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The largest man-made lake in Illinois (26,000 acres), is a premier location for outdoor sports. Known to sailors, it is one of the best and most challenging for sailboats. There is also boating, fishing, hunting, bird watching, sand beaches, and camping areas. Hotels, cabins and golf courses make the area a true outdoor lover's playground.
Bob's Civil War Fort
Tucked away in the rolling hills of Germantown is a Civil War Fort. There is a jail, civil war cannons, a stage coach, a livery, log cabins, and much more.
The Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival features 40 hot air balloons, races, glows, tethered balloon rides, main stage entertainment, craft fair, free children's activity area and games, cardboard boat races, car show, fireworks and much more.
Rainbow Ranch Petting Farm
Meet the wide range of animals at this real working farm. Bottle feed kids and lambs. Pet the goats, camels, chicks, rabbits, camels and even two zebras.
Hidden Lake Winery & Banquet Center
Welcome! Hidden Lake Winery and Banquet Center, located in rural Aviston, IL, is situated in “Silent Forest,” a wooded parcel of land abounding in local lore. Our winemaking began in 2004 and is influenced by the German heritage of the farming families who settled this part of Illinois. At Hidden Lake Winery, our goal is to offer a variety of wines that will satisfy many different palates. Our wines are produced with locally-grown fruit and bottled here in our cellar. Guests can enjoy a glass of wine (or other beverage if desired) in a tranquil setting with old friends, or perhaps with new ones.
J-H Bison Ranch
Tours of this family-run bison ranch include baby bison feeding, herd tours, and photos with baby bison, llamas and horses.
Home to the Balloon Fest, Foundation Park has many walking trails, nature areas, and gathering places.
Louis Latzer Homestead
Louis Latzer, the founder of the Pet Milk Company, built this homestead for his wife and family in 1901. The home had many modern features of the day, including running water pumped by hand to a holding tank in the attic, a manufactured gas light system, speaking tubes between many of the rooms and one of the first telephones in the community.
Carlyle Dam East Spillway Campground
Swimming, fishing, boating.
Dr. Poos Home - Heritage House Museum
Built in 1888, this home was occupied by Dr. Robert Poos, a local practitioner and druggist. Dr. Poos was also the staff physician at the Springs Hotel and Bath House, later known as the Okawville Original Springs Hotel.
Patchwork Corner Crafts
Patchwork Corner Crafts has a wide variety of quilting and craft supplies.
A Buck or More
A Buck or More offers flowers, gift baskets, parcels, party favors, supplies, and services.
The Thrift Shop
Opened in 1990 to help raise money for the local hospital and nursing home, The Thrift Shop is filled with bargains, hard-to-find items, and new and used merchandise.
Villa Marie Winery & Banquet Center
Villa Marie Winery began operation in 2006. The result – over thirty different award-winning (state and international) wines. Nestled in the rolling hills of Southern Illinois, Villa Marie Winery and Banquet Center, a 20,000 square foot venue, is the site of weddings, parties, family and corporate events, and a relaxed atmosphere for spontaneous gatherings, planned meetings, or an opportunity to taste outstanding wines. Come for lunch, order delicious appetizers, or enjoy assorted cheeses and crackers while sipping wine and appreciating the peaceful surroundings. Villa Marie Winery and Banquet Center hosts events throughout the year. Come for: "Wine All You Want Wednesday" (ladies’ night), days to honor military personnel, original music showcases, special events on calendar holidays, customer appreciation, or for a quiet place to drink excellent wine, watch the swans and ducks, and enjoy the company of good friends. Check our website for dates and times of events:
McIlwain Mansion B&B
3 room bed and breakfast with private bathrooms.
Home Garden & Business Expo
Annual Home Garden & Business Expo featuring over 40 exhibitors and 2 full days of "How To" demonstrations. Breakfast and lunch available, hourly door prizes, blood screenings on site and register for the "Grand Prize!"
Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery
Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery offers a relaxing dining atmosphere. They serve lunch and dinner, with breakfast on Sundays. With a twist on the normal steak and eggs, the Lodge serves prime rib or smoked brisket and eggs along with pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and omelet’s. Lunch offerings include salads, smoked sandwiches, hamburgers as well as many appetizers. Dinner includes, but not limited to rib eye steaks, surf-n-turf, succulent pulled pork, seafood, and awesome baby back ribs. The Lodge offers inside and outside dining options. A variety of dinner specials are available throughout the week. A breakfast and brunch buffet is available on Sundays. Each visit to Bretz Wildlife Lodge and Winery is a new experience for you to enjoy.
Coles Creek Recreation Area
148 sites, electricity, shower, reservations
Crooked Creek Winery
Enjoy fine handcrafted Illinois wines served with a personal touch in a relaxing country atmosphere. Experience the outdoor beauty of Southwestern Illinois' rolling farmland or sip wine indoors by a cozy fire.
Spend the day tackling go-karts, miniature golf, batting cages, bumper boats and a video arcade.
Family Fun Tyme
Located in Maryville, this facility has an indoor arcade, batting cages and lots more fun for kids. Alfonzo's Restaurant is right next door for pizza lovers.
General Dean Suspension Bridge
Located just outside the city of Carlyle, this historic 130-year-old bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the area. The original bridge served as a crossing over the Kaskaskia River.
This expansive park features picnic areas, baseball and softball fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and sand volleyball courts. The centerpiece of the park is an old train depot, a full-size caboose, and a train car that can be reserved for groups.
The Mermaid House
The beautiful house is an example of an 1830s hotel. Charles Dickens once visited there in 1842 while researching a book he wrote on prairies in America.