Starved Rock Area Tours

Come Tour With Us!

Explore the Delights & Sights in the Starved Rock Area

Starved Rock Connections offers a variety of FUN Daily Tours and Shuttle Service for any occasion for individuals and small groups. We have room for up to 10-14 guests in our temperature-controlled, 15-seat passenger van.

Choose a seasonal tour, one from our regular Tour Menu, or let us customize one for your group. Reservations are required. Pick-up is available at area lodging establishments, public meeting spots, or at your residence (private groups). We accept cash only on the day of event. Walk-ons are welcome if space permits. Hop on over to our Events Calendar to check availability.

Already have an outing or special event planned and only need transportation? We can provide the ride, too.  Contact us for information.

Note: Tour attractions are subject to availability and may only be available on certain weekdays or weekend days or by appointment with advance notice. 

OCTOBER 2019 SPECIALS

We’re offering public and private shuttle service to the following venues on select dates in October. Our Fall & Winter Delights include Leaf-Peeping, Apple Orchards, Pumpkin Farms, Corn Mazes, Haunted Happenings, Fall & Winter Festivals, Christmas Lights, Shopping Excursions, and more! 

Boggio’s Orchard & Produce, Granville – $25 per person

U-pick pumpkins and apples, fresh produce, and the best apple cider donuts in the area. Petting zoo, corn mazes, pony rides, go-carts, and more (fees for activities).

 Donnie Appleseed Orchard, LaSalle – $25 per person

A 100-acre, three-generation farm with 250 apple trees representing 10 varieties and fresh produce from their 5-acre garden. Orchard tours available with advance notice.

Fright Trail 8 – Curse of the Blood Moon @ Cedar Creek Ranch, Cedar Point – available select Friday and Saturday nights | $25 per person (+admission fee: $12/VIP speed pass: $25)

Spooky themed guided trail tour for all ages. Food and beverages are available for purchase.

 Burgoo Festival Shuttle, Utica (10/13/19) – $25 per person

The 50th Annual Burgoo Fest, one of the largest fall fests in Northern IL, features over 350 vendors, live entertainment, and the Burgoo – a traditional pioneer stew that gives the festival its name. (Fest runs Saturday and Sunday; shuttle is available Sunday only.)

2019 TOUR MENU

Afternoon Delights & Flights in Utica – Available Year-Round – $30 per person

Spend the afternoon exploring the Utica area – shop, dine, and enjoy some local wine, beer, or spirits, savory and sweet treats, and live entertainment (weekends). Learn about the area’s rich history with a visit to the LaSalle County History Museum. Additional stops can include the Starved Rock State Park Visitors Center or the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center.

Culinary Delights – Available Year-Round – Rates Vary

Calling all Foodies: This Food Tour is for you! Immerse yourself in the local food and music scene, sample delectable specialties, and great chow! We’ll connect you to local treasures, farm-to-table, unique food shops, ethnic restaurants, nostalgic supper clubs and diners, and riverfront eateries. Add in locally-made, farm-to-foam brews, wines, and spirits to complete the package. Who doesn’t love to wine and dine?!?

Delights & Sights in Ottawa – Available Year-Round – $30-$50 per person

We’ll tour the Reddick Mansion, Washington Park, view historic murals, and you can add in a Tangled Roots Brewery Tour, when we explore Downtown Ottawa. Additional time is allotted for lunch, shopping, and added stops that may include I&M Canal sites, the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, or Buffalo Rock State Park.

Double Delights – Available Weekends – Year-Round – $60 per person

Double your fun with two local area Distillery Tours. The first tour starts at Star Union Spirits Distillery, a new artisanal, small-batch distillery, and tasting room in Peru, focusing on craft, fruit and grain distilled spirits: brandy, whiskey, and vodka. Next up (after lunch on your own) is a tour of the Whiskey Acres Distilling Co., Illinois’ first “seed to spirit” distillery that’s located on a 5th generation family farm in DeKalb.

Girlfriend Getaways – Available Year-Round – Rates Vary – Some Activities are Seasonal

Sometimes you just have to get away, indulge yourself in a little pampering, decompress, and reconnect with your besties. Let us introduce you to the local food, art, and music scene; tour a winery, brewery, distillery, bath bomb factory, historic mansion, or gardens; enjoy high tea; multi-media art sessions; spa treatments – a salt cave, hydrotherapy, yoga, and more. Or if an action-packed adventure is the experience you desire, we’ve got it all right here in Starved Rock Country: skydiving, zip-lining, tubing, kayaking, rafting, paddle-boarding, canoeing, golfing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, roller skating, fishing, cross-country skiing, to name a few.

