Exploring Around Carbondale

Make Carbondale your starting point for exploration, adventure, and a little bit of fun. Start at one of two national parks and end the day dining at one of our many great restaurants downtown. With so many places to explore, Carbondale is the perfect starting point for your vacation.

A rich heritage of culture, education, and history, places Carbondale as the Capital of Southern Illinois.

Starting in Carbondale gives you many choices. All throughout the year you can attend one of several annual events. Just minutes from the Duquoin State Fair, national golf tournaments, and an endless wine trail, there is no shortage of things to do.


The City of Carbondale, located in Southern Illinois, provides a close link to many area forests and lakes. The City of Carbondale is next to the Shawnee National Forest (280,000 acres) and the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (44,000 acres).  It is also within 10-45 minutes of Giant City (2,430 acres) and Ferne Clyffe (4,000 acres) State Parks, Trail of Tears State Forest, and the Cache River Wetlands. Landscapes designated for wilderness to developed recreation vary from bottomlands to uplands with rolling hills, bluffs, and rugged topography. Also nearby are lakes including Crab Orchard, Kinkaid, Devils Kitchen, Little Grassy, Lake of Egypt, and Cedar totaling over 17,000 acres, ponds and rivers, including the Mississippi. This is in addition to our own forests and woodlands and private lands that are available to us. There are diverse and boundless educational and recreational opportunities for all.

City of Carbondale Cedar Lake
Giant City State Park
Trail of Tears State Forest
Shawnee National Forest
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
Southern Illinois Touch of Nature
The Marberry Arboretum 
Green Earth


Southern Illinois University
John A. Logan College

Planned Events

Duquoin State Fair

The following Planned events can be accessed at:

Carbondale Main Street and/or Carbondale Chamber of Commerce
Annual Night Out
Brew Fest
Brown Bag Concert
Carbondale Golf Classic
Fourth Friday Fairs
Lights Fantastic
Patio Tours & Progressive Tours
Planting Days
Walking Tours
Women's Clothing Swap


Hickory Ridge Family Golf Center
Carbondale Park District

Retail Shopping

University Mall, an enclosed shopping center (677,000 square feet) with anchors: J.C. Penny, Macy's, Bed Bath and Beyond and AMC Theaters (an 8 Screen Complex)

Murdale Shopping Center with anchors: Neighborhood Food Co-op and Tru-Value

University Place, an open-air center (250,000 square feet) with anchors: Dick's Sporting Goods, Best Buy, Petco, AMC Theatre (an 8 Screen Complex), TJ Maxx, Party City, and Various other Shops

Eastgate Shopping Center with anchors: Ashley Furniture

Central Business District

West Park Plaza, an open-air center (55,322 sqare feet) with anchors: Golds Gym, CVS Pharmacy and Sherwin Williams Paint

Photo Gallery

Quick Facts

From here to there

Five minutes south of Carbondale is the city reservoir, Cedar Lake, which is open to kayaking and canoeing. The north access features several dramatic rock bluffs and secluded bays. Other lakes nearby include Little Grassy Lake, Devils Kitchen Lake, Crab Orchard Lake, and Kinkaid Lake. Another more remote location is Cache River Swamp, the northernmost cypress swamp in North America. The surrounding areas also offer hiking and mountain biking. 

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