honker hill outdoor area

Socially-Distant Summer Activities to do as Southern IL Reopens

As restrictions and guidelines in regards to COVID-19 loosen up, businesses are re-opening in Makanda, Carbondale, and the surrounding areas! 

Although local businesses aren’t operating in the ways we are used to, there are countless things to do under CDC guidelines, just in time for Father’s Day, the 4th of July and Summer in Southern Illinois!

Here are some (socially-distant) activities you can get back to enjoying this summer!

  • Wineries & Breweries
  • Hiking & Fishing
  • Get Lunch & Picnic
  • Outdoor Dining
  • Golfing


Many of the wineries on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail are back open, under CDC regulations. Status as of June 5th, for the wineries, and their social distancing policies:

  • Alto Vineyards – Both locations in Champaign and Alto Pass are open for on-site, outdoor consumption! We’ll be serving wine, beer, water, and soda. Enjoy our country setting with an abundant amount of outdoor space. Masks will be required upon entering the building. Customers should come in to use the restroom only, and all sales will be made outdoors. They are encouraging you to bring your own food and water, picnic lunch, lawn chairs, and blankets.
  • Feather Hills Vineyard and Winery – open for outside seating with tables 6 feet apart. Offering table service and made signs to help you get your wine –  flip your sign to red to make staff get your order. Required to wear a mask within our tasting room when coming in for service or using the restrooms.
  • feather hills outdoor seating
    Feather Hills Vineyard & Winery outdoor seating
  • Von Jakob Vineyardoutdoor seating, and can seat groups of 6 or less on our large patio and deck overlooking the vineyard, face coverings required when indoors. Food for outdoors only.
  • Pomona Winery – currently not open – keep checking their Facebook page if they are one of your favorites!
  • Kite Hill Vineyard – Currently closed Monday-Thursday, and opens on Friday at noon. They are also allowing to schedule appointments for private parties on weekdays.
Kite Hill Vineyards outdoor seating
Kite Hill Vineyard outdoor seating
  • Starview Vineyards – Lots of outdoor space here! New hours are Sunday-Friday 12-7 pm, and Saturday 11 am-8 pm. Live music pending weather. They have a full wine, beer, and food menus. Groups of 6 or less per table, wine club members can call to make a reservation. Lawns chair and blankets encouraged!
Starview Vineyards
Starview Vineyards
  • Peachbarn –  Reopened for outside service with plenty of space on our lawn to spread out and bring blankets and lawn chairs. Wine purchases may be made at our indoor winery bar, and food orders will be placed at the outside café window, with a limited and changing menu each week. Tastings are not available at this time. Winery Restrooms will be open. Groups larger than 6 are not allowed. Live Music Every Saturday from 1-4 pm. 
  • Hickory Ridge Vineyard – Returned to our regular schedule: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.
  • Owl Creek Vineyard: They are resuming weekend music schedule and cafe offerings. We will transition from wine tastings to wine flights.No groups over 6 allowed. Leashed pets are welcome as long as they can handle social distancing and not become a distraction to others. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times Children whose ages fall within CDC guidelines must wear masks while inside building with their adult(s).
owl creek outdoor seating
Owl Creek Vineyard outdoor seating
  • Honker Hill – has returned to our normal hours with live music on weekends. They have a patio and lawn section for outdoor seating.
  • Blue Sky Vineyards – open for outside service Face masks MUST be worn at all service stations and inside of our winery and event pavilion while waiting for restrooms. No groups larger than 6 are allowed. Food may be ordered from the outside patio of our winery at the designated station.
Blue Sky Vineyards Outdoor seating
Blue Sky Vineyards Outdoor seating


In addition to the number of great wineries in the area, breweries should not be overlooked!

Scratch Brewing Company

Scratch Brewing Company is a farmhouse brewery and restaurant near the Shawnee National Forest in Ava, Illinois. A great place to bring dad for Father’s Day!

More Info: Scratch Brewing Company

Scratch Brewing Company

Big Muddy Brewing

Also located in Murphysboro, Big Muddy Brewing is another great brewpub worth checking out! The outdoor beer garden is open for pints and their kitchen is open, which includes a tasty selection of dishes including Flat Bread Pizza, Chicago Style Hot Dogs, Polish Dogs & Italian Beef Sandwiches.

Route 51 Brewing

In addition to their brewery selections, Route 51 has an expansive food menu. Currently, Route 51 is serving customers beer and food in their outdoor beer garden.

