The map highlights some of the endless supply of things to do in this magnificent playground called Southern Illinois.
From Shopping to Zip-Lining, we invite you to come and stay with us to explore these areas for yourselves.
The area is made up of rolling hills and massive rock bluffs that are called the Shawnee Hills.
To the West is the Mississippi River, to the East the Ohio, they come together at the Southernmost point of the State.
These rivers are fed by the Missouri and Wabash river respectively making up a group of the most voluminous rivers in the United States.
Rich in history, geology, and natural splendor Southern Illinois is the home of the Shawnee National Forest.
Following is a list of areas of interest that we will expand on as we explore and enjoy the area.
Giant City State Park
Literally the western boundary is right across the road from Makanda Inn & Cottages with the visitor center only a 2.6-mile drive. It derived its name from rock formations resembling City streets between Giant rock walls that remind one of city buildings. The hiking here is great with many options from a half-mile hike to a 12-mile hike around the park.
You can also hire horses from the Giant City Stables and explore the park on horseback. Rock bluffs abound, and there is Fern Rock Nature Preserve that is only accessible by the Trillium Trail. Trail-only exploration helps to protect this fragile eco-system and is home to a myriad of wildflowers. Much of the park is open to deer hunters including the piece of the park that is right across the road.
The Famous Makanda Boardwalk
The Makanda Inn & Cottages is located a half mile South of what is known as the Makanda Boardwalk. It was founded as an old railroad town that dwindled over the years after a series of floods.The town was re-settled by a group of hippies back in the late 60’s and early 70’s who found the beauty of the place and never wanted to leave. Since then it has grown into a unique cluster of shops and eateries that thrives today. It is a great shopping destination that is a must see while in the area.
The Shawnee National Forest
Most commonly known for the Garden of the Gods, Shawnee National Forest contains about 280,000 acres. Places like Lusk Creek, Bell Smith Springs, and Burden Falls, to name a few, provide a seemingly endless supply of outdoor recreation. Go to the Forest website to explore the many options available in this great piece of land preserved for our enjoyment.
There are plenty of options whether food shopping for your cottage stay or shopping for fun it is all within 15 minutes of Makanda Inn & Cottages. You can go into Carbondale where you will find everything from grocery stores to a mall.
Cobden like the Makanda Boardwalk for that small town shopping experience.
We recommend a stay with us late November into early December. Get your Holiday shopping done in a laid back and stress free environment. Think about it, stay in a nice cottage or inn where you can relax and then go out shopping without the crowds, a shopping vacation!
Made up of 14,960 acres it is home to many natural attractions most notably, the northernmost cypress swamp with trees over 1000 years old. Paddle through the Duckweed to see these magnificent trees on your way to Eagle Pond.
This great natural area was created during the glacial melt-off after the ice age and remains one of the many natural wonders.
At this site, you can enjoy many recreational activities such as biking, hiking, seasonal hunting and fishing.Try out White Crane Canoes, for rentals in this area, call ahead for reservations.
For the Cyclists
Area roads are a cyclist’s paradise. Light traffic is the norm here. Options for short and long rides is only limited by your willingness to explore new routes.
Tunnel Hill Trail, a crushed rock old railroad bed that provides a good surface for road bikes in the summer. Many of our guests have toured this trail and all really enjoyed it.
Horse Back Riders
Exploring the local area on horseback is a great way to take in the natural beauty that surrounds us. Giant City’s horse trail runs through the park and actually runs along the bluff that is just up the hill from the Inn. A couple of stables to choose from, Giant City Stables just a few miles down the road and Black Diamond Ranch in Cobden.
Bodies of Water for Fishing, Swimming, and Boating
We are fortunate to be so close to so much water, Cedar Lake and Little Grassy Lake are only a stone’s throw away. Little Grassy Lake Campground and Marina is a 15 minute drive where you can rent Paddle Boards, Kayaks, Canoes, Jon Boats, & Pontoon Boats. Drive a little further and you can enjoy Devils Kitchen Lake, Crab Orchard, and Lake of Egypt. For a day in the Cache River State Natural Area rent a canoe or kayak or take a guided tour and see Southern Illinois’s Cypress Swamp.
Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours
See the Shawnee Forest from above, zip lining at its best! Many of our guests have gone zip-lining and rave about how great it is. The tour combines 8 zip lines, 11 platforms, 3 suspensions bridges and two short hikes on the ground. The longest zip line is 1100 feet. Wow! Surely an adventure filled fun day!
Southern Illinois and the Shawnee Forest known for its rock bluffs that are all over the area. The link above will get you started.
There are plenty of designated climbing areas in Giant City State Park, our neighbor. One of those areas is called Devils Stand table and it’s just a short hike from the trail parking area.
The course has been totally renovated with new greens and modifications to make it a golfers Paradise. The eleventh green overlooks the Makanda Valley and the twelfth is a par three over Stone Creek. If you are a golfer you won’t want to miss this course and we suspect you will be back for more.
Exclusive greens fees are available to our guests. Let us schedule your tee times and get the best deal available. Call for details.
There are so many places to explore in Southern Illinois, take a day, pick a place and we are sure it will be a great day and a great stay. Following are some of the natural areas great for hiking.
Kinkaid Lake Spillway is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. If you are a waterfall enthusiast or looking for a place to cool off in the summer you will want to check this place out.
Just a 40 minute drive from the Inn the lake also offers boating, fishing and picnicking. There are four boat ramps to choose from and a full service marina.
Ferne Clyffe State Park
Ferne Clyffe has gotten rave reviews from our guests who have gone there. One couple in particular went for the rock climbing and loved it. If we have had some rain you will see a 100 foot waterfall. A diverse natural area that provides hiking, rock climbing, hunting and Fishing.
The lake is 16 acres and is accessible for bank fishing. While boating and swimming are prohibited you can take in the scenery of the lake while hiking the Blackjack Oak Trail.
At the sound of a cave mystery and ancient times come to mind. You have the chance to experience all this by visiting the Cave in Rock State Park. It is a historic site that was used by Native Americans a thousand years ago.
On the Ohio River the Park offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and water sports. This is definitely a destination for great views and hiking with the atmosphere that comes with being on a river front. Rich in history this destination is worth the drive.