You know you’re in a small town when you go to a restaurant and the servers’ shirts say Where the Hell is Utica, Illinois?
I’m sure many places come to mind when someone says they are going on a trip for a bachelorette party. Utica, Illinois probably isn’t one of them. Twelve sorority sisters embarked on a 4 hour drive to a small town in Illinois. None of us had a clue where we were going, but we were excited for a change of pace.
Utica, Illinois is not your typical bachelorette party destination. It’s a small town with a few bars, restaurants and local stores where fresh snacks and treats can be purchased (the gourmet popcorn shop was a favorite stop). So what did this small town have to offer a group of girls celebrating their friend’s last month and a half before she says “I do?”
Utica, Illinois is home to a plethora of state parks and hiking trails. We chose to hike at Starved Rock State Park one morning. The huge parking lot was full of cars and people gearing up to go on their respective hikes around the park. We hiked for a few hours, but did not come close to exploring the entirety of the park. Kayaking was another fun (and my personal favorite) activity we had been looking forward to. The drive to the kayak rental was 30 minutes from our lodge and the fee was $60 a person. The experience was well worth the drive and cost. The river was slow moving which made for a relaxing and easy float. We spent almost an entire day on the river and we were tired (and, for some of us, a bit sunburnt) after the journey. The river was not crowded at all which was also a plus!
Besides spending time outdoors, we went to a wine tasting room and hung out at the lodge catching up and playing games. The WiFi at the lodge and in town was fairly weak, which allowed us to enjoy the outdoors and our time celebrating the bride-to-be without constantly being on our phones.
If you are in need of an escape from your daily routine or want to unplug for a few days, Utica, Illinois is the place to go. This small town is full of kind people and an abundance of outdoor excursions and adventures to be had. No cellphone required.