Happy Hours in Peru – Available Friday & Saturday Evenings – Year-Round – $40 per person

Round up your friends, family, and colleagues…we’re providing the ride to safely celebrate the week’s end with Memphis-style BBQ and a Star Union Spirits Distillery Tour before the entertainment starts in their tasting room. Second Fridays of the month at the historic Westclox Building include additional activities in the West Wing of the building – art exhibits, musical performances, and more. For ages 21 and over only/add meal fee.

Underground History, Architecture & General Sites Tour – Available Year-Round – $40 per person

Join us for a scenic drive from Ottawa to Princeton. Our first stop is the Historic Lovejoy Homestead, a station on the Underground Railroad (available for inside guided tours May-October). We’ll visit additional Underground Railroad sites; 19th & 20th century historic homes and buildings, from Gothic Revival and Colonial Revival to Prairie Style and Dutch Colonial; the Historic Red Covered Bridge (c. 1863), and include time to check out the numerous boutiques, antique stores, and unique retail and food shops (for lunch on your own) in Downtown Princeton.

Westclox Wonders – Available Year-Round – $40 per person

We’ll visit the historic Westclox Building and Museum, learn how bath bombs are made at Kristine’s Shower, and tour the Star Union Spirits Distillery. Students are welcome, but the distillery tour is for ages 21 and over only; an activity for the youngsters will be substituted within sight. Time for lunch on your own is included.

Plein Air Tour – Available Year-Round – Rates Vary

This tour is for the artists who need to get out there and paint – and for the nature photographers! There’s no shortage of  stunning seasonal landscapes for photographing or painting en plein air around here. 

The “Mother” Road Trip – Available March-November – $66 per person

Route 66 is the most iconic symbol of the American Road Trip.  As we cruise along America’s Main Street in the Heartland – from Wilmington to Pontiac – we’ll soak up the atmosphere of the legendary Mother Road era and explore quirky roadside attractions, museums, gift shops, vintage diners, gas stations, and more. Time is included for a meal on your own at one of the iconic eateries along the route.

Prairie Tales – Available April-November (2020) – $40 per person

History lovers and quaint-town aficionados will appreciate this trip. We’ll start at the Seneca Area Heritage Museum, housed in a restored depot, and learn about the vital role Irish immigrants played in the development and growth of the Starved Rock Area and the importance of the Seneca Prairie Shipyard during World War II. We may tour the last remaining grain elevator on the I&M Canal, a historic church, and the Shipyard that created the “Boom Town” and related sites.

LaSalle Canal Boat (May-October) & Hegeler Mansion Tours – Available Year-Round– $40-$50 per person

We’re stepping back in time to the 19th Century, first, for a mule-pulled canal boat ride; then, add a guided tour of a historic mansion with seven levels, 57 rooms, approximately 16,000 square feet that is as unique on the interior as it is on the exterior.  Time is allotted for lunch on your own and exploring in Downtown LaSalle.

Sights & Delights in Streator – Available May through October – $40 per person

We’ll meander through the English-style gardens at the Weber House & Garden, view the new Walldog Murals, and visit the Finefield Pottery studio for demos, the Dan Chris Nursery, and more. Time will be allotted for lunch and shopping on your own in and around Downtown Streator.

Shakespeare in the Park – Available Wednesday Evenings and Sunday Afternoons in July 

Waterman Winery & Vineyards Tour – Available  in July and August – $60 (21 & over)

This tour is more accurately described as “an Authentic, Casual Agricultural Experience.” We’ll tour a century-old farmstead, its quaint barns, and then get whisked away to the countryside to explore the vineyard. We’ll conclude with samples from a unique selection of wines, of course, as well as a light lunch. Price includes samples, lunch, and one bottle of wine of your choice). Minimum: 10 guests | Maximum: 12 guests 

Multi-Day Tours

Want a little extra time to explore the area?  We’d love to plan a multi-day itinerary for you – from your hotel accommodations to dining, attractions and whatever else you want to do and see in the Starved Rock Area and/or Illinois Route 66. Per-person pricing varies based on tour itinerary, activity fees, lodging and dining costs, etc. 

Step-on Guide

Have a large group and your own transportation? Our Local Step-on Guide can board your motor coach or bus, direct your driver, and deliver a narrated tour like no other.  Each custom tour includes an itinerary that is tailored to your group’s interests, abilities, time, etc. Day trips normally last around 4-7 hours. Pricing varies based on tour itinerary, activity fees, etc.

View our  Calendar on our Events Page or use our Planning Form to get started creating your next amazing, authentic experience.

