Southern Illinois


this Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, and you can help your neighbors by choosing the shop Southern Illinois local this year.

By shopping locally, you can get the best locally made or sold gifts for your friends and family while doing something special. When you shop Southern Illinois local, you help your community out. You help strengthen our local economy, which as a result, helps to get us more businesses and activities in the region.

I shop locally and promote shopping locally as much as possible. That’s the reason why I wanted to create this article. I want to promote the great local businesses that make Southern Illinois unique and unforgettable.

If you want fun gift ideas while helping the region this holiday season, keep reading and remember to shop Southern Illinois locally this year!


Shop Southern Illinois Local: Outdoor Gifts

Since I am a brand that focuses on outdoor recreation, I got to promote outdoor goods.

Luckily for us, Southern Illinois is full of some of the best outdoor recreation gear and products that money can buy, and it doesn’t cost a whole lot of that money, either.

I buy most of my outdoor gear from the businesses listed below.

Let’s jump into these businesses now!


Shawnee Trails Wilderness in Carbondale

Shawnee Trails Wilderness in Carbondale is the best place to get all your hiking, backpacking, camping, and canoe/kayaking supplies.

I recently got my latest waterproof hiking boots from them; they’re the best boot I’ve ever worn.

They have a large selection of hiking boots and a lot of nice backpacks. They have hiking apparel, camping kitchen items, and even accessories for your canoes and kayaks.

After you check them out, continue to shop Southern Illinois local by getting some Quatro’s Deep Pan Pizza right now door. If you need their number, I know it by heart, LOL.


Bike Surgeon of Southern Illinois in Carterville

Bike Surgeon of Southern Illinois, located in Carterville, is a great place to get a bicycle, biking apparel, cycling gear, and bike maintenance for that cyclist on your holiday list.

Bikes have been sold out on the internet, but this shop is getting new and used bikes all the time. Don’t miss out on their great deals. They have bikes for all ages and all riding styles.

They not only carry bikes, but they also have bike parts and accessories, cycling apparel, and work on bicycles.

I go to them for all my cycling needs. They always treat me right, and they care about the cycling community. Support these folks; they deserve it!


Run to Succeed in Marion

Do you have a runner on your shopping list? Don’t rely on a chain store to get the running gear!

Instead, go to the experts at Run to Success in Marion.

They have running and hiking footwear, running and fitness apparel, running and outdoor accessories, and so much more.

If you need a big gift, they got them. They got plenty of those if you need a stocking stuffer!


Garden of the Gods Outpost in Herod

For Shawnee National Forest-themed stuff, check out Garden of the Gods Outpost in Herod!

They got it all at the Outpost! They got t-shirts, hoodies, and hats with Shawnee National Forest all over them. They got Bigfoot stuff! They got local crafts and art made by Southern Illinois residents.

They even sell hiking and camping supplies and treats that make for the perfect stocking stuffer.

And since you are already there, you might as well have some ice cream; it’s the best around the area!


Shop Southern Illinois Local: Stocking Stuffers

Looking for little gifts that fit in stockings?

If you need little gifts that would make great stocking stuffers, there are plenty of great places in southern Illinois to get these items.

The businesses below are some of my favorite places to get smaller gifts for my friends and family.

Let’s check them out now!


Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch in Makanda

Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch isn’t just a ranch full of the friendliest (and cutest!) alpacas I’ve ever seen on Instagram; they also have many great gift items that would be perfect stocking stuffers.

Shop Southern Illinois local with these awesome folks because they make most of what they sell with alpaca fur. No alpacas are harmed in the process. Most of them are pretty spoiled.

The store has hand-poured scented candles, handmade alpaca hats and bracelets, alpaca socks, and even alpaca rugs. They also sell alpaca yarn.

I wear alpaca wool socks in the winter; let me tell you, it’s the best socks I’ve ever worn.


Holiday Art and Craft Sale in Carbondale

The Carbondale Holiday Art and Craft Sale is on December 1-3 this year at Southern Illinois University.

You must attend this event if you’re looking for locally handmade crafts, art, and jewelry. You can shop Southern Illinois local while also supporting the hard work of your neighbors. With locally handcrafted items, you’re not going to find those gems anywhere else.

Besides, how often do you see these precious crafts in person and talk to the people who made them, some of the nicest people I’ve met?


Boardwalk Shops in Makanda

Makanda is a great place to go hiking because that’s where Giant City State Park is.

But if you need stocking stuffers, check out the boardwalk in downtown Makanda! They got gifts, a really awesome rock shop, and even some treats for those shopping for the gifts. Makanda is like going back in time to when everything was groovy. It’s an enjoyable place to visit and shop, and the people are friendly.

The boardwalk is like a little mall; go check them out; you won’t be disappointed!


