Illinois: A Premier Destination on America’s Prairies

Welcome to Lake Geneva

One of the best lakes in Illinois can be found in the charming town of Lake Geneva. This expansive freshwater gem offers a picturesque retreat with its crystal-clear waters and scenic shoreline. Boasting a variety of water activities, from boating and sailing to paddleboarding, Lake Geneva caters to both relaxation-seekers and adventure enthusiasts. The lake is surrounded by beautiful estates, parks, and a charming downtown area, providing ample opportunities for lakeside strolls and lakeshore picnics. Furthermore, the lake is a focal point for special events and festivals throughout the year, creating a vibrant atmosphere. With its inviting waters and the scenic backdrop of rolling hills, Lake Geneva stands out as a premier destination, making it the best lake in Illinois for those seeking a perfect blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities.


Best time to visit
Best places to visit

Top 3 Facts about Illinois


Ferris Wheels

The world’s first Ferris wheel was constructed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It was designed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. and stood at 264 feet tall.


Root 66

Illinois is often referred to as the “Land of Lincoln” as it was the home state of Abraham Lincoln. Additionally, it is where Route 66, the iconic American highway, begins.


The Great Chicago Fire

Chicago is infamous for the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed much of the city. Despite popular belief, the fire did not start when a cow kicked over a lantern, as the legend suggests.


Must See Attractions

See all

Navy Pier

Tourist Attraction

This beloved waterfront destination is known for its iconic Ferris wheel, diverse entertainment options, and stunning views of the city skyline, making it a must-visit attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Starved Rock State Park

Nature & Parks

This park captivates visitors with its majestic sandstone canyons, towering bluffs, and cascading waterfalls, creating a natural haven for hiking, wildlife observation, and appreciation of the region’s geological wonders.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Speciality Museums

The Art Institute of Chicago is a world-renowned cultural institution housing an extensive collection of masterpieces from various periods and genres, including iconic works making it a cultural treasure trove for art enthusiasts.

Where to Sleep

See all

Discover Illinois’s Lakes

See all

1. Lake Springfield

11 Miles

Lake Springfield combines urban convenience with natural beauty, offering fishing, sailing, and lakeside parks for residents and visitors, all near Springfield.

2. Clinton Lake

55 Miles

Located near the city of Clinton, Clinton Lake provides a peaceful escape for camping, fishing, and water sports, surrounded by rolling hills and wooded landscapes.

3. Cedar Lake

58 Miles

Cedar Lake is a hidden gem offering a pristine natural environment, making it an ideal spot for kayaking, fishing, and enjoying the tranquility of the outdoors.

4. Lake Shelbyville

60 Miles

Known for its clear waters and extensive shoreline, this lake attracts boaters, anglers, and nature enthusiasts to explore its coves and wooded areas.

5. Carlyle Lake

91 Miles

This is the largest man-made lake in Illinois, provides a tranquil retreat for fishing, boating, and camping, surrounded by scenic woodlands and wildlife habitats.

6. Rend Lake

161 Miles

Surrounded by forests and wildlife, Rend Lake offers a serene setting for outdoor activities, including fishing, birdwatching, and hiking along its picturesque shores.

7. Lake Michigan

204 Miles

Bordering Chicago, Lake Michigan offers waterfronts, sandy beaches, and stunning skyline views, making it a focal point for recreational activities and scenic beauty.

8. Fox Lake

232 Miles

Fox Lake is a popular destination for boating and water sports enthusiasts, with numerous marinas and a vibrant Chain O’Lakes community.

Annual Events and Festivals

August 2024

Chicago Air and Water Show

Held annually along Lake Michigan shoreline, this aerial spectacles attracts millions of spectators, showcasing a display of precision flying, daring aerobatics, and water stunts. Renowned for its jaw-dropping performances by military and civilian aircraft, including the iconic U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the show transforms the lakefront.

