Tourism is the interrelated system that includes tourists and the associated services that are provided and utilized (facilities, attractions, transportation, and accommodation) to aid in their movement.
Preserving the small and intimate nature of the town was identified as a priority by the Oglesby Plan Commission. This was also strongly supported by the citizens involved in the process. The conclusion was to enhance the qualities that attract visitors but try to avoid unchecked growth of mass tourism.
Oglesby is located just a few miles southwest of Starved Rock State Park. The park encompasses an area of approximately 2,621 acres. The Park contains 13 miles of trails to the 18 canyons, numerous waterfalls and spectacular Illinois River bluff overlooks. The park offers a lodge/conference center, visitor’s center, camping, fishing, boating, and picnic areas. Many special events are held at the Park throughout the year. Starved Rock State Park markets the Bald Eagles that are transitory to the area. Birders, people who travel to watch birds migrate to certain places, come to the area for the Bald Eagles.
Matthiessen State Park is located within a mile west of Oglesby. The Park encompasses an area of approximately 1,686 acres. Matthiessen is located on the Vermilion River and contains five (5) miles of trails to several canyons and waterfalls. There are several picnic areas throughout the Park.
Buffalo Rock State Park is located within ten (10) miles northwest of Oglesby. The Park covers approximately 293 acres of land. The Park is located on a bluff above the Illinois River and contains trails, river overlooks, and picnic areas. Two (2) American Bison are held in a grazing area at the Park.
The Illinois & Michigan Canal is located near Oglesby on the north side of the Illinois River. The Canal runs 61.5 miles from Rockdale, Illinois to LaSalle, Illinois. The old towpath along the length of the canal is now used as a bike/walking path and snowmobile trail. Canal tours are available in a replica canal boat that is docked at Lock 16 in LaSalle. The canal also used for fishing and small non-motorized watercraft.
Illinois Scenic Byways
The Vermilion River flows as the eastern border of Oglesby. It is a tributary of the Illinois River. The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway begins in Ottawa and ends 140 miles south in Havana. The Byway follows the Illinois River and passes through the City.
The Illinois River has been and is a major lifeline for the areas through which it flows. Many animals and waterfowl make their home along the Illinois River and its tributaries, as well as in the forest areas and wetlands alongside the banks of the River. The Byway offers birding and wildlife watching, hunting, fishing, biking, canoeing, and hiking amongst other adventures.
The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway (Rt. 71) runs directly through Oglesby. The National Scenic Byway is “part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The program is a grass-roots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve, and enhance selected roads throughout the United States.”
According to America’s Byways® “The natural, archaeological, and historic heritage along the Illinois River Road shows byway visitors the nature of life along the riverbanks.”
Accommodations and Tourist Information
Days Inn Oglesby
120 N. Lewis Ave.
Oglesby, IL 61348
Best Western Oglesby
900 Holiday Street
Oglesby, IL 61348
Senica’s Deer Park Country Club and Golf Course was founded in 1904. There are 110 acres of manicured fairways. Along with the 18-hole golf course, driving range, clubhouse bar, restaurant and store, and a supervised swimming pool. The Club offers golfing and social memberships. The clubhouse and certain areas may be rented for weddings and other events.
Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club
Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club is a golfer’s delight! Masterfully designed to utilize the area’s natural beauty, this exceptional development features an 18 hole, 6900 yard, par 72 championship golf course.
Gently rolling bentgrass fairways weave their way through a challenging landscape of oak woodlands, past five sparkling lakes, along a meandering creek and over 49 sandtraps. Water hazards come into play on 13 hole. And, the three sets of tees allow players of all abilities to enjoy the course.
South Bluff was designed by William Langford ASGCA, which opened in 1920. The 9-hole golf course at the South Bluff Country Club facility, located just northwest of Oglesby, features 2,851 yards of golf for a par of 36.