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Shawnee National Forest
The Shawnee National Forest is famed for its awesome Garden of the Gods, and is home to the Rim Rock Recreational Trail (the forest has a system of 403 miles of equestrian/hiking trails). Hikers are greeted by magnificent jutting walls of rock covered with emerald-green moss, and paths that meander through canyons under the forest canopy. Nestled between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the stunning Shawnee National Forest landscape features rolling hills, lakes, creeks and rugged bluffs. If you’re into climbing than a must-see is Jackson Falls, located near the town of Ozark in the Hidden Springs Ranger District in Shawnee National Forest. The climb takes place on 60 feet of sandstone cliffs and boulders that include numerous freestanding towers.
Giant City State Park
Spectacular woodlands and sheer sandstone walls create a challenge for rock climbing and rappelling, as well as hiking. Outdoor lovers will also find horseback riding, a lookout tower, cabins and a swimming pool. Dine at historic Giant City Lodge, known for its homemade fried chicken dinner. Two different locations in Giant City State Park near Carbondale give you climbing options. A trail behind the picnic shelter takes you to a set of steep bluffs known as Shelter #1 near the Makanda entrance; another climbing area of the park includes the steep sandstone cliffs in Devil's Standtable. Plan to bring all of your own equipment since no permanent anchors are allowed. Ropes are permitted in both areas. After rainstorms, the wet sandstone gets really slippery. Use caution when grabbing for ledges as copperhead snakes warm themselves on the rocks during sunny days.
Egyptian Hills Resort
Egyptian Hills Resort is your passport to the Ultimate outdoor family vacation. Whether you are into waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, sport fishing, or pleasure boating; the Lake of Egypt is a boater’s paradise. All within a stone’s throw of your cabin. Within minutes of your cabin, your family can enjoy guided expeditions such as; horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, geo-caching, wildlife photography and many other outdoor activities. Whether planning a single activity or multiple activities for your group, we at Egyptian Hills are your personal concierge in planning your ultimate outdoor family vacation. Whether onsite or through one of our partner guides, all activities are tailored for all ages and experience levels.
CITY: Creal Springs
Giant City Lodge
The 34 cabins offered at Giant City State Park include 12 one-room cabins and duplex cabins nestled in the bluffs near the lodge, featuring a living room and deck overlooking the woods below. An outdoor swimming pool is on site. Giant City Lodge's full-service restaurant features a popular all-you-can eat chicken dinner. Closed Dec. and Jan. every year.
Shawnee Hills Wine Trail
The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail features 12 award-winning wineries located along a 25-mile scenic drive along highway 127 and highway 51 in the Shawnee National Forest. Along the way have a picnic, go on a hike, visit a shop, and stay in a cozy B&B or cabin. Many of the wineries host special events throughout the summer and fall.
Blue Sky Vineyard
Along the majestic Shawnee Hills Wine Trail you’ll find Blue Sky Vineyard—a stunning Tuscan-inspired winery and vineyard. Stroll through the vineyards, enjoy wine tastings, and relax on the outdoor terrace with the rolling countryside as your tapestry.
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour consists of eight zip lines, the longest stretching more than 1,100 feet, which will zig-zag across the property’s bluffs and through the valley. The tour also includes 11 platforms high in the trees, three aerial suspension bridges, the longest stretching 180 feet, and two short ground hikes. A canopy tour is an exciting way to experience the flora, fauna, geology and history of the outdoors by safely traversing an established route of ziplines and aerial bridges between platforms built in the trees, and they are just plain fun!
Little Grand Canyon
A 3.6 mile loop trail constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Offers spectacular views of the Big Muddy River, Turkey Bayou, and the Missouri bluffs across the Mississippi River.
Kinkaid Lake Village Marina
Located on Lake Kinkaid, the marina offers camping, boat slip rental, and boat rental. They have a restaurant, bar, bait shop, camping and boating accessories, and water toys. In addition, you can also purchase your fishing license.
This historic boardwalk dates back to the 1890s. Today it offers galleries featuring quality handcrafts created by local artisans and a country store.
