Rows of grape vines and tree set against the bright blue sky

Romantic Luxury Meets Eco-Friendly Straw Bale Construction

Southern Illinois Shawnee Hills Wine Trail

12 Wineries, all located within 25 minutes of Makanda Inn & Cottages

Abstract sculpture pink flowing tree and spring tulips in the backgroundThe Shawnee Hills Wine Trail is within the Shawnee Hills AVA. The AVA stands for American Viticultural Area. These are areas that are recognized as unique grape growing regions. In 2006 the Shawnee Hills AVA was established. Areas like this receive their designation from the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau. The area is approximately 2,140 square miles between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

The Shawnee National Forest provides an incredible setting while visiting the Wineries on the Shawnee Wine Trail. Our bed and breakfast in Southern Illinois is centrally located for visiting all of the twelve wineries on the Shawnee Wine Trail. The trail offers a variety of venues, many offering entertainment. The selection of wines varies greatly too, from apple based, fruit based, and of course many versions of traditional wines. Take a long weekend to get away from the daily grind and have time to visit all the wineries on the trail. Makanda Inn & Cottages is the perfect place to hit the whole trail and relax after a strenuous day of wine tasting.

Shawnee Hills Wine Trail Map and Winery Information

Going out for a day to the wineries, leave the driving to someone else:

Shawnee Shuttle

Here are the 12 Wineries on the Trail:

Some other notable wineries not on the trail, Monte Alegre Wines, Walker’s Bluff, and Lincoln Heritage Winery.

The Area

Spring pink flowering tree set against the rock bluffs and clear blue skyThere is an endless supply of things to do in this magnificent playground called Southern Illinois. 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 a rock formation resembling City streets between Giant rock walls that look like 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 its 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.

Shawnee National Forest

Most commonly known for the Garden of the Gods, Shawnee National Forest contains about 280,000 acres. Go to their website to explore the many options available in this great piece of land preserved for our enjoyment.

Cache River State Natural Area

Made up of 14,960 acres it is home to many natural attractions most notably, the cypress swamp with trees over 1000 years old.

Kinkaid Lake Spillway

Check out this place to cool off on those warm summer days.

Ferne Clyffe State Park

Waterfalls, Hiking, Fishing, Rock Climbing a must see.

Cave in Rock State Park

A popular attraction along the shores of the Ohio River.

The list goes on, Crab Orchard Wilderness area, Bay Creek, Burden Falls, Lusk Creek, Panther Den, Hutchins Creek Wilderness Complex, La Rue Pine Hills, Bell Smith Springs, Heron Pond, Horseshoe Lake Nature Preserve, Lusk Creek Canyon, Little Grand Canyon, and Natural Bridge.

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.

Horse Back Riders

A few stables to choose from, Giant City Stables just a few miles down the road, Honey Bee Stables, and Black Diamond Ranch.

Bodies of Water

We are fortunate to be so close to so much water, Cedar Lake and Little Grassy Lake are only a stone’s throw away. 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. Try out White Crane Canoes, call ahead for reservations.

Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tours

See the Shawnee Forest from above, zip line at its best.

Rock Climbing

Southern Illinois and the Shawnee Forest known for its rock bluffs that are all over the area. The link above will get you started. Not the least of which are designated climbing areas in Giant City State Park, our neighbor.


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 food to the mall.

Cobden for that small town shopping experience.

You will be very surprised at what you will find just a half mile from the inn at the Makanda Boardwalk. Artistry and unique gifts abound in this town.

We recommend a stay with us late November into early December to 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!


You have Giant City Lodge just down the road for great fried chicken.

Keller’s Crossing at Stone Creek now offers dining room and take out service, call ahead.

Grab a sandwich, ice cream, or coffee at Makanda Java, hot sauce too, at the Makanda Boardwalk.

Cobden for the Yellow Moon Café, Trails End Lodge, and Taqueria Pequena (authentic Mexican).

In Anna, Brickhouse Grill and the Blue Bore Restaurant and Bar.

In Carbondale, The Newell House – Downstairs the Grotto for live music ranging from classic Rock and Roll to Jazz, The Global Gourmet, Thai Taste, Long Branch Café & Bakery (Vegetarian) and much more.

Southern Illinois University

Sports and all the activities you would expect from a large university.


We are excited to announce that Keller’s Crossing at Stone Creek Golf Course just a couple of miles away is under new management and the course is scheduled to reopen spring of 2017.

Exclusive pre-opening play is available to our guests, tee times can only be scheduled by Makanda Inn & Cottages. Call for details.


The Arts

For live performances check in to see what’s playing at The Stage Company and the Marion Cultural and Civic Center.

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.