Regional road trips are all the rage right now. Many folks feel most comfortable hopping in the car with their loved ones and exploring sights that are off the beaten path. Some of those sights may even be in your own backyard! For plenty of regional travel ideas, check-in every Wednesday for a Downstate Illinois Road Trip Roundup on themed topics showcasing several destinations across the southern portion of the state. This week, we’ll focus on stopping and enjoying the beautiful sights around you - here are some of the best views in the southern region of the state!
Effingham has an array of breathtaking views…whether you’re at the lake or in our beautiful downtown, we have something for you. Lake Sara is an 800-acre recreational lake with 27 miles of shoreline, located just a few miles west of Effingham. The lake has many attractions both on and off the water. A quiet cove at dawn, where the only sound is the whirl of a casting reel and gentle splash of the fly hitting the water’s surface; a sunny afternoon slalom skiing behind a powerboat or running alone the beach; a family picnic in the grass at the water’s edge or a reunion under one of the pavilions. All of these scenarios exemplify the unique, calming surrounds of Lake Sara. There are two marinas, two restaurants, nearby golf courses and campground. Lake Sara is also a great fishing lake. Species include bass, channel catfish, blue gill and white and black crappie. It has several public access points for shore fishing. The lake also just built a wonderful new playground. All inclusive, all access is what the Lake Sara Beach Park is all about, this new pirate themed playground, with lake views makes for the perfect afternoon, your children be will sure to enjoy. Lake Sara is constantly changing, by adding new, bigger and better things to help improve the lake and surrounding attractions. This local favorite offers tons of fun activities, with beautiful views. Effingham offers a taste of luxury without the hustle and bustle of the big city… Just what the doctor ordered, right? Visit Village Wine & Spirits in downtown Effingham and choose from the area’s largest and finest selection of premium wines, spirits and luxury beers at very competitive prices. Enjoy your drinks of choice at their full-service bar or, on a nice night, relax in style by finding a table on their rooftop deck with a rooftop view of Downtown Effingham. The rooftop patio is always open as long as the weather is cooperating. Experience the “big city” in Effingham with the gorgeous downtown views! Here in Effingham, we like to think we have some of the “best views around” whether it’s at beautiful Lake Sara or in downtown Effingham on the Village Wine & Spirits rooftop patio.
Southern Illinois is a beautiful place, and you don’t want to miss out on finding a spot to admire its beauty. Luckily, ILLINOISouth has several places with fantastic views that allow you to admire the beauty of southern Illinois. Salt Lick Point in Valmeyer offers an incredible view of gorgeous trees and a clear blue lake from 810 feet in the air. The hike to the point is roughly three miles long and rises up into the bluffs until you reach Salt Lick Point, where hikers take a break to admire the beauty around them. On clear days if you look directly north, you can see the Gateway Arch, and the rest of the skyline of Downtown St. Louis. Not far down the road in Randolph County, another breathtaking view can be found at Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site. The views of Kaskaskia Island and the Mississippi River cannot be beat from this vantage point, which is especially beautiful in the fall. In Centralia, the Carillon offers a magnificent view of this awesome community. Visitors can even book a tour of the Carillon where they can climb the 160 foot tower, see the instrument being played, and learn about the history of the Carillon. The World’s Largest Mailbox in Casey, Illinois gives visitors a fantastic view of the town. It’s the perfect place to snap a family photo, and since it is a fully-functioning mailbox, visitors can even grab a postcard to send from the World’s Largest Mailbox itself. There is even a red flag that goes up when letters are sent from the Mailbox. We hope you enjoy the view of southern Illinois!
***PHOTO CREDIT - Staci Landis