Nestled in the heart of southern Illinois, Mount Vernon is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Steeped in history and surrounded by natural beauty, this charming town offers a variety of activities for locals and visitors alike. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful getaway, Mount Vernon has something for everyone. In this guide, we’ll unveil the best things to do in Mount Vernon, ensuring you make the most of your time in this picturesque town.
- Jefferson County Historical Village: Journey Through Time
Begin your exploration with a step back in time at the Jefferson County Historical Village. This living history museum showcases over a dozen historical buildings, including log cabins, a one-room schoolhouse, and a blacksmith shop. Visitors can experience daily life in the 19th century, making it an educational and immersive experience for the whole family.
- Cedarhurst Center for the Arts: A Haven for Art Lovers
Art enthusiasts will find solace in the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts. This cultural hub features rotating exhibitions of contemporary and regional art. The 90-acre campus also boasts outdoor sculptures and beautifully landscaped gardens, providing a tranquil setting for a leisurely stroll.
- Veterans Memorial Park: Reflect and Honor
For a moment of reflection, head to Veterans Memorial Park. This serene and well-maintained space pays homage to the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces. The park features memorials, statues, and beautifully landscaped grounds, creating a peaceful atmosphere for visitors to pay their respects.
- Rend Lake: Outdoor Paradise
Nature lovers will find Rend Lake to be a haven for outdoor activities. This massive reservoir offers opportunities for fishing, boating, hiking, and bird-watching. With scenic picnic areas and nature trails, Rend Lake provides a perfect escape for those seeking a day of relaxation surrounded by the beauty of the great outdoors.
- Times Square Mall: Retail Therapy
Indulge in some retail therapy at Times Square Mall. This shopping destination in Mount Vernon boasts a variety of shops and boutiques, offering everything from clothing and accessories to unique gifts and souvenirs. After a day of exploring, treat yourself to a delightful shopping spree.
- Horseshoe Lake: A Tranquil Retreat
Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life by visiting Horseshoe Lake. This hidden gem offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers. Enjoy hiking trails, bird-watching, and serene lake views. Pack a picnic and spend a day surrounded by the calming sounds of nature.
- Appellate Courthouse: Architectural Marvel
Explore the historic Appellate Courthouse, a stunning architectural gem that dates back to the late 19th century. The courthouse, with its Richardsonian Romanesque style, is not only a legal institution but also a testament to the town’s rich history. Guided tours are available, offering insights into the courthouse’s past and its significant role in the community.
- Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park: Outdoor Adventure
For a day of outdoor adventure, head to Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park. This expansive park on the shores of Rend Lake provides opportunities for boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. With scenic trails and picturesque lake views, it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts and those seeking an active getaway.
- Mitchell Museum: Unique Collections
Discover the eclectic collections at the Mitchell Museum. This local gem showcases a diverse range of exhibits, from Native American artifacts to regional history displays. The museum provides an engaging and educational experience for visitors interested in the cultural heritage of southern Illinois.
- Quail Creek Country Club: Tee Off in Style
Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a day at the Quail Creek Country Club. This well-maintained golf course offers a challenging yet enjoyable round of golf. With lush greenery and beautiful surroundings, it’s a perfect spot for both seasoned golfers and those looking to try their hand at the sport.
- Cedarhurst Golf Course: Scenic Golfing
Another golfing option in Mount Vernon is the Cedarhurst Golf Course. This 18-hole course is nestled within the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, providing golfers with a picturesque backdrop of sculptures and natural beauty. Enjoy a round of golf surrounded by the tranquility of this unique setting.
- Mount Vernon Antique Mall: Treasure Hunting
For those who love antiquing, the Mount Vernon Antique Mall is a must-visit. Browse through a diverse collection of vintage items, collectibles, and unique finds. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just enjoy exploring the past, this antique mall offers a delightful shopping experience.
- Foodie Exploration: Culinary Delights
Indulge in the local culinary scene by exploring Mount Vernon’s diverse dining options. From cozy cafes to family-friendly restaurants, the town offers a range of choices to satisfy every palate. Don’t miss the chance to sample regional specialties and support local eateries during your visit.
Mount Vernon, Illinois, may be a small town, but it packs a punch when it comes to things to do and places to explore. From immersing yourself in history to enjoying the tranquility of nature, this charming town has a diverse range of activities for all interests. So, whether you’re a local looking to rediscover your hometown or a traveler seeking a unique destination, Mount Vernon is sure to leave a lasting impression. Plan your visit and unlock the treasures of this hidden gem in the heart of southern Illinois.