Get tickets
Thursday, August 8 – Sunday, August 18, 2024

Illinois State Fair

A time honored tradition dating back to 1853 and hosted in Springfield, fairgrounds come alive with the energy of a diverse array of attractions. Showcasing the agricultural heritage of Illinois, the fair features livestock exhibitions, competitive events, and showcases of the state’s finest crops and produce. The fair offers a carnival atmosphere with amusement rides, games, and live entertainment that ranges from grandstand concerts to nationally recognized performers.

September 2024

Route 66 Mother Road Festival

The festival celebrates the historic and legendary Route 66. Attracting enthusiasts from across the country it features classic cars, ranging from vintage automobiles to muscle cars, and line the streets, creating a nostalgic spectacle that transports visitors to a bygone era. Attendees can immerse themselves in the rich history of the iconic Route 66. The festival is a cultural extravaganza with live music, delicious local cuisine, and an array of vendors offering memorabilia and artifacts.

Get tickets

Top Hiking Trails

Dells Canyon and Bluff Trail

Matthiessen State Park Fort, Oglesby, ILlinois 61348

This short 2 mile hike is a favorite hike in the Oglesby region and takes less than an hour to complete the loop. View quaint waterfalls and bridges as you hike the well traveled path. There are plenty of side trails to explore if you wish to lengthen your hike.

Visit their website for more information

Waterfall Glen Trail

Waterfall Glen Main Trail, Darien, ILlinois 60561

Located within the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve this 9.5 mile loop trail winds through woodlands, wetlands, and prairies, providing hikers, joggers, and cyclists with a varied and scenic journey. The highlight of the trail is Sawmill Creek bluff, where a stunning overlook provides panoramic views of the preserve. The trail’s name is derived from the scenic man made waterfall along Sawmill Creek. Along the way, visitors may encounter an array of plant and animal life, adding to the trail’s natural charm.

Visit their website for more information

Saint Louis Canyon Trail

Saint Louis Canyon Trailhead, Oglesby, ILlinois 61348

Saint Louis Canyon Trail invites visitors into a natural amphitheater of towering sandstone walls and lush greenery. This scenic trail, approximately 2.5 miles in length, winds through a diverse landscape, and takes about an hour to complete. The highlight of the trail is the Saint Louis Canyon, where visitors are greeted by a stunning, cascading waterfall framed by towering cliffs. The trail itself provides a relatively moderate hike, offering a mix of wooden bridges, natural steps, and serene forest paths.

Visit their website for more information

Best Golf Courses

TPC Deere Run

3100 Heather Knoll, Silvis, ILlinois 61282

Home to the PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic, this golf course offers a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels. Crafted by renowned architect D.A. Weibring, the course features rolling hills, fairways, and strategically placed bunkers. One of the signature elements of TPC Deere Run is its finishing stretch, with the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes known as the “Deere Run Trio,” providing a thrilling and strategic conclusion to the round.

Visit their website for more information

Cantigny Golf

27 W 270 Mack Road Wheaton, ILlinois 60189

This 27 hole championship golf facility is part of the Cantigny Park estate, which also encompasses stunning gardens, museums, and educational programs. The golf course was designed by Roger Packard. Offering a strategic layout with well-manicured fairways, scenic water features, and picturesque bunkers. With its commitment to excellence, beautiful surroundings, and a dedication to providing a memorable golf experience, Cantigny Golf stands as a premier destination for golf enthusiasts in the Chicagoland area.

Visit their website for more information

The Preserve At Oak Meadows

900 N Wood Dale Rd, Addison, ILlinois 60101

This 18 hole championship course recently underwent a transformative restoration to enhance both its playability and ecological integrity. The course features meticulously designed fairways, strategic bunkering, and naturalistic water features, providing an engaging experience for golfers of all levels. The course seamlessly integrates into its natural surroundings, creating a serene and picturesque environment.

Visit their website for more information

Water Sports

Lake Michigan Swimming


Swimming in Illinois offers a diverse range of aquatic experiences, from refreshing lakes to vibrant water parks. Lake Michigan, bordering the eastern edge of the state, offers expansive sandy beaches and cool freshwater for beachgoers to enjoy. Additionally, natural bodies of water such as Starved Rock State Park’s Illinois River provide a scenic backdrop for those seeking a more immersive swimming experience.

