Coolest Underground Attractions in Illinois

Illinois, a state known for its attractions like the vibrant city of Chicago and picturesque natural parks, also hides some incredible underground gems waiting to be explored. Whether you seek history, adventure, or mystery, Illinois offers cool underground places that cater to various interests. Here are some of the coolest underground attractions in Illinois worth checking out.

Meramec Caverns

Among the most popular underground attractions in Illinois is Meramec Caverns, situated in Stanton. These caverns, formed over millions of years through limestone erosion, boast colorful stalactites, stalagmites, and other captivating formations. Guided tours provide insights into the caverns’ history and geology, including the hideout of notorious outlaw Jesse James. Open year-round, Meramec Caverns offers an enjoyable and educational experience for all ages.

Illinois Caverns

For a more adventurous underground experience in Illinois, consider visiting Illinois Caverns in Waterloo. As the state’s second-largest caverns, they feature diverse and complex passages. Since the caverns are not developed for tourism, bringing your equipment and adhering to safety rules are essential. A permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is also required. Illinois Caverns is an ideal destination for experienced cavers seeking to explore the natural beauty and challenges of the underground world.


Adding to Illinois’ cool underground attractions is Cave-In-Rock, located in Cave-In-Rock State Park. This large limestone bluff opening overlooking the Ohio River has a rich history, having been used by Native Americans, pioneers, river pirates, outlaws, and Civil War soldiers. Visitors can explore the cave’s interior, observing graffiti and carvings left by previous explorers, while enjoying scenic views of the river and the park. Cave-In-Rock offers a historic and fascinating visit in Illinois.

Grafton Zipline Adventures

For a combination of underground and aboveground attractions, Grafton Zipline Adventures in Grafton is an excellent choice. This attraction provides a thrilling zipline experience through treetops and over the bluffs of the Mississippi River. Exploring Aerie’s Caves, once used for wine storage, adds an extra dimension to the adventure. Decorated with lights and music, these caves offer a cozy and romantic atmosphere. Visitors can also enjoy a delightful meal and a glass of wine at Aerie’s Resort, situated near the zipline and caves. Grafton Zipline Adventures provide a fun and exciting way to appreciate the natural beauty of Illinois.

The Coolest Underground Attractions in Illinois

These represent some of the coolest underground attractions in Illinois, offering a blend of history, adventure, and mystery. Uncover the wonders and secrets lying beneath the surface of this state. Don’t wait any longer – plan your trip to Illinois and discover these underground attractions for yourself. You won’t regret it!


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