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The Best of the Best in Galena

Get Outside: Hiking, Biking, & More in Beautiful Galena!

With spring finally here in Illinois, we’re thrilled to be back outside and enjoying all the great things to do in Galena. Though Galena is a charming destination filled with fabulous shopping, antiquing, and plenty of cultural and historical attractions, it’s also an excellent destination for those who love the outdoors. 

As the trees continue to bud and leaf out this spring, and the verdant beauty of Galena’s lush, rolling countryside comes back into full view, you’ll start to see why Galena is a fantastic destination for outdoor lovers. There are gorgeous State Parks nearby, including Mississippi Palisades and Apple River Canyon, abundant nature preserves and protected swaths of land to hike and explore, fantastic bike trails, and even great rivers and lakes for fishing, boating, and more. There really is a diverse range of things to do in Galena, but before you start filling out your itinerary too much, you’ll want to secure the best lodging in town. 

Our Galena Bed and breakfast is top among all properties in Galena. We offer six luxurious suites and unbeatable amenities. More importantly, we offer an oasis; the perfect place to indulge in a soothing shower or soak, put your feet up, and rest your tired muscles after an exhilarating day spent enjoying the best of Galena’s natural surroundings. Though there are plenty of things to do in Galena outside, don’t forget about all the great shopping, wine tasting, history, and more downtown. Galena is the perfect all-encompassing destination. Book your room at our Galena Bed and Breakfast today! 

Thunder Bay Falls - one of the best things to do in Galena, Illinois in the outdoors

Get Outdoors: The Best Things to do in Galena

For most guests, the simple chance to luxuriate and fully relax in our spacious suites is all they need for a great getaway. Well, that, and maybe a delicious breakfast and an afternoon assortment of appetizers – but we have that handled, too! 

Though there are plenty of things to do in Galena, Illinois, many of our guests don’t need much to make their getaway great. For some, an afternoon shopping downtown or antiquing in the area perfectly complements their getaway. For others, a few walks in our beautiful natural surroundings or a gentle paddle down the Galena River is an enticing addition. 

Nature lovers are lucky in that Galena offers plenty of things to do. From the beautiful Galena River Trail in town to a variety of nature preserves in the nearby area rife with opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, biking, and more. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the best things to do in Galena when you want a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Where to Go for the Best Galena Hikes

  1. Apple River Canyon State Park: Head to this state park for some of the best hiking in Galena, IL. Five miles of trails wind their way through this scenic park, which features dramatic Limestone bluffs, deep ravines, springs, streams, and glimpses of wildlife. There’s a waterfall here, too, making it an all-encompassing place to enjoy the outdoors in Galena. 
  2. Mississippi Palisades State Park: There’s a 15-mile trail network that winds through the park, from which you can enjoy the stunning beauty of the Mississippi River. It’s a great place to watch eagles and other wildlife, too.
  3. Hanover Bluff Nature PreserveHere, you’ll find examples of untouched beauty near Galena as you explore the various unmarked trails through the park. The trails wind through the high dolomite ridges that form the valley wall of the Mississippi River. It’s a fantastic place to view wildflowers, too. 
  4. Casper Bluff Land and Water Reserve: Part of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, this nature area offers fantastic views of the Mississippi River and the backwater sloughs and is one of our favorite things to do in Galena. It’s an excellent place for hiking and is home to the Aiken Mound Group, an ancient archaeological site.

The Best Biking in the Area

  1. Galena River Trail: If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to enjoy the outdoors in Galena, this is it. Riding the Galena River Trail is one of our favorite things to do in Galena. This 8-mile-long multi-use trail follows the path of the Burlington Railroad mainline and links Galena to Chestnut Mountain Resort on the Mississippi River.
  2. Grand Illinois Trail: For the true biking enthusiast, portions of the Grand Illinois Trail are in and around Galena for even more two-wheeled adventures. 
  3. The rolling hills and rural roads are also great candidates for road biking in the Galena area, and you can even head down to portions of the Great River Road for a scenic ride along the Mississippi River. 

Spend Some Time on the Water

  1. Paddle the River: For a quiet, scenic afternoon that’s a nice change of pace from other things to do in Galena, rent a kayak or paddleboard from Nuts Outdoors and head out for a peaceful paddle on the Galena River. In addition to rentals, they offer shuttles for various trips in the area. 
  2. Cruise the Mississippi: Take a River Cruise at Chestnut Mountain Resort. It’s a 1.5-hour trip on the river, during which you’ll learn about the area’s history, observe some interesting geography, and glimpse breathtaking riverscapes and wildlife. 

View Some Nature & Wildlife

  1. Thunder Bay Falls: View the impressive spillway-turned-gorgeous waterfall off Lake Galena. Thunder Bay Falls is on private property, but the road past it is public, and there’s a well-maintained gravel trail that allows for great viewing – and maybe even a picnic! 
  2. Valley of Eden Bird Sanctuary: From April to August, more than 100 bird species flock to this 409-acre sanctuary. Bring your binoculars as you stroll along the six miles of trails weaving through pastoral prairie land.
Panoramic View from Horseshoe mound - one of the best outdoors things to do in Galena, Illinois

The Best Place to Stay in Galena, Illinois

There are plenty of unique things to do in Galena, and the best part is that there’s something here for everyone. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors in Galena, and we’ve listed some of the top ways to do just that here. But there are way more things to do in Galena than just getting outdoors! 

But, as we keep saying, the real reason for a getaway to this charming town goes far beyond what you can do and extends to the opportunity to enjoy the lodging itself. At least, that’s the case when you choose to stay at our Galena Bed and Breakfast.

Getting here is easy—we’re about a three-hour drive outside Chicago and easily accessible from many other Midwest cities. We’re a couple of blocks off of Main Street, and as you pull up in front of our massive four-story brick building, itself a relic of Galena’s past, you’ll begin to feel the grandeur that’s waiting for you inside. We’ll get you checked in and show you to your chosen guest room, where complimentary chocolates and champagne (or other sparkling beverage) will await you. 

Our guest rooms are spacious, including a sitting area with a kitchenette, a luxurious spa-like bathroom with steam showers and/or soaking tubs, and bedrooms with an elegant and well-appointed king-size bed. Each guest room includes many amenities, but popular favorites include custom-designed plush Frette spa robes and towels, Aveda toiletries, a customizable Bluetooth sound system throughout your suite, and Samsung Smart TVs for cozy nights. 

In the morning, join us in the dining room for a sensational three-course breakfast. The menu rotates daily and always includes a healthy mix of guest favorites. For many of our guests, this is the favorite part of their stay. In the afternoon, we’ll treat you to a sumptuous tray of house-made appetizers and local charcuterie, alongside a custom selection of house wine or other beverage. We keep you full and satisfied throughout the day so you can stay busy enjoying all the fabulous things to do in Galena! 

Regardless of what you plan to do during your stay, it’s easy to see why we’re rated as the best Bed and Breakfast in Galena, IL – not to mention one of the most coveted lodging destinations in the entire country. Experience the best of Galena this year. Book your stay at Jail Hill Inn today! 

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