Posted in Illinois
Day trips August 23, 2022
Ready to hit the road? We have a very special road trip for you in Illinois that will take you to some of our favorite hidden gems and attractions across the state. This countryside road trip has a bit of everything: hiking trails, history, shopping and of course, great food. Fuel up the car and load up your crew, because it’s a road trip the whole family will love. Don’t worry, this trip won’t turn into a week-long trip (but you can extend it if you wish), it’s a quick and easy day trip that will get you home before the end of the day. ‘bedtime.
From one point to another, you face a journey of less than two hours. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to explore all the attractions, so this should make for a full day of adventure! Don’t hesitate to use it
to guide you or add your own stops to make the road trip one of a kind.
1. Pomona Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge Road, Natural Bridge Rd, Pomona Township, IL 62975, USA
The Pomona Natural Bridge is a great trail that the whole family will enjoy. There’s plenty of parking at the trailhead, and it’s only a short (0.3 mile) walk to the bridge (although the trail can get quite steep at times, so be sure to you to have your good hiking shoes). The bridge itself is a natural sandstone bridge that spans approximately 90 feet wide and 30 feet high and is the result of millions of years of erosion. Shallow Shawnee Cave is just a bit further up the trail so if you have time you can check it out too!
2. Ponomá Wine Estate
Pomona Winery, 2865 Hickory Ridge Rd, Pomona, IL 62975, USA
Ponoma Winery sits along the Shawnee Hill Wine Trail, and one of the most unique features of this winery is that it specializes in wines made from locally grown fruits other than grapes. If you’ve never tried their delicious apple wines, you’re in for a treat. Take a tour, taste some selections, then buy a few bottles to take home for your next special occasion. Be sure to check the
for hours of operation before heading out.
3. Dixie BBQ
Dixie Barbecue, 205 W Broad St, Jonesboro, IL 62952, USA
A good road trip always includes a good BBQ, and
home to some of the best. Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you, inside these walls a delicious barbecue unfolds. This local eatery has been a neighborhood favorite since 1948, and the iconic Hog Burger is just one of the many tasty dishes you’ll find on the menu.
4. Ozark Hills Nature Preserve
Ozark Hills Nature Preserve, Jonesboro, IL 62952, USA
It’s time to kick the sweats off the barbecue! The Ozark Hills Nature Preserve is a 222-acre nature reserve ideal for nature lovers. From unusual plant species like red horse chestnut and azaleas to forests of white oak and sugar maple, this tranquil space is one of Illinois’ most beautiful hidden gems. In the spring, expect your walk to be lit up with hundreds of colorful wildflowers that often attract other beauties like butterflies, hummingbirds, and more.
5. Annabelle Market
Annabelle Market, 300 S Main St, Anna, IL 62906, USA
You can’t take a country road trip without stopping at an antique shop or two. Annabelle Market offers 9,000 square feet of shopping, so be sure to empty your trunk ahead of time so you have plenty of room to store all of your new found treasures!
6. Barkhausen Cache River Wetland Center
Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 IL-37, Cypress, IL 62923, USA
We end our road trip in the countryside at the Barkhausen-Cache River Wetlands Center, a nature center and natural history museum. The 7,000 square foot facility features several interpretive exhibits so you can learn all about the natural and cultural history of the Cache River Wetlands, then you can hit the trails to see it firsthand. There are nearly 20 miles of hiking trails to explore here, taking you through beautiful cypress-tupelo swamps, sandstone cliffs and floodplain forests. You might even be inspired to hire a
canoe and see the reserve from a whole different perspective!
Ready for more? Here are 9 road trips in Illinois that won’t break the bank.
Address: Natural Bridge Road, Natural Bridge Rd, Pomona Township, IL 62975, USA
Address: Pomona Winery, 2865 Hickory Ridge Rd, Pomona, IL 62975, USA
Address: Dixie Barbecue, 205 W Broad St, Jonesboro, IL 62952, USA
Address: Ozark Hills Nature Preserve, Jonesboro, IL 62952, USA
Address: Annabelle Market, 300 S Main St, Anna, IL 62906, USA
Address: Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 IL-37, Cypress, IL 62923, USA