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The Shawnee National Forest Region is filled with natural attractions, including hiking trails, lakes, multiple state parks, and a variety of natural waterfalls, creeks, and rivers.[2] Located primarily in southern Illinois, the destination also spreads into Missouri and Kentucky. The area is known for the Garden of the Gods situated in the Shawnee National Forest. Visitors can spend time hiking throughout the scenic garden observing wildlife, and studying native plants.[1] Carbondale, Paducah, and Cape Girardeau are the largest and most populous cities in the region.[6] The area draws the most visitors in the summer for the warm temperatures, sunny skies, and blooming plant life. Winters are cold and windy.[8] Agriculture is the main point of industry throughout the destination.[4] Farmland spreads throughout the area, growing soybeans, wheat, and cotton.[9]

What Paducah is known for

The Shawnee National Forest Region is named after the Shawnee National Forest. The forest covers over 289,000 acres of land in Southern Illinois. The forest is located in between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and is filled with oak and hickory forests, green wetlands, rocky canyons, ridges, and other geological wonders. Six natural ecological regions converge at the Shawnee National Forest. Because of this, there is a wide variety of plant and animal life not commonly seen in the same area.[2] 

The Shawnee National Forest itself is not as popular as the famous trails, lakes, and waterfalls inside it. The Garden of the Gods is the largest and most popular place to spend time among frequent visitors to the destination. The garden encompasses 3,318 acres of forest and is filled with dramatic rock formations and unique cliffs. There are many trails winding throughout the park. The garden has many notable stops, including the Camel Rock, Anvil Rock, and Devil's Smoke Stack. The Rim Rock Recreation Trail attracts visitors from all over Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri.[1] 

The Shawnee National Forest has over four hundred and three miles of equestrian and hiking trails of all levels of difficulty.[2] Giant City State Park and Gerne Clyffe State Park are also located in the area. Kinkaid Lake and the Lake of Egypt are both lakes fed by the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The lakes are naturally made and have been growing in the forest for decades. Visitors can fish, swim, canoe, paddleboard, or kayak in the cold waters of the lakes.[2]

Carbondale is located in Illinois closest to the Shawnee National Forest Region and has a population of 25,500 citizens. The city is often referred to as "Little Egypt" due to the fertile soil that makes it possible to grow ample crops of soybeans and wheat.[4] Paducah is located in Kentucky. The city is known for its dry dock facilities, steamboats, and towboats. Paducah has a population of 24,000 people.[5] Cape Girardeau is the largest city in the Missouri area of the Destination, with a population of 40,000 people. The city is called "The City of Roses" because of the nine-mile stretch of rose bushes along with the city's main highway.[6] 

Around one million people visit the Shawnee National Forest Region every year. Most visitors come from neighboring cities and states. The area provides a retreat for people from more urban areas in Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky. There are over thirty cities within a six-hour drive of the region. The summer months are peak seasons for tourism because of the warm weather, flourishing forests, and the peak for agriculture and other plant and animal life.[7] The industry throughout the area is primarily agriculture. Illinois also produces oil, gas, and lots of mined goods. Chemicals and aerospace manufacturing is the primary industry in Missouri, and other manufacturing comes from Kentucky.[2]


The Shawnee National Forest Region is located in the Shawnee and Ozark Hills of Southern Illinois. The region spreads into the northwestern corner of Missouri and the northeastern corner of Kentucky. The park has 280,000 acres of federally managed land. The forest is the single largest publicly owned body of land in the state of Illinois. Two well-known rivers border the destination; the Mississippi River to the west and the Ohio River to the east. The Central Plains and mountain ranges make up most of the land throughout the Shawnee National Forest Region.[2] 

The fertile land and low hills are ideal for raising livestock and other agriculture. There are many man-made and river-fed lakes and reservoirs throughout the area. Ancient sandstone cliffs and formations fill the land, and many long hiking trails have been created to experience the outdoors and nature present in the region. Near Jackson Falls, there are miles of steep bluffs and waterfalls.[1] 

Summers in the Shawnee National Forest Region are hot and muggy, and last from May to September. The average temperature during the summer months is eighty degrees. Winters are wet and cold, lasting from November to February. The average temperature is fifty-one degrees during the winter. The region sustains around four and a half inches of rain annually and half an inch of snow. Tourists visit the area during the summers most often for the sunny skies, flourishing wildlife, and warm temperatures.[8] 

The region produces a large variety of plants and livestock. In Illinois, soybeans, corn, and swine thrive.[4] Missouri sells corn, grain, cotton, and fruit.[6] Tabacco, soybeans, corn, and wheat are commonly exported from Kentucky.[5] The region is filled with a wide variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, coyote, lake sturgeon, woodchuck, bobcat, and mallard duck.[10] Common plants include the iris, brome, sand dune willow, coneflower, and the prickly pear cactus. The forested areas in the region are home to white oak, sugar maple, American beech, bur oak, pecan, lizard's tail, and the cardinal flower.[9]


The Shawnee National Forest is the largest publicly owned body of land in Illinois.[2] The land was designed and purchased by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in September of 1939. For the first decade of the existence of the land, it was used almost entirely as farmland. Through the 1930s and 1940s, the Civilian Conservation Corps started planting forests to preserve the land and prevent erosion.[3] 

Carbondale, Illinois, was bought by Dr. Willian Richart and began as a railroad station for two different railroad companies coming from the east and west. The area soon became a central hub for transportation and business between the east and west. Memorial Day 1854 was the first day a train traveled through Carbondale, and the city has large celebrations in honor of that day.[4] 

The Pekin people first settled in Paducah, Kentucky, around 1821. William Clark laid out the city and named it Paducah in 1827. Since then, the city began to grow and became one of the largest dryland manufacturers of steamboats and towboats.[5] Cape Girardeau is named after a french revolutionary group that established the area in the early 1700s. The land was spotted while french explorers were floating the Mississippi River and was established in 1799.[6] The area is known for its fertile farmland and decade towns and communities.[7]

4.8 (74 Reviews)

Located in Smithland, Kentucky, and bordering the Ohio River is Birdsville River RV Park and Cabins. Situated in a seemingly rural area, the campground offers visitors sixty nine sites, with around half of them being on the edge of the Ohio River. Generally, each of the RV sites offers guests full hookups to their RV, shade, and a fire pit. Other amenities are available on the campground that the whole campground community may use, some of which include a horseshoe pit, basketball court, and playground. After the property was purchased by the current owners, Kimberly and Keith Kipling, renovations and maintenance were completed on the grounds and each individual RV site. Kimberly and Keith strive to make their property a place where visitors can come to relax.

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The Holiday Hills Resort is a multi-lodging resort located on Eddy Bay in Eddyville, Kentucky, west of the Ohio River. Sitting right on Lake Barkley, many guests at the resort can find themselves participating in various water activities such as fishing, boating, or playing and relaxing on the beach. The resort also hosts a variety of events designed to include entire families.

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Cape Camping and RV Park

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Cape Camping and RV Park

The Cape Camping and RV Park is located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, near Highway I-55. The establishment is open year-round. The park is the largest of two RV parks in the area, with ninety RV sites on the property and two large bathhouses. There is a pool, laundromat, and playground in addition to the standard amenities on the property. Cape Girardeau is the largest city in Southeast Missouri and is known for being a university town with Southeast Missouri State University at its center. Pets are allowed on the Cape Camping and RV Park with a pet walking area. Each site has its own grassy area, and the entire campground is surrounded by trees.

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