Visit their website for more information

Midwest Waters Angling Co.


From the iconic shores of Lake Michigan to the tranquil lakes scattered across the rolling landscapes, Illinois offers an array of fishing opportunities. Anglers can cast their lines in pursuit of a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, crappie, walleye, and the prized muskie. The state’s numerous rivers, such as the Illinois River and Fox River, provide excellent fishing grounds, while expansive lakes like Carlyle Lake and Rend Lake offer ample space for both bank and boat fishing. Many fishing charters, such as Midwest Waters Angling Co., are available throughout the state.

Visit their website for more information

Chicago River Canoe and Kayak

kayaking, canoeing, & paddling

Illinois boasts rivers, lakes, and marshes, creating an ideal environment for kayaking. The Chicago River, with its architectural backdrop, offers an urban kayaking experience, while the Fox River winds through landscapes in the northern part of the state. Starved Rock State Park provides a unique kayaking opportunity with its stunning canyons and sandstone cliffs along the Illinois River. Additionally, the Chain O’Lakes region in northern Illinois, known for its interconnected lakes and waterways, provides endless possibilities for exploration.

Visit their website for more information


01 / Snowshoeing

Starved Rock State Park, known for its stunning canyons and waterfalls, becomes a winter wonderland for snowshoers, providing trails that wind through snow-covered forests and along the icy Illinois River. Similarly, the Morton Arboretum in Lisle offers designated snowshoe trails amidst its expansive grounds, allowing visitors to explore a snowy landscape dotted with diverse tree species. The rolling hills and wooded areas in parks like Matthiessen State Park and Silver Springs State Park also provide scenic settings for snowshoeing adventures.

young active snowboarder in bright sportswear jumping up on a mountain slope 1 1

02 / Skating

From city parks to frozen expanses of nature, Illinois provides a variety of skating opportunities, ensuring that residents and visitors alike can revel in the winter charm of the state. In Chicago, Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink is a seasonal favorite, nestled amidst the city’s iconic skyline and the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture. Skaters glide under the twinkling lights of the city, creating a magical ambiance. For a more natural setting, the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park transforms into an enchanting outdoor ice rink during the winter, surrounded by captivating sculptures. Additionally, the state’s numerous frozen lakes and ponds, when conditions permit, become impromptu skating rinks.

young active snowboarder in bright sportswear jumping up on a mountain slope 1 1

03 / Snowboarding

Snowboarding offers enthusiasts a unique and accessible winter experience, even in a state known for its relatively gentle topography. Ski resorts like Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena and Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports in Lisle cater to snowboarders, providing slopes and terrain parks for riders of all skill levels. While the hills may not reach the heights of mountainous regions, these resorts use their ingenuity to create engaging terrain features, including jumps, rails, and halfpipes, ensuring a thrilling experience for riders. Snowboarders can also explore the state’s cross-country skiing trails, adapting their boards for a backcountry adventure in scenic spots like Starved Rock State Park or the expansive fields of the Shawnee National Forest.

young active snowboarder in bright sportswear jumping up on a mountain slope 1 1
previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow

Resorts to Discover in Illinois

Grand Bear Resort at Starved Rock

Family friendly
2643 IL-178, North Utica, Illinois 61373

Deer Path Inn

Luxury, Couples
255 E Illinois Rd, Lake Forest, Illinois 60045

Starved Rock Lodge & Conference Center

Ecological, family friendly
One Lodge Ln, Oglesby, Illinois 61348

Tips on Vacationing in Illinois

Start with Chicago

Start your trip in the vibrant city of Chicago. Explore iconic attractions like Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Art Institute of Chicago, and indulge in the city’s diverse culinary scene. Then head out to a lake for some outdoor adventures.

Root 66

Drive or explore parts of the historic Route 66, which crosses through Illinois. Visit nostalgic roadside attractions and small towns along the route.

