Four Days in South Central Illinois

Where history, shopping, and culture go hand-in-hand in Downstate Illinois’s Central Region.

Day 1

Begin the day by exploring Pocahontas, which features several antique shops as well as a barn quilt trail that will take you all throughout town looking for these beautiful works of art. Enjoy some pizza for lunch at Mario’s in Greenville before heading to the American Farm Heritage Museum. There is so much to see and do here, including the opportunity to ride the American Heritage Railroad onsite!

American Farm Heritage Museum Festival with train in Greenville, IL

American Farm Heritage Museum in Greenville

A short drive east on Interstate 70 will lead to the Kaskaskia Dragon in Vandalia. Head to the nearby hardware store to pick up a few tokens, slip them in the box next to the dragon, and watch it breathe fire! Finish the day with a delicious meal from The Copper Penny or Gallatin Street Grille — you can’t go wrong!

Kaskaskia Dragon at sunrise in Vandalia, IL

Kaskaskia Dragon in Vandalia (PC: @braincontour on Instagram)

Day 2

Kick the morning off with a little history and visit the Kinmundy Log Cabin Village in Marion County. There are a dozen cabins as well as a stable, all of which were moved to this venue from other parts of the state — many of these cabins were built in the mid-1800s.

After that, put on your swimsuit and head to the Salem Family Aquatic Center — one of the best swimming areas in southern Illinois. This is a great spot for families that feature everything from a water slide to several different play stations, including a lily pad walk.

Salem Family Aquatic Center play area in Salem, IL

Salem Family Aquatic Center Play Area in Salem

After pool time, a trip to Excel Bottling in Breese is just what the doctor ordered for some tasty beverages. Ski is the headliner here in terms of soda, and Excel is the only returnable bottling line remaining in Illinois.

Excel Bottling Company Ski bottles in Breese, IL

Excel Bottling Company in Breese

Day 3

One of the best kept secrets of Downstate Illinois awaits you on the outskirts of Germantown in Clinton County. Eversgerd’s Civil War Fort is a replica of a Civil War era fort with 10-foot tall limestone walls, cabins, and a handmade Civil War Era cannon! Not a far drive south lies Nashville, the Washington County seat. The theater has been a staple of the community for over seventy years and stays current on new release movies!

After the movie is finished, call it a night at the Original Springs Hotel in Okawville. Dating back to 1893, this historic location offers a full-service restaurant, mineral spring spa, indoor heated pool!

Original Springs Hotel in Okawville, IL

Original Springs Hotel in Okawville

Day 4

Book an early tee time to start your day at Red Hawk Country Club, just outside of Pinckneyville in Perry County. This 18-hole, par 70 course features several water hazards and a world of character. Visit the Perry County Jail Museum for an up close and personal look at how criminals spent their time in Pinckneyville. Go inside a handful of jail cells and experience art and drawings still on the walls from past inmates, and you may as well take a picture while you’re in there! Head to Du Quoin and grab a bite to eat at Alongi’s, a crowd favorite in the area since 1933.

Cap off the day with a trip to the Du Quoin State Fair, which is slated for August 27th through September 6th in 2021. There is something for everyone at the Du Quoin State Fair, from rides and carnival games to live concerts!

Illinois State Fair in Du Quoin, IL

Du Quoin State Fair in Du Quoin

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