Located in the Midwest in southern Illinois, about an hour north of Cairo, Carbondale sits in a region known as ‘Little Egypt’. Primarily known as the site of the central campus of Southern Illinois University, founded in 1869, Carbondale’s main institution has developed from used being a sleepy teacher’s college into a bustling education centre attraction over 21,000 students.
Apart from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale features a number of exceptional cultural enterprises and institutions including the University Museum, Science Center and the African American Museum. Regardless of its stuffy academic side, there is still plenty of fun to be had here in the assorted mixture of restaurants, bars and shops which supply the local student population.
A stretch of Illinois avenue has been a major place of interest for decades. Situated close to the university campus, it is known as ‘the Strip’ and is the epicenter of Carbondale’s entertainment scene. Food shoppers are provided with a unique choice including two farmers’ markets where you can pick up deliciously fresh fare.
Southern Illinois University: one of the nation’s premier research institutions is enclosed by the Shawnee National Forest, lakes, fields and bluffs, and is an outdoor paradise for rock climbers, hikers, boaters, hunters and horseback riders.
Festivals: Carbondale is renowned for a variety of annual festivals such as the Big Muddy Film Festival (February/March), Southern Illinois Irish Festival (April), Main Street Pig Out (September), Lights Fantastic Parade (December), Sunset Concerts and the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta.
Giant City State Park: only minutes south of Carbondale, this area boasts breathtaking natural beauty, above all numerous sandstone structures, and provides unrestricted options for outdoor recreation.
Piney Creek Ravine State Natural Area: features rare plant species and contains the state's largest remains of prehistoric rock art including petroglyphs dating back to 500 AD.
Kayaking/canoeing: just a 5-minute drive south of the city lies Cedar Lake, an outstanding location to kayak or canoe. Other lakes nearby which are well worth exploring include Devils Kitchen Lake, Kinkaid Lake and Crab Orchard Lake.