I love this Chicago Tribune excerpt, which basically sums up the views of campchicago.net:
But Jan Kostner of the State Bureau of Tourism said it's not fair to compare Illinois with states that offer oceanfronts or mountain vistas.
"Our parks are different and unique to our land and our terrain," she said.
I've created my own list, heavily slanted toward natural wonders.
Winner: Wrigley Field
Comment: Where's Sears Tower? Millennium Park?
driftless area's choice: Lake Michigan
Comment: Sure, it also could be the choice for Chicagoland, but we don't think of Zion's lakefront when we think of Lake Michigan.
Winner: The Baha'i House of Worship
Comment: Solid choice.
driftless area's choice: Illinois Beach State Park
Comment: Rare habitat along one of the least disturbed sections of Lake Michigan's Illinois shore. And I still haven't been there yet.
Winner: Starved Rock State Park
Comment: Hard to dispute despite the crowds.
driftless area's choice: The wintering bald eagles on the Mississippi
Comment: I don't know of anywhere else in the Lower 48 that one can see 300 eagles at once.
Winner: Black Hawk State Historic Site
Comment: I don't know much about this site, but it does have quite a bit of nature as well as history.
driftless area's choice: Black Hawk State Historic Site
Comment: I'll go with the consensus for an unfamiliar area of the state.
Winner: Allerton Park and Retreat Center
Comment: Estate with gardens and forest near Champaign sounds quite interesting.
driftless area's choice: Middle Fork of Vermilion River
Comment: Allerton was an upset winner over Lincoln-Springfield stuff. I'll take it a step further with a national scenic river flowing through steep hills. Sand Ridge State Forest in the mix, too.
Winner: Rend Lake
Comment: This has to be the most bizarre choice of all--a reservoir along an interstate.
driftless area's choice: Garden of the Gods
Comment: Rock formations in Shawnee National Forest edge cypress swamps of Cache River State Natural Area.
Winner: Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway
Comment: Confluence of Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri Rivers offers recreation and scenery. What no East St. Louis riverboat casino? Damn.
driftless area's choice: Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway
Comment: Local choice edges sympathy for the archaeology of Cahokia.