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Located in southern Illinois, the Effingham Destination contains a portion of southern Indiana, with one of the most prominent cities of the destination being Evansville. The namesake of the destination, Effingham, was named in honor of Thomas Howard, the 3rd Earl of Effingham, as far as the most recent research of such perceives. Forested areas and farmlands cover a relatively large percentage of the destination, in addition to land features such as the Sara Lake, Ohio River, Lake Shelbyville, and Newton Lake, to name a few. Sara Lake, in particular, receives a fair amount of visitors annually, many of which are fishermen.[6] September, May, and June are considered by many to be the more ideal months to visit the Effingham Destination, as temperatures are relatively warmer. July is generally the hottest month of the year in the area, due to the number of days where temperatures frequently reach over 87 degrees Fahrenheit. This particular region of Illinois may be marginally warmer than other areas of Illinois, considering that the coldest month of the year, January, does not typically receive as much precipitation as other places in the state.[5]

What Evansville is known for

The Effingham Destination occupies land in a portion of Illinois and Indiana, containing cities such as Mattoon, Shelbyville, Effingham, Robinson, Fairfield, Princeton, Lawrenceville, and one of the more prominent cities, Evansville. Cities outside of the destination that are relatively well known for tourism include Indianapolis, which can be found nearly two and a half hours from the city of Effingham, and St. Louis, located an hour and forty minutes from Effingham. Effingham County’s population, as of July 1st, 2021, estimates to be approximately 66,471 residents, 81.9% of which are white, 14.3% are black or African American, 1.1% are Asian, and the remaining percentage is of other races. The population per square mile is nearly 109.4, as of 2010, with the land area per square mile being 477.70.[1] Origins of the namesake of the destination, Effingham, presumably derived from Thomas Howard, the 3rd Earl of Effingham, who, in 1775, resigned his commission as general when he served in the British Army. At the time, he had refused to engage in war against the Colonies. However, there is no written proof that the city is named after Howard.[2]

Lake Sara can be found about five miles southwest of Effingham, and receives a fair amount of visitors annually, especially those who are hoping to spend time outdoors engaging in recreational activities. Fishing is one of the most popular activities on the lake, as fishermen could potentially catch bluegills, channel catfish, largemouth bass, white bass, and white crappie, to name a few. Other activities that visitors can participate in are skiing, swimming, picnicking, and camping. Lake Sara covers an expanse of nearly 614 acres and features 38 miles of shoreline.[6]

One of the most popular attractions and historical sites in Evansville that typically draws in a number of tourists annually is the USS LST Ship Memorial. There, visitors can go on guided tours around the ship, as the Ship Memorial offers standard tours around the Main Deck, Troop Berthing, Tank Deck, Mess Deck, Galley, Captain’s Cabin, Officer’s Country, Wheel House, and the Stern of the ship. As the tour entails walking up about six flights of stairs, the tour can be shortened for groups who would prefer to avoid a high number of steps. Furthermore, the ship sails to other port cities during September and October, providing visitors of other areas with the chance to learn about the history of LSTs. An online gift shop is available to customers on the USS LST Ship Memorial website, featuring purchasable items such as hats, pins, apparel, books, toys, and other memorabilia.[3]


The majority of the Effingham Destination is relatively rural, filled with forested areas, and characterized by aquatic land features such as rivers and lakes, one of which is the Little Wabash River, which runs through the namesake of the destination, Effingham. Farmlands can also be found throughout Effingham County, as one of the main drives for the economy is the production of agricultural products.[4] Additionally, a portion of the Ohio River runs along the border of Kentucky and Indiana in the southern region of the Effingham Destination. Lake Sara, Rend Lake, Newton Lake, Patoka Lake, Lake Shelbyville, and a portion of Carlyle Reservoir are other land features located in the destination.

On average, 107 days per year in Effingham County have some type of precipitation, with 43 inches of rain and 15 inches of snow annually. The warmest and most humid month of the year, July, typically reaches higher temperatures near 87 degrees Fahrenheit, in contrast to the coldest and snowiest month of the year, January, which has a low of about 20 degrees. The average high in Effingham County is relatively warmer than in other locations in Illinois, and about 26 days per year have temperatures over 90 degrees. Significant amounts of snowfall occur about four months of the year in Effingham County. September, May, and June are considered to be the more ideal months to visit the area as there are generally more decent temperatures, ranging from 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.[5]