Alto Clay Works in Alto Pass

At his Alto Clay Works in Alto Pass, Stephen Grimmer makes some of the best pottery in southern Illinois.

Pottery is made using a wood fire. These items could be anything from stocking stuffers to more significant gifts. Why not give your friends and family the gift of local Southern Illinois art this holiday season?

While you’re in Alto, be sure to check out the New Bourbon Bar!


Shop Southern Illinois Local: Food and Drink

Food and drinks make for some of the best Christmas gifts that you can buy for someone!

Luckily for us, Southern Illinois is full of these incredible places.

I couldn’t choose a favorite place because everyone I’ve used has been just as awesome as the last one.

Let’s take a look at some of these places now!


Chocolate Factory in Golconda

If you’ve never been to the Chocolate Factory in Golconda, you’re missing out on so much!

The Chocolate Factory is right across the street from Dixon Springs State Park. They sell every kind of chocolate treat you could imagine. They have your standard box of chocolates, or you can get chocolate arrowheads or, my favorite, chocolates that look just like deviled eggs!

And while you’re there getting someone candy made right at their shop, get some of their hand-scooped ice creams because you’ll want to go back for more after eating that goodness.


Panthers Rest Farm and Coffee in Makanda

I’m not just promoting Panther Rest Farm and Coffee because they named a coffee after me (Bluffage Blend); I include them here because their coffee is fantastic.

It was the first time I’d ever drunk coffee where you grind up the beans yourself. I bought myself a cheap electric grinder and drank more coffee that day than I ever had before. It’s good stuff!

If you get Bluffage Blend, I don’t make any money, but a homeless shelter in Marion does get some of the proceeds. The picture on the packaging is me but without a beard. You can always grab a black marker and color a beard, but you might want to add some gray too!


Glaciers End in Marion

Have you ever had Glaciers End Hot Sauce? I have two words for you “Old Squirrel.”

Don’t worry! As far as I know, it isn’t made out of an old squirrel! But they have some incredible food. We love their hot sauces and their pickles, too. They just opened up a place in Marion not too long ago. I met these people at the Mushroom Fest, and they’re some of the nicest folks I’ve talked to.

Check out what they offer and get some Old Squirrel; it’s great stuff!


Big Muddy Hogs in Hurst

When it comes to pork, chicken, and other farm fresh foods – Big Muddy Hogs in Hurst is where it’s at.

If you’ve had their food, you likely go back again and again. They even have their own little grocery store. I’ve included the directions in the link above, but their road is right after the railroad tracks heading north out of Hurst on 149. Take a left, and the signs will lead you there.

Once upon a time, I lived in Hurst for almost 30 years. It’s where I rode a bike for the first time. It’s where I lived when Hiking with Shawn was created. Seeing Big Muddy Hogs doing so well in my tiny hometown is fantastic.


Shop Southern Illinois Local: Gift Certificates

If you’re like me, you give people gift cards. I’m pretty boring when it comes to gifts…

Luckily, I can shop Southern Illinois local for all my gift card needs.

I’m tired of giving people gift cards to fast food joints when I could give them way better stuff to eat and drink.

So, let’s look at some great places selling gift cards this holiday season.


Big Muddy Brewing in Murphysboro

Craft beer! Craft Soda! And the Big Muddy Monster!

Check out Big Muddy Brewing Company in Murphysboro for some awesome gift cards. I’m not too fond of any kind of beer aside from craft beer. I love IPA. Bug Muddy Brewery has all sorts of craft beer and even craft soda for those who don’t get into the beer. Plus, they celebrate the Big Muddy Monster, which I was always told was real (I lived in a Big Muddy River town-Hurst).

Visit their brewery and get fun gift cards for your friends and family.


Mackie’s Pizza in Harrisburg

I need to be transparent; I eat here a lot.

I believe Mackie’s Pizza in Harrisburg is the best pizza place on the planet! Michelle and I eat there as much as we can. Well, at least once or twice a month! A few Christmases ago, I got two gift certificates to Mackie’s. They didn’t last long!

I recommend this pizza, and a gift card is a perfect gift! My mailing address is on the contact page – only kidding, don’t buy me a gift, LOL!


Neighborhood Coop of Carbondale

Have you ever been to a place in southern Illinois that sell southern Illinois goods?

Check out the Neighborhood Coop in Carbondale! They’re even a sponsor of the cycling club that I belong to! They do a lot for southern Illinois and the Carbondale community. They have a lot of good food, drinks, and gifts to choose from. Best of all, they sell gift cards so your friends and family can buy what they want.

They’ve even let me write an article for their magazine about local waterfall chasing!


Leaf Food Hub in Carterville

Leaf Food Hub is a coop of farms, bakeries, and other local businesses, enabling you to shop Southern Illinois local in one place!

