Seasonal honeymoon ideas for getting out in the great outdoors in LGBTQI-friendly Illinois 🇺🇸

Getting married = exciting. Travelling = exciting. Travelling abroad after just getting married? Very, very exciting. And what better place to do so that in self-appointed #amazingforall state Illinois? Here are just a handful of ideas perfect for those newly-wedded couples looking to pull on their hiking pants, get off the beaten track and honeymoon in the great outdoors…

Autumn – Road Trips in Illinois

Driving in autumn, or “fall”, as they say in Illinois

Find room to roam on these scenic road trips. Fuel up for autumn with artsy hangouts, local wine, the small-town scene and leafy views that pretty much look like paintings. Sounds pretty idyllic, no? Here are a few routes to get those honeymoon-planning, creative juices flowing…

Route 66

Does this road trip need an introduction? Rolling through the state of Illinois, a Route 66 Top Tip is to check out the Twin Drive In, a restored and reopened drive-in located along historic Route 66 in Springfield. Date night on wheels? Check.

A Riverside Byway

GALENA TO ELSAH: Experience the history of the mighty Mississippi River with this trip along a portion of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, a bucket-list destination for drive-lovers. Explore historic river towns that rose from the limestone bluffs along the route.

Click for more details on these autumn-shaped road trips

Go on a #dykehike in Starved Rock National Park

Starved Rock Waterfall

In the midst of vast Illinois farmland, weekend travellers discover a topographical surprise along the Illinois River.

Less than 100 miles southwest of Chicago, melting glaciers left their mark, carving a maze of canyons into the St. Peter sandstone. Visitors to Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby see 18 sandstone canyons, seasonal waterfalls and tree-covered bluffs along its 15 miles of hiking trails. The park also offers seasonal free, guided hikes.

For less strenuous trips to see – the conveniently-named Lover’s Leap – and the Starved Rock Lock and Dam, and take a narrated tour aboard the Belle Of The Rock paddle wheel boat. Nearby Matthiessen State Park also has five miles of hiking trails that lead to a picturesque canyon and rock formations.

Somewhere to rest your heads?

Looking for somewhere honeymoon-worthy to stay? While you’re there, why not book into one of their luxury lodges – perfect for a romantic getaway. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, these authentic log-built lodge exude a mix of rustic luxury, Midwestern hospitality and comfortable amenities. Perfec’.

Winter – Bald eagle watching

Mississippi River Eagles

Go eagle watching in Illinois from scenic river bluffs, or check out the best birding in the diverse habitats of Illinois forest preserves, parks and wildlife areas. The Mississippi River attracts bald eagles here by the thousands from November through February. In fact, more wintering bald eagles make their home in Illinois than any other state outside Alaska. One for the wildlife enthusiasts.

Chestnut mountain ski resort

Historic Galena is home to Chestnut Mountain Resort, where 3,500 feet of fresh powder awaits all levels of skiers and snowboarders.

The real magic begins once the sun goes down and the snow literally glows during the weekly Fantastic Friday, when the slopes stay open until midnight. Illuminated ski runs light up the night during the months of January and February.

Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa

…and after all of that sport? Galena-based Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa offers both accommodation: traditional inn rooms, one- to three-bedroom villas, six-bedroom distinctive homes, plus, 63 holes of championship golf and, of course, their all-important spa.

Spring – Botanic Gardens in Bloom

People Walking at Chicago Botanic Garden

Immerse yourself in the beauty of spring at botanic gardens, with fields of wild flowers and trees from around the world exploding with blossom. Explore botanic gardens, public parks, arboretums, Japanese gardens, conservatories and sculpture gardens – all while stopping to look lovingly into each others eyes. A top spot for a honeymoon-shaped photoshoot.

Summer – Ziplining, kayaking and paddleboarding

Enjoy the spectacular ziplines in Illinois with breathtaking views of forest canopy, or if you’re more of a water sports enthusiast, Illinois has everything from urban kayaking (through downtown Chicago no less) to paddleboarding though an old-growth forest.

Chicago Pride

Chicago Pride makes for the ultimate post-wedding party, don’t you think?

Okay, so this one’s not technically in the great outdoors – but it is in a great city! And what better way to wrap up your honeymoon than with one of the biggest, gayest parties in the US of A?

Get ready for a flamboyant, fun party in Chicago’s Boystown – don’t worry, all are welcome to this celebration. During the month of June, you can show your Pride while enjoying an eclectic lineup of crafts, food and entertainment from some of Chicago’s finest LGBTQI performers, all while flaunting your new status and wife and wife/partner and partner/human and human. Lovely.

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