Explore the Outdoors

Discover the natural beauty of Illinois by exploring Starved Rock State Park, where hiking trails lead to stunning canyons and waterfalls. Alternatively, bike along the scenic trails in the Great River Road area.

image 392
image 401 1
Jet Skiing

Illinois, famously known as the Land of Lincoln, offers a diverse range of vacation rentals to suit the needs of all kinds of travelers. You can find a comfortable and memorable stay option ranging from cozy cabins in picturesque countryside to modern apartments in downtown Chicago. Illinois has plenty of family-friendly and pet-friendly vacation rentals so that you can bring everyone along for the ride. 

Whether you want a peaceful retreat in the heart of Shawnee National Forest, a refreshing stay near Starved Rock State Park, or a luxurious abode in the charming town of Galena, Illinois, it has something to offer everyone.

Key Takeaways

– A wide range of vacation rental options is available in Illinois, from secluded cabins to city apartments and pet-friendly accommodations.
– Consider event timings and local attractions while booking your ideal vacation home in Illinois.
– Book your vacation rental online through a platform like™ to secure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Exploring Illinois Vacation Rentals

You’ll be pleased to know that Illinois has over 6,000 vacation rentals. Whether you’re outdoorsy or looking to relax in the lap of luxury, rest assured that you’ll find a suitable place to stay. Some popular options include cozy chalets, beautiful cabins, and well-equipped homes.

If you prefer a more intimate and unique experience, consider staying in a rustic cabin. In the heart of Heyworth, there’s a 2 acre wooded escape with a hot tub, fire pits, and games. This unique retreat offers stunning views, seclusion, and convenience, as it’s just 10 minutes away from Bloomington, IL.

Knowing you’re getting a great deal is an essential aspect of any vacation. Luckily, Illinois vacation rentals come with a wide range of pricing options. For instance, you can find a 5 bedroom house for $199 per night near Bradley and Downtown Peoria or a peaceful country getaway housing up to 12 guests for $304 per night.

As you plan your trip, keep in mind the various amenities and facilities available in each rental. Some rentals offer air conditioning, internet/Wi-Fi, and parking to ensure a comfortable stay. You might also come across unique rentals with farm animals like llamas! The options are endless, so explore and find the best fit for your needs.

Here’s a quick summary of what you can expect from Illinois vacation rentals:

– Over 6,000 vacation rentals
– Rustic cabins, cozy chalets, and family homes
– Wide range of pricing options for various budgets
– Unique experiences and modern amenities
– Rentals available across the state, suited for different interests and preferences

Spotlight on Chicago

Chicago is a city that has something for everyone. From amazing shows to world-renowned museums and outstanding shopping experiences, it offers many options to explore. 

The vibrant downtown area is the perfect place to start your adventure. Stroll along the picturesque Chicago River, shop at the bustling Magnificent Mile, and immerse yourself in the wonders of the art, history, and science museums.

If you’re a fan of live performances, you’re in for a treat. Chicago is home to some of the best Broadway productions and the world-famous Second City improv comedy club. There’s always something entertaining to watch in this city.

The local food scene is excellent, too. Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pizza, but you can also find a diverse array of cuisines worldwide to satisfy your taste buds.

Navigating the city is a breeze with the efficient train system known as the “L.” You can easily access the top attractions and neighborhoods without any hassle, making your visit to Chicago smooth and enjoyable.

With so much to see and do, your trip to Chicago will surely be unforgettable. So book your vacation rental and start planning your Windy City adventure!

Exceptional Places to Book

Picture yourself in a romantic cabin like Heyworth 2 Acre Wooded Escape. A top-rated property with a 4.96 rating from 154 reviews. This superb host offers a relaxing getaway in the woods with amenities like a hot tub, fire pits, and games. Nestled just 10 minutes south of Bloomington, you can enjoy the perfect balance of seclusion and convenience. You’ll be winning all around!

