Looking for a place that is considered one of the best hidden gems in all of America?
If you live in the Chicago or Rockford area of Illinois, you're going to need to pack up in order to get there but from the look of things, it'll be worth it.
Cheapism put together a list of the greatest bucket list worthy hidden gems in every state and in Illinois, it sounds kinda breathtaking.
While Chicago hogs attention in the Land of Lincoln, downstate Illinois is a whole different world. There you will find the massive 280,000-acre Shawnee National Forest, a stunning wilderness landscape of rolling hills and scenic bluffs. The most iconic sight within the national forest is the appropriately named Garden of the Gods Wilderness. Take in the panoramic views over sunset, then head to nearby Murphysboro for some world-class barbecue at Pat's BBQ.
I mean, I was on the fence until I heard there's some amazing BBQ nearby.
Then again, even if there wasn't great food so close to the Garden of the Gods it seems to be worth it, especially if you like hiking on some of the best trails in the midwest.
5.5 miles of interconnecting trails traverse the landscape of Garden of the Gods. Enjoy the delicate wildflowers of Spring or the beautiful colors of Autumn while you traverse the Garden of the Gods. Make Garden of the Gods a day trip and bring lunch to eat at one of the various picnicking sites located along the trails.
Again with the food. It almost seems like the Garden of the Gods is calling me just to grab some BBQ and walk it off soon after.
I can't think of a day trip that would be any better.