Off The Beaten Path: Site Names Illinois’ Most Beautiful Backroads
This is something that my late father-in-law Marty knew a lot about. According to my wife and her brothers, their dad knew every single worthwhile backroad in the entire state. He knew them all because it was his life-long habit to avoid paying tolls using whatever legal means necessary.
Drive 67 miles out of the way to avoid a 15 cent toll? Of course! Is there another choice? I didn't think so.
Not that his efforts always worked.
A Cool Website That Features All Things Illinois Is Weighing In With Their Picks For Our State's Loveliest Back Roads (And None Require A Toll Payment)
OnlyInYourState.com points out that there are times you just want to jump in the car and drive (this was obviously written before gas prices approached college tuition levels), and Illinois has some beautiful and scenic backroads that are worth your travel time.
Let's take a look at a few, in no particular order.
Great Rivers National Scenic Byway
EnjoyIllinois.com describes the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway: The Great River Road, which is over 2,000 miles long, runs along the Mississippi River past 10 states and hundreds of historic, river towns. Certain portions of the Great River Road have been designated as a national scenic byway including the 33-mile stretch from Hartford to Grafton, Illinois. This beautiful, scenic portion is know as the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway.
Illinois' Section Of The Famous and Historic Route 66
There are several names for Route 66, including The Mother Road, Main Street of America, Will Rogers Highway, or its proper name, U.S. Highway 66. Whatever you want to call it, Route 66, which runs from Chicago to California is probably the most famous stretch of road in America.
Illinois Route 2, From Rockford To Dixon, Didn't Make The OnlyInYourState List, But It Sure Makes Mine
There might be some bias on my part, since I grew up in Oregon, directly across the Rock River from the Eternal Indian Statue (like most people, I grew up calling the statue Chief Blackhawk).
For my money, there's no prettier drive in Illinois than Route 2 in fall and winter.
And, best of all, you won't have to go down to New Orleans to "hitch a ride on a riverboat queen."