Ride the only Illinois Ferry crossing the Ohio River and view the lifestyle of our Kentucky Amish neighbors. While you are in Marion, Kentucky visit Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum, home to an outstanding collection of minerals, gemstones, carvings, period journals, photographs, mining tools and more. Participate in an actual dig.
Discover the Illinois State Mineral – “Fluorspar”. Learn of its history, production and uses. Hardin County was the largest fluorspar-producing area in the United States. The American Fluorite museum is located on the site of the Rosiclare Fluorspar and Mining Co., which was once the largest fluorspar mining company in the U.S. It features photographs, ore specimens, mining paraphernalia and colorful dioramas.
Worship at the oldest Baptist Church in Illinois. This beautiful old church has been in continuous service since 1806. Located in Elizabethtown.
Reflect on yesteryear when riverboat patrons arrived at this hotel sitting peacefully on a bluff overlooking the beautiful Ohio River. Built in 1812, it is the oldest operating hotel in Illinois. This National Historic Site is owned by the State of Illinois and has undergone major renovation.
The Tunnel Hill State Bicycle Trail, a crushed limestone path, stretches 45 miles southwest from Harrisburg to Karnak, Ill. with an additional 2.5 mile spur to Cache River State Natural Area’s Barkhausen Wetlands Center. Another recently completed bike trail extends 7.5 miles north from Harrisburg to Eldorado. The tunnel, located at the midway point of the main path is literally and figuratively the highpoint. The most picturesque section of the path is a 9.3 mile segment from the tunnel to the town of Vienna, crossing several other well known routes….the River to River hiking trail from the Mississippi to the Ohio; the American Discovery cross-country route; Adventure Cycling’s TransAmerica bike trail; and the Trail of Tears National Historic Route.
The Shawnee National Forest is know for it’s incredible horseback trails. Listed in Western Horseman as one of five top places to ride in the US, the trails and scenery along the trails are spectacular. This is the reason that horsemen from 48 states travel to Southern Illinois with their families and horses to ride in the Shawnee National Forest. It is the unparalleled beauty of the Shawnee’s immense hardwood forests, it’s clear streams, water falls, unique caves, towering sandstone bluffs, overlooks and magnificent rock formations which create some of the most spectacular scenery in the Midwest.
Saline County State Fish & Wildlife Area, 5 miles southeast of Equality in southeastern Illinois, was the site of springs and wells that furnished brine for one of the two salt works. Although the springs and wells are not visible today, the area primarily is a recreational site. The initial acquisition of 524 acres of land was made in 1959 by the state of Illinois, and the total acreage now totals 1,270 acres, including a beautiful 105-acre lake. Site of springs and wells that furnished brine for one of the two salt works in the area. Before the first settlers arrived, Native Americans also produced salt from the springs here. Extracting salt from the springs’ water became too expensive once commercial producers began manufacturing salt, and the land that was once so highly prized was sold off. Memorial to Chief Tecumseh is located at this site. Tecumseh was a Shawnee Chief who attempted to unite the Midwestern tribes in a common cause of resistance to the western advancement of the white settlements. He viewed the resistance as a holy war, designed to protect the native way of life. Three mile trail begins at statue over to Old Stone Face
If you are looking for a place in the center of the Shawnee National Forest, then Lake Glendale Recreation Area is for you. Its central location makes it easy to visit main attractions on either side of the forest or any place in-between. Surrounded by tall pine trees and mixed hardwood forests, Lake Glendale Recreation Area offers a wide range of recreation opportunities including hiking, camping, swimming, boating, fishing and bicycling. Lake Glendale Recreation Area includes Oak Point Campground, Pine Point Campground, a swim area, Cardinal Bay Boat Launch, Duck Bay Group Camping & Goose Bay Picnic Area. Oak Point Campground has 57 campsites – 31 electric camp sites.
Located in Rosiclare City Park, the River Walk offers great views of the Ohio River. The walk is handicapped accessible with benches for those who want to rest and enjoy the view. According to legend, Rosiclare got its unusual name from two young girls, Rose and Clare. They were the daughters of an early settler of French descent. By the 1890’s the name of the town on maps had been changed to one word, Rosiclare. Settled around 1807 and originally known as Ford’s Ferry, the discovery of lead and fluorspar in 1843 marked the beginning of significant growth of the village. Eventually it was the site of the largest, and last, fluorspar mining operation in the United States. The mine closed in 1996. Rosiclare was incorporated into a village in 1874 and became a city in 1932. During World War II, when the demand for fluorspar, lead and zinc was at its greatest, the city’s population grew to about 2000. The U.S. Government built a housing project in 1942-43 known as “Spardale”. It provided homes for 150 families. After the war boom was over the project was sold and eventually torn down. Home of the Fluorspar Museum in Hardin County.
