Illinois has numerous highways and byways that run through the state. However, none of them is as long as Interstate 57. This highway starts in Missouri and runs the entire length of the Prairie State. It’s also one of the most scenic drives in Illinois, stretching for over 380 miles. Fill up the gas tank and prepare to explore the picturesque towns along Interstate 57.
It will take you about 6.5 hours to drive the entire length of Interstate 57. This means you can easily complete the journey in a single day.
The highway parallels the old Illinois Central Railroad and passes through more than 15 towns along the way.
If you take Interstate 57 from Missouri into Illinois, you will cross the Cairo I-57 Bridge.
Take in the view of the Mississippi River below as you cross the bridge into Illinois. This scenic bridge is only the beginning of what awaits you on this journey through one of Illinois’ most beautiful drives.
After crossing the Cairo bridge, you will arrive in Cairo’s historic district. Because of its location at the confluence of the Ohio and Great Mississippi Rivers, this town was once a vital trading center.
Even though the town has declined in recent years, remnants of the past can still be seen in some of the beautiful homes that have been left behind.
Continue on the route for about 100 miles after leaving Cairo, and you’ll pass through the lovely small town of Salem.
Salem is not only a historic town for its role in the G.I. Bill of Rights, but it also has delicious restaurants. This is the town to stop in if you want to enjoy a homestyle meal along I-57, and be sure to check out some of their beautiful historical sites.
Drive north for about 50 miles from Salem to the town of Effingham. If you enjoy art or music, you’ll enjoy this cultural town.
If you’re in the area during the holidays, it’s also a great place to celebrate with the family. Throughout the year, the city hosts festivals and musical performances. It’s a charming small town that you’ll enjoy visiting.
You’ll arrive in Champaign, Illinois, about 75 miles north of Effingham.
This town, which is home to the illustrious University of Illinois, offers a diverse range of artistic, educational, and cultural experiences. Of course, as a college town, there is a vibrant nightlife, and the town also has a world-class food scene.
The final leg of your journey will take you right into the heart of Chicago. Chicago is memorable for many reasons, including its food, art, music, stunning architecture, museums, sporting events, and the Riverwalk.
Every year, tourists flock to Chicago to experience everything it has to offer. And it’s the best way to round out this 380-mile trip through the Prairie State. Interstate 57 is one of the most scenic routes through Illinois.
These are just a few of the incredible towns along Interstate 57. Of course, we couldn’t cover them all in this article, but is there one that we missed that deserves to be mentioned? Tell us about it in the comments section.
While you’re in the Prairie State, here’s a fantastic day trip in Illinois that you’ll enjoy.
Cairo I-57 Bridge, Southwest Illinois, I-57, Cairo, IL 62914, United States
Cairo, Illinois 62914, USA
Salem, Illinois, USA
Effingham, Illinois 62401, USA
Champaign, Illinois, USA
Chicago, Illinois, USA
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