Top 10 Things to Do in Galena for Active Travelers | Midwest Living

Top 10 Things to Do in Galena for Active Travelers

With skiing, water recreation, golf, hiking and biking, the little resort town of Galena offers big outdoor fun during your active Midwest weekend getaway.
Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa. Photo courtesy of Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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Galena on the Fly. Photo courtesy of Galena/Jo Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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Galena Garlic Company. Photo by David Nevala.
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1) Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa Four championship courses and 63 scenic holes establish Eagle Ridge as a premiere place to tee off, but if golf’s not your thing, don’t worry. This expansive resort also offers boating, tennis and horseback riding in summer, as well as ice skating, sledding, cross-country skiing and snowboarding in winter. Wind down over dinner at one of Eagle Ridge's three outstanding restaurants, or work out the kinks with a massage at the Stonedrift Spa. (815) 777-5000;

2) Fever River Outfitters Explore the Galena River on a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard. Rent a boat and strike out on your own or sign up for a guided adventure. If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, check out Fever River’s scooter tour, a 45-minute ride through the countryside to Galena Cellars Vineyard, where you’ll cap off your journey with leisurely wine tasting. (The outfitters provide a shuttle back to town.) (815) 776-9425;

3) The Courtyard at the DeSoto House Hotel Start your active day with hearty breakfast burritos or decadent French toast with orange cream cheese filling, served in the hotel's four-story atrium (you don't have to be a guest to order breakfast). On Sunday mornings, the Courtyard sets out an impressive brunch buffet. (815) 777-0090;

4) Galena On The Fly Drift high above the rolling hills around Galena as the sun rises or sets. These one-hour hot-air balloon excursions lift off near Eagle Ridge Resort; in clear weather, you can see all the way to Iowa and Wisconsin as you soar up to 4,000 feet. Watch for deer and other wildlife in wooded areas below. After you land, the operators pop open champagne for you and present a flight certificate to commemorate the voyage. (815) 777-2747;

5) Chestnut Mountain Resort In winter, guests come for skiing and snowboarding on the beautiful mountaintop resort's 19 runs. In summer, roll across the property on a one-hour Segway tour or zip down a 2,050-foot Alpine slide; mini golf, disc golf and mountain bike rentals also are available. (800) 397-1320;

6) Mississippi Explorer Cruises This outing starts with a zoom down Chestnut Mountain’s Alpine slide and ends with a chairlift ride back up to the mountaintop resort. In between, you’ll kick back on a pontoon boat that plies the backwaters of the Mississippi River, passing eagle nests and beaver lodges. Tour guides talk about both history and ecology; you’ll come away with a new appreciation for the Native Americans who originally inhabited this territory and the European explorers who settled it. (563) 586-4444;

7) Galena Garlic Company Savory scents draw customers into this shop, which sells not only garlic-based products—including meat rubs, flavored nuts and pickled garlic—but also infused olive oils, olive oil-based soaps, flavored balsamic vinegars, sea salts and olive oil toppers. (815) 777-9625;

8) Galena River Trail This six-mile hiking/biking trail follows an old Burlington Railroad spur dating to 1886 (the main line along the Mississippi River is still in use). Although the spur went out of operation in 1960, you can spy old signal foundations in the section of trail between South Park Avenue and the Highway 20 bridge underpass. Interpretive signs describe flowers and wildlife you might glimpse along the wooded path. (815) 777-1050;

9) Fritz and Frites This casual European-style eatery satisfies with a split-personality menu of French and German favorites. On the “frites” side, there’s escargot, baked Brie, pate, quiche and mussels. “Fritz” fans can load up on schnitzel, sauerbraten, sausages and spaetzle. (815) 777-2004;

10) Goldmoor Inn Luxury suites and cottages overlook the Mississippi. Complimentary bicycles will help you work up an appetite for gourmet dinners, while spa treatments pamper with hot stone or aromatherapy massages.  From $285; rate includes breakfast. (815) 777-3925;


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