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Starved Rock State Park
Seasonal waterfalls, awe-inspiring bluffs and rugged canyons dominate the storied landscape at Starved Rock. Rich with history and beauty, Starved Rock’s hiking trails meander through towering trees and scenic overlooks along the Illinois River. Outdoor activities include hiking, canoeing, paddle boat cruises, cross-country skiing, trolley rides, fishing and picnicking. Visitors can stay at the historic Starved Rock Lodge or in one of its cozy cabins.
Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort and Enchanted Forest
Discover a magical family getaway just beyond the glow of Chicago at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort. Nestled in the Starved Rock area of Illinois, Grizzly Jack's is an oasis of relaxation and adventure - a destination where water park fun meets natural wonder. Escape from the big city and enjoy a vacation in the scenic Northwoods at Grizzly Jack's - an unforgettable place to unwind, play, meet, dine and explore with family and friends.
Matthiessen State Park
Canyons, streams, prairie and forest combine to delight visitors at Matthiessen State Park. Located in central LaSalle County, approximately four miles south of Utica and three miles east of Oglesby, Matthiessen is a paradise for those interested in geology as well as recreation. Visitors can expect to see beautiful rock formations in addition to unusual and abundant vegetation and wildlife. All of this, along with park and picnic facilities make Matthiessen State Park a popular choice for a special outing.
Starved Rock Adventures Harbor Villas and Suites
Waterfront family villas and suites. 1-2 bedroom housekeeping units. Deluxe and unique. Open April through October. $$
Buffalo Rock State Park
On the bluffs of the Illinois River, this small but charming park is home to an enormous outdoor sculpture. Mounds representing five earthen sculptures molded from Illinois clay, known as Effigy Tumuli, invite visitors to walk around and explore. All five subjects, including a snake, turtle, catfish, frog and insect are native to the Illinois River area. This State Park offers the ideal terrain for the beginner hiker.
Holiday Lights Train
The Holiday Light Train is Pete's biggest event of the year. The park is decorated for the Holidays. See over 250,000 lights in various displays. Giant toy soldiers, candy canes, cascading snow flakes, flying reindeer, and swans swimming, just to name a few of Pete's displays!
Starved Rock Lodge - Cabins
Historic lodge nestled in Starved Rock State Park. Open daily, on-site bar, indoor pool; hotel and cabins in the woods, free WiFi, restaurant & seasonal, outdoor dining. A great part of your all-inclusive wedding celebration.
Landers House is located a half a block from charming downtown Utica, home of historic Mill Street. We are country lodging in a truly unique setting geared to pamper. We have four cottages with 2 person whirlpools, fireplaces, large bathrooms with two person showers, loft bedrooms with down filled bedding and sky lights, cable TV, CD Players, wet bars stocked with coffee and teas, glassware and dishware for two. Our suites and rooms are designed with our guests comfort in mind. We encourage you to indulge in your fantasies, revive your romantic nature and relax in a secluded atmosphere.
Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center
The Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center has several interactive displays, free videos on the park, hiking maps, and more. Trailheads Concessions & Gifts, also located here, is a great place to buy gifts, souvenirs, and snacks (fresh fudge, too)! The Visitor Center and Trailheads are open year-round.
Belle of the Rock
The Belle of the Rock paddle boat tours are located at historic Starved Rock state park in Utica, Illinois (just 80 miles west of Chicago). In addition to the river tours, we provide canoes and kayaks. Call us today at 815-434-9200 to make your reservation.
Starved Rock State Park East Hike
Starved Rock State Park has a beautiful East Hike that offers canyons galore, each with slightly different shapes, sizes and colorings. At 6.4 miles of dirt terrain, this hike is moderately difficult. Cool, shady and overgrown with ferns, the canyons offer a plethora of trees and flowering plants—a true delight to explore. You’ll also encounter scenic overlooks 100 feet above the Illinois River. The real crowd pleasers at Starved Rock are the numerous sandstone canyons that were carved deep into the bedrock as upland streams drained into the Illinois River. Some noted canyons of worth to explore are Kaskaskia Canyon, Ottawa Canyon and Hennepin Canyon Overlook.
Illinois River at Buffalo Rock State Park
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—its waters lapping along the shores of many cities, including LaSalle, Peru, Peoria and Ottawa to name just a few. It’s in Ottawa where the Illinois River meets Buffalo Rock. Buffalo Rock sits like a sandstone island above the surrounding land and the Illinois River, and offers sweeping views of this famed waterway. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.
Starved Rock State Park West Hike
Starved Rock State Park West Hike offers a decidedly different set of attractions than its eastern counterpart. On this hike you’ll encounter a series of overlooks from wooded bluffs and rocky cliffs high above the Illinois River. This 2.9-mile hike varies in difficulty due to the large amount of stairs that need climbing. The dominant feature of Starved Rock can be found on this hike, via a narrow bluff that runs 4-miles along the south branch of the Illinois River. The park’s namesake towers 125 feet above the river, offering commanding views of the nearby islands and river. Some notable excursions include, French Canyon, Wildcat Canyon and Pontiac Canyon with sweeping views of the Illinois River.
