Discover the 5 Best Family Fun in Southern Illinois


Hey, are you finding family fun in southern Illinois? Southern Illinois is a charming and often overlooked region nestled in the heart of the United States. With its lush green forests, winding rivers, and rolling hills, it’s a nature lover’s paradise. But there’s more to this area than just natural beauty. Southern Illinois also boasts abundant family-friendly activities that are guaranteed to create lasting memories.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll find plenty to do in Southern Illinois. Hiking trails wind through forests and lead to stunning vistas. Campsites provide the perfect spot to spend the night under the stars. Fishing, boating, and swimming are popular activities at lakes and rivers throughout the region.

But even if you’re not an outdoorsy type, there’s still plenty of family fun in southern Illinois. Unique attractions like the Superman Museum in Metropolis or the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail offer fun and interesting experiences for the whole family. Museums, art galleries, and theaters provide indoor entertainment for those days when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

When it comes to dining and accommodations, Southern Illinois has options to fit any taste and budget. From local diners to upscale restaurants, you’ll find delicious food throughout the area. And whether you prefer camping or a luxury hotel stay, there are plenty of lodging options available.

So if you’re looking for a destination that offers a little bit of everything for your next family vacation, look no further than Southern Illinois. With its stunning natural beauty, unique attractions, and family-friendly activities, it’s the perfect place to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Outdoor Activities

Southern Illinois is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those seeking family-friendly activities. The region offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. There are numerous parks and recreation areas in the region, which provide endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.

family fun in southern illinois 2023

One of the most popular parks in Southern Illinois is Giant City State Park, located just south of Carbondale. The park is renowned for its unique rock formations, hiking trails, and excellent camping facilities.

Hiking trails within the park take visitors through scenic, forested areas and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. The park is also a great spot for picnicking, horseback riding, and fishing in its stocked ponds.

Another fantastic option for families is Ferne Clyffe State Park, where visitors can enjoy the great outdoors. The park’s trails offer breathtaking views of waterfalls and rocky bluffs, with plenty of picnic areas and campsites for visitors. The park’s lake offers ample opportunities for fishing and boating, and the nearby River-to-River Trail is perfect for long hikes.

Southern Illinois boasts numerous other outdoor destinations that offer family-friendly activities. The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent place to see wildlife, hike, and fish. The Shawnee National Forest is a vast area that is ideal for camping, hiking, and exploring. The Cache River Wetlands Center provides visitors with a chance to see unique wildlife and learn about the area’s natural history.

Throughout the year, these parks and recreation areas host a variety of special events and festivals, which offer even more opportunities for family fun. From fall festivals to fishing derbies, there is always something happening in Southern Illinois.

 Southern Illinois is the perfect destination for families who want to enjoy the great outdoors. With its scenic parks, hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and special events, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So why not pack up the family and head to Southern Illinois for an unforgettable outdoor adventure?

Indoor Activities

Southern Illinois offers more than just outdoor activities for families. Visitors can enjoy a variety of indoor attractions, including museums, art galleries, and theaters, making it the perfect destination for any type of weather.

Outdoor activities of Southern Illinois

One of the top indoor attractions in the area is the Science Center of Southern Illinois, located in Carbondale. The interactive museum offers exhibits on various topics, such as space, weather, physics, and dinosaurs. In addition, they host a range of events and programs, including summer camps and science fairs, making it an excellent destination for children and adults alike.

Another great option for indoor family fun is the Marion Cultural and Civic Center. The center hosts a wide range of events, including concerts, theater productions, and comedy shows, providing families the chance to enjoy a night out together.

For those interested in history and culture, Southern Illinois has several museums and galleries, including the Mitchell Museum in Mt. Vernon. It features exhibits on local history and culture, including displays on Abraham Lincoln and the Underground Railroad. The Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon is another popular destination, with rotating exhibits on contemporary art and sculpture.

In addition to these top attractions, Southern Illinois also hosts a variety of special events and exhibits throughout the year. The Southern Illinois Art and Artisans Center in Whittington offers workshops and classes, while the Carbondale Community Arts Center hosts art exhibits and workshops. The Marion Carnegie Library also hosts a variety of family-friendly events, including storytime and craft activities.

Southern Illinois is an excellent destination for families, offering indoor and outdoor activities. With its wide range of museums, galleries, and theaters, visitors can enjoy a wide range of family fun activities, no matter what the weather is like outside.

