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Adventures in Carbondale

From Local Experts

3 Days 71 Miles



from the local experts at Carbondale Tourism

Dine in one of our local restaurants that utilize fresh, regional produce.

You can also explore our international culinary scene, bursting with many cultural influences. Our accommodations range from modern hotels to cozy inns, or cabins in the woods. You are sure to feel right at home. Your Carbondale adventure starts here.

Day 1:


  • A lake

Spend the day out on Cedar Lake, an 1,750-acre reservoir in southern Illinois, created by the damming of Cedar Creek, a tributary of the Big Muddy River. There are numerous hiking trails and campsites that run along Cedar Lake as well. Cedar Lake offers endless outdoor fun including kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and swimming. 

After you have worked up an appetite, head to Global Gourmet, located in the heart of downtown Carbondale, on a cobblestone street on the north side of the historic town square. Here you will find an eclectic and soothing atmosphere with a diverse menu that changes daily. The dining room serves ethnic inspired dishes, the bar is a casual spot, and the patio is a relaxing oasis. 

Wind down the evening at Woodland Cabins, located on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and sitting on 44 acres of privacy at the edge of the Shawnee National Forest. Enjoy ponds, fishing, paddle boating and wildlife. These cozy retreats offer private decks, hot tubs, and log fireplaces for ultimate relaxation and romance. With being so close to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, make sure to enjoy a day trip out to a few of the wineries. There are eleven wineries on the trail and almost all offer wine tastings, food, and outdoor seating. The fall is the perfect time to sit outside and enjoy the colors and rolling hills of the Shawnee National Forest. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for orchards as well. Along the wine trail, you will also find several orchards such as Rendleman Orchards, where you can pick pumpkins and grab some apple cider donuts to go.

Day 2:


  • Person sitting on bench in the forest

Start off your day by visiting the newly opened Buckwater Brew Works and Whiskey House. Enjoy the gorgeous weather on the patio and try out their variety of craft and domestic beers as well as liquors and other mixed spirits. They also offer classic pub fare such as burgers and soft pretzels. With cozy leather couches, booths, wood dim lighting and exposed brick, the indoor atmosphere of Buckwater offers the perfect setting to relax. Head out to Giant City State Park for some hiking. Giant City is only a short drive from Carbondale and offers several winding trails that take you through beautiful sandstone bluff formations. There are also picnic tables, playground equipment, grills, and campgrounds, making it the perfect spot for all ages.

Enjoy dinner at Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza, which has been open since 1975. Serving up Chicago-style and thin-crust pizzas, pasta, sandwiches and salads, Quatro’s is a local staple and family favorite. Dine in, carry out, or order for delivery. 

Wind down the night by exploring the nightlife along “the strip” in downtown Carbondale and then head to the Home2 Suites by Hilton to catch some shut-eye. Located in the heart of the downtown area, you’ll be close to Southern Illinois University, and in walking distance of numerous restaurants and bars. WiFi and breakfast are included.

Day 3:


  • A restaurant table

Satisfy your tastebuds by dining at Harbaugh’s Café. One of Carbondale’s staple breakfast spots, Harbaugh’s is known for its cozy atmosphere and hearty plates of classic breakfast and lunch fare. Decorated with local art, there is always something to intrigue you while you sip your coffee in this eclectic café. 

Visit Lipe Orchards for your seasonal fresh produce needs. Lipe Orchards is one of the few southern Illinois orchards that raise Lodi apples, and is part of the Shawnee Hills Orchard Trail. Fall brings more than 20 varieties of peaches, apples, nectarines, plums and a wide variety of vegetables.

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