On the National Register of Historic Places, step back in time to Civil War days when “pig-iron” was smelted in the first charcoal-fired iron furnace in Illinois. Iron ore mined from the nearby hills was mixed with charcoal and smelted down to “pigs”. These were then shipped to Mounds during the Civil War and were used in constructing the Union Iron clad boats used to keep the rivers clear during the Civil War. Unwind in the secluded valley where you can picnic, hike and swim in the “ole swimmin’ hole”.
The Lower Cache Basin is home to the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge and the Cache River State Natural Area. Thousands of migrating waterfowl have made this bioregion their winter home making this area a unique ecological treasure. The Cache River Wetlands contains 60,000 acres of beautiful forests and wetlands that are inhabited by otters, bobcats, whitetail deer, bald eagles, herons, egrets and even the occasional anhinga (the snake bird), sighted periodically along the Cache during the summer months.
Bring your own or rent a canoe or use a guide service. The Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge is known for its wildlife observation.
A picturesque setting, Pounds Hollow campground and lake are tucked away amongst the Shawnee Hills, where you can relax and get away from it all. Completed in the early 1940’s, Pounds Hollow Lake is popular for the same reasons it was 60 years ago and continues to provide opportunities to picnic, fish, swim, camp and hike.
Plenty of bird watching in the entire Shawnee Forest….but the largest Illinois Audubon sanctuary, War Bluff Valley Sanctuary, is located in rural Pope County in southeastern Illinois. Adjoining the wilderness of the Shawnee National Forest, this nearly 500-acre sanctuary is home to a large variety of birds and mammals, as well as a great diversity of rare plants, including several species of native orchids. The purpose of the sanctuary is to protect the wildlife and habitat, and for research on populations and native species. War Bluff Valley Sanctuary is a place for birds and other creatures. It is also for people – people who respect and love wildlife and the land. Located just a few miles east of Golconda. Take Hwy. 146 north from Golconda, Illinois 3.5 miles to Bushwhack Road; turn left, follow Bushwack Road approximately 2 miles to the sanctuary entrance on right.
Metropolis is the official Home of Superman and proudly honors its favorite son with a 15-foot bronze statue of America’s Super Hero right in the middle of Superman Square. And now, a new statue of actress Noel Neil, posed as Lois Lane, stands just two blocks down the street. Metropolis is also home to Fort Massac State Park, the first state park in Illinois. At Fort Massac, you will not only enjoy the breath taking views of the Ohio River, but you may take a walk back in time by visiting the 1802 replica of the Fort that once served to protect French, British and American troops.
For those who enjoy the excitement of gaming, Metropolis is also home to Harrah’s Metropolis Casino & Hotel. Harrah’s is ready to entertain you with table games, slots, restaurants and an entertainment center that host many big name entertainers throughout the year. But wait…..there’s even more! Browse our site to learn all about Metropolis!
Golconda Marina is located in the southeastern portion of Pope County along a scenic stretch of the Ohio River at Golconda. The 274-acre site is a full-service boat marina with 206 slips. The marina serves as the gateway to the Smithland Pool area of the Ohio River. Smithland Pool, a 23,000-acre recreational area of fingered tributaries off the Ohio River, is recognized as one of the finest fishing and boating areas in the nation.
The Old Slave House (or Crenshaw House) was a “station” on the Reverse Underground Railroad that transported escaped slaves and kidnapped free blacks back to servitude in slave states. It is thought John Crenshaw operated a secret slave jail for kidnapped free black and captured runaway slaves on the third floor of his house. On Hickory Hill overlooking the Saline River just south of Routes 1 and 13 the house sits and is a historic landmark. Purchased by the State of Illinois Preservation Agency the house is closed to the public and can only be view from afar driving on Hwy 1 about 1 mile from Hwy 13.
An 1877 Victorian pioneer village and “poor farm” houses a museum of local artifacts. Several authentic log homes, barn and blockhouse. An old Quaker church, old jail and a school complete the village. 1600 South Feazel Street., Harrisburg
There are five wineries east of I57 in Southern Illinois. Windy Hill, Hogg Hollow , Bella Terra , Cache River Basin , and Shawnee Winery. The history of wine making in Illinois began around 1830 and by the early 1900’s, Illinois had grown to be the fourth largest grape growing state in the United States. After Prohibition was enacted,almost all of the vineyards in the State were destroyed. Only in the last few years has the industry experienced resurgence in grape production.
Old Shawneetown, Cave in Rock, Elizabethtown, Rosiclare, Golconda, and Metropolis (which includes Fort Massac) are all on the banks of the Ohio River in Southern Illinois. Each and every one have played an important role in the early history of Southern Illinois and Illinois as a whole. Mail and commodities were transported on the river as well as passengers. Larger boats, known as “packets”, traveled to Evansville, Indiana and Paducah, Kentucky. Drummers, or salesmen, used the boats as their means of transportation.
