Many travelers are embracing slow tourism in today’s hectic, fast-paced world. Slow tourism encompasses a deliberate and unhurried exploration of destinations, emphasizing the journey as much as the destination itself. It involves meandering through scenic routes, stopping to admire breathtaking landscapes, and immersing oneself in the local culture along the way. If you are taking a road trip, you can explore hidden gems off the beaten track and engage with communities that may be otherwise missed. Slow Tourism is the perfect way to explore the Driftless Reagion. Whether it’s a leisurely road trip through rolling hills, a scenic drive along a river, or a meander through quaint downtowns, slow tourism encourages travelers to savor each moment, creating a deeper understanding of the places you visit while minimizing your environmental impact.

When you stay at Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages, a nature lover’s Bed and Breakfast,located just outside of Galena, Illinois, you can use it as your home base to explore the scenic Driftless Area and the many quaint historic towns in the tri-state area. Start each morning with a hearty, homemade breakfast and a stroll around our mile-long walking trail through the pine forest, rolling hills, and engaging farm animals. Our well-appointed cottages and main house suites provide a perfect relaxation space to get yourself ready for a day of exploring. Following is a list of some of our favorite nearby destinations to practice slow tourism on your Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages visit.

Slow Tourism Destinations in the Driftless Region

Galena, IL: Approximately 15 minutes from Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages, Galena offers a historic downtown, scenic beauty, and various attractions. Visitors can explore history at the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, kayak along the Galena River, and indulge in shopping and dining along Main Street. Take a trolly tour and learn about the rich history, experience the architecture, and enjoy the views. Once the largest city in Illinois, this beautifully preserved town is the perfect place to slow down and imagine life in a bygone area.

Downtown Mineral Point locatd in the Driftless Region
City Service Brewing in Darlington is the perfect place to slow down and relax.

Mineral Point, WI: Only 40 minutes away, Mineral Point is renowned for its historic architecture, art galleries, and unique charm. Visitors can explore the Pendarvis Historic Site, browse local art studios, or enjoy a meal at one of the town’s cozy cafes or restaurants. For a hands-on, creative experience, take a workshop at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts.

Apple river Fort

Darlington, WI: Just 30 minutes away, Darlington offers a taste of rural Wisconsin life with its historic downtown, outdoor recreation, and annual events. Visitors can explore the Darlington Historic District, enjoy outdoor activities at Yellowstone Lake State Park, or attend the Lafayette County Fair. Be sure to stop by City Service Brewing for a cold beer or craft-made soda while browsing their selection of antiques.

Elizabeth, IL: Approximately 15 minutes away, Elizabeth provides a charming small-town experience with historic sites and scenic surroundings. Visitors can explore the Apple River Fort State Historic Site, shop for unique gifts in local boutiques, or explore the expansive Elizabeth’s Grand Antiques. Stop to recharge your batteries at Lola’s Deli or E-Town Coffee.

Cuba City, WI:  A picturesque 30-minute drive from Hawk Valley Retreat and Cottages, Cuba City is a small city with a distinct allure. Cuba City is a treasure trove for those interested in antiques, vintage items, and unique finds. Visitors can spend hours browsing through the eclectic collection of furniture, decor, and assorted knick-knacks, often uncovering hidden gems and one-of-a-kind pieces. Close by, the Badger State Trail offers hiking, biking, and picnicking opportunities amidst scenic landscapes. Cuba City’s blend of small-town hospitality, shopping opportunities, and outdoor recreation makes it a delightful stop for visitors exploring the Hawk Valley Retreat and Cottages area.

Shullsburg, WI: Located approximately 20 minutes from Hawk Valley Retreat and Cottages, Shullsburg is a charming small town with a rich history and distinctive character. Explore the historic downtown area, which boasts well-preserved 19th-century architecture, including many buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Badger Mine and Museum offers insight into the town’s mining heritage, allowing visitors to learn about the area’s lead mining history and the lives of those who worked in the mines. Additionally, Shullsburg is known for its artisanal cheeses, with several local cheese factories offering tours and tastings for cheese enthusiasts. Shullsburg’s small-town charm, historical significance, and natural beauty make it a delightful destination for visitors seeking a unique and memorable experience.

Downtown Shullsburg, WI.

At Hawk Valley Retreat & Cottages, we aim for you to relax, restore, and explore. These towns provide the perfect opportunity to explore with diverse experiences, from historical exploration to outdoor adventure, making them excellent destinations for a slow tourism day trip when staying at Hawk Valley Retreat and Cottages. Check out our entire blog for more places to explore when visiting our little slice of heaven.