Looking for a great Illinois vacation or affordable getaway?
The Blackhawk Waterways region, in Northwest Illinois, is filled with opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking and biking, boating and fishing, shopping and antiquing, and exploring our nation’s rich history, or just sitting in an old-growth forest and reading a book. Blackhawk Waterways is packed with history with it being at the center of the Ronald Reagan Centennial and natural splendor with it's 2,700 square miles of woodlands and wonderful attractions, charming small towns and villages, unobstructed views and pastoral settings that will have you returning time and again.
Carroll County - your authentic country getaway
Looking for the homespun charm of a cozy Bed and Breakfast or how about the rustic appeal of a rough-hewn log cabin? With two dozen B & Bs, cabins, cottages, campgrounds and small motels, Carroll County makes your getaway to the Blackhawk Waterways a very personal experience.
A Natural Phenomenon
Towering over the Mississippi River with a commanding view of the valley and forests below, the 2,500-acre Palisades State Park is a scenic wonderland and a hiking haven. Steep cliffs, dense woodlands, free-roaming wildlife and nested eagles, wild turkey and numerous species of shorebirds and waterfowl combine to create a paradise for nature-lovers and a great getaway that attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Sitting just south Savanna Illinois, the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center is an ideal place to observe waterfowl, migratory birds and other wetland wildlife - plus there’s educational programs and wildlife displays to experience.
Rich in History and Heritage
At the center of Carroll county sits the historic town of Mount Carroll. The town itself is on National Register of Historic Districts. At it’s center, the Carroll County Courthouse has a commanding presence with it’s limestone and brick Italianate design. Built in 1843, you can still see the wrought-iron, outdoor prison cell on the north side of the building.
Stroll south and you come upon the original campus of Shimer College and it’s beautiful Georgian Revival buildings. The campus was established in 1853 and later rebuilt in 1906 after a devastating fire. Shimer College continued there until it was moved 1978 due to financial troubles. The Campbell Center for Historic Preservation now occupies many of the building and for 30 years has offered classes in historic preservation, museum collections care, and conservation of cultural objects.
If nature’s your thing...
you’ll discover a region rich in outdoor opportunities, from 10 state parks and a 2,200-acre state forest to exceptional golf courses and 125 miles of beautiful boating and great fishing courtesy of the Rock and Mississippi rivers. From paddlewheelers to catfish, muskie and trout, local streams, rivers and lakes provide anglers with the perfect settings in which to research their next big fish story.
Retail therapy enthusiasts applaud...
the shopping opportunities that abound in the Blackhawk Waterways region, offering everything from eclectic hand-crafted gifts and quaint art galleries to antique treasures and coveted collectibles. And, you’ll always be greeted by friendly shopkeepers who still understand the art of authentic hospitality.
History lovers find a home...
in the Blackhawk Waterways, where a treasure-trove of museums, monuments and historical sites capture the imagination. Experience the birthplace and boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan, travel stretches of the original Lincoln Highway and the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, tour the John Deere Historic Site, and learn more about the bloody battles of the Black Hawk Indian War of 1832 that pitted half of all federal troops of the U.S. Army (as well as 9,000 volunteers from the Illinois Militia, including future President Abraham Lincoln) against Black Hawk, a war chief of the Sauk, Fox and Kickapoo nations, and his British Band of warriors.
Our hospitality welcomes you...
whether you’re seeking a day-trip or a week-long adventure, discover excellent restaurants and diverse lodging choices that range from primitive campsites and rustic cabins to pampering B&Bs, comfortable country inns and award-winning hotels – all just a 2 hours drive from Chicagoland.
For some, the real beauty of Blackhawk Waterways is found in its natural wonders, which give pause from a workaday life. For them, the simplicity of a falling autumn leaf, a browsing deer or a crackling fire are the magnets that draw them to this special place – a getaway like it used to be!