Self-Guided Tours

Your concierge and trip adviser has the inside scoop and can assist you with planning a day visit or an overnight or multi-day stay. Your personalized itinerary is yours to complete at your own pace. Pricing varies based on tour itinerary, activity fees, etc. Consultations are always FREE.  Click here to get started planning your next amazing, authentic experience.

Service Policies, Terms, and Conditions – Please Review Before Booking Your Tour

Our tours take place rain or shine, and may involve sitting, walking and standing for extended lengths of time, and a minimal to moderate amount of stairs. All ages are welcome, unless otherwise specified.

Per-person pricing varies and includes transportation, activity, and tour fees. Meals are not included in fees, except where noted. Time for meals on your own and shopping is included in most Tours. Tour attractions are subject to availability, and last-minute changes may be made due to special events or circumstances beyond our control – or on a whim if time permits to add a few extras.  

RESERVATIONS: Reservations (and a deposit) are required to guarantee a private tour date and can be made via email, text, or voice; and online through the Calendar on our Events Page or our Planning Form.

PAYMENTS: Credit cards are accepted through Pay Pal (account not necessary); personal checks if received no later than 5 business days prior to event;  and cash only on day of event if openings permit for last-minute reservations and walk-ons.

Special Event Shuttle pricing is for round-trip shuttle service only. It does not include entrance fees (when applicable). 

Minimums may be required for Tours and Shuttle Service and will be noted. If minimum reservations aren’t met before reservation deadline, the Tour or Shuttle may be canceled, in which case a credit or refund will be issued. No refunds will be issued for no-shows or cancellations made less than five business days prior to Tour or Shuttle date.

Photographs and video may be taken during your tour and used for future marketing purposes. Permission to use the images is assumed, unless notified to the contrary before we depart.

Please carry your possessions with you, as we are not responsible for lost or stolen items left in the van.  Food and drinks are not allowed on board, with the exception of bottled water, which is provided.

Check out our additional Tour Menu below for a sampling of the abundant options you can include in your group’s custom itinerary.

Adventure

Experience Seekers: Are you up for an action-packed adventure? We’ve got it all right here in Starved Rock Country!

  • Skydiving
  • Zip-lining
  • Four-wheeling/off-roading
  • Amphibious and UTV tours
  • Chasing waterfalls
  • Rafting
  • Tubing
  • Curling
  • Equestrian trails/camping
  • Boating/canoeing/kayaking
  • Biking/mountain biking
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Archery
  • Shooting range
  • Hunting – plants, animals, fossils
  • Indoor water parks
  • Geo-caching
  • Golfing
  • Disc golfing
  • Stock car racing
  • Go-kart racing and rentals
  • Marathons
  • Warrior races
  • Car shows
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Ice climbing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Sledding
  • Ice skating/roller skating

Incredible, isn’t it? So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started planning your next amazing adventure. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Agricultural

Agritourism is growing in the captivating communities in the Starved Rock area thanks to the rich, fertile soil that surrounds them, and an influx of innovative entrepreneurs. Include one or several of the following in your personalized tour itinerary:

  • Grapes, grains and hops
  • Sustainable farms
  • Farmers markets
  • Nurseries
  • Orchards
  • Pumpkin farms
  • Wind farms
  • Corn mazes
  • Petting zoos

Let’s get started planning your next amazing tour or getaway. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Americana

It’s like stepping back in time when you discover the warm hospitality, friendly faces, and cool places during your next tour or visit to the area. Here’s our recommendations for enjoying what feels like the “old days” and “simpler times.”

  • Drive-in theater
  • Drive-in diners (car-hop service)
  • Supper clubs
  • Taverns
  • Mom-and-pop shops and grocers
  • Roller rink
  • Record stores
  • Arcades
  • Boys’ and girls’ summer camp
  • Country roads

Let’s get started planning your next tour or getaway. Add one or several of the above stops on your personalized itinerary. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Arts

No humdrum here – it’s anything but! – and no shortage of entertainment options, either! Local cultural and community-based performing arts and events are abundant and affordable in our charming communities, including:

  • Community theatre
  • Symphony
  • Concerts
  • Live music
  • Events, festivals, and fairs
  • Comedy shows
  • Art & History Exhibits
  • Workshops
  • Gaming

Let’s get started planning your next amazing getaway or tour. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Girlfriend Getaways

Sometimes you just to have to get away, indulge yourself in a little pampering, and decompress with your gal pals. No deadlines, dishes or drudgery; just relaxing and reconnecting with your besties. You deserve it!

