Local destinations for spring break

By Gus Bode

While some SIU students are preparing to slather on suntan lotion and travel to sunny destinations, others are readying themselves for a week of vacation in southern Illinois.

If students are planning to do more than hunker down with textbooks, working, or catching up on sleep, local lakes and hiking trails may be the escape they need. The Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau Web site, as well as their location in the University Mall, has brochures of area attractions that could be of use for those planning on staying in or around Carbondale over break.

For more information on local tourist attractions go online to the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau at www.cctb.org.


One area nature site that will be open over break is Crab Orchard Lake and Wildlife Refuge, located between Carbondale and Marion. The area features three different lakes as well as local wildlife. Karin Magera, a park ranger, said while the campgrounds will not be open until April, several hiking trails and fishing locations are available.

“It’s a little too cold for swimming, so fishing and hiking are probably the best bet,” she said.

She said in order to be in the area, visitors are required to have a daytime pass that costs $2, and can obtain one at the visitor’s center. She also said those planning on fishing should get a license from the state of Illinois.

However, if the weather doesn’t lend itself to being outside, vacationing students can visit historical sites, especially in Murphysboro. The General John A. Logan museum will be open over break from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and is located across the street from the Jackson County Historical Society. Both places offer a look into the past of southern Illinois.


Students can also make a trip through the various trails southern Illinois offers, including the wine and treasure trail. The wine trail features several area vineyards – some more than 100 years old – while the treasure trail allows visitors to gander at antique shops.

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