Illinois has been known as the Prairie State since at least 1842, and it’s for obvious reasons. The northern portion of our state was once completely covered in this sort of environment, but now, it’s a rare sight.

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Never fear! There are still a few places in Illinois where you can enjoy prairie land. Check them out:


During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.

Originally built in 1900, this amazing place contains 1,500 acres of woodlands and prairies as well as 14 formals gardens that are fit for a queen. Mazes, meadows, statues, hiking trails, and much more allows guests to meander through a world of beauty. Get more details about it here.Address: 515 Old Timber Road, Monticello, IL 61856
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This 14.8-mile trail has been open to the public since 2001 and connects the towns of Pana and Taylorville. It follows the same path Lincoln took when he had to travel for work as a lawyer and judge, which naturally passed by many prairies. Click here for more details about this historic and bio-diverse hike.
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Established in 1996, this northern Illinois nature preserve is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to Illinois being the Prairie State as this was the first national tallgrass prairie ever designated in the United States. Guests can enjoy 33 miles of trails that span 9,000 acres, showing you what this great state is supposed to look like.Address: 30239 IL-53, Wilmington, IL 60481
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Locals have been enjoying this trail since 1963, the main portion of which spans 17 miles and follows an old train line. It is most popular for its bridges and views of grass fields and other landscapes. Get more details about it here.
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Many know this popular state park for its Lake Michigan beaches, lakefront resort, and camping opportunities, but it is also a fabulous place to witness some of the state"s most pristine prairie land. This 4,160-acre park is home to more than 650 species of plants including wildflowers, cattails, prickly pears, and much more.Address: 1 Lake Front Drive, Zion, IL 60099
This area of about 6,500 acres is mostly known for its natural water features, but surrounding all those bodies of water are grasslands that give this state its unique nickname. Dedicated as a state park in 1945, this is a wonderful spot for hiking, biking, camping, and other outdoor activities.Address: 28450 James Road, Spring Grove, IL 60081
Established in 1971, this 100 acre preserve is all about tallgrass and meadows. It is a beautiful place to watch birds as well as enjoy a diverse ecosystem.Address: 15525 Mozart Avenue, Markham, IL 60428
The site of an old Native American village, this 200-acre area is full of prairie land and forestry that is lovely anytime of year. This sacred place was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.Address: 12th Avenue South, Albany, IL 61230

For more like this, check out these 12 off-the-grid destinations in Illinois that will take you away from it all.

Where else can you enjoy prairies in the prairie state? Share your favorite spots with us below in the comments.

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An Illinois transplant who grew up and went to school in Indiana for 22 years, Elizabeth holds a BFA in creative writing and has enjoyed traveling across the country and parts of Europe. She has visited half of the states, as well as parts of Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and regularly travels home to the Hoosier State to see friends and family. With more than five years of writing experience, Elizabeth’s articles have been featured on several websites, and her poetry and short stories have been published in multiple literary journals.