Get the Visitors Guide & More! View Travel Guides
Located in the northwest corner of Williamson County, the village of Cambria is just minutes from the John A. Logan College campus. This bedroom community boasts a few retail stores, many places of worship and James Mohan Memorial Park. It was also the hometown of Luther Harvel who played for the Celveland Indians.
Carterville was founded by George McNeill and Laban Carter. McNeill first settled the land in 1866. Carter helped establish the post office in 1871 and the town was later named after him. McNeill was one of the youngest members of the Union Army and marched with General Sherman.
Now, Carterville is home to John A. Logan College, many beautiful parks, restaurants and unique shops. The town is also located next to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, a 44,000-acre land with a wide diversity of flora and fauna. The Visitor Center offers various monthly programs and other events throughout the year.
Located between Marion and Carterville, Crainville offers visitors small town charm with several restaurants and other businesses.
It was one of the earliest mining communities in Williamson County when Jasper Crain founded it as Crain City. In June 1881, it became the village of Crainville and featured a railroad station, flour mill, post office, and jail. Today, more than 1,000 residents call Crainville home, and it continues to grow.
The city of Creal Springs was discovered by Edward G. Creal in 1881. At that time it was being used as a French trading post. Edward G. Creal had discovered a mineral spring in this town and it was considered to have healing powers and was sold in 5-gallon jugs for $0.50 in 1910. The Ozark Hotel opened in Creal Springs in 1910. It was a three-story brick hotel that contained 87 guest rooms complete with a bathhouse. There are several different mineral springs and doctors many times have sent patients here to bathe and drink in the healing water. The town also had the Creal Springs College and Conservatory of Music in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
The college and hotel are now gone, but Creal Springs still has sights to see. The Wonder Water Reunion takes place every September and celebrates the springs with a parade, carnival, crafts, and food. Also make sure to stop at Kay's Sugar Creek Cafe, a long-time staple in Creal Springs.
Incorporated as a municipality in 1907, the Village of Energy was actually a thriving coal mining community at the turn of the last century. Formerly known simply as the "Y", the town was named after the Energy Coal Company in 1904, and incorporated three years later. More than 100 years later, Energy continues as a place rooted in community. Many of the town's 1,200 plus residents can trace their family histories to the early days of this ideal Southern Illinois setting. From its well-kept public park to its well-maintained infrastructure, both residents and visitors alike enjoy Energy. Probably its most notable asset is displayed everyday in the smiling faces of its people. Employees and residents both take pride in that "small town" feeling that is unmistakable. A post office, a pharmacy, a hardware store and several other locally owned and operated businesses help to give this town its idyllic charm.
Herrin was named after Isaac Herring. He was a Baptist preacher and the first permanent settler in Herrin. He arrived in November of 1816. Herrin definitely has its share of history. In the days of big band, the Dorsey Brothers and Frank Sinatra performed here, and Presidents Nixon, Kennedy, and Reagan have also visited the town. It is the hometown of country music star David Lee Murphy, baseball's Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman, San Diego State University men's basketball coach Steve Fisher, and Medal of Honor recipient Joseph William Ozbourn. It is also the site of the infamous Herrin Massacre, which occurred in 1922.
Today, Herrin is home to the annual HerrinFesta Italiana, a Memorial Day weekend celebration of the town's Italian heritage. The five-day event often draws over 60,000 people for live music, authentic Italian food, a carnival, Bocce Ball tournament, the "Bigga Nose" and other pasta-eating contests, as well as many other activities. Among the great attractions in Herrin is the park district; it is beautifully maintained with a pond, walking trails, baseball diamonds, shelters, and a swimming pool. The downtown shopping distrcit boasts many boutiques and restaurants that will ensure you have a great time visiting Herrin.
Established in 1903, Hurst was a productive mining comminuty from the early 1900's through the 1980's until the closing of the mines. Founder, Thomas Phillip Russell named the town after William Charles Hurst, a Union Pacific Railroad Engineer.
In the early 1900's, Johnston City was a booming mining town. There were eleven mines operating in the area. It was also home of the first theatre that had "talking pictures". The Palace Theatre started out in 1922 and showed silent movies. By 1929, it was the only theatre in Southern Illinois to have sound.
Now, Johnston City is the location of beautiful Arrowhead Lake Park and Campground. This 30-acre lake offers good fishing and an opportunity to view nature and wildlife at a gentler pace. On the west side of I-57, Stardust Country Club provides golfers a challenging nine-hole course. During the month of October, be sure to visit Bandy's Pumpkin Patch and enjoy hayrides, a play barn, corn maze, and other treats. Andresen's Cafe, established in 1927, is another sure stop. Newly formed Johnston City Vision 20/20, is a group of local businessmen and citizens that are formulating a 10-year plan for growth and economic development, with promising early results. Johnston City recently established a home rule community, with a TIF district to spur progress, resulting in several new businesses applying- and anticipating a prominent future.
Marion gets its name from American Revolutionary War hero General Francis Marion. Established in August 20, 1839, the town started out on 20 acres and is now the 25th most populated city in Illinois outside of Chicago. Marion is just 60 miles north of the southern tip where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers merge; we are the Heart of Southern Illinois.
Visitors coming to Marion will have lots to see and do. There are plenty of hotels, restaurants, antique stores, and a mall featuring many unique specialty shops. Cultural sights are also abound in Marion. Here, you will discover the Williamson County Historical Society, a three-story museum and bookstore located in the historic county jail. The Marion Cultural and Civic Center will entertain you with an array of plays and musicals. For the sports enthusiast, Marion is home to the Southern Illinois Miners professional baseball team. There are numerous parks as well as a community swimming pool. Remember, when visiting Marion, there is something for everyone.
Formally named Pittsburg on June 25, 1906, this former mining town was established when F.W. Cool opened the Keystone Mine- the first in the area. Cool planned a new industrial community that would be patterned after the "Smoky City" of his native Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. From there, the town sprouted and by 1920, there were mines in all corners of the town and became populated by many immigrants. Pittsburg has been described as one of "people helping people".
SI Boat and Fishing Show
February 3-5, 2017 Find out more details here!Read More
Plan Your Trip
Use our interactive map to help plan your trip.Learn More
Learn more about annual events in Williamson County.See More
Featured Outdoor Article
Take a closer look at lodging in the area.Read More
Upcoming EventsView All
Kayaking the Refuge Course
May 27, 2017
Come kayak Crab Orchard NWR's More »
Marion Farmers Market
Weekly on Saturdays and Wednesdays
Marion Farmers Market, located More »
Herrin Farmers Market
The Weekends on Saturdays
Herrin Farmers Market is open More »
May 22, 2017 - May 29
Voted 2014 Illinois' More »
The Weekends on Saturdays
Free gaming open to all 12-19 More »