Just in time for National Road Trip Day (May 28), the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism is showcasing more than 60 new road trip itineraries, as part of the state of Illinois’s summer tourism campaign, “Time For Me to Drive,” to promote the return of travel across Illinois, encouraging both residents and visitors to safely explore the state’s diverse communities.
The campaign, launched by Gov. JB Pritzker, tourism partners and state leaders last week, seeks to boost tourism business around the state by showcasing only-in-Illinois experiences and attractions.
“The Time for Me to Drive Campaign highlights the fun and beauty of Illinois’ diverse communities, from our state parks to our wineries to our architectural landmarks,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “This Memorial Day weekend, I encourage Illinois residents and new visitors alike to get out and see all the amazing things we have to offer — and to do so knowing ours is a state that values safety for our own people, and for visitors from around the world, too.
“After an incredibly difficult year in which the pandemic kept us all close to home and staying apart, lifesaving vaccines have made it possible to celebrate together this weekend and through the summer, so let’s hit the road and find that next great adventure right here in the state we proudly call home.”
A new TV ad for the debuting this past weekend as part of the ‘Time for Me to Drive’ campaign highlights experiences you can only discover in Illinois, including classic Route 66 attractions such as the Gemini Giant in Wilmington, the famous Route 66 Begin sign in downtown Chicago, President Lincoln’s Home in Springfield, and the Paul Bunyon statue in Atlanta.
The ad also features Galena, home to Chestnut Mountain Resort, and the Great River Road. Overall, new ads can be seen in seven states, promoting tourism from border states just in time for an anticipated influx of visitor traveling by car this Memorial Day weekend, May 27-31.
“Illinois truly is the Land of the Road Trip. We have created a road trip itinerary to appeal to every demographic and interest – offering nostalgic drives down the Great River Road, scenic outdoor adventures in state parks, rich history in Springfield, and the gateway to iconic Route 66 which begins in Chicago,” said Karla Flannery, Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. “We are working to invite visitors back to see all that Illinois has to offer, with over 60 unique itineraries showcasing the best of Illinois this Memorial Day Weekend and beyond.”
More than 1.7 million Illinois residents are expected to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA. New road trip itineraries serve as the perfect trip planning guide, including museums, cultural attractions, outdoor family adventures, local culinary and winery experiences.
- Instant Childhood Memories – Chicago’s surrounding cities, from Gurnee to Rockford, offer amusement park thrills, captivating museums, gorgeous gardens and splash-filled stays to create lasting memories for the whole family.
- Best of Springfield – Learn about Abraham Lincoln and explore Route 66 in Springfield. Dive into family fun, outdoor adventure, experience a drive-in movie theater and taste the “original” corn dog on a stick.
- Family Field Trip to Chicago – Chicago is a favorite destination for every generation. Visit world-class museums and attractions including the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum, explore the wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo or Brookfield Zoo and go ziplining at Go Ape Adventures in Western Springs.
Outdoors & Regional
- Destination Shawnee – From ziplining and horseback riding adventures to hiking surrounded by majestic rock formations, there’s no better place to explore the outdoors than the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois.
- Girls Trip to Galena – From hot air balloon rides and wine tastings, to strolling down Historic Main Street and even trekking with goats, a girls trip to Galena is one to remember.
- Chicago’s Greatest Hits – This itinerary features the top things to do in the Second City. Experience the Chicago Riverwalk, soak in the skyline with an architecture river cruise, bike the lakefront, shop the Mag Mile, and enjoy countless places to get Chicago-style pizza, hot dogs, and many other local favorites.
- Enter the Architectural Revolution – Illinois’ architecture is second to none. From gazing over Chicago’s towering skyline to marveling over the Illinois State Capitol’s impressive rotunda in Springfield, it’s an architecture lover’s dream.
- The Wright Stuff – Illinois is a larger-than-life gallery filled with many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpieces. Tour 13 of his most renowned buildings, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and experience the sites designed by the legend himself.
Arts, Culture, History
- Illinois’ African American History – African American history is deep-rooted in Illinois. Discover museums that celebrate African American culture, and art and visit the sites where freedom seekers traveled along the Underground Railroad. Wherever you explore, Illinois welcomes you to embrace the powerful legacy of its African American roots.
- The Birthplace of the Road Trip – The legendary Route 66 begins in Illinois and offers road trippers 300 miles of vintage, quirky, and larger-than-life roadside attractions.
- Roadside Distractions – White squirrels, pink elephants, sasquatches, giants, supermen — they all call Illinois home. If you’re the type of traveler who thinks normal is boring and the quirkier the better, this is the road trip for you.
- Barks & Recreation in Chicago – Discover why Chicago wins best-in-show for its dog-friendly places, experiences and accommodations.
The road trip itineraries align with the progress made toward key health metrics identified in Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois framework, as well as a major expansion of vaccine administration and availability in Illinois. The Illinois Office of Tourism will continue working closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and CVBs to ensure adherence to the latest safety guidelines throughout the summer.
SOURCE: Enjoy Illinois news release