Down in Southern Illinois lies a small town and beautiful area, known as Makanda. Here you will also find the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Southernmost Illinois is still not normally depicted as a tourist hot spot, but that’s a key reason to pack your bags and make a trip there.
The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail is only 20 minutes from most of the area’s other top attractions. Additionally, when it comes to enjoying the outdoors, you’re going to love the weather here. If you’re visiting during the springtime, temperatures are a lovely moderate 50 to 70 degrees. During the summertime, you’ll enjoy much hotter temps, perfect for the swimming and lake activities.
We have many visitors during the fall, high-season, especially for leaf peeping and hanging around the outdoor firepits at night. If that’s your favorite time to get away, because of the high demand, book your stay early. Six months in advance, you’ll be sure to have a choice of places. Many travelers book a year in advance to get that special date. We highly recommend coming to the Makanda area during the winter, the hiking is fantastic, and the scenery with the huge bluffs and frozen waterfalls is absolutely breathtaking!
Let’s take a quick look at all there is do when visiting the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, in and near Makanda, IL.
Cottages and Cabins Galore
The Shawnee Heartland is home to some of the area’s most notable lodging accommodations including, Makanda Inn & Cottages and Blue Sky Vineyards Suites located in Makanda. Through the Shawnee Wine Trail Lodging Association, you’ll find everything from small, quaint cottages to large cabins big enough to sleep, 6+ people.
The area is the ideal place to spend a honeymoon, offering quiet outdoor settings where you can relax, romance, and dance under the crystal clear nighttime skies. On a clear night, you can see more stars than you could ever think about counting!
It’s also along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail that you’ll find Bed and Breakfast Inns. They will start your mornings off right, with their own unique and delicious onsite hot breakfast meals. Most are very accommodating if you have any allergies or dietary concerns, so be sure to let them know about those when booking your stay.
As you’re getting ready for the day ahead, the only concern you’ll have is, choosing what to do. Do you want to explore the area’s numerous hiking paths, the Shawnee Bluffs Canopy Tour Zipline, rock climbing or travel around to do a little specialty shopping and wine tasting? Many of the cabins and cottages in the area feature fireplaces and Jacuzzis and some have hot tubs as well.
Places to Shop in Makanda
The famous Makanda Boardwalk is only a half-mile from the well-known Makanda Inn and Cottages, and it’s here you will find several shops that take you back in time. Did you know that Makanda is known as the hippiest town in Illinois? Makanda is recognized as such in a global rating too! It’s the ideal place to pick up a souvenir or gift. The Rainmaker has a one of a kind sculpture garden behind his shop, be sure to check it out! The Boardwalk is a must-visit destination during your trip to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail.
There’s also Allan Stuck, a jeweler sculptor who creates his pieces from an assortment of natural materials. He uses rubies, topaz, and moonstones in creating some of his pieces. His extravagant designs in silver and gold are second to none. At times he uses fossilized dragonflies, dinosaur bones and ivory from boar tusks, or even rattlesnake fangs! You’ll be amazed at his work, and he’s such an interesting artist, who will take the time to talk with you. There is at least one Hollywood legend who owns his work. His shop is next to the town’s very small post office in Makanda.
Places to eat in Makanda
The Giant City Lodge is known far and wide for its family-style, fried chicken dinner. Others talk about the catfish sandwich and the Bison burgers too. For those staying in a Cabin or Cottage accommodation, the Lodge also serves a great early morning breakfast!
Keller’s Crossing at Stone Creek Golf Club & Community, on Route 51 South, opens their clubhouse restaurant and bar called “Molly Gunns” Thursday through Saturdays for dinner dining and drinks. They have a nice menu selection, and the Wings are to die for! They also offer nice weekly dinner specials.
Makanda Java at the Boardwalk offers folks, coffee, and the standard lunch sandwiches, chips, drinks, and some candies. Can be a perfect “to go” option if you want to take lunch out on the hiking trail or to one of the Giant City State Park picnic areas. Like Ice Cream? Phil also serves Ice Cream, get a cone or a cup to enjoy while you stroll on the Boardwalk. Or sit for a bit on one of the benches there, the atmosphere is relaxing and laid back.
You may find MollyGunns, and the lodge closed in the winter but don’t despair, there are a lot of options in adjacent towns within a short, fifteen-minute drive.
Outdoor Things to Do
Keller’s Crossing at Stone Creek Golf Club & Community, on Route 51 South, is the ideal spot to spend a day golfing and see stunning views of the Makanda valley. Great daily rates with cart and “Golfers Lunch.”
Makanda is well known for its beautiful scenery. Giant City State Park is the perfect place to spend a day or multiple days exploring. You can go hiking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, practice archery, go rock climbing & rappelling, and even some hunting.
Hunting here is heavily regulated. You’ll need to speak with a park official or call the site superintendent to get more details on the types of wildlife available for hunting. As well as, when the particular hunting season starts and stops. Visit the Giant City Visitor Center for great printed information and talk with the knowledgeable people that work there about other activities you may like to do while there.
Visit the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail
You will find two of the eleven wineries on the wine trail in Makanda, IL. They are just a short distance from each other too! Blue Sky Vineyard, opened on July 4th, 2005. Feather Hills Vineyard & Winery, formerly Orlandini, is expanding under its new ownership by the Feathers’ since 2017. Everyone is excited about the new owners’ success! Live music weekends & great wine are available at both wineries. Blue Sky offers a food menu & gift shop merchandise along with other services.
Plan your Weekend or Vacation Trip Today
Whether you’re staying for two nights or two weeks, you’ll have plenty of activities to enjoy that will fill up each day in and around Makanda, in Southern Illinois. Come and enjoy all that the town of Makanda and its area has to offer. You’re sure to see why so many people choose to return year after year to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail and Makanda!