If you’re looking for something more spacious, the Grafton Getaway might catch your eye. This impressive rental is A farmhouse on 23 acres of secluded land with eight bedrooms, 12 beds, and 2.5 bathrooms. It can accommodate up to 21 people, so it’s ideal for larger gatherings or family reunions. Experience life on a hobby farm as you enjoy the company of chickens and ducks and explore walking trails and fishing spots nearby. It’s a unique way to relax and unwind.

For top-rated vacation rentals, refer to Vrbo, which features Illinois cabins with excellent reviews, like, the Home Away From Home, which boasts an exceptional 5.0 rating. With various options, from cozy cottages to spacious homes, you’re bound to find something that fits your needs for your upcoming vacation.


Galena is a charming northwest Illinois town famous for its well-preserved 19th-century buildings and historic Main Street. When you visit this picturesque destination, you’ll discover a variety of vacation rentals that offer beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

Whether you’re traveling with friends, family, or even pets, vacation rentals in Galena cater to your needs. Many of these accommodations have amenities like high chairs for kids, kitchens, fireplace apartments, and cozy living spaces. You can choose from various rental options, including condos, homes, and cabins.

During your stay in Galena, explore the town’s historic charm and the enchanting Galena Territory. Start planning your unforgettable Galena vacation and find the perfect rental to make it feel like a home away from home.

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park is a scenic park situated along the Illinois River. It’s known for its stunning canyons, waterfalls, and hiking trails. Vacation rentals near Starved Rock State Park allow you to immerse yourself in nature while enjoying modern comforts.

When you’re looking for the perfect rental, Vrbo provides various options, including private vacation rentals close to the park. These vacation homes offer amenities like fireplaces and gardens to make your stay more enjoyable. You can also check out Airbnb for options like the Luxury Cabin, which provides a rustic and unique Villa experience just a short walk from Starved Rock.

For those who prefer cozy cabins, Vrbo has a selection of cabin rentals near Starved Rock State Park. Some options include a spacious and comfortable villa on a resort and walking distance from the park, which can accommodate up to 9 guests. A 2 bedroom rustic cabin also offers a beautiful setting for your getaway. Prices for these rentals average around $140-$150 per night.

Don’t worry if you need wheelchair accessibility or child-friendly options, as there are vacation rentals like the Cozy Townhome, located just half a mile from the park. This townhome, available through Rent By Owner, offers parking in addition to being wheelchair accessible and child-friendly.

Lastly, Oglesby vacation rentals on Airbnb feature properties like the Historic Loft Suite Frances, located in nearby Utica and available at $177 per night. Alternatively, consider the One Bed House Near Starved Rock in La Salle, which offers a remodeled Airbnb just 12 minutes away from Starved Rock, Matthiessen, and Buffalo Rock State Parks.

Shawnee National Forest

For nature lovers like you, Shawnee National Forest is a must-visit destination. Located in southern Illinois, this expansive forest offers hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting opportunities. Vacation rentals near Shawnee National Forest provide easy access to outdoor adventures, ensuring a comfortable place to rest after a day of exploration.

You’ll find unique accommodations on sites like Airbnb, where top-rated vacation rentals are praised for their location, cleanliness, and charm. While exploring Shawnee National Forest, consider staying at one of the Sanctuary Cabins, equipped with a hot tub, perfect for relaxing evenings.

For a more adventurous option, Timber Ridge offers 2 genuine treehouses, 2 modern log cabins, and 2 authentic antique log cabins from the 1850s. You can also choose from two modern homes, one boasting a hot tub on 4 private acres. Just a mile from the Garden of the Gods, you’ll have easy access to the famous hiking area.

Staying in Shawnee Forest Cabins will enhance your experience as you explore the enchanting Garden of the Gods, Pounds Hollow, and Rim Rock. These cabins offer top-notch amenities like hot tubs, fast WiFi, Direct TV, and even a Tesla/EV charger for eco-friendly travelers.

