a day outdoors, you can book a room at the Starved Rock Lodge. The 1930s log lodge offers cabins and luxury rooms, and has several restaurants nearby. It’s also been awarded the Number One Attraction in Illinois. It’ll take you about one hour and twenty minutes to get there from Peoria. Here’s the website: https://www.starvedrockstatepark.org/
10. Timber Ridge Outpost & Cabins – Elizabethtown, IL
This destination is like a real-life fairy tale, and is a great choice for big families, quality time with friends, and couples wanting something more intimate and romantic. (Bonus- they are pet friendly!) Rent a real life treehouse, log cabin, or a huge private home with a hot tub, all next to the Shawnee National Forest. You can horseback ride, hunt, fish, hike, bike, bird watch, star gaze, sight-see, boat, swim, relax on your deck, whew. This one is a 5 hour drive from Peoria. Follow here to learn more and make reservations: http://www.timberridgeoutpost.com/
11. Wisconsin Dells- Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Dells is the water park capital of the world and has more amusement rides, games, resorts, events, and attractions than anyone could list in one lifetime. But it also offers a more refined side, like classy dinners, live music, a shoreline stroll under lit torches, and luxurious service at the Sundara Inn and Spa. There is more fun here for the entire family than you could ever fit into one trip. Plan for about 4 hours of driving if leaving from Peoria. Further details here: https://www.wisdells.com/wisconsin-dells.htm
Important Tip: Before leaving for any long trips on the road, take your vehicle in to get checked out by your technician. You don’t want to find out too late and while on the way to reserved fun that your tires are worn out, your fluid levels are off, or that your battery is nearly toast.
Wherever you do choose to take your family or friends this summer, all of us here at Autohaus of Peoria wish you a fantastic and safe time!