Showing 1-37 of 37 items found in Outdoors & Play
Nestled in the Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois, sits Alto Vineyards, the region’s oldest, most award-winning winery. Founded in 1988 by Guy Renzaglia, Alto introduced a new industry to the area, starting a movement that has altered its landscape. Today, Alto Vineyards shares the region with 11 other wineries along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, in the state’s first federally recognized grape-growing region, known as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). While continuing to produce some of Illinois’ finest wine, Alto opened a new tasting room in Champaign, IL, and began distributing throughout the state and surrounding regions. Celebrating 25 years in business in 2013, Alto constructed a new, modern tasting room next to the vineyard in Alto Pass. Resting atop the new facility lies an outdoor deck for customers to take in the view on one of southern Illinois’ oldest vineyards – a truly breathtaking sight that exemplifies the beauty of the Shawnee National Forest and Illinois wine country. We invite you to visit our winery and tasting rooms to experience the tradition of Alto Vineyards.
A national symbol of faith, this 111-foot-tall cross, when illuminated at night, can be seen over an area of 7,500 square miles atop the most prominent elevation in Southern Illinois. The cross is surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest.
Anchoring the eastern end of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, our winery offers you "The Romance of Italy in the Hills of Southern Illinois". We are open year-round, 7 days a week, to provide great Illinois wine. Please join us for wine tasting, a variety of hearty sandwiches, soups, pizzas, and snacks, as well as wine-alternatives such as beer and non-alcoholic beverages. Come enjoy our large indoor seating area and two beautiful outdoor terraces that overlook our vineyard and the rolling countryside.
Renowned for its ancient cypress-tupelo swamp, this natural area has been named one of America's 10 Most Beautiful Hidden Gems by Budget Travel. This sprawling area contains 100 threatened or endangered plant and animal species, and 11 state champion trees that have stood for centuries. Visitors enjoy birding, hunting, wildlife watching, canoeing and hiking. Bikers can access the Cache River via the Tunnel Hill State Trail.
The Wetlands Center provides a one-stop shop for information about the Cache River Wetlands and its recreational and educational opportunities. The center has an extensive natural and cultural history exhibit, wildlife viewing, trails and a video.
Trophy whitetail hunts in scenic Southernmost IL. Hunts are offered September 15th through December. The farm consists of mature timber, pine and cedar thickets, thick draws and open area food plots. All hunts are with an experienced guide.
Visit Illinois’ bayou. Yes, the bayou in Illinois. Cypress Creek Wildlife Refuge is home to incredible cypress-filled swamps and wetlands and is unlike anything you expect to find in the Midwest. The refuge protects 15,000 acres of lush wetlands and some of the oldest living trees east of the Mississippi River.
Upland game bird hunting from Oct. 1 - April. Dogs & guide service available. Located 3 miles west of Jct. Hwy. 37 & Hwy. 169, or, 4 miles east of I-57 just off Shawnee College Road.
The Union County Refuge in Union offers a popular spot for bald eagle watching. Visitors can view bald eagles and take wildlife photography off the main road, which runs down the middle of the wildlife refuge. Park rangers will be available weekdays to answer questions about the eagles and other wildlife spotted in the refuge. Admission is free. For more information on eagle watching, contact the Union County Refuge (618-833-5175).
The lush vegetation of the 2,430-acre Ferne Clyffe State Park, located near the small town of Goreville, hides the fact that directly below the soil, a vast area of rock formations exists. The two main areas for rock climbing include Big Rocky Hollow and the Cedar Bluff areas. Cedar Bluff offers both traditional and sport climbing, including several short, but difficult, routes in the class 12 to 13 range that appeal to experienced climbers. Other routes include top-rope access and solid anchors that appeal to new climbers.
Fort Defiance, known as Camp Defiance during the American Civil War, is a former military fortification, located at the awesome confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The site offers visitors the chance to view the confluence from the old observation tower.
This 20-year-old herb and perennial plant nursery offers more than 200 varieties of common and uncommon plants. Sip a glass of lemonade as you view the gardens, feed the catfish in the pond and shop for garden items.
Class A campground with separate tent and trailer camping for equestrians. Also, a youth group camp and primitive walk-in tent sites.
Enjoy the beauty of Giant City State Park on horseback. All trail rides are guided by experienced wranglers. Lessons & pony rides also available.
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.
Located in Alexander County, this area is known for its large stands of tupelo, swamp cottonwood and cypress trees. Also known for its Canadian goose and bald eagle observation vantage point during the fall and winter.