Family-Friendly Rentals in Illinois

Are you looking for a fantastic family getaway in Illinois? Look no further! There are plenty of family-friendly vacation rentals to suit your needs. You can find comfortable, spacious homes and cozy cabins perfect for your family vacation. Here are some options to consider:

Pet-Friendly Cabin at Moraine View State Park
This charming cabin can accommodate up to 5 guests and has a full kitchen, making it perfect for your family. The park offers hiking, fishing, and even bird watching, so your family will be entertained and energized throughout your stay.

Lake Sara Waterfront—The Redbud Cottage
This Lake Sara rental is a dream come true for those who love water adventures. It sleeps up to 12 guests, so it’s perfect for a large family or a group of friends. Enjoy beach access, boating, and cozy wood fires in this serene escape.

Cozy, Secluded Cabin in Savanna
If a peaceful, secluded family retreat is what you’re after, this cabin is the perfect choice. It offers an excellent location for exploring the numerous parks and gardens in the Savanna area. Enjoy the tranquility while still being a short drive away from museums and fun family activities.

In addition to these options, there are many other family-friendly rentals throughout Illinois. Some rentals even offer air conditioners, child-friendly amenities, and bedding/linens to make your stay even more comfortable.

When planning your family vacation, consider the proximity to parks, gardens, and museums. These attractions are perfect for spending quality time with loved ones while creating lasting memories. So why wait? Book your family-friendly rental in Illinois today and enjoy the best of what the state has to offer.

Pet-Friendly Rental Homes in Illinois

Wouldn’t it be nice to find a rental where your dogs and cats can feel as comfortable and at ease as you? Many pet-friendly vacation rentals in Illinois cater to the needs of pets. They offer amenities such as secure fencing, spacious yards, and sometimes even pet beds to keep them cozy.

If you seek a pet-friendly rental in Illinois, consider checking out Kishauwau Cabins in Tonica or the Davis House in Glen Ellyn. These places welcome dogs and accommodate more than two pets, ensuring that your entire furry family can vacation in style.

Looking for rentals that won’t break the bank? There’s good news. Some pet-friendly rentals in Illinois don’t charge pet fees! For example, you can book a 4 bedroom house in Galena with a fire pit and hot tub for just $87 per night. With no additional pet fees, you can save some cash and make your vacation memorable.

Here are a few more options for you to explore:

– The Groveland Guesthouse on 3 acres, starting at $271 per night
– A comfy hotel in Illinois from $280 per night
– Pet-friendly cabin at Moraine View State Park, $85 per night

Remember that when booking a pet-friendly rental, double checking their pet policies and any additional fees is always a good idea. Some accommodations may require a pet deposit or charge a separate cleaning fee.

Choosing Your Ideal Rental Home

Amenities To Look For

When searching for an Illinois vacation rental, it’s essential to consider the amenities that will suit your style and needs. In addition to the basics like air conditioning and Wi-Fi, think about whether a porch or a pool is something you’d enjoy.

Look for rentals with a cozy porch for winding down after a day of sightseeing. On the other hand, if a refreshing dip sounds more appealing, prioritize rentals featuring a pool for you and your companions.

Some popular rental amenities to consider include:

Air conditioning
Especially during the warmer months, you’ll appreciate having climate control to remain comfortable.

Stay connected with friends and family, work remotely, or stream your favorite shows during downtime.

Ideal for relaxation, reading, or spending time with family and friends in the fresh air.

For swimming, sunbathing, or simply cooling off during summertime temperatures.

Affordable Accommodations

Finding affordable vacation rentals in Illinois doesn’t have to break the bank. Consider budget-friendly options like apartments, smaller cabins, or even bed & breakfasts for a more intimate experience. You can find rentals starting from around $82 for a cozy retreat or more spacious options like a sleek apartment for about $165 per night. A well-equipped cabin, perfect for a getaway with friends or family, can be found for as low as $120 a night.

Some tips for finding affordable accommodations are:

– Explore rental platforms like Lake, Airbnb, Vrbo, and Rent By Owner™ for competitively priced options.
– Look for rentals outside busy downtown areas, as they tend to be more budget-friendly.
– Book your rental well in advance to secure the best deals and availability.
– Consider traveling during off-peak seasons when rates may be lower.

