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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.
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.
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.
This natural geologic sandstone formation spans 90 feet across a ravine in a mature beech, oak and hickory forest. Nearby is an easy hiking trail dotted with picnic sites.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CornerStone Cabins is a group of luxurious Southern Illinois cabins surrounded by bluffs, wildlife, and a fabulous view of the stars. Our cabins are ideal for a romantic getaway plus we have accommodations for groups of up to 35 guests. We provide a unique lodging experience and we're only minutes away from all of the finest Southern IL attractions.
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.
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)
“Ciao” on delicious Italian food and delight in a grand parade. This week long festival will include midway rides and games, live music from award winning artists, a bocce tournament, a grape stomp, a pasta cook-off, a kids pet and bike parade, a road race and an art contest.
Offers gas, bait, tackle, ice, beer, groceries, contour maps and camping with water and electricity. Open all year. Located at the northeastern edge of the lake.
Located near Giant City State Park and along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Features 1 and 2 bedroom units with kitchenettes, outdoor grills and fireplace.