The Chocolate Shoppe
The Chocolate Shoppe in Utica is where lovers of this rich delicacy flock to. Featuring handmade confections, including world famous chocolate covered bacon; and offering a variety of sea-salted caramels, truffles, fudge, nut clusters, barks toffees, hand-dipped chocolate popcorn, graham crackers, pretzels, chocolate-covered fruits and nuts, and specialty items like chocolate pasta, chocolate balsamic vinegars and more.
Kuipers Family Farm
Kuipers Family Farm is a 230 acre entertainment farm. U-Pick Apple Orchard September thru October. Orchard Store is open thru Mid December offering apples, pasteurized apple cider, our famous cider donuts, home baked pies, cream & butter fudge & country gifts and goodies. Have we grown a challenge for you at The Amazing Maize Maze open weekends only thru October. U-Pick Pumpkin Farm Mid September thru October features Scarecrow Acres where customers can enjoy hay wagon and pony rides, the Haunted Forest, a petting corral and much more down-on-the-farm fun! U-Cut or precut Christmas Trees Nov. thru Mid Dec.
CITY: Maple Park
August Hill Winery
Visit the August Hill Winery & Illinois Sparkling Co. tasting room and experience locally-made handcrafted wines. Wine tastings and flights, wine gifts & accessories, gallery of local art, outdoor patio, private events. Open Monday - Thursday, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Friday - Saturday, 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM & Sun 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
Skydive Chicago offers the best entertainment in the Midwest! The 220-acre resort offers camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing and swimming, all onsite. Stop by today!
Illinois River Winery
Come tour the winery, visit the tasting room and outdoor wine garden, featuring award-winning wines made in the Illinois River Valley. Open everyday!
LaSalle Canal Boat & Lock 16 Visitors Center
Mule pulled canal boat rides with period clothed storyteller, open May-October. The year-round Visitor center includes exhibits, programs, visitor information, cafe and gift shop.
Matthiessen State Park - Cross Country Skiing
Five miles of scenic trails amidst a spectacular geological backdrop enable hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, runners and cross-country skiers to experience a peaceful jaunt through the park, while families congregate around fully-equipped, shaded picnic areas neighboring playgrounds, trailheads and 17th-Century restored French fort.
Jonamac Orchard and Corn Maze
Bring your family out to our 65 acre site for a day of fall fun this harvest season! Open from August 31st through November, enjoy the horse drawn hay rides, 10 acre corn maze (Beginning Labor Day Weekend), kid's activity area with a barn, bale pile, tractor cab and more. Pick your own apples from any of our nearly 5,000 trees (Begins late August). Stop in our store and visit the bakery for apple donuts, pies, caramel apples and fresh baked bread, and fudge. Pony rides and a petting zoo will be available in the beginning of September. Apples: Akane, Mollies Delicious, Jonamac, Jonagold, Crispin, Empire, Stabrite, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Red and Golden Delicious, Ginger Gold, Cortland, Blushing Gold, Fuji, Haralson, Red Free, Prima, Gala, Spartan, Melrose, Rome, Cameo, Tsugaru, Gold Rush. Jonamac Orchard is your family's fall tradition.
The Foster Suite
Located in the heart of Utica, The Foster Suite has a King bed, Queen sleeper sofa, 50" Plasma TV, fire place and Jacuzzi and more. Also offer wireless internet.
CITY: North Utica
The Willows Hotel - Utica
The Willows Hotel is a quiet quaint boutique hotel quietly nestled in historic Utica, Illinois. We are located 90 minutes from downtown Chicago and the Quad Cities. There is no better escape from your day to day routine. We are one mile from the entrance of Starved Rock State Park, voted one of "Illinois Seven Wonders". Two miles from Matthiessen State Park. The Willows Hotel is a short stroll from shopping, organic food store,restaurants, wineries, and pubs. More than a place to rest your head, you can relax and rejuvenate. Make yourself at home in our warm residential-feel rooms or suites. For business or leisure, The Willows Hotel staff is eager to make your stay enjoyable and comfortable.
Illinois River at Starved Rock State Park
The Illinois River slices a 273-mile long path through the state—but it’s in Utica where the Illinois River meets Starved Rock State Park. With 18 canyons, and sandstone bluffs for four miles, Starved Rock State Park is one of Illinois’ treasured nature habitats. On your journey down the river, your eyes will never tire from all the wildlife that call the river home. From Black-crowed heron, river otters, Western ribbon snakes, even bald eagles. Whether you’re kayaking or canoeing, you’ll experience the shear power of the winding river that was carved by glacial melt water in all its seasonal colors, with its various incarnations of forests, wetlands, bluffs and prairies to enjoy.