Remember, when choosing a vacation rental in Illinois, it’s all about finding the space, amenities, and price that fit your needs while providing a memorable and comfortable stay during your trip.

Booking Around Popular Events

The state offers various events throughout the year, from food and wine festivals to art fairs and music concerts.

Start with the action-packed air shows. Watch skilled pilots perform jaw-dropping stunts and acrobatics in the sky. Booking your vacation rental around these events promises a thrilling spectacle, with opportunities to take beautiful photographs and create unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

Music festivals are always a hit in Illinois. With a diverse range of genres and renowned artists, there’s something for everyone. Are you a jazz or blues lover? Or do you prefer rock and electronic music? No matter your preference, get ready to enjoy a vacation filled with toe-tapping tunes and live performances when you book your vacation rental during these festivals.

Who doesn’t love a delicious feast paired with refreshing beverages? Food and wine festivals in Illinois are a paradise for taste buds, offering various local and international cuisines. Whether indulging in decadent desserts or savoring exotic dishes, book your vacation rental during these delightful events for a memorable gastronomic experience.

Channel your inner art enthusiast by attending exciting art fairs. Illinois offers a vibrant art scene for all ages and interests. Watch as painters, sculptors, and photographers showcase their work while you immerse yourself in the local artistic culture. Book a vacation rental near popular art district locations and admire the beauty of creativity.

Attending boat shows in Illinois can make your vacation more exciting. With numerous lakes and rivers around the state, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of boat-related events to enjoy. Book a lovely vacation rental around the time of these shows, and make sure you check out the latest watercraft innovations on display!

Boat Shows

Lake Michigan, in particular, has a strong boating culture, with cities along the lake hosting various boat shows throughout the year. You’ll find a wide range of watercraft at these events – from small sailboats to large yachts. But there’s more than just admiring beautiful boats—these shows also offer demonstrations, workshops, and the chance to meet dealers and manufacturers. So, what are some upcoming boat shows in 2024?

The Chicagoland Fishing & Outdoor Expo is a must-visit boat show in the area. Taking place in Schaumburg, Illinois, this event showcases the latest fishing gear, boats, and outdoor equipment. It’s also the place to be if you’re looking for an opportunity to connect with dealers, manufacturers, and fellow boating enthusiasts.

Another popular event is the Rockford Boat, Vacation, & Fishing Show in Loves Park, Illinois. This show provides a unique opportunity to explore the various aspects of boating, vacationing, and fishing simultaneously. It’s the perfect place to get ideas for your next boating adventure or fishing trip and plan a vacation around these activities!

To make sure you don’t miss any of these fantastic boat shows, here’s a brief overview of the 2024 dates:

Chicagoland Fishing & Outdoor Expo: January (exact dates to be announced)
Rockford Boat, Vacation & Fishing Show: February (exact dates to be announced)

Keep an eye out for updates on official websites and social media channels to ensure you’re informed about the latest schedules and events. 

Music Festivals

Illinois has a vibrant music scene, especially during the summer months. You can find various music festivals featuring local and international artists. Many of these events occur in scenic locations near Lake Michigan, providing a unique concert experience.

One of the most famous festivals in the state is Lollapalooza, which takes place in Chicago. 2024, the festival will be held from July 26 to July 29. Lollapalooza attracts a huge and diverse audience, with artists from rock, pop, and electronic music genres. So, no matter your taste in music, you’re sure to find something to enjoy at Lollapalooza.

Additionally, you can check out the Pitchfork Music Festival. Held in Chicago’s West Loop, this festival features a selection of indie, hip-hop, and electronic artists. Pitchfork is known for its intimate atmosphere, allowing you to get up close and personal with your favorite performers while still enjoying the company of fellow music lovers.

Take advantage of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. This annual event showcases the finest of Illinois’s performing arts. It is held in Bloomington, Illinois, at Ewing Theatre and the Center for Performing Arts Theatre at Illinois State University. Even though Shakespeare might not be something you would initially expect at a music festival, this event provides a lovely cultural experience to immerse yourself in during your vacation.

