Viewing posts categorised under: Outdoors

A Weekend in Litchfield & Hillsboro

Tiffany Garavaglia
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Accommodations, Attractions, History, Museums, New Counties, Nostalgia, Outdoors, Recreation, Rt. 66, Shop Local, Shopping, Uncategorized, Wineries

Looking for a great weekend trip? Litchfield and Hillsboro are great places for a girls getaway, couples retreat, or a family gathering. Both are located in Montgomery County with Litchfield being a stop on the famous Route 66. With plenty of history, as well as things to do, these Illinois cities  make the perfect weekend getaway! (more…)

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Sights to See: Casey

Tiffany Garavaglia
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Accommodations, Attractions, Food, Life's A Trip, Outdoors, Recreation, Summer

It’s time to start planning for vacations this year! ILLINOISouth is home to many great sights and has something for everyone. This combined with our restaurants and dining options you can make a whole trip out of our Sights to See!

In this edition of Sights to See check out the city of Casey. Casey is home to several “World’s Largest” items featured in the Guinness’s Book of World Records. Spend the day snapping pictures with you in the largest rocking chair and let the kids send a letter from the World’s Largest Mailbox.

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Sights to See: Carlyle Lake

Tiffany Garavaglia
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Accommodations, Attractions, Food, Life's A Trip, Outdoors, Recreation, Summer

It’s time to start planning for vacations this year! ILLINOISouth is home to many great sights and has something for everyone. This combined with our restaurants and dining options you can make a whole trip out of our Sights to See!

In this edition of Sights to See check out Carlyle Lake. Check out the events to celebrate the 5oth anniversary of the lake. There is plenty to see and do around Carlyle!

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The Birds Are Back – Bald Eagles in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
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Attractions, Events, Outdoors, What's Happening

It’s a bird, it’s a…no it’s actually a bird – a Bald Eagle to be specific. There’s lots of them flying around ILLINOISouth. Ever year in January and

February several of these majestic birds flock (get it?) to several places in the area to find food in lakes and rivers that aren’t frozen over.

Visitors from near and far come to several locations along the Mighty Mississippi to take a peek at our feathered friends. Look out spots like the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in Granite City (Madison County) and the Jerry F. Costello Lock and Dam in Modoc (Randolph County) provide the perfect vantage point to catch a glimpse. Carlyle Lake (Clinton County), the largest man-made lake in Illinois, also attracts many Eagles along its

83 miles of shoreline. This year alone 100 were spotted during an annual two-day count. This continues a trend of increased eagle populations coming
to the area in the winter months.

In addition to eagle watching, several events are held each year in ILLINOISouth and surrounding areas, which give visitors a chance to learn about our National Bird. Along with educational opportunities and activities, many of these events typically give people a chance to get up close and personal with Eagles.

There are many other places in ILLINOISouth to spot Bald Eagles and other fascinating wild life. Where have you seen them? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on annual eagle watching events, visit our online calendar, or check out the US Army Corps of Engineers site here.

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Swing Around ILLINOISouth – 52 Great Golf Courses

Alex Matthews
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Attractions, Outdoors, Recreation, Sports, Tourism Times

Our 19 county region features 52 golf courses, great for players of all skill levels. The Fall Season is a great time of year for getting out and playing some holes. Many challenges await players all over the territory, as our course designs feature everything from 18-hole championship layouts of 7,000+ yards to par 3, executive style courses. So grab your clubs, make a tee time and hit the links in ILLINOISouth!

Arlington Greens

Arlington Greens in Granite City is owned and operated by the Collinsville Area Recreation District. This 18-hole course is a par 72, and reaches almost 7,000 yards from the back tees. This facility also has a driving range.

Bent Oak Golf Course

Bent Oak Golf Course in Breese is a great little 9-hole track, and this year, it is celebrating 20 years in operation. This par 36 layout is almost 3,300 yards and features 4 sets of tees.

Mt. Carmel Golf Course is a superb par 71, 18-hole design and is wappred around the city park. This 6,100+ yard layout hosts numerous tournaments, is always in great shape and was opened in the 1940s

Stonewolf Golf Club

 

Nashville Golf Course is owned and operated by the City of Nashville in Washington County. This 9-hole Muni is par 36 and is 3,200 yards long. This course is located on the edge of the city’s park with a large number of mature trees lining the fairways.

Stonewolf Golf Club in Fairview Heights, a Jack Nicklaus design, is one of the top rated courses on either side of the river year after year. This challenging par 72 layout is spread over 6,943 yards, with multiple sets of tees for all members of your group to enjoy. Be sure to check out Jack’s on the Green restaurant, located in the clubhouse.