Route 51 Brewing outdoor space

Go Hiking

A great social distancing idea, there are plenty of trails in Shawnee National Forest and the surrounding area. There are plenty of hiking trails in Shawnee National Forest to explore this summer.

Here are few areas we recommend hiking:

  1. Giant City State Park
  2. Buffalo Rock Trail
  3. Cove Hollow East
  4. Sand Cave
  5. R2R (River to River Trail) Rocky Comfort West
  6. Snake Road
  7. Fountain Bluff
  8. The Shawnee National Forest has endless hiking locations

Fishing Shoreline or Bring your Boat

Fishing in Makanda IL

There are many areas in Southern Illinois to go fishing this summer. Take a look at our Southern Illinois Attractions page to see info about places you can fish.

Little Grassy Lake Campground & Marina

Little Grassy Lake, located inside Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. At the campground, you can go boating and fishing. Catch bass, crappie, catfish, and bluegill in the lake. All sorts of boats/watercraft are available for rent and less than 15 minutes from us!

Little Grassy Lake Campground

Cedar Lake

Cedar Lake is five minutes south of Carbondale is the city reservoir. It is a 1,750-acre reservoir and is open for fishing, with many crappie and bass for a catch.

Cedar Lake in Carbondale

Giant City State Park

Giant City State Park our neighbor and also near Carbondale is sure to delight visitors of all ages. From camping and horseback riding to fishing and rappelling, it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise. Giant City State Park is Nestled in the Shawnee National Forest.

Giant City State Park

For a further drive from Makanda, you can enjoy places like Devils Kitchen Lake, Crab Orchard, and Lake of Egypt.

Get Lunch & Picnic & Outdoor Dining

Many restaurants & wineries in the area are re-opening with outdoor dining. In addition to that, many also offer curbside pick-up – so if it’s nice outside, pick up and find a nice place to picnic!

Below is a short list of some unique food places – Visit their Facebook Pages for their most up to date information!  Visit our Dining page for more options shown on a map.

Giant City Lodge

Status: We are offering outdoor dining and curbside pick-up by reservation on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays as well.

Website: Giant City Lodge


A dive bar in Cobden, IL with good food and beer.

Status: opening the garden for outdoor seating for select days. bartenders will still be serving indoors, and our restrooms will be open, but we cannot congregate inside.

Website: Fuzzy’s

Fujiyama Japanese Steakhouse

Fujiyama specializes in Hibachi tables where the staff cooks and entertains in front of you. They have steak, chicken, seafood, and other options.

Status: Fujiyama is currently only open for take-out.

Website: Fujiyama Japanese Steakhouse  

Tom’s Place

For an upscale option, Tom’s Place is a fine-dining establishment, with many wine choices to pair with exquisite food options, including a wide variety of first courses, salads, entrees. Tom’s place is now offering outdoor dining as well as pick-up

Status: Open for outside seating. Please make a reservation due to limited seating.

Website: Tom’s Place 

17th Street BBQ

Status: 17th Street is planning to open the Marion drive-thru on Thursday, June 18, with Murphysboro following close behind.

Website: 17th street BBQ

Go Golfing

keller's crossing golfing southern IL

Keller’s Crossing is an affordable golf destination in the Southern Illinois area – and a great idea for Father’s Day if Dad is into Golf. An even better idea if both Mom & Dad love to play!  Here are the rules and regulations in regards to COVID-19:

  • Tee times are required in advance.
  • Pro shop and bathroom will be limited to 2 people at a time.
  • Beverages will be available, please ask a staff member for assistance.
  • Touchless and social distancing will be enforced to download their app to remove the “scorecard touch point”.
  • Flag sticks will remain in place.
  • All bunker rakes have been removed.
  • Tee Markers will be removed for a short time to decrease touch points for the staff.
  • If there are players on the TEE then you will WAIT by the GREEN.
  • Our payment systems will be set up so that YOU may simply just swipe YOUR card.
  • Our staff will get all requested items, place them in a “transition area” for you to receive.

Website: kellerscrossing.com

In Closing:

Makanda Inn & Cottages is taking all COVID-19 precautions, seriously, including outdoor dining and bar service, and our massage therapists are taking appointments again as well.  Our friends and neighbors at the Makanda Boardwalk and downtown are reopening too!   Please follow any guidelines they have for their locations when you arrive there to do some shopping!

We hope that we gave you some great Father’s Day ideas in Southern Illinois. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, from Makanda Inn & Cottages, enjoy spending time together, and stay safe!

To book a reservation, please check availability first. We hope to see you soon!