Blackhawk Waterways CVB

Real Getaways

Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, Northwest Illinois is a treasure trove of natural beauty, rich history, and charming small towns. Comprising Carroll, Lee, Whiteside, and Ogle counties, this region offers a unique blend of rural and urban experiences. With its rolling hills, fertile farmlands, and meandering waterways, the landscape is a feast for the eyes and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Carroll County, known for its scenic beauty, is home to the Mississippi Palisades State Park, where towering limestone bluffs offer panoramic views of the Mississippi River. Here, hikers, campers, and nature lovers can explore diverse terrains and abundant wildlife.

Lee County offers a rich tapestry of history and culture. Dixon, its county seat, is famously the boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan. The town’s picturesque downtown, along the Rock River, is a gathering place for community events and a hub for local businesses. Outdoor activities like fishing, kayaking, and biking are popular here, thanks to the plentiful parks and nature reserves.

Whiteside County is a hub of innovation and industry. Sterling and Rock Falls, the twin cities that serve as the county’s focal points, offer a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. The Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park is a marvel of engineering and a perfect spot for hiking, fishing, and boating.

Ogle County is perhaps best known for the John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour, where the steel plow was invented. The site is a fascinating journey through agricultural history. Oregon, the county seat, is a haven for artists and features the iconic Black Hawk Statue overlooking the Rock River.

From historical landmarks to natural wonders, Northwest Illinois offers a diverse array of attractions. Whether you’re interested in exploring the great outdoors, delving into the past, or simply enjoying the warm hospitality of its communities, this region offers something for everyone.

Our Destination


Matthew Lenox
Executive Director

Carroll, Lee, Ogle, Whiteside counties

Top Attractions

  • John Deere Historic Site
  • Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home
  • Mississippi Palisades State Park
  • Starved Rock State Park
  • White Pines State Park
  • Castle Rock State Park
  • Lowden State Park
  • Hennepin Canal
  • Nachusa Grasslands
  • Havencrest Castle
  • Stronghold Castle

Info & Stats

IL House Legislative District
89, 73, 74

IL Senate Legislative Districts
37, 45

Primary Source of Local Funding
County/City Partners