Surrounded by beautiful nature, Alton is on the left bank of the Mississippi between the Illinois River and the Missouri River. In Pere Marquette State Park you can watch the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri River.
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From here, the famous explorers Louis and Clark embarked on their expedition to the west coast. In various museums and exhibitions you can learn more about this event.
Alton is a popular destination not only in summer because of the numerous hiking and cycling routes. In autumn you can admire the bright colors of Indian Summer and in winter it is the best time to spot bald eagles that are here between late December and mid-February.
Not far from Alton is Grafton, nestled between Mississippi and the Illinois River. The rivers determine life in Grafton. From many places in the village you have a picturesque view of the river landscape. Numerous water sports can be optimally practiced here. The Raging Rivers Waterpark is fun for the whole family. A highlight in summer is the Grafton Music in the Park Festival with outdoor concerts.
Highlights in Alton / Grafton
- Lewis & Clark State Historic Site
Lewis and Clark started their expedition to the west coast of the USA from Camp Dubois in 1804.
- Robert Wadlow Statue
The tallest person in the world was born a normal baby in Alton in 1918, but due to a rare illness he grew up to 2.72 meters. His life-size statue is in Alton.
- National Great Rivers Museum
Learn all about the history of Mississippi and its cultural and environmental influences on the region.
- Bald Eagle
Between December and February the bald eagles live in Alton on the Mississippi River.
Information about Alton / Grafton
Population: approx.28,000 / 725
Area: 43 /10.6 km²
Height: 150/137 m above sea level
Airport: O’Hare International Airport
- Transporthint: Overview of Illinois, including population, history, geography and major industries.
Springfield, the state capital, is Lincoln’s birthplace and a highlight on your route along Route 66. There is a lot to discover for those interested in the history of the state, as many historic buildings are open to visitors. There are also numerous opportunities to walk in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln: his home, his law firm and his burial site attract tourists every day. Since 2005, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum has provided exciting details about his life.
Lincoln, who helped the southern slaves to their right to freedom, always had a special relationship with his hometown Springfield and was always happy to come back here. It is not for nothing that Illinois is also called the “Land of Lincoln”. Another highlight of the city is the Dana Thomas House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright – one of the most famous architects of his time – which can be visited by tourists.
Families are also not neglected in Springfield, because the Springfield Children’s Museum, several amusement parks, the botanical garden and the zoo offer a colorful program for children and make a varied stay possible with a mixture of culture and children’s entertainment.
The “International Route 66 Festival”, which takes place every year in September, makes the hearts of car fans beat faster. Several open-air stages, exhibition areas for historic cars and motorcycles, traditional food and drinks, car experts and many attractions related to Route 66 await visitors here every year.
Highlights in Springfield
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum
2015 marks the museum’s 10th anniversary and celebrates it with very special exhibitions on Lincoln’s life.
- Lincoln Home
visitors have the opportunity to visit the home of the 16th US President Abraham Lincoln and to learn more about his life as a father, husband, lawyer and politician.
- Old State Capitol
Built in 1840 as the state parliament where Lincoln and Obama announced their presidential nominations, the Old State Capitol is now a museum.
- Old Brick Road
At Auburn, a section of the historic Route 66 is still made of cobblestone.
- Dana Thomas House
The house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Susan Lawrence Dana can be visited today.
- Illinois State Capitol
Since 1877 the center of the Illinois government, the House of Representatives and the Senate Chamber.
Info about Springfield
Population: approx. 116,000
Area: 156 km²
Height: 182 m above sea level
Airport: O’Hare International Airport
Starved Rock State Park, Illinois
About two hours’ drive from Chicago is Starved Rock State Park, one of the most popular attractions in Illinois. When the glaciers in the region melted thousands of years ago, they left behind the 18 canyons, which today attract many local and foreign tourists. This makes the landscape in Starved Rock State Park very different from the rest of Illinois.
Especially in spring or after heavy rains, the park develops into a waterfall paradise. And especially in winter, a bizarre sight presents itself here when the water freezes and the so-called icfalls arise. But not only the canyons offer all kinds of astonishment. There are many other ways to see the region in your own way in the area. Drive z. B. along the river by canoe or paddle boat, swing through the trees on zip lines or – for the very brave – take a parachute jump from a height of over four kilometers!