Enjoy state parks, memorable meals and history on a drive along the Illinois River Road.

By By the editors of MidwestLiving.com
Starved Rock State Park

What to do

Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge The largest of three National Wildlife Refuges within the Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges Complex (the others are the Emiquon and Meredosia), Chautauqua attracts more than 100,000 fall birds. (309) 535-2290; fws.gov/midwest

Peoria Heights North of Peoria, detour from the Illinois River Road byway to pretty Grand View Drive. Restaurants and shops include Leaves n Beans and I Know You Like a Book. (309) 685-4812; peoriaheightschamber.com

Peoria RiverFront You'll find plenty of places to eat, plus paddle-wheeler excursions, ethnic festivals and a marina. A riverfront museum opened in 2012. (309) 671-5555; peoriariverfront.com

Starved Rock State Park Views of the Illinois River unfold from bluffs in Starved Rock State Park. Hikes hit all of the highlights. (815) 667-4726; www.dnr.illinois.gov

Starved Rock State Park

Where to eat

Agatucci's Pizza Thin-crust pie served in a casual tavern atmosphere has a loyal Peoria following. (309) 688-8200; agatuccis.com

Where to stay

Mark Twain Hotel A lovely 111-room boutique hotel stands blocks from Peoria's riverfront. Try the barbecued chicken pizza at Two25 in the hotel. (866) 325-6351; marktwainhotel.com

Mission Oak Inn With in-room fireplaces, two-person whirlpools and a small lake out the back door, this Henry inn feels like a true escape. (309) 370-4083; missionoakinn.com

For information and maps: (815) 433-5830; illinoisriverroad.org

Advertisement