  • Boutiques, antiques, and specialty shops
  • Spa and wellness
  • Salt cave
  • Multi-media art sessions
  • Charming tea rooms, coffee shops, and cafes
  • Vintage markets
  • Craft, sewing, and quilting supplies
  • Fairy gardens
  • Sweets shops
  • Home and garden decor
  • Wineries, breweries, and distilleries

You can always add an adventure along the way, too. Check out our other tour options, and let’s get started planning your next amazing getaway with your gal pals. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Special Events

Natural beauty and scenery provide the atmosphere free of charge.

Destination weddings and special life events should be about quality time with loved ones, dreams, affordability and, of course, location, location, location. The Starved Rock Area offers that choice destination!

From gardens and mansions to the traditional or extreme, our distinctive venues offer picture-perfect locales that everyone can explore together and find some of the best Instagrams of your life. The rural charm and awe-inspiring scenery will steal your heart.

Whether you’re having your wedding in the area or not, this is also THE place for your engagement, bachelorette, or bachelor party! Tip: Lodging fills up quickly during the high seasons, so it’s best to plan and book early.

We proudly collaborate with many partners to create unforgettable events and experiences. Contact us to get started. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

History

History lovers, this is your trip!

  • Lincoln National Heritage Area 
  • I&M Canal National Heritage Area
  • Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway
  • Illinois Route 66
  • Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park
  • Locks and dams
  • Notable architecture
  • Mansion tours
  • Historic neighborhoods
  • Murals
  • Museums
  • Monuments
  • Barns

Whether you’re hitting the open road or strolling through a charming town, historic park, or along one of our numerous waterways, fascinating history surrounds you. Let’s get started planning your next tour or getaway. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Irish Tales

History lovers and quaint-town aficionados will appreciate this trip, too. Learn more about the vital role Irish immigrants played in the development and growth of our area. Noteworthy sights along the way include:

  • Replica canal boats
  • Locks
  • Aqueducts
  • Toll house/lock-tender’s house
  • Historic grain elevator
  • Churches
  • Cemeteries
  • Trails

Let’s get started planning your amazing tour or getaway. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Natural Beauty

You’ll want plenty of time to savor the peace and quiet; breathe in fresh, fragrant air, and soak up all the natural wonders that are scattered throughout the area. You will find plenty of great pit stops along the way, and opportunities aplenty for some of the best Instagrams of your life!

  • State parks
  • Nature and wildlife preserves
  • Canals
  • Creeks
  • Rivers
  • Lush gardens
  • River walks
  • Scenic boat tours
  • Waterfalls
  • Leaf-peeping
  • Birding and eagle watching
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Photography
  • Stargazing

What surprises visitors the most is that we don’t just have farmland and flatland here. We have jaw-droppingly beautiful parks, trails, and awe-inspiring natural vistas that are just a quick drive away. Let’s get started planning your long-overdue, relaxing getaway, or a fun group outing with friends, families or colleagues. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Road Trips

No matter the season, an iconic road trip is always warranted. Of course, the area is more thoroughly enjoyed by getting off the highway and exploring from the scenic back roads. You’re sure to discover warm hospitality, nostalgic places, hidden works of art, locally-made products and wares, and the rich history that make up the Starved Rock area and beyond.

  • Canyon Drive
  • Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway
  • Grandview Drive
  • Illinois Route 66

Our central location provides unlimited opportunities for guided and self-guided tours. Let’s get started planning the itinerary for your road trip. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Wining and Dining

Many folks agree that their favorite part of a getaway is immersing themselves in the local food and music scene, and sampling delectable specialties, and great chow! Who doesn’t love to wine and dine?!?

  • Local treasures
  • Farm-to-table
  • Ethnic restaurants
  • Unique food shops
  • Nostalgic supper clubs and diners
  • Locally-made brews, wines and spirits
  • Riverfront eateries and Tiki bars
  • Grub and pub crawls

And that’s just a preview of what you can find throughout our service area. You can also expect to find plenty of live music – indoors, outdoors, on land, and on water! Let’s get started planning your next amazing adventure, tour, or getaway. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.

Meetings and Retreats

Make your meeting or retreat a meaningful one and venture outside the conference room.

The best event space or venue is critical to your event’s success and the guests’ experience. Taking a break from the daily grind is always a welcome respite for the team. And what’s a retreat without the “treat”?

There are loads of traditional and, more importantly, non-traditional settings and activities in Starved Rock Country in which to mix business and pleasure and put that “treat” in the retreat.

Whether you’re planning a corporate retreat, meeting, or fundraising event, we can assist you with planning the best one ever! We proudly collaborate with many partners to create unforgettable events and experiences. Let’s get started planning your event. We’re only a click, call, or instant message away. Consultations are always FREE.