Hideaway Cabins in Shawnee National Forest
A perfect base for adventures, including Giant City Stables, Giant City Lodge, and the Garden of the Gods!
Sometimes we all just need a quick escape, a way to hideaway. Life gets hectic. Everything seems to pile up and weigh upon us. We need to get away... get away from the endless noise; get away from the traffic, the meetings, the uncomfortable break room chairs; get away from endless fast food.
If you have read my bio, you know my life can be extremely demanding. That was one of the reasons I found the little hideaway cabins in the Shawnee National Forest.
Southern Illinois is often overlooked when vacation planning, in favor of more exotic locations. It is a great big world, and we want to see it all too, so we get it. But, what people forget is that the Shawnee National Forest, is filled with natural wonders, different ecosystems, quaint towns, and some unique attractions. When you don't have time or money to fly to Europe or cruise the Caribbean, there are plenty of options on the Midwestern doorstep, to get away, and have a real adventure.
We found what was for us, the perfect little place in Southern Illinois to really get away from it all for a weekend.
Rustic Hideaway Cabins
Located in Jonesboro, Illinois, there are two cabin’s tucked away in the middle of the Shawnee National Forest. They are just far enough from town to let you feel like you are really getting away. and to not take away from the cabin in the middle of know where feeling.
Except for the drive way to get to the cabins, it is completely surrounded by woods. There are several hiking routes that you can take around the grounds that the cabin is on.
The cabins themselves were very clean and well-kept. They were stocked with so much for their guests: movies, music, blankets, pillows; all the things you would need for your stay, except food and clothes. There is a kitchen with appliances, so you can cook just like you would at home, and a gas grill on the back porch. There is also a hot tub on the back porch as well!
There are two hideaway cabins available, either for a weekly rental, or just a weekend. We rented for the weekend. The nightly rate is $135. Rates are based on double occupancy, with an additional $5 for each extra person. Maximum occupancy is 6 people.
Everything is self-service. There is no front desk. The cabins are entered with a code that is provided prior to arrival. You really get the feeling of getting away from the outside world. You get complete privacy and quiet.
One of the best parts of renting a cabin in Jonesboro is the beautiful things to see and do throughout the Shawnee National Forest area! Just a short 30 min ride from the cabin, you can enjoy a fun horse back ride.
Giant City Stables
The Giant City Stables provide an hour trail ride for $40 per person. The trail was amazing, with hills and creeks. The guide was super friendly and knowledgeable about both the horses and the area. She obviously enjoyed telling us about the individual personality quirks of the horses we were riding. She also gave us all kinds of information about the area.
The horses were perfect. Their manners were very sweet, and it was clear that they were well taken care of. They made us all laugh with how different they all were, with their unique little quirks.
But horses aren't for everyone. But one thing that everyone can get into is food. So if you want to skip the horse riding, and head for the food, you won't have to go far.
Giant City Lodge
Just around the corner from the Giant City Stables is Giant City lodge and restaurant. I have to say, this is a must. The place was amazing not only for the local history they displayed, but it also had a cool log cabin look and feel.
The staff was great, as well as the food. If you get a chance to eat there, you really should!
Giant City Lodge is known for their fried chicken, and it is something you just have to try, as well as their green beans. They have an awesome all you can eat friend chicken family meal. You get 4 side dishes and all you can eat friend chicken.
The family meal costs 12.99 for adults and 5.99 for children under 12. It is a weekday lunch special Monday-Thursday, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m .
Trust me. It is completely worth it.
Garden of the Gods
The last day of our trip was spent at the Garden of the Gods, located in Herod, IL.
Garden of the Gods is about an hour and a half drive from the Rustic Hideaway Cabins. That's a little further then the Giant City Stables and Giant City Lodge, but it was most definitely worth it.
This place was absolutely beautiful!
The trails at the Garden of the Gods are incredible. They are wooded, and take you right up to the huge rock cliffs.
The views that we saw are indescribable. You can pick any cliff in the Garden and see for what FEELS like forever.
It was all breathtaking and amazing.. standing on the cliffs, looking out on miles of Shawnee National Forest.
The trees and country side go on forever, and the sky full of clouds really made us feel like we were free. If you are into climbing, there are so many points at the Garden of the Gods where you can limb and get a higher view.
With so many different views and the many different directions that can be taken on the trails this can take a good couple of hours, or days, to take it all in.
There are little caves that can be explored. Also, in certain areas they have neat information posted so you can learn a little about the Garden.
And one of the best parts for me was that after taking in all the beautiful sites at Garden of the Gods, we could go back to our quiet, relaxing hideaway cabin in the woods, grill some food, and then soak and relax in the hot tub.
We felt this trip was a perfect weekend get a way. We had some adventure. We saw some amazing sights, and made some lifelong memories. And, we were able to relax from our busy lives.
So if you want a mini vacation that won't cost you an arm and a leg, I highly recommend renting from Rustic Hideaway Cabins. And escape, even if it is just for a weekend.
By the way, if you only have a day, Garden of the Gods, on the eastern portion of the Shawnee National Forest is worthy of a day trip in and of itself, during any season.
On the western side of the Shawnee, combine Giant City Stables, and Giant City Lodge with some of the other area attractions we have featured on our site, such as Giant City Interpretive Trails, or the Makanda Boardwalk, and you have another full day trip.
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Rustic Hideaway Cabins are available for $135 a night, or $810 weekly. for 2 people, with a $5 charge for each additional person, with a maximum occupancy of 6.
Check in time is 3:00 p.m. and check out time is 11:00 a.m.
No pets are allowed. Cabins are smoke free.
Reservations may be made online, up to 1 year in advance. A 50% deposit is required at the time of reservation.
Rustic Hideaway Cabins LLC
303 West High Street
Anna, IL 62906
Giant City Stables have over 30 horses of all levels, so riders can be individually accommodated. They specialize in therapeutic riding, for individuals with specialized physical or emotional needs.
Pony rides, birthday parties, and riding lessons are offered for younger horse lovers.
Guided trail rides are offered at 5 different times daily, beginning at 09:00. There is a 250 lb weight limit, and a minimum age of 7. No double riding is allowed.
Pony rides are led on a short lead , by trained wranglers for $10 per child.
722 Giant City Rd.
Makanda, Illinois 62958
Giant City Lodge is open from the first Friday in February, through mid December, and serves from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Lodge has large rooms which can be rented for special events and meetings. There is a full service lounge and gift shop on site.
460 Giant City Lodge Rd.
Makanda, Illinois 62958
Garden of the Gods Recreation Area is managed by the USDA Forest Service.
It is open year round. Trails and picnic areas are available from 06:00 am. to 10:00 p.m. daily. Campsites are also available on a first come first serve basis, for $10 a night.
Shawnee National Forest
602 N. First Street, Vienna, IL 62995