I always just assumed that anything called "Ozarks" was in Missouri, but apparently Illinois has their own Ozarks and the area looks absolutely breath taking!

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When I first moved to Quincy here in west central Illinois 2 and a half years ago from Chicago, one of the first things I realized was that everyone takes vacations to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. I have taken a vacation there last year and it really was fantastic, great bars, restaurants, water sports, and it was beautiful scenery, but I was shocked to learn that the Land of Lincoln has their own Ozarks!

I stumbled upon the Facebook page for something called Illinois Ozarks, they were posting about today being the start of Fall and how all the colors are beginning to change, I clicked on the Facebook page because I had never heard of Illinois Ozarks before and learned that it is a real thing at the southern tip of Illinois. The Facebook page has a link on it to a whole website called Illinoisozarks.com and the website says...

"...the Shawnee National Forest becomes your playground for outdoor adventure. Days can be spent exploring our many parks, hidden hollows, shelter bluffs, and unique rock formations such as Camel Rock at the Garden of the Gods."

The website is loaded with great information about what there is to do, places to stay, and ways to make the most of your trip to the Illinois Ozarks in Shawnee National Forest.

I'm not much of an outdoors man at all, my idea of an outdoor vacation getaway is on a beach with a fancy rum drink, BUT from all the pictures I've seen now of the Illinois Ozarks it is making me want to plan a fall weekend getaway to do some exploring and take some pictures! Did you know that Illinois had an Ozarks?

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.