Illinois Office of Tourism and EnjoyIllinois.com is kicking off the fall travel season with an exciting new Fall ad campaign encouraging travelers to not just watch fall, but "do fall."
Cory Jobe joins ABC 7 News to talk about thrilling ways you can experience fall across the state, from hot air balloon rides over Galena to motorcycle rides down the Great River Road to hiking at Garden of the Gods in the Shawnee National Forest. Don't just watch fall, do fall.
-Tell us about some of the best Fall weekend getaways for outdoor adventure?
-What's at the top of the list for a romantic fall weekend getaway for couples?
- September is also Illinois Wine Month, where are some Illinois vineyards where you can experience the best fall colors?
Ways to Do Fall
Canoe down the Mississippi River in Alton with a backdrop of burnt orange leaves and limestone bluffs. Big Muddy Adventures offers a series of half-day and full-day canoe trips on the river from Pere Marquette State Park to Alton. Trips are suitable for all ages and skill levels.
Zip line through the fall foliage in Southern Illinois. Fly across 83 acres of Shawnee National Forest for a bird's-eye view of the autumn colors. The Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour is Illinois' first tree-based, eco-friendly zip line consisting of eight zip lines and three aerial suspension bridges. Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, where hikers can take in lofty views of sandstone rock formations, cliffs and canyons at Garden of the Gods.
Hot Air Balloon Ride: Enjoy an aerial view of fall foliage during a hot air balloon ride in Galena. Galena On The Fly offers hot air balloon rides from sunrise to sunset, year-round. While in the air, families have 360-degree views over three different states.
Horseback ride through Giant City State Park in Makanda and take in the natural sandstone structures and autumn beauty. Riders are guided by experienced wranglers on a 3.2-mile private trail that winds through the beautiful Shawnee Forest
Bike among the gorgeous trees and riverfront communities down the scenic Great River Trail (GRT) in the Quad Cities. Boasting abundant wildlife and stunning views of the Mississippi River, the trail is a favorite among locals. Afterward, riders can revive themselves with craft brews at the Bent River Brewing Company
Wind your way through a 10-acre corn maze filled with haunted surprises at Jonamac Orchard in Malta, then unwind with Jonamac's signature hard apple cider.
September is Illinois Wine Month Another perfect way to soak in fall colors across the state is to travel to one of Illinois' wineries. Illinois is home to more than 100 wineries across the state. From Galena Cellars vineyard in Galena and Illinois Sparkling in Utica near Starved Rock State Park to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, featuring nearly a dozen family owned wineries, including Alto Vineyards in Alto Pass and Blue Sky Vineyard in Makanda. You can experience tasting events at many of the vineyards along the trail through the fall. The ideal spot to relax and soak in the fall colors during a fall weekend getaway.
Pumpkin Farms: For pumpkin picking, take a road trip to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, one of the largest family owned pumpkin farms in the U.S, famous for its sky high pumpkin towers and creative displays.
Upcoming Fall Events
St. Charles Scarecrow Festival, October 6-8th, 32nd annual. More than 100 hand-made and mechanical scarecrows will be on display. Shop the arts & crafts show. Dance to live music. Spin on thrilling carnival rides. Groom a horse, and tour life on a 19th century farm. Admission is free.
Sycamore Pumpkin Festival, October 25-29th, this is the 56th Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival. The festival begins with over 1000 entries in the Lions Decorated Pumpkin Display, 2 carnivals, 2 large indoor craft shows, historic home tours, many non-profit vendors, culminating with an hour and a half long parade on Sunday. The 2017 theme is: "Pumpkins Across the Decades"
Travel Illinois, New Fall/Winter issue
The latest issue of Travel Illinois magazine titled "Adventure Awaits," is now available online and in print, offering travel inspiration for visitors looking for the perfect escape this fall and winter. From driving along Illinois' Great River Road surrounded by picturesque fall scenery to ice skating in the middle of Chicago's skyline at Maggie Daley Park, cooler weather offers no shortage of adventures across Illinois. Be sure to order a copy of the new fall/winter issue on our award-winning website, EnjoyIllinois.com.