By: Greg Mattson, ERV Editor - Updated: Mar 11, 2019
Welcome to romantic travel in Illinois! We've put together some ideas for romantic getaways and weekends in Illinois, including honeymoon cabins, small inns, and some romantic and fun places to eat. Many of these getaway ideas would make an easy day trip or overnight getaway from Chicago.
Best Times for Romantic Getaways in Illinois: for comfort outdoors, May to early October is best. Late fall, winter and spring can mean few crowds and great rates at hotels, but be prepared for snaps of cold weather and plenty of snow in the winter. Autumn foliage is often at it's very best in early October, a great time for scenic drives throughout the state.
This little jewel of a town in the northwest is one of the most popular romantic getaways in Illinois. It's about 175 miles NW of Chicago, an easy 3 hour drive.
Galena is packed with some interesting things to do - there’s the award-winning Galena Winery, the Galena Art Center, historical sites like the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site or 1859 Post Office, and many beautiful 19th century historic homes and specialty shops to explore.
Don't miss a relaxing stroll down main street, or give your feet a rest and a hop onto an authentic Galena Trolley (they have several local trolley tours as well). Stop by to check out some of the specialty shops like Kandy Kitchen and Galena Canning Co. There's wine tasting nearby too: Galena Cellars has their own vineyard & tours a few minutes drive out of town, but you can duck into their Tasting room in Downtown Galena at 515 South Main St.
This HD video of our stay at the Goldmoor Inn shows a spa tub suite with a great river view, plus the restaurant and some scenes of the beautiful grounds and romantic Illinois countryside outside the inn.
What couple wouldn't love a romantic boat cruise on the Mississippi? So head to Western Illinois for a scenic cruise on the Mississippi River aboard the grand old "Celebration Belle" paddle wheeler. Day, overnight and themed cruises (Oktoberfest, Fall Foliage and Big Band to name a few) are available, and you can even make a special booking and have your wedding on board! (2501 River Drive, Moline, IL www.celebrationbelle.com)
The state capital of Illinois has some worthwhile things to see, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Springfield has lots of Lincoln memorabilia and historic sights; check with the visitor center for details.
Route 66 Drive In Movie Theater - Springfield's must-see for an Illinois romantic getaway! Open April to October, admission is $5/adult. And for the complete retro-experience, have dinner first at the Cozy Dog Drive-in, the founding fathers of the corn dog!!
Distance from Chicago to Springfield: 200 miles, Driving Time: 3.5 hours.
There's some fun things to do here on an Illinois weekend getaway, like the Magic Waters Waterpark, and trying out the go-carts at Rev'd Up Entertainment Center. Or, appreciate the perfectly manicured Japanese vegetation at Anderson Gardens. The River District is the place to go for entertainment, brew pubs and historic walks.
Romantic Restaurants in Rockford, IL:
Distance from Chicago to Rockford: 84 miles, Driving Time: 1.5 hours
Mt. Vernon, IL
Effingham IL -
*ERV Rating: our unique, non-scientific ratings for romantic accommodation include:
√ COVID Safety Plan: identifies hotels and inns that clearly indicate they are taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.