Some people joke that Illinois is just a suburb of Chicago, but that's simply not the case. The Land of Lincoln has many other promising locations as well, from its burgeoning capital to the hometown of Hemingway. Not sure where to go (or how to get there) in your Illinois rental car? There's so much to see beyond the Chicago city limits. Illinois is a surprisingly varied state, with acres of farmland dominating its southernmost part, several beautiful state parks with world class hiking and camping and a few bustling cities. Whether you're flying into Chicago and taking your Illinois rental car for a spin or coming up from St. Louis, there is no shortage of things to do, see and experience.
Down in central Illinois you'll find Springfield, the capital of Illinois and the previous home of Lincoln. Here you'll find the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln's Tomb and the Lincoln Home and Visitor Center. The Cozy Dog Drive In is the perfect place to check out a special collection of Route 66 memorabilia and souvenirs over a famous hot dog on a stick, while an abundance of nearby farms are gardens are the perfect place to check out the rustic side of the state.
The northwest corner of Illinois is less-frequently visited than Chicago, but the city has just as much pride. It's just an hour and a half west on interstate 90 from Chicago, and it has an abundance of great attractions. Edward's Apple Orchard is one particularly popular place, while there are also several state parks and live music venues. Just southwest of Chicago is Starved Rock State Park, a beautiful stretch of winding river and waterfalls. It's the perfect place for hiking, fishing, boating and horseback riding, and its scenery is guaranteed to make you forget you're in Illinois entirely.