It's all about the water at Rend Lake, where you can swim, boat, water ski and fish. Relax at Rend Lake Resort, tee off at the 27-hole Rend Lake Golf Course or do some target practice at the Rend Lake Shooting Complex. Also located at Rend Lake is the Southern Illinois Art & Artisans Center, featuring more than 800 artists.
Kinkaid Lake Marina Cabins
If you like to fish, enjoy the beautiful outdoors, for boating, hiking, relaxing rent a cabin that puts you right on the edge of beautiful Kinkaid Lake, Muskie fishing at your fingertips!
Devil's Kitchen Cabins
2 cabins. Premier outdoor lodging deep in the woods of Southern Illinois. Perfect for a romantic getaway, vacation, or just a place to relax in peace and quiet.
Kite Hill Vineyards Bed and Breakfast
Kite Hill's B&B is located on a 30-acre estate with a five-acre vineyard, all surrounding Kite Hill Lake. Start your day with a full three-course breakfast followed by a stroll through the vineyards or around the lake. After a full day of Southern Illinois activities, enjoy a complimentary wine tasting at the winery.
Located near the town of Ozark in the Shawnee National Forest, Jackson Falls offers arguably the best rock climbing in southern Illinois. There are roughly 60 climbing areas along the sandstone bluffs and freestanding boulders, each with multiple named routes on them. There are over 500 named routes in all. Most of the routes are 50-60 feet in height. The whole area sits in a very scenic glen. Most of the routes at Jackson Falls are sport routes, though there are a number of traditional routes, and a few areas suitable for setting up a top-rope. There are also many excellent bouldering opportunities here.
The Science Center of Southern Illinois
This center was designed for children ages 3-13 and their families. The science museum features several interactive hands-on exhibits dealing with a variety of basic concepts of science, as well as special events and programs.
Cedar Rock Cabins
Fully furnished cabins in the Shawnee National Forest. Wooded paths wind up and down the hills past rock formations. Enjoy the screened in porch at dusk and view area wildlife. Relax in the hot tub under the stars.
The Lodge at Giant City State Park
Make the scenic trek to Giant City State Park for the all-you-can-eat fried chicken dinner, served in the rustic dining room at Giant City Lodge. The family-style Southern fried chicken comes with made-from-scratch dumplings, mashed potatoes and biscuits with rich country milk gravy.
Little Grand Canyon Trail
The Little Grand Canyon trail is located within the Shawnee National Forest. Experience the easy 3.6 miles of beauty it offers as you ride your bike or hike these fun trails that meander past lush wooded canyons, riverside bluffs, songbirds, woodpeckers and deer; while hawks and vultures soar high above the cliffs. Explore towering rock walls, eroded sandstone canyons, craggy bluffs and moist bottom lands, too.
17th Street BBQ
17th Street BBQ is an award-winning barbecue joint offering family-style dine-in and carryout and has been rated as "Best Ribs in the U.S." by Bon Appétit Magazine. For truly succulent ribs and zesty sauces 17th St. BBQ abides.
Rend Lake Cabins in the Woods
Two cabins. Located off the southwest side of Rend Lake complete with full kitchen, two bedrooms, satellite TV, washer and dryer, front porch with swing, fire pit, barbecue grill and just 15 minutes off of Interstate 57.
Bandy's Pumpkin Patch
This fun Fall destination features mazes, inflatable games, face painting for the little ones, and hayrides. Grab a snack from the concession stand (try the sweet rock candy) before heading home with the perfect pumpkin. (open Oct. 1-30, 9am-6pm)
CITY: Johnston City
Stone Creek Golf Club & Resort
Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest, Stone Creek features an 18 hole-championship course and beautiful cabins. Stone Creek also offers a restaurant, clubhouse, and a scenic area for hiking and fishing.
Arrowhead Lake and Campground
Located on the northeast corner of Johnston City, this 35-acre lake includes a paved boat ramp for fishing, walking path, and campground. Only electric motors and canoes are permitted. You will find largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, black and white crappie, and channel catfish in this small reservoir. Pedal boat rentals are available from July-September.
CITY: Johnston City