15 Best Things to Do in Savanna, IL

Savanna, IL
Dee Hudson Photography / shutterstock.com

Once you've experienced the best things to do in Savanna, Illinois, you'll understand why it's been named the best small town for adventure by USA Today.

Carroll County is home to the city of Savanna, located just along the Mississippi River.

The second Iowa-Illinois highway bridge is located north of Savanna and is part of U.S. Route 52, which connects Iowa and Illinois.

Native American tribes, especially the Sauk, previously roamed the area, which was originally part of a huge hunting zone.

Per the Treaty of St. Louis (1804) and some other agreements, land on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River in Illinois was made available for agricultural settlement.

Savanna and other riverside towns expanded their businesses by using the river's convenient transportation.

After the Black Hawk War in 1832, the initial residents of Savanna had to deal with the consequences.

Today, Savanna is known as a sportsman's paradise.

Read on to discover the best things to do in Savanna.

Explore Mississippi Palisades State Park

Mississippi Palisades State Park
Eddie J. Rodriquez / shutterstock.com

Native American pathfinders along the Mississippi River's sandstone bluffs followed the same way as today's hikers - they selected the shortest route.

The Mississippi Palisades' southern paths, in particular, bring you back in time.

Many others have walked these same paths before you, some dating back over a thousand years.

Mississippi Palisades State Park
Eddie J. Rodriquez / shutterstock.com

The 2,500-acre Mississippi Palisades State Park, located near the Mississippi-Apple River, confluence in northwestern Illinois, is steeped in American Indian heritage.

Three miles north of Savanna in Carroll County's Carroll County sits Mississippi Palisades, an area that lives up to its name with cliffs as high as the Mississippi River itself.

Mississippi Palisades State Park
Eddie J. Rodriquez / shutterstock.com

The park's and the river's near surroundings are home to a diverse array of wildlife.

Wild turkeys and other waterfowl and shorebirds can be seen in large numbers.

The park is home to striking pileated woodpeckers and eagles in the winter months, depending on the ice conditions.

Mississippi Palisades State Park
Eddie J. Rodriquez / shutterstock.com

Hop on cSavanna Adventures

A vacation at cSavanna has everything you could want.

You may book your stay and see the cSavanna in a new light with our accommodation, adventure rentals, and one-of-a-kind bus service – everything you need to feel right at home.

It is possible to go kayaking, tubing, and fishing from cSavanna.

Allow "Amber," the Excursion Bus, to pick you up from your location and take you on a 2- to 5-hour adventure along the river.

It aims to provide something for everyone, regardless of their degree of experience.

Tour Savanna Museum and Cultural Center

The Savanna Museum and Cultural Center, which first opened its doors in 2011, now hosts various exciting events and exhibitions that come and go.

In 2008, over 50 volunteers contributed over 8,000 hours to refurbish the historic three-story structure.

As a result of its efforts, the Society was awarded Illinois Governor's Hometown Award in 2010.

The Gallery of Civil War Soldiers, one of several exhibits in the Savanna Museum & Cultural Center, tells one hundred stories of the Civil War.

More than 100 life-size mannequins, all clad in genuine Civil War-era costumes, have been hand-made by local history instructor Professor Gene Wright.

Each mannequin has its tale.

This collection of historical figures, including everyone from an eleven-year-old drummer boy to the Greybeard Regiment and even a woman who served in the military disguise, sheds insight on an important era in history.

An H.O. model train depicting Savanna's transcontinental railroad history is displayed in the "Workin' on the Railroad" Exhibit on the second level.

Model railroad enthusiasts would not want to skip this world-class show, which is being built by five local members of the scale model club.

The Wayne King Room features a collection of artifacts and memorabilia to honor Wayne King.

In addition, there are several railroad antiques and relics from the now-defunct Savanna Ordnance Depot on exhibit.

Stroll around Havencrest Castle

The St. Georges couple had been in love since they were teenagers, combining dream and reality.

As a result of their commitment, their job and lifestyle often blur the lines between dreams and reality.

Alan and Adrianne St. George grew the original 22 rooms to 63 during their 31-year marriage.

This 63-room home is adorned with luxury and artistry in every room.

Havencrest Castle is a website where you can find out more about their open dates and history.

Tickets for the venue may be purchased online in advance.

Pay Respects to Fallen Heroes at Savanna Veterans Memorial

Savanna's north entrance is home to the Savanna Veterans Memorial, a place of honor for the city's veterans.

The Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Mississippi River may be seen here.

It was formed to commemorate and celebrate our community's veterans, past, present, and future.

Residents and tourists alike can reflect on the efforts made by their forefathers at the Veterans Memorial.

Additionally, it strives to show that the community is grateful for the sacrifices made by all those who have fought in the United States military services.

Have a Picnic at Old Mill Park

The Savannah Park District, which includes Old Mill Park, offers a wide range of recreational opportunities to improve locals' quality of life and serve as a tranquil retreat for tourists.

It has everything you need for a fun-filled afternoon with a playground, snack shop, two restrooms (one of which is handicapped-accessible), and a shelter house located on the northeast edge of town.

There is also a walking track, a nature trail, and many green areas for resting and picnics.

Whether you're looking for a quiet nature stroll, a game of tennis or disc golf, or a family picnic, Old Mill Park has something for everyone.

The Old Mill Park hosts various youth sports, including T-ball, baseball, softball, and practices.

Go Biking through the Great River Trail

Over 60 miles of the Mississippi River may be seen along the Great River Trail, located in northern Illinois.

Pedal-powered cyclists flock to this track.