A 5.5 mile trail that takes in the beauty of Horseshoe Lake. Bike rental is available at Melton's on East Side Dr. 618-776-5504. Horseshoe Lake is just east of IL Rt 3 in Alexander Co, 7 miles north of Cairo.
The 18-hole Keller's Crossing at Stone Creek (previously known as Stone Creek Golf Club & Resort) in Makanda, IL is a public golf course that opened in 2000. Designed by Jerry Lemons, Keller's Crossing at Stone Creek measures 6875 yards from the longest tees and has a slope rating of 140 and a 74 USGA rating. The course features 4 sets of tees for different skill levels. The greens are bent grass and the fairways are midlawn bermuda.
Site of one of the historic Lincoln-Douglas Debates, this park features picnic shelters, walking paths and hiking trails.
Located at Lincoln Memorial Park, visitors can "Walk Where Lincoln Walked" by following the presidents footsteps from Jonesboro Square to the park.
Scuba dive at this unique spring-fed stone quarry and marvel at underwater treasures such as a submerged airplane (actually used in the movie U.S. Marshals) and a cement petting zoo. Mermet Springs offers on-site instruction and equipment rental.
RV campground with bathhouse, boat ramp and country store. Restaurant and lodge also on site.
Running parallel to the Ohio River, this scenic route rolls through Southern Illinois' Ohio River Valley, offering stunning views of the lush Shawnee National Forest, dotted by quaint river towns chock-full of Civil War history.
View the last and largest locks and dam that was constructed on the Ohio River.
Beautiful sandy waterfront on Cedar Lake. State certified Lifeguards on duty during beach hours, lap lane, restrooms, picnic tables and a concession area.
A short nature trail along the path of the Cairo & St Louis Narrow Gage railroad used before it was abandoned in 1981. Starting from downtown Alto Pass, the walk offers very scenic views.
Tree ripened peaches & nectarines from July - August, and apples from September - December. This farm market is open 7 days a week with seasonal produce, preserves, pickles and other specialty food items and gifts.
On the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, Rustle Hill winery features an amphitheater bandstand for live music, great wines and beers, restaurant and cabins for rent.
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!
Illinois' newest wine trail connects six wineries dotted throughout the southeast corner of the state. Visitors can enjoy both breathtaking vistas and friendly rural communities, all while sampling excellent red and white wines.
Just 8 miles south of Carbondale, Touch of Nature borders the Shawnee Forest. It is a 3,100 acre wooded retreat area perfect for group events. Located in the City of Makanda, IL.
Set among the rugged slopes of the Ozark Hills in Southern Illinois, this site offers picnic shelters with roadside fireplaces throughout the forest. Features a network of trails for hiking and horseback riding enthusiasts.
Rolling agricultural fields, reclaimed strip mines, ravines, rocky streams and wooded bluffs dominate the northern half of the Tunnel Hill State Trail. With 47.8 miles (one-way) of crushed gravel surface, extended inclines and dark tunnels, this trail is a difficult one, but one not to pass up, as long as you’re up for the challenge. The southern half of the trail explodes with scenery that includes bottomland woods, ponds, streams and marshes. The trail, which winds through seven towns, even touches upon a handful of ghost towns that faded into the landscape after the trains here stopped running.
We have an 18-hole course with four tee boxes on each hole. No matter your skill level, you'll enjoy our links.
This area currently winters nearly 100,000 of the 850,000 Canadian geese that spend the cold-weather months in Illinois. Numerous shallow sloughs and other water areas are scattered throughout its 6,202 acres.
Vertical Heartland Climbing School offers you an amazing opportunity to see Illinois from new heights. Perfect for rock climbing novices and experienced enthusiasts, Vertical Heartland offers hand-on instruction that’s provided by experienced guides with climbs tailored to suit your needs. Climbing services are available year round, seven days a week. Personal and group outings are scheduled by reservation. Reservations are preferred at least two weeks in advance.
White Crane Canoe and Pirogue Rentals offers guided services and watercraft rentals for use on the Cache River. Spend an afternoon gazing upon the mysteries of the swamp including 500 to 1,200 year old cypress & tupelo trees and get lost in another time as you paddle through Illinois’s hidden bayou. Set out in cypress pirogues or canoes and spend time about learning about the river’s history, geology and ecology. Guides will emphasize and share knowledge of local plants and animals and how they were utilized from local Native Americans past and present. Canoe instruction, life jackets and paddles included in the price.