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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.
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.
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.
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.
Mt. Vernon Fall Festival
This three day October festival in downtown Mt. Vernon includes a beer tent with live entertainment, parade, children's area, food, fun, car show, band competition, pumpkin competition, carnival, pet parade and so much more!
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.
“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.
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)
Pickers Outlet Mall
Pickers Outlet Mall is a new 5,000 square foot building located on the busy Herrin Road (1.5 miles west of I-57). The mall can accommodate about 43 vendors. It is set-up like an antique mall, but has more to offer than antiques. It is a fun place to shop where the merchandise is changing daily.
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.
Herrin Park District
Herrin Park District is a beautiful, well kept park with a seasonal outdoor swimming pool as well as a multipurpose recreation complex. The park offers two walking paths with a quarter-mile all weather track, and a one-mile lighted walking trail. Herrin Park is an excellent place for a leisurely jog. You can even enjoy feeding the beautiful ducks.
Lusk Creek Canyon
Lusk Creek Canyon is the most well known whitewater run in Southern Illinois. The creek starts out in woodland bottoms with relatively minor gradient but soon is surrounded by rocky hillsides and cliffs. These cliffs rise out of the water to heights over one hundred feet. After the canyon section, the cliffs recede and the creek is surrounded by forest for the final mile. Rapids on this creek are at low to moderate levels and are mostly Class II in nature. However, this is not a good beginner run. This creek flows through forests before entering the canyon.
Aquatic Zoo Waterpark - Mt. Vernon
The Aquatic Zoo Waterpark is fun for all ages. The facility features two 30-ft. tall slides; one 112-ft. body slide; one 266-ft. dual rider tube slide; two diving boards; a children's splash pad; interactive voice and light features; lazy river; zero depth entry leisure pool and concessions.
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park
The gateway to the largest outdoor playground in southern Illinois includes Rend Lake, the second largest manmade lake in the state. Wheelchair access.
Saline Creek Pioneer Village
This fascinating pioneer village includes the original Saline County Pauper Farm (now a three-story museum), an old jail, an 1859 one-room schoolhouse, the Cain Church, several 1800s log cabins, a barn and country store.
Cedarhurst Center for the Arts & Mitchell Museum
Exhibitions, a children's gallery, a permanent collection and special events. Grounds include 85 acres sculpture park, nature trails and bird sanctuary. Hosts annual Cedarhurst Craft Fair.
Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center
Situated on Rend Lake in Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, this modern resort offers cabins and boat rental suites, courtesy boat docking slips, restaurants and more. Guests can enjoy golfing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and other water sports.
Rend Lake Golf Course
Named one of the best courses in the Midwest, this 27-hole course has paved cart paths, fountains and many challenges. There's also a lighted driving range, a pro shop with a pro, and special lodging/golf packages available year round. On the eastern shores of Rend Lake.
Williams Hill Pass
The bunkhouse cabins accommodate four people. Each cabin includes heat, air-conditioning, electricity, table and chairs, a full bed bunk bed and linens. Picnic tables and fire rings are provided outside the cabins for meal preparation. Showers and bathrooms are located in the air conditioned shower house at the Welcome Center. Williams Hill Pass is a family-oriented OHV park located between Mitchellville and Rudement just off Illinois Route 34 in southern Saline County on the north slope of Williams Hill, the highest point in Southern Illinois.
How the West Was Won - Shawnee National Forest
An all-star cast is featured in this frontier drama about the western expansion of the United States in the early 1800s, as seen through the eyes of two pioneer families. Parts of the movie were filmed in Southern Illinois' Shawnee National Forest and Cave-in-Rock State Park, named for its limestone cave that once harbored real river pirates.
A World War I memorial stature, “The Spirit of The American Dough Boy” was dedicated on September 6, 1927 following its acquisition through a project sponsored jointly by the local American Legion and VFW Posts. The solider is forever immortalized in statue form, seen is his war apparel and stance. The Dough Boy is a symbol of freedom and remembrance of those who fought for our land.
Economy Inn & Suites
Well established, friendly hometown motel. Queen beds, specials, kids free under 12, free coffee and tourism information. Close to Shawnee National Forest and Garden of Gods Recreation Area.
Bryant's Miniatures features miniature horses, llamas and George the camel. Children and adults are welcome to enjoy the animals at this hands-on facility.
Seasons Lodge & Condominiums
Provides affordably priced and beautifully furnished accommodations. Optional spa and fireplace suites. Restaurant and golf course on site.