As you travel south from Savanna, you'll pass through several sleepy riverside communities before reaching the industrial heartland known as the Quad Cities, encompassing the cities of Rock Island and Moline.

Antique shopping, catfishing, and watching the river traffic are all popular pastimes.

For overnight outings, camping and housing are provided.

Go Camping at Spring Lake Campground

With grass and trees instead of concrete, Spring Lake Campground's biggest "amenity" is the tranquility and beauty of nature.

This campsite is within a short distance from the Great River Bike Trail.

Electricity and water are both available at 30 amps.

Rentals, bait and equipment, ice, and other supplies are also available.

If you and your loved ones are looking for an unforgettable vacation, Spring Lake Campground is the place for you and your family.

In addition to serving as an ecological preserve, Spring Lake serves as a tranquil retreat for campers.

Since 1943, campers at Spring Lake have enjoyed this one-of-a-kind experience.

Spring Lake Campground will transport you to a simpler moment in your life.

For a unique camping experience, come to Spring Lake Campground and stay in a camper or a tent on the shores of Spring Lake.

Cool Down at Shivers Inc

Shivers Inc. is a small ice cream parlor run by a family.

It is located at 708 Main Street.

This ice cream cafe serves lunch, supper, and more than 30 different types of ice cream.

It also has daily specials.

Each month, it introduces a new flavor of ice cream.

Check out the world's largest pair of ice cream cones and pose for a selfie with them while you're there.

Tee Off at Palisades Golf Course

Golfing is available in Savanna and the surrounding region. Swing a club at Palisades Golf Club.

Located near Savanna, Illinois, the Palisades Golf Course's 9-hole "Palisades" course measures 2,369 yards from the back tees for a par of 33.

Since its opening in 1953, Igor Smith has designed the Palisades golf course.

As a co-owner, Carol Canier is responsible for running the course.

Palisades Golf Course in Northwest Illinois and the Mississippi River backwaters welcomes you to play a relaxed game of golf and appreciate the natural beauty.

A swan named Igor, who comes each year to the same pond searching for food, is just one of many animals you may observe while playing.

Clubhouse amenities are available both inside and outside, so make use of both.

With a complete bar, Carol's renowned "Swamp Tea," and fantastic cuisine at pricing you can't beat, you'll be able to cool off in no time!

Don't you have time for a game?

Take advantage of the clubhouse's 250-yard practice range or the clubhouse's chip and putt green for a quick round of golf!

Spend the Night at Poopy's Pub n' Grub

Forget about the stereotypes.

You won't find a standard restaurant or a typical biker bar at Poopy's Pub n' Grub.

Instead, you'll find delicious cuisine and refreshing beverages in a laid-back setting.

It has various options, including a wide variety of made-to-order appetizers.

Beer and liquor are available in plenty at the three-full service bar.

During the summer months, outdoor seating with open-air dining makes it simple to accommodate a big gathering of people.

Poopy's distinctive apparel is available in the on-site retail store and a wide variety of other amusing items.

Free tent camping with bathrooms and hot showers is also available if you need somewhere to stay the night.

Have a Pit Stop at Iron Horse Social Club

Savanna is a popular destination for motorcycle fans because of the many riders traveling through the city on the Great River Road.

The Iron Horse Social Club has a motorbike museum open to the public for free.

There's an interesting museum in the bar that's stretched out across a few floors.

There's a wedding chapel on the third floor of the Iron Horse Social Club!

People, food, music, and beer are all here to enjoy.

Grab Some Antique Items at Frank Fritz Finds

Frank Fritz Finds, a downtown Savanna antiques and collectibles shop run by American Pickers co-star Frank Fritz, is housed in the Hawg Dog Bar & Grill, a historic landmark.

Frank started his hobby as a youngster by collecting pebbles and empty beer cans.

He was a long-time fire and safety inspector, but his true love was collecting old rubbish.

The shop owner is a treasure hunter who spends much of his time traveling around the United States searching for buried wealth.

He's known as the bearded charmer for his ability to connect with potential buyers and put out flames.

There are times when Frank finds himself tempted to acquire yet another motorcycle for his collection because of his passion for all things mechanical.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Winetasting with a View at Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery

Front View of Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery in Hanover, Illinois
SD Dirk, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Roughly 20 minutes from Savanna lies the Rocky Waters Vineyard and Winery amid the rolling hills of Jo Daviess County.

Rocky Waters is a boutique winery specializing in exquisite white wine varietals such as Lacrosse, Leon Millot, and St. Pepin.

Additionally, there is a gift store, tasting room, and a vineyard on the property.

Its 25-acre vineyard is a perfect place to grow these kinds because of its ideal temperature and soil conditions.

Its spectacular winery offers stunning views of the changing seasons from the hill overlooking the vineyard.

Live music is also offered on the expansive deck, overlooking the vineyard and lake.

Take Photos with Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge

The Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge spans the Mississippi River and carries U.S. Route 52.

Just two minutes from downtown Savannah, it links the island city of Sabula, Iowa, with the city of Savanna.

The bridge was completed in 2017 and opened to the public in November of the same year.

The Savanna–Sabula Bridge, just to the north, was demolished to make way for this new structure.

The bridge was named after Dale Gardner.

Gardner was raised in Savanna, served in the U.S Navy in Vietnam, and spent more than 14 days in orbit as a NASA mission specialist astronaut.

Aside from Dale Gardner's memory, the bridge also respects those who have served in the military.

Final Thoughts

The Savanna region has miles of hiking and biking paths for you and your family.

Its location is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, so bring your boat along.

Or how about a long camping weekend?

Plan your Savanna adventure itinerary using our list of the best things to do in this city!