Unique Attractions

Southern Illinois is a region that is well-known for its picturesque natural beauty and outdoor recreation options. However, some unique attractions in the area are perfect for families looking for fun and adventure. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more unique attractions that Southern Illinois has to offer.

Indoor activities of Southern Illinois

One of the most recognizable landmarks in Southern Illinois is the Superman statue in the town of Metropolis. The town celebrates its connection to the Man of Steel, and families can visit the Superman Museum to learn more about the history of this iconic superhero.

The museum houses memorabilia from comics, movies, and TV shows, making it an exciting destination for fans of all ages. The Superman statue also provides an excellent backdrop for taking memorable family photos, and visitors can attend the annual Superman Celebration festival to experience a celebration of all things Superman.

For families with older children or teenagers, the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail offers a unique and sophisticated way to experience Southern Illinois. This scenic route meanders through the stunning Shawnee National Forest, and visitors can stop at several wineries to enjoy tastings, tours, and events.

The wineries offer a variety of local wines, some of which may be paired with food or accompanied by live music. It’s an excellent way to sample some of the best wines that Southern Illinois has to offer while taking in the natural beauty of the region.

For a quirky and offbeat experience, families can head to the Blue Sky Vineyard in Makanda. This winery has a treehouse overlooking the vineyard that offers panoramic views of the hills. Families can enjoy sipping wine while taking in the gorgeous scenery or even stay overnight in the treehouse, making for a unique and unforgettable experience.

Animal lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary in Caledonia. This non-profit organization provides a safe haven for animals that have been rescued from neglect or abuse. Visitors can take a tour of the sanctuary and see animals like lions, tigers, and wolves up close, making for a truly memorable experience.

Finally, families should consider a trip to the Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest. This natural rock formation provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and families can explore the trails and take photos of the unique rock formations. and also you can take good photos by using Monocular Telescope on your Phone. The area also has picnic spots and campsites available for visitors, making it an excellent spot for a family outing.

Southern Illinois is full of unique and family-friendly attractions that will provide endless hours of entertainment and excitement. Whether you’re a fan of superheroes or wine, animals, or natural beauty, Southern Illinois has something to offer everyone.

Accommodations and Dining

When planning a family vacation to Southern Illinois, it’s crucial to select the right accommodations and dining options that can cater to everyone’s needs. Fortunately, Southern Illinois has plenty of affordable family-friendly options for both accommodation and dining.

For families seeking a more rustic experience, cabins and campsites are an excellent choices. The Shawnee National Forest offers several campgrounds that have facilities like playgrounds, restrooms, and showers. Some of these campsites have cabins available for rent as well. Additionally, private cabins are scattered throughout Southern Illinois, which range from cozy and rustic to modern and luxurious, making them an excellent option for families looking for a more private nature retreat.

For those who prefer traditional lodging, several hotels and motels are available in the region. Many of these hotels offer amenities such as free breakfast and swimming pools and are conveniently situated close to state parks and historic sites.

Regarding dining, Southern Illinois offers a diverse range of options to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Local diners and barbecue joints are prevalent, serving up traditional Southern Illinois cuisine. Among the popular ones are 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro and Pat’s BBQ in Anna, loved by locals and tourists alike.

For families with young children, pizza places are always a crowd-pleaser. Southern Illinois boasts some of the best pizza places around, such as Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza in Carbondale and Pea Ridge Cafe in Carterville.

For those seeking a more upscale dining experience, several fine dining restaurants are worth exploring. Yellow Moon Cafe in Cobden is a local favorite, offering locally sourced ingredients and a cozy ambiance.

Overall, Southern Illinois has a range of accommodations and dining options suitable for families. Whether you prefer a rustic cabin in the woods or a hotel with modern amenities, or a family-friendly restaurant serving up delicious food, Southern Illinois has something for everyone.


In conclusion, Southern Illinois is a wonderful destination for families looking for fun and adventure. From the natural beauty of the Shawnee National Forest to the unique attractions like the Superman Museum, families can find a wide range of activities to enjoy together.

The region’s accommodations and dining options cater to the needs of families, providing a comfortable and affordable stay.

With its welcoming atmosphere and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, Southern Illinois is truly a hidden gem of the heartland. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, Southern Illinois is a perfect choice for families seeking an unforgettable experience.

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Allie G
Allie G

Hey, This is Allie G! a female who was raised in Atlanta in Georgia.

A solo trip across North America, visiting a number of different countries, states, and cities. I’m super excited but also scared about these new experiences.

My favorite passions are Traveling, eating, and exploring so these will be the main themes for my posts.
I hope you will enjoy them!

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