In 1814, Effingham County was first settled by farmers in a growing community that progressively developed at the time that the pioneers were moving westward along the Cumberland Road. The arrival of the Illinois Central Railroad hastened the community’s growth in 1854 as manufacturing, agriculture,  printing, and publishing became the main industries that drove the economy, in addition to being a regional medical center. Some particular manufactured items include air conditioners, automotive parts, and paint, plus the agricultural aspect of the economy which includes soybeans, dairy products, corn, and livestock.[4]

Angel Mounds, located in Evansville, Indiana, had formerly been a site of an ancient Native American community in historical times, before white settlement; though currently, the area is now a state historic site. Following the establishment of the town in 1817, economic prosperity took place in Evansville, due to the large-scale trades across the Ohio River. As the completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal occurred in 1843, the connection of the town to Toledo, Ohio additionally aided the economic development, considering that they are nearly 400 miles apart. One significant aspect of Evansville is its historical background that plays a role in the current atmosphere and culture of the town, especially as the area had been involved with railroad transportation, starting in 1850 when the Evansville & Crawfordsville Railroad was the first railroad to reach Evansville. A particular building that is relatively original to its time is the Reitz Home in Evansville, which is currently the only house museum in the town, and it was built in 1871 by John Augustus Reitz, a local lumberman.[7] 

In 1932, the first bridge across the Ohio River was constructed; following which the occurrence of the Ohio River Flood of 1937 occurred, causing almost 46% of Evansville to be underwater.[7] The damages from the flood had extended from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois, as 385 people were killed and over one million people had become homeless. Under the leadership of President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the time, the federal government sent thousands of WPA (Works Progress Administration) workers to the cities that had been affected, with the intent to assist in rescue and recovery, as well as supplying food and temporary housing to those in need. A plan to reduce the amount of water in the city was created, which entailed the provision of over seventy reservoirs. This plan had not been fully completed until the 1940s.[8]

4.6 (92 Reviews)

The Spring Creek Campground is located in the village of Montrose Illinois, just outside the city of Effingham Illinois. The property is mostly shaded by relatively large Lakewood trees which are native to the area. The owners, Bob and Norma, have lived on the property since the 1960s before the campgrounds were added to the land. Originally, the area was a farm, and the original structure, as well as some farm animals, still reside on the property. There are 25 campsites available on the property, as well as a pond that patrons of the establishment can fish at. The pond has bass, bluegill, and crawfish that guests may be able to catch. The campground is open from April 1 through the end of October. 

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3.7 (275 Reviews)

The Patoka Lake Marina and Winery sits on the edge of Patoka Lake in Birdseye, Indiana. There are multiple lodging options including houseboats, floating cabins, and suites. Floating cabins are buildings built on individual docks on the water. In total there are 16 units available for patrons to rent. There is a winery on the premises that guests can visit. Those who stay in the suites on the property are given two free vouchers to visit and test the wine on-site. The owner hopes that those who stay on the grounds are able to create lasting family memories and have a peaceful stay at either the lake or the winery. There are two convenience stores that the owner created for guests to be able to get snacks and other small items without having to leave the grounds. One of the stores is floating on the lake on its own dock in the water. 

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4.4 (41 Reviews)

Located just outside of French Lick, Indiana, is the Sleeping Bear Retreat. This establishment has 11 units available for reservation. According to Hank, the owner, some unique features of the property are the teepees and covered wagons that guests can reserve. Visitors can also fish at the pond located on the property. Notable Halloween events hosted by the park take place every Friday and Saturday in October, such as zombie hunting, a haunted maze, and a haunted trail. Guests who have stayed at the Sleeping Bear Retreat mention the Halloween activities as something unique to the park. The establishment is open from March to November, with the busiest season being summer, between June and July. There are a number of other attractions near the park, such as casinos, horseback riding, and safaris. In French Lick, there are several restaurants that Hank recommends to guests, including Miguel's Mexican Restaurant, the German Cafe, and Nila's Place, a breakfast restaurant. 

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Located in the southern region of Indiana, the 4-H Center is established in the town of Darmstadt. There are 40 RV sites available year-round for guests to occupy, with an additional 200+ sites that can be opened for those who are hosting or participating in an event. The property manager, Taylor, considers the events that are held at the 4-H Center to be the most unique aspect of the business. One of the main events involves displaying antique cars or tractors, though the campground often receives fundraiser groups, education programs, and weddings as well. Some visitors may take an interest in the historical significance of the 4-H center, as a portion of its acreage formerly served as a storage site during World War II. Concrete bunkers that were built during the war can still be found on the premises.

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