Not only are there miles and miles of hiking and equestrian trails in Southern Illinois Shawnee Forest, there are other significant and nationally know trails as well. The Southern Midwest Route of the American Discovery Trail goes through very hilly country, untouched by glaciers. This area is known as the Illinois Ozarks or the Shawnee Hills and geologically remains much as it has been for eons. The River to River Trail is part of the American Discovery Trail and spans 160 miles across southern Illinois between the Ohio River and the Mississippi River. The Ohio River Scenic Byway winds from the Wabash Bridge at the Indiana border south along the Ohio River before it reaches the Mississippi River at Cairo. At 188-miles, it’s a four hour journey. The 100 mile Shawnee Hills Scenic Byway begins in Harrisburg, heads south on Rte. 34 and soon begins to snake through the first line of the Shawnee Hills. This rumpled stretch of countryside, spared by the glaciers that leveled most areas to the north, is part of Shawnee National Forest. The towers here are made of sandstone, not steel, and the thickly wooded slopes of the Shawnee Hills — known to some as the Illinois Ozarks — overlook the beauty of the mighty Ohio.
Southern Illinois heritage and culture is richly depicted in the numerous festivals and events held each year all over the area. The Heritage Festival in Elizabethtown , Frontier Days in Cave in Rock, the Flurospar Festival in Rosiclare are a few of the area’s festivals Golconda is known for numerous festivals including the Shrimp Festival and the Deer Festival.
Our area includes unique shopping including antiques and primitives. Ole Heritage Shoppes in Elizabethtown, Rose Clare Antique Mall in Rosiclare and Dusty Attic info in Equality are just a few shops in the IllinoisOzarks area.
Marion, Illinois in Williamson County is the home of a minor league baseball team playing in the Frontier League. The Southern Illinois Miners’ stadium is located at the intersection of I-57 and Route 13. The stadium features 3400 chair seats and lawn seating for over 2000.
Hunters and fishermen come from all over the US to hunt and fish in this area. Shawnee National Forest is known for some of the best deer and turkey hunting in the country. The Shawnee National Forest, USDA Forest Service is the largest public landowner in the state. This fact, combined with its diversity of habitats, offers sports enthusiasts a range of hunting opportunities. Each year thousands of hunters are attracted to the forest to hunt everything from trophy bucks to upland game and waterfowl. Fishing in Southern Illinois is a popular pastime for spending quiet time on the bank of a pond, lake or river. A small remote pond or lake offers ideal opportunities for families or individuals to spend time outdoors where they can develop an appreciation for natural resources and natural resource conservation.
The National Quilt Museum is the world’s largest museum devoted to quilt and fiber art. A destination for quilters and art enthusiasts worldwide, annually the Museum receive visitors from all 50 US states and over 45 foreign countries from every continent. Located in a 27,000 square foot facility in historic downtown Paducah, Kentucky, the Museum’s three galleries feature exhibits of the finest quilt and fiber art in the world. The Museum features three exhibit galleries. The Museum’s vibrant and breathtaking exhibits are rotated 8-10 times per year. The primary gallery features quilts from the Museum’s collection which includes over 400 works of art. The two other galleries feature unique and diverse traveling exhibits.
Riverfront downtown Paducah comes alive all summer with our own Mardi Gras-style atmosphere. 6 blocks of music, shopping, antique cars, carriage rides, dining & dancing. 2 blocks from the Executive Inn. Paducah vacations are especially fun to take over the weekend. Two of the downtown streets are blocked off every Saturday to accommodate an event called “Downtown After Dinner.” This street dance event is the perfect way to let lose after a day of Paducah travel and sightseeing. Six blocks of live entertainment. A unique social atmosphere where family and friends meet to listen to a wide variety of musical groups, enjoy extended hours at the antique and novelty shops and galleries or enjoy historic downtown Paducah on a horsedrawn carriage. On any given Saturday night, one can find people dancing and singing all along the brick-lined sidewalks as antique cars line the streets. People also enjoy viewing the floodwall murals depicting Paducah’s history, as well as the interesting architecture of turn-of-the-century buildings.
Markets where one can find fresh produce and all types of delicious product from local producers has been an on going tradition. Elizabethtown Farmers Market is every Thursday and Friday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. May – September. Golconda Farmers Market is every Saturday 7:00 a.m. to noon, Golconda Court House. Harrisburg area Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday, June through October from 9:00 1.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Saline county Fairgrounds on Route 34.
Schedule yourself or your entire family for a fun afternoon learning to shoot re-curve and compound bows from a 4H Certified Archery Instructor who has been hunting with bow and arrow since 1979. Call Timber Ridge Outpost
Bike rentals and portage at Youre So Vane in Carrier Mills. New, top of the line bicycles (including tandem). Offering bike and backpacker shuttles along the River to River Trail and Tunnel Hill Trail.
Kayak rentals at Timber Ridge Outpost Karbers Ridge Blacktop. Drop off and pickup services available.