Top Things to Do in Galena for Active Travelers
With water recreation, golf, hiking, biking and skiing, the little resort town of Galena, Illinois, offers big outdoor fun during your active Midwest weekend getaway.
Pandemic-related closures and restrictions may be in place. Please check destinations' websites before making travel plans.
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. eagleridge.com
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 bikes and e-bikes. feverriveroutfitters.com
3) 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 3,000 feet. Watch for deer and other wildlife in wooded areas below. After you land, the operators present a flight certificate to commemorate the voyage. buyaballoonride.com
4) 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. Try the mini golf or disc golf courses, or rent a mountain bike. chestnutmtn.com
5) 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 discuss ecology and history; you'll come away with a new appreciation for the Native Americans who originally inhabited this territory and the European explorers who settled it. chestnutmtn.com
6) Galena River Trail This 6-mile hiking and 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. cityofgalena.org
7) Grant Park Take the pedestrian bridge across the river from downtown to reach this pretty 3.5-acre park; bring a picnic or just stroll along the river. Monuments and cannons add a historical touch, and visitors will enjoy the views of downtown. For more of a workout, walk uphill to the Ulysses S. Grant Home less than a half-mile away. cityofgalena.org; granthome.com
8) Goldmoor Inn Luxury suites and cottages overlook the Mississippi. Strolling the downtown shops will help you work up an appetite for gourmet dinners, and spa treatments pamper with hot stone or aromatherapy massages. goldmoor.co
9) Mississippi Palisades State Park About 30 miles southeast of Galena, the 2,500-acre park caters to picnickers, campers and hikers. Fifteen miles of trails lead to overlooks of the Mississippi, rock formations and wooded ravines. Park Information