Food and Wine Festivals

As you explore Illinois vacation rentals, you’ll quickly discover that the region around Lake Michigan is known for its incredible culinary scene and wineries. What better way to indulge in the local flavors than attending a food and wine festival in 2024?

One event you will want to attend is the Alton Jazz & Wine Festival. Held at the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater, this lively event boasts live jazz performances, mouthwatering local food, and regional wines. In 2024, the festival will take place in September. So, mark your calendar and plan your trip to Alton, the birthplace of Miles Davis.

Another fantastic festival to attend is the Fall Harvest & Art Festival + Nouveau Wine Weekend at Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery. This two-for-one event is perfect for wine enthusiasts and art lovers alike. As you take in the breathtaking view of the vineyard, you’ll also get the chance to learn about the winemaking process and attend the much-loved art festival. Watch for the event dates 2024 to make it part of your unforgettable Illinois vacation.

Other noteworthy food and wine festivals in Illinois include Home & Garden Shows in Wheeling and the Midwestern Herb and Garden Show in Mt. Vernon. In 2024, the Home & Garden Shows will be held in January at the North Shore-Westin Hotel, featuring free admission and parking. Meanwhile, the Midwestern Herb and Garden Show will take place in February 2024, offering an exceptional display of herbs, plants, and gardening techniques.

Booking Your Vacation Home Online

Booking your vacation rental property online in Illinois is fast and easy. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to securing the perfect vacation home for your stay:

Choose a platform
There are several online platforms where you can find vacation rentals, including Lake, Rent by Owner, Airbnb, Vrbo, and Select the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Narrow down your options
Use the search filters to customize your preferences, such as location, number of guests, price range, and desired amenities. This will help you find vacation rentals that are tailored to your needs.

Read reviews
Before making a decision, take the time to read reviews from previous guests. They can provide valuable insights into the rental’s cleanliness, location, and overall experience. Look for 4.5 stars or higher ratings to ensure you choose a top-rated rental.

Check availability
Once you’ve found a property that meets your requirements, check its availability for the dates of your trip. If it’s available, move on to the next step; if not, continue searching until you find a suitable option.

Book your stay
When you’re ready to book, simply follow the platform’s booking process, which typically involves entering your personal information, payment details, and any special requests or needs.

Receive confirmation
After completing the booking process, you’ll receive a confirmation email with all the necessary details about your stay. Review this information and contact the property owner or host if you have any questions.

With these easy steps, you’ll quickly secure the ideal vacation rental in Illinois for your next getaway. Happy travels!

Frequently Asked Questions about Illinois

When searching for short-term rentals in Illinois, you can find a variety of accommodations on popular platforms like Lake, Airbnb, Rent By Owner™, Vrbo, and These platforms offer various options for regions and types of rentals, making finding your perfect vacation home easy.

To locate Illinois vacation rentals with pools, you can apply filters on rental websites like Lake, Airbnb, Rent By Owner™, and Vrbo. Set your search criteria to include a pool, and you’ll see options that suit your preferences. Another option is checking, which has a specific section on the best Illinois vacation rentals with a pool.

Illinois offers numerous spots for nature lovers looking for cabin rentals. Popular destinations include Shawnee National Forest, Starved Rock State Park, Lake Shelbyville, and Garden of the Gods Recreation Area. You’ll find charming cabins with various amenities, sizes, and styles, perfect for a relaxing escape.

The Great River Road along the Mississippi River provides a scenic drive, passing through charming towns and offering beautiful river views.

Chicago is renowned for its deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and diverse culinary scene featuring a mix of international cuisines.

The best time to visit is during the late spring to early fall (May to September) when the weather is mild, and outdoor activities are in full swing.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as hiking in Starved Rock State Park, exploring the Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest, and biking along the Lakefront Trail in Chicago.

Rent a Property

Looking for a cottage in Illinois?

Find a Property

Become a Host

Want to list your Illinois cottage? Get started here.

Find a Property

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.