Bring Your Camera: Picture-Perfect Stops Across Downstate Illinois

Bring Your Camera: Picture-Perfect Stops Across Downstate Illinois

Posted on 03/10/2022 by Andy Waterman

Half the fun of traveling is doing something new and having a record of it with a photo. Downstate Illinois offers tons of opportunities for making those memories. Here are some of the best photo-op spots across Downstate Illinois!

Popeye Character Trail | Chester, IL

Search for murals and 21 statues on the Popeye Character Trail in Chester. A new statue is unveiled each year at the Popeye Picnic over Labor Day Weekend. Our friend Ed posed with the Bluto statue in this photo. 

The picnic celebrated its 41st year in 2020, along with Popeye's 91st anniversary! Stop in at Spinach Can Collectibles in the Opera House by Wimpy to pick up your Popeye-themed gifts and souvenirs. 

Mary's River Covered Bridge | Bremen, IL

Built in 1854 as part of a planked toll road, Mary's River Covered Bridge is a must-see for any history buff. In fact, Mary's River Bridge is the only covered bridge remaining in Southern Illinois! Since its construction, the bridge has been restored using original timber and stone abutments. The bridge operated from 1854 to 1930 continuously. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Visit Mary's River Covered Bridge any time during your next adventure in Downstate Illinois!

Carlyle Lake | Carlyle, IL

The largest man-made lake in Illinois (26,000 acres), Carlyle Lake is a premier location for outdoor sports. Well known to sailers, it is one of the best and most challenging for sailboats. There is also boating, fishing, hunting, bird watching, sand beaches and camping areas. Hotels, cabins and golf courses make the area a true outdoor lover's playground.

Kinmundy Log Cabin Village | Kinmundy, IL

Visit the Kinmundy Log Cabin Village to see 19th century pioneer-era log structures and artifacts of a time long past. The Kinmundy Log Cabin Villiage is sure to be educational fun for the whole family. On your next Downstate Illinois adventure, make an appointment to see these pre-Civil War cabins nestled in the woods.

Rainbow Ranch | Nashville, IL

Bottle feed kids, lambs and calves on a real working farm at Rainbow Ranch in Nashville. Get close to the goats, chicks, rabbits, camels and even kangaroos and a zebra! 

After a recent visit, Terah Huckleberry wrote, "My family came to the ranch yesterday for our first time. We had such a great time! Thank you so much for sharing your animals with us. We can't wait to come back for the pumpkin patch this October. I am telling everyone about it and what an incredible and memorable time it is."

Vandalia Statehouse & Lincoln Park | Vandalia, IL

woman sitting next to vandalia statehouse abraham lincoln statue
Take a seat on the bench next to the young Abraham Lincoln with Vandalia Statehouse in the background at Lincoln Park in Vandalia. 

A visitor to the site told us, "I took my daughter to see the Statehouse, and we walked across the street so she could sit next to Lincoln. Nothing would do but we had to have a picture." 

Marcoot Jersey Creamery | Greenville, IL

marcoot kid petting an animal
Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville is a wonderful way to see all aspects of dairy farming, from raising the Jersey calves to producing milk, ice cream, butter and cheese. 

Lisa Plume Spanberger of Granite City took her family and said, "A cute place to visit especially with kids. We got to taste test some cheeses and see inside where they make the cheese. In addition, you can walk to their barn area (very short walk) to see the baby cows. Also, they have the adult cows out back, which were close to the building when we were there. Just a fun stop to make. They also sell the best ice cream there, and you can sit out on the porch and enjoy!"

Brittany J. "[Took] a Girl Scout trip to #marcootjerseycreamery. They had a blast making mozzarella cheese, seeing how the cows got milked, and spending time with the calves. Also, this place literally has the BEEEEEST #icecream in #illinois!"

Little Toot Railroad | Flora, IL

Little Toot Railroad in Flora draws train enthusiasts of all ages to Charley Brown Park. 

Starla Bravard Briesearcher took her two grandchildren and posted this review: "We had a great time today experiencing the Little Toot Railroad located in the beautiful Charley Brown Park. My grandchildren, ages 7 and 2, enjoyed the train ride. I would highly recommend a day trip to Flora and a visit to the Little Toot Railroad."

Olney White Squirrels | Olney, IL

olney illinois white squirrels

The City of Olney was founded in 1841, and is the seat of Richland County in Southern Illinois. Do you enjoy quiet weekends, colorful trees and small town charm? Then it is time for you to visit Olney, IL. You'll find beautiful historic sites, great boating locations, delicious restaurants, unique shopping and a family friendly community — all in one place! Discover Olney's famous white squirrels, beautiful lakes and parks and locally-made wine on your upcoming Downstate Illinois adventure.

Rest Up Camping & RV Corral | Grayville

Whether your idea of camping is a cabin, a tent, an RV or a tiny house, there's a spot waiting for you just eight miles from I-64 near the IL/IN border at Rest Up Camping & RV Corral in Grayville. There's lots to do, like the Lil Pokes Playground, horseshoe pit, shooting gallery and miniature golf course. Chow down at the Westwood Saloon, then get a treat at Bob's Ice Cream Parlor.

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