With tree-covered forests and sparkling lakes, the Shawnee National Forest is a popular escape for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re planning a trip, then you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation. Staying in a private cabin gives you the amenities of a hotel with the comforts of home, making it an excellent option for a long weekend.
Where Should I Stay in the Shawnee National Forest?
There are many different lodging options in and around the Shawnee National Forest. If you’re planning to go hiking or sightseeing during your trip, you might choose to stay near some of the park’s main attractions, including Garden of the Gods or Pound Hollow.
You can also choose to stay on the Shawnee Wine Trail. This idyllic part of the Illinois countryside is home to 11 wineries and numerous hiking trails.
Most restaurants are located in larger towns such as Golconda or Vienna. While most cabins have fully-equipped kitchens, you may choose to base yourself closer to a town if you want the option to dine out.
The Best Cabins in Shawnee National Forest
From traditional log cabins to luxury, modern apartments, the Shawnee National Forest has something for every taste and budget.
Shawnee Forest Cabins
Located just a few miles from the Garden of the Gods, Shawnee Forest Cabins is a perfect home base for exploring the park. They offer 1- and 2-bedroom cabins, so it’s suitable for solo travelers, couples, or even families.
Each cabin has a fully stocked kitchen, so you can enjoy a hot breakfast before heading out for the day. And when you come home, you can watch a movie on TV or curl up in front of the fire. Some cabins even have a private outdoor hot tub with picturesque views of the surrounding landscape.
Cost: $139 to $189/night
Willowbrook Cabins is a great option for families or groups. The homes are located right on the border of the forest, next to dozens of world-class hiking trails (including a few private ones on the property).
There are three 2-bedroom and one 3-bedroom cabins available. All cabins have spacious outdoor decks, while some have private hot tubs or fire pits. So even if you’re not hiking or exploring the wilderness, you can still enjoy the pristine views of nature from your window.
Cost: $109 to $160/night
Cedar Hill River Cabins
Perched on the banks of the mighty Ohio River, the Cedar Hill River Cabins is a great place to spend the weekend. It’s located in the heart of the Ohio River Scenic Byway, just 6 miles from Cave-In-Rock State Park. Garden of the Gods and Pounds Hollow are also just 30-minutes away, giving you numerous opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Seven cabins are available to rent, each one with its own kitchen, BBQ grill, and hot tub or in-room jacuzzi. There are open loft, 1, and 2 bedroom cabins, as well as a large river house for groups.
Cost: $100 to $175/night
Pet-friendly: Yes for $50 fee
Hilltop Hideaway Log Cabin Resort
Unwind in the middle of nature when you spend a few days at Hilltop Hideaway Log Cabin Resort. You’ll be just a few minutes away from top Shawnee National Park attractions, where you can hike, horseback ride, or fish to your heart’s desires. A gas station and mini mart can also be found 5 miles away.
The Owl’s Nest is a traditional log cabin with a covered porch and a breathtaking view of the property. It has WIFI, a kitchenette, and a cast-iron stove/fireplace, which gives the cabin a rustic ambiance.
The other apartments do not have cable or internet, although they do feature full-sized kitchens and plenty of outdoor space to hang out. They are also suitable for groups, sleeping up 7 to 9 guests in each apartment.
Cost: $80 to $235/night
Wifi: Only in the Owl’s Nest Cabin
Pet-friendly: Yes for $50 fee
Skyline View Cabins
Southern Illinois is also home to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, which you can explore during your stay at the Skyline View Cabins. This trail takes you through the forest to 11 local wineries, where you can sip and savory your favorite blends of whites, reds, and roses.
There are two cabins on the property. Each one has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms spread out across two floors. There’s a fully equipped kitchen as well as a BBQ grill on the top deck for meals and a private hot tub where you can soak your muscles after a day of hiking. However, the biggest feature is the view of the rolling green hills and lush forests from your back window.
Cost: $175 per night
Woodland Retreat Cabins
Situated next to the famous Feather Hill Winery & Vineyard, Woodland Retreat is a secluded log cabin surrounded by towering trees. It has a private master bedroom as well as a loft that can sleep an additional two guests. The open kitchen and living room is a great gathering space where you can cook meals or unwind by the fireplace. A BBQ grill and private hot tub can also be found outside.
Other wineries can also be accessed via the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Garden of the Gods and the Shawnee National Forest are within driving distance if you’re looking to spend the day outdoors.
Cost: $136 to $150 per night
Pet-friendly: Yes for $25 fee
Potel Tiny Home
Ideal for a solo traveler or couple, this charming tiny home on the edge of the forest is located on a private 78-acre property. It has everything you need for a short or long stay, including a full kitchen, washer and dryer, and a smart TV with Netflix.
However, you won’t need to rely on the indoor amenities because you’ll be located next to many hiking trails. The Tunnel Hill State Bike Trail, Bell Smith Springs, and Jackson Falls are just minutes from the home. Restaurants and shops can also be found 15 to 20 minutes away in Vienna or Carrier Mills.
Cost: $95 per night
Pope County is a central place to base yourself in Southern Illinois. And this 2 bedroom 2 bathroom cabin appropriately nicknamed Beck’s Hideaway allows you to enjoy all the sights while also having your own quiet piece of nature. Trail of Tears and Dixon Springs State Park are a short drive away, so you’re never more than a few minutes for an outdoor adventure.
The home features a large kitchen, a wrap-around deck, and stunning forest views. There’s also a stacked washer and dryer, which will come in handy for longer stays.
Cost: $109 per night
Staying in a cabin during your Shawnee National Forest adventure allows you to enjoy the outdoors while also having modern amenities. Thankfully, there are plenty of cozy and comforting cabins spread out across Southern Illinois for you to choose from. Book your favorite and enjoy your time exploring this majestic part of the country!