Need to get away but not one of those cities or towns that's overpopulated and worse yet, overrated?

When looking to set up a getaway in Illinois, people tend to think about making a trip to Chicago.

You have to admit it, Chicago is a headache. Parking and traffic are brutal and can make a vacation feel like work.

U.S. Skies and Roads Busy Ahead Of Memorial Day Weekend
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As someone who has spent the last handful of years in the 815 a trip to Rockford is always a good idea. There are plenty of great reasons to hit up The Forest City including Anderson Japanese Gardens as an excellent example.

Joe Dredge
Anderson Japanese Gardens, Photo by Joe Dredge

So while Chicago can be a headache, and Rockford is truly a hidden gem destination one other area in Illinois just got labeled as one of the most underappreciated spots to hit up in America.

CNN Travel listed 22 of the USA's Most Underrated Destinations and they said we should all take a trip south, as in Southern Illinois.

Wedged between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the state's southern tip still looks and feels a lot like Illinois did in the early 1800s when the infamous Trail of Tears passed this way and a youthful Abraham Lincoln was still splitting rails.
Hikers can explore the dark woods and deep canyons of Shawnee National Forest -- and maybe have a Sasquatch sighting -- on the 160-mile River to River Trail. Shorter hikes penetrate the primeval rocky outcrops of Giant City and Garden of the Gods.

GmaGpaAdventures via YouTube
Garden of the Gods, GmaGpaAdventures via YouTube

The Du Quoin State Fair just wrapped up but there's Fluorspar Festival in Rosiclaire the first weekend of October, Vulture Fest in Makanda, and Pope County Deer Festival in Golconda according to The Southern.

All three of these events are set for the next month or two and are all located in Southern Illinois, so yes, there's plenty to do in Illinois that won't give you a massive headache.

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