Illinois Bureau of Tourism: Presidential Trails

(News Release) This year Illinois encourages travelers to "Blaze Your Own Trail in Illinois" with new Presidential Trails itineraries highlighting Illinois' rich culture, history and attractions through the experiences of three presidents - Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and Ronald Reagan - who lived and made their mark in Illinois.

Travelers can choose the itinerary they would like to follow, and use the site's mapping technology and bookable 3-Day Getaways for easy and convenient trip planning.

The Illinois Bureau of Tourism Web site,, will provide a printable brochure that highlights the information of all three Presidential Trails, including location and facts about the attractions.

The autumn season is loaded with festivals, events and attractions in Illinois, ideal for travelers looking to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and experience the great outdoors.

Illinois Presidential Trails


Abraham Lincoln moved to Illinois as a 20-something, and more than 30 years later he embarked for the country's capital and a new career as president. Lincoln Trail attractions include:

  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum - Springfield - Open seven days a week, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Combines 21st-century technology and 19th-century history in interactive exhibits and unique theater productions highlighting Lincoln's life
  • The exhibit Packaging Presidents: Two Centuries of Campaigns and Candidates is on display until Nov. 9

    Learn the differences between presidential campaigns from George Washington to George Bush through campaign memorabilia

    Celebrate the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address with an exhibit of the original artwork used for the book The Gettysburg Address

    The exhibit will be run Nov. 19, 2008 - January 2009

    Visitors and scholars have access to a great and extensive collection of materials relating to Abraham Lincoln and his era at the Library

    Lincoln's Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore - Springfield - Tours available Tuesday to Saturday - March 1 to Oct. 31, Nov. 1, at 7:30 p.m.

    Tour uses the Lincoln sites as the backdrop for the ghostly and strange stories about Lincoln's life and his death

    This 90-minute tour is heavy on factual history, but also includes mysterious stories of lore

    Lincoln Home National Historic Site - Springfield - Open seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

    The only home that Abraham Lincoln ever owned, the Lincoln family lived here from 1844 until Lincoln's election to the Presidency in 1861

    The home is the center of a four-block historic site that includes a visitor's center Onsite interpreters offer tours daily

    International Route 66 Mother Road Festival, Springfield, Sept. 26 - 28 - Come enjoy cool cars, music and free entertainment right in the heart of Springfield's historic downtown


    Home to Ulysses S. Grant until 1868, Galena's connection to the 18th president and the Civil War era is evident in a multitude of attractions. This route also highlights the scenic landscape, historic significance and family-friendly events of Jo Davies County.

    Grant Trail attractions include:

    Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site - Galena - Tours available Wednesday - Sunday, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

    Grant's former home was given to him by residents of Galena in appreciation for his war service in 1865; Grant and his family lived there until his presidency in 1868

    The home has been maintained as a memorial to Grant since 1904

    Galena Historic District

    Encompassing 85 percent of the city, and including more than 1,000 properties built before 1900, this member of the National Register of Historic Places is home to a variety of unique architectural styles

    Visitors can take a guided walking tour of the sites, which include the DeSoto House Hotel, recognized as Illinois' oldest operating hotel and previous host to Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson

    This area is also flush with shops of local arts and artisans, locally-made food products and excellent dining options

    Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery- Galena

    Visitors can enjoy the flavors of the region with wine tastings, vineyard tours and winemaking demonstrations


    Reagan lived with his family for more than 20 years in Tampico, Monmouth, Galesburg and Chicago, until finally residing in Dixon from 1920 to 1933. Highlighting the small-town, Illinois communities in which Ronald Reagan spent his formative years, this trail includes extensive museum collections, historic drives and outdoor attractions.

    Reagan Trail includes:

    Reagan's Boyhood Home - Dixon - Open Monday - Saturday until Nov. 1, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

    Tour through the home that the Regan family resided in from 1920 - 1923

    Walk through the visitor center and gift shop and enjoy a stroll in the Reagan Memorial Park and see the statue of Ronald Reagan

    Knox County Scenic Drive - Knox County

    Historic attractions not typically open to the public will be available for tours and hands-on activities, Oct. 4-5, 11-12

    Visitors can enjoy exploring two one-room schoolhouses, four buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a railroad depot, an 1832 log cabin, museums and century old chapels

    Visitors can explore the rural heritage of some of the towns enjoyed by Reagan's family while they lived in Galesburg

    Galesburg Railroad Museum - Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. through mid-October; Sunday 12:00 - 4:00 p.m. Weekends only from mid-October to mid-November

    Learn the history of the railroad industry in Galesburg and look through memorabilia and model trains

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