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Time series plots in R are totally customizable using the ggplot2 package, and can come out with a look that is clean and sharp. However, you usually end up fighting with formatting the x-axis and other options, and I explain in my blog post.
I use the datasets from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) to demonstrate in a lot of my data science tutorials. The BRFSS are free and available to the public – but they are kind of buried on the web site. This blog post serves as a “map” to help you find them!