5 Southern Illinois

State Parks:

To Do List

Southern Illinois State Parks are great for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy nature while also getting out with friends and family. While most southern Illinois State Parks offer some kind of hiking trail, there is usually other stuff to do as well. In this article, I want to show you the different things to do in 5 southern Illinois state parks. If you enjoy this article about southern Illinois state parks, please give it a share especially on social media and maybe I’ll write more articles about southern Illinois state parks.


Southern Illinois State Parks to do:

Fort Massac State Park

Fort Massac is one of the farthest south southern Illinois state parks that you can visit in the state. There is quite a bit to do at this state park.  This state park is located in Metropolis, Illinois, home of Superman and host to the annual Superman Festival. Be sure to add Fort Massac State Park to your list of southern Illinois state parks to visit for fun activities.

Disc golf is fairly popular at Fort Massac State Park with several disc golf stations setup around the park. These stations are close to the campground which allows me RV and tent-based camping for a small fee. There are miles of mainly concrete and paved cycling trails and plenty of spots to view the riverfront of the Mighty Ohio River. Fort Massac State Park is also home of the recreated Fort Massac and hosts an annual reenactment ceremony with food and more.

Click here for more information and directions to this State Park!


Southern Illinois State Parks to do:

Giant City State Park

Giant City has to be my favorite of southern Illinois state parks, simply because I spend the most time there as a kid. The state park is close to Makanda and a short drive from Carbondale, Illinois on the border of Union and Jackson counties. The park has a lot of natural features, awesome hiking trails and a lot of extra activities for all types of users. Be sure to visiting Giant City State Park when you are able to.

There are over 20 miles of hiking throughout the park from small easy trails for beginners and children to long loop trails that are rugged enough for the most advanced of hiking enthusiasts. The Red Cedar Trail offers hikers the chance to overnight camp in the middle of the wild and rugged 12 mile loop. There are also a couple of areas in the park where users can rock climb, legally, as long as they have the right safety gear and equipment. There are always some sort of monthly activities going on as well for people of all ages and interests. Check with the Welcome Center for more information on what activities are planned for this month. Finally, be sure to check out the Giant City Lodge for some of the best fried chicken in southern Illinois.

Click here for more information and directions to this State Park!


Southern Illinois State Parks to do:

Ferne Clyffe State Park

Ferne Clyffe is another of the southern Illinois state parks worth visiting. There is a lot to do at Ferne Clyffe State Park for people of all ages and abilities. The history of Ferne Clyffe State Park is also very interesting. We’re lucky to have is among our local southern Illinois state parks. Be sure to add this state park on your list of southern Illinois state parks to visit if you haven’t done so already.

Ferne Clyffe State Park is probably one of the best southern Illinois state parks for visiting to chase waterfalls. There are waterfalls all over this park, practically on every trail the park has to offer – even one around the lake trail. Speaking on the lake, you can fish from the bank of the lake if you have an Illinois fishing license. There are over 20 miles of all different kinds of hiking trails for you to enjoy and even a few with some nice scenic vistas. Lastly, signs are spread throughout the park to allow you to learn more about what elements within the park are present.

Click here for more information and directions to this State Park!


Southern Illinois State Parks to do:

Dixon Springs State Park

Dixon Springs State Park is another one of the better southern Illinois state parks worth visiting. A lot of local history can be put into Dixon Springs State Park because a lot has happened at that park over the years. There is also a lot of property along this state park and you can even hike its trails all the way over to Lake Glendale if you wanted to. In the future, it is hoped that mountain biking will also be an activity of Dixon Springs State Park as well.

But until then, there is still plenty to do at Dixon Springs State Park. In this state park, you can enjoy the play and activity of geocaching if using the official application. There are various hiking trails along the park with awesome waterfalls along each of them – be sure to check out Ghost Dance Canyon if you haven’t already. Dixon Springs State Park also has a great swimming pool with some the best concession food around. And there is history all over the park but you might have to explore the rougher areas to find it. And after enjoying the park, be sure to stop by The Chocolate Factory for awesome treats located right across from the park entrance.

Click here for more information and directions to this State Park!


Southern Illinois State Parks to do:

Cave in Rock State Park

Among the southern Illinois state parks is one right on the river featuring a real pirate’s cave! Cave in State Park is a southern Illinois state park worth visiting. Aside from the fact that river pirates used it and some of the meanest river crimes took place there; the area has a spectacular view worth checking out. And even though many people think the cave is all that is there – there is actually quite a bit to do at Cave in Rock State Park in southern Illinois.

Cave in Rock State Park is an excellent picnic site allowing park goers a chance to have a picnic right on the river front whether it is flooded or not. There is an eatery lodge located within Cave in Rock State Park with some very delicious entries on the menu. There are camping and cabin availability at the state park for those who wish to extend their stay – the cabins have an excellent view of the river as well. And speaking of the river – there are plenty of areas to view the river even when it is flooded as there is a high ground provided. And finally, who would want to pass up exploring the huge cave shelter that the state park and town was name after?

Click here for more information and directions to this State Park!


Thanks for reading my article about the various things to do at 5 southern Illinois state parks stretched across the region. Please share this article with others, especially on social media, to support my effort for creating it. You can also support me by following me on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also offer a membership system through Patreon and official Hiking with Shawn Merch on my online store. So until next, I’ll see you on the trail!

Shawn J. Gossman

Shawn J. Gossman


Shawn is the founder and host of the YouTube Channel, Hiking with Shawn as well as Hiking with Shawn LLC. Shawn hikes, backpacks and visits various forested areas in the Shawnee National Forest, local state parks and other areas promoting outdoor recreational activities to obtain video to show to locals and non-locals alike. Please support Shawn’s efforts by sharing this post and leaving a comment below.

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