Southern Illinois has a lot good options for camping, although many are basic, non-electric sites. If you feel like backpacking, you can camp just about anywhere in Shawnee National Forest.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are also many cabins and vacation homes for rent; they are generally best suited for large groups or families traveling together and many require a minimum stay of two nights. My recommendations below focus on accommodations that cater more to individuals or couples, like bed and breakfasts or small inns, rather than bigger cabins and vacation homes.
There are three developed campgrounds in the Mississippi Bluffs Ranger District of Shawnee National Forest (618.833.8576):
- Johnson Creek Recreation Area (Highway 151 about four miles north of Highway 3) has twenty basic campsites with water near popular Kinkaid Lake; no showers.
- Pine Hills (Forest Road 236) has thirteen basic sites with water in a shaded area near the village of Wolf Lake; no showers.
- Well off the beaten path, Turkey Bayou offers free, basic camping next to a small lake; the campground is about seven miles from Highway 3.
Horseshoe Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area (Miller City: 21204 Promised Land Rd.; 618.776.5689) has a campground with sites that range from basic to full hookups; there’s a shower house on site.
Mudline Lodging’s Whitetail Cabin (1396 S. Mudline Road; 618.534.0082) is a simple, affordable place with a full kitchen and two sets of bunk beds.
The Historic Hull House Inn (1517 Walnut St.; 618.305.5625) rents three rooms in a 19th-century Italianate mansion; room rentals include a continental breakfast.
Three unique units make up Kinkaid Lake Cabins (618.687.4624), which are located about a mile from the namesake Kinkaid Lake. Each is round and comes with two or three beds plus a small kitchen. Prices are quite affordable.
A converted small-town general store is now the Alto Wine Trail Loft (5 Elm St.; 618.698.7474), a modern, spacious apartment with a full kitchen and plenty of amenities that is conveniently located near several wineries and hiking trails.
The Old Mill Inn (260 Main St.; 618.697.5860) rents three rooms in a building that started out as a flour mill. Guests get a full breakfast and use of two common rooms to hang out in.
Von Jakob Winery and Brewery (230 Illinois Highway 127; 618.893.4600) rents five modern rooms in two cottages on the winery grounds; each room includes a full breakfast, Jacuzzi tubs, a bottle of wine, and scenic views.
The Pearchbarn Suite at Hedman Vineyards near Alto Pass (560 Chestnut St.; 618.893.4923) is carved out of a 1940s barn but is thoroughly up-to-date and located in a pastoral setting.
Hidden Lake Guest House (431 Cook Ave.; 618.833.5252) rents three modern suites, each with a microwave and small refrigerator.
Rustic Hideaway Cabins (60 Rustic Hideaway Lane; 618.534.0481) rents two log cabins deep in the woods. Each has a big outdoor patio, hot tub, and full kitchen.