This information originally appeared in the Tourism Times Seasonal Guide. Click Here to download and read the issue, or Click Here and sign up to receive three issues every year at no cost!

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LIFE'S A TRIP…Outdoors

Alex Matthews
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Attractions, Life's A Trip, Outdoors, Recreation, Summer

Life’s a Trip is a blog series that highlights similar attractions near each other, making each edition a perfect way to plan a day trip, or something to work in to a staycation!

Everybody…okay, most people…enjoy adventure and outdoor activities that stretch both body and mind. All over ILLINOISouth you’ll find places to go golfing, fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, horseback riding, swimming, boating, camping and even ziplining. From east to west, beautiful state parks, lakes, golf courses, trails and attractions are calling your name! Here are just a few of the possibilities.

Soar through a canopy of trees on three different ziplines at American Obstacle in Kinmundy. Several different zipline adventures are available for individuals, families and groups.

Red Hills State Park in Sumner has year-round water sports including swimming, fishing and boating in the summer and ice fishing and ice skating in winter. Have lunch or dinner overlooking the lake at the Trace Inn.

Equestrians will appreciate Sam Parr State Fish & Wildlife Area in Newton, which is one of the few parks with facilities for horses and riders. There is a fishing lake, campgrounds and 840 acres for hunting.

Beall Woods State Park, on the Wabash River near Mt. Carmel, offers Nature Interpretive Programs at the Visitors Center. It features trails, campsites and a fishing lake. 9285 Beall Woods Ave., 618-298-2442

East Fork Lake, Borah Lake and Vernor Lake in Olney have a great reputation as recreational lakes with terrific fishing, boating, and swimming (Borah).

The largest man-made lake in Illinois is Carlyle Lake, known for being a challenge for sailboaters. It is the center attraction for multiple campgrounds, marinas, two hotels, walking/biking trails, a golf course, great fishing and Visitors Center.

CLICK HERE for other outdoor attractions in ILLINOISouth!

This information originally appeared in the Spring/Summer Tourism Times 2013. Click here and sign up to receive three of these great seasonal guides every year at no cost!

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Take A Hike – 5 Great Trails to Hit in ILLINOISouth

Alex Matthews
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Attractions, Outdoors, Recreation

hike blog bannerBirdwatching, photography, relaxation, meditation, exercise – people love to hit the trails for all sorts of reasons.

ILLINOISouth is home to several great parks, preserves and other attractions that feature hiking and walking trails. Here are five that we think are definitely worth the trek. With many different features and difficulty ratings, just about everyone can find a trail on our list that fits…

Grab your pack, lace up your boots and take a hike.

1. ELDON HAZLET STATE PARK (CARLYLE)
Come out to this 3,000 acre site featuring an out and back trail which is accessible year-round. The trail is well maintained in the beautiful wooded area surrounding the west shore of Carlyle Lake, the largest man-made lake in the state. This is a great spot for bird watching and a number of activities are available at the park.

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 2. WILLOUGHBY HERITAGE FARM (COLLINSVILLE)
Ongoing restoration has made this authentic 1930s-1950s Midwestern farm a fun and family-friendly conservation reserve. Three miles of hiking trails through prairie and wooded areas provide a scenic walk in the heart of Collinsville. While at the farm, see what’s growing in the gardens; and check out the historic structures and tools.

PrairieChicken copy3. NEWTON LAKE STATE FISH & WILDLIFE AREA (NEWTON)
Along with a five-mile bike trail, this recreational hotspot includes 22 miles of trails for hiking and horse-back riding. Looking for more outdoor fun and adventure? Visit the land around this 1,775-acre lake in season for fishing, waterfowl hunting, archery, turkey hunting and more. You may even catch a peek at a prairie-chicken. These unique birds are endangered in Illinois, and Jasper county hosts the largest of thee flocks that exists in the state!

4. RAMSEY LAKE STATE PARK (VANDALIA)
This state park takes up almost 2,000 acres and offers hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding trails, snowmobile trails, a walking trail, camping, picnicking and more. Whether you just want to relax or are looking for an energetic outdoor getaway – Ramsey Lake has it.

5. FULTS HILL PRAIRIE NATURAL PRESERVE (CHESTER)
Explore this moderate 1.6 mile loop trail near Prairie du Rocher. A wooden staircase for half of the ascent, followed by a dirt path to the top. The descent travels through both hill prairie and woodlands down a step path. The total climb is about 250 feet. Make sure you bring your camera – the scenery is picturesque year-round, making this unique excursion completely worthwhile.

fults

Click here for more information on these and other recreation attractions all across the region!

What did we miss? What’s your favorite stroll to take in ILLINOISouth? Tell us in the comments below or click here to tell us on Facebook!

 

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