I’ve used Leaf Food Hub several times in the past. You can buy a basket of different foods and gifts from several other businesses in one place. They allow you to open up accounts and add credit which is pretty much like a gift card. I buy all my Flyaway Family Farm mushroom products from them, along with fresh produce from local farms.

Add some sweets from Heather’s Bake Shop to your cart. Oh boy, are they good!


Shop Southern Illinois Local: Public Land Support

Are you interested in doing something special this holiday season?

Support the organizations that support your local public land by shopping with them.

These organizations are so unique that even I am a board member of a few of them!

Let’s look at some organizations that support public land and how you can support them this holiday season.


Friends of the Shawnee National Forest

I’ve been a board member of Friends of the Shawnee National Forest for a few years now.

This organization cleans up litter, removes invasive species, supports Forest Service projects financially and with labor, and does everything it can to serve the Shawnee National Forest. And it’s all done by volunteer members. If you want to purchase gift items that will put money back into the Shawnee National Forest, consider buying from the Friends!

They have Shawnee National Forest t-shirts, hoodies, beanies, postcards, and even maps of the Shawnee National Forest.


Friends of Giant City State Park

Have you ever been to Visitor Center at Giant City State Park? Friends of Giant City State Park sells all the store items.

Friends of Giant City State Park are a big part of the responsibility for why so many activities are happening at the park. These volunteers and their organizations benefit from this excellent state park. Without the friends, I don’t think Giant City would have as many activities and programs as it has. Organizations like this do so much for our public land.

Check out the store at the Visitor Center for Giant City apparel and other nature-themed gifts to help support the park.


Friends of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge

Friends of the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge are a big part of the successful visitor experience within the National Wildlife Refuge.

Friends of the Crab sell their store items at the brand-new Crab Orchard Visitors Center, where you can also purchase vehicle access stickers and watercraft permits. Crab Orchard Refuge is one of the best National Wildlife Refuges around. It is a beautiful place, and they even kept their trails and access open for everyone to use during the pandemic when everything else was closing, and people had nowhere to go to get fresh air and nature.

Check out the store for Crab Orchard and nature-themed apparel, kids’ items, books, and more!


Friends of the Cache River Watershed

Friends of the Cache River Watershed is another organization I am proud to be a board member of.

Have you ever been to Heron Pond? How about Wildcat Bluff? Have you ever canoed at Lower Cache River? Friends of the Cache River Watershed is a not-for-profit organization that supports the Cache River. They’ve bought land for the Cache. They’ve hired employees to take care of the Cache. They’ve funded many projects to make the Cache better. They’ve saved the Cache countless times, and they’ll always be there for the Cache.

Check out the Barkhausen Visitor Center in Karnak to buy apparel, books, toys, and jewelry offered by Friends of the Cache River Watershed.


Quick Self-Promotion…

Hiking with Shawn is a local business too. So, this is what I have…

You can buy Official Hiking with Shawn merchandise from my Online Store, including t-shirts, hoodies, and even stickers. You can get a free Hiking with Shawn sticker by following these instructions if you want one.

I also have a Patreon Support Account and offer Itinerary Planning and Guided Hiking Services.

Okay, that’s enough of me! Check out the places above before me and give them your business. They deserve your business way more than I do!


Are you a Local Southern Illinois Business?

Are you a business in Southern Illinois? If so, I want to support you in a future article like this one. Almost every article I write on this blog includes information about specific local businesses. I especially like Mom and Pop dining, lodging, and shopping businesses. If you want to be listed in future articles (for free, by the way), you should contact me today and tell me about your business!


And there you have it, my holiday gift guide for 2022! Be sure to shop Southern Illinois local to support our incredible community. I know that visitors to the Shawnee National Forest support these businesses, but they also rely on us locals. So, get out there and give them your business when you can, even after the holidays are over!

Please Support Hiking with Shawn

Alrighty folks, I hope you have enjoyed this content. I provide it for free and it takes a while to create. If you would be so kind enough to support my efforts, you can do so by sharing this post with others, especially on social media. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to see my latest videos, shorts and live streams. Follow me on FacebookInstagramTwitter and TikTok for unique content that you will only find on those pages. You might also join my Southern Illinois Hiking & Outdoor Resources Group on Facebook, too!

You can also support me by becoming a Patreon Supporter for as little as $3/month and you can cancel anytime (no contracts or catches). Patreons get access to extra features, exclusive articles, sticker packs, gifts and more. Consider buying official Hiking with Shawn Merchandise as another way to support me. I spend a lot of money on Hiking with Shawn and because of extremely high public land permit fees, I make very little money in return so everything helps.

Thanks again for checking out another one of my articles and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!

Shawn Gossman

Shawn Gossman

Founder, Hiking with Shawn

Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman

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