Carbondale Illinois

Carbondale Illinois is a multifaceted travel destination, and this has a lot to do with the fact that it is home to the main campus for Southern Illinois University. The cultural offerings of this university are just the start when it comes to everything that Carbondale has to offer, and if you like the great outdoors, a finer base in the region there could hardly be.

Carbondale IL isn't the biggest city in the world, but you might be surprised how much it has to offer. Approximately 26,000 people call it home, and this results in a sort of small town appeal that is hard to deny. The small town appeal doesn't translate to a lack of culture, however. Thanks largely to the Southern Illinois University Campus, or SIUC, residents and visitors alike can indulge in a variety of cultural pursuits.

The Southern Illinois University Campus is home to the Shryock Auditorium, which has hosted many a big time music performer. Other on-campus attractions include a teaching museum, an African American museum, a museum that focuses on the University itself, a science center, as well as the McLeod and Keinau Theaters. Sports fans aren't left out of the mix either. The school sponsors a number of athletic teams.

Carbondale is one of the main population centers of southern Illinois. In fact, only the Metro-East area near St. Louis is home to more residents when it comes to the southern part of the state. This likely has something to do with the good shopping opportunities, not to mention the relatively complete selection of restaurants. On the dining front, it also helps that Carbondale Illinois is found along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. This wine trail area was the first area in the state to get its own viticultural designation, and there are plenty of places to stop and get some food to go with your wine.

Among other things, Carbondale IL is known as being a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The city sits on the northern edge of the beautiful Shawnee National Forest, and it doesn't take very long to get to the renowned Garden of the Gods area. This area boasts many scenic splendors, hence its name. Hiking is among the most popular outdoor activities in the Carbondale area, and it is possible to do some canoeing and/or kayaking at the wonderful reservoir that is Cedar Lake. This reservoir is just five minutes south of town, and those who access it from the north get to admire picturesque bluffs and bays. Other activity options for those who are looking to enjoy the great outdoors in Carbondale include horseback riding, biking, fishing, and camping.

The Carbondale hotels provide a variety of options for places to stay if you don't want to camp at a nearby state park or within the boundaries of the Shawnee National Forest. On the chain-brand front, expect the likes of Holiday Inn, Super 8, and other well-known brands.

Many people who are interested in staying at one of the Carbondale hotels opt to go the bed and breakfast route. This can be a good move, as there are at least two excellent B&Bs in town. They are the Train Inn at 406 East Stoker Street and The Barton House Bed and Breakfast, which is situated at 1655 N. Reed Station Road. Both deserve mention among the best B&Bs in Illinois when it comes down to it, so it's hard to go wrong regardless of which one you select.

Image: Ruhe1986, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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