The small city of Mattoon is found in the prairies of central Illinois, conveniently located off of Interstate 57. Settlers from Kentucky and other eastern states began moving to the area in the early 1800s, and agriculture was the main source of income for the area. Log cabins were the norm, as Mattoon was a rough, frontier town not known for its luxury. Much like other Midwest towns, the emerging railways began to arrive in town from faraway places like Terre Haute in Indiana, and Chicago in the north. The mid-1800s brought waves of new people hoping to move to the now vibrant locality, with complete access to the cities to the north and to the east. The population increased rapidly and Mattoon would soon after develop into a proper city with beautiful houses, big brick buildings, mass transportation, and many other city features.
When you book an RV in Mattoon, Illinois you can enjoy an exquisite city that is little known outside of Illinois. Small town charm highlights this metropolitan area, and the wide-open prairies on the outskirts of town will make you feel as though you are on an island. The city is also known for its love of bagels, due to the arrival of Lender’s Bagels in 1986. Each year the self-described “bagel capital of the world” celebrates BagelFest, a multi-day festival with big-name musical acts, thrilling amusement park rides, and of course some pretty mouthwatering breakfast foods.
Experience the Sites and Scenery
Mattoon has an excellent layout for people who enjoy the outdoors. A fantastic network of bicycle trails connects several different areas of the city, and many joggers and walkers use these former railroad tracks to peacefully move around town. There are several parks for the public to utilize as well in Mattoon, like Peterson Park which has several baseball diamonds, athletic fields, walking paths, a playscape, and a rotary bandshell for events and summertime concerts.
When you rev up the engines of your Mattoon camper rental and head out of town, there is a flurry of mesmerizing outdoors retreats and recreation areas at your disposal. Lake Shelbyville has a number of incredible recreation areas, lakefront parks, campgrounds, boat ramps, and marinas on its shores, each with unique features for you to enjoy. Bring your Mattoon RV rental to Wolf Creek State Park and swim in the refreshing waters of Lake Shelbyville, or camp beside the lake and enjoy the sun setting over the water. The beaches at Wolf Creek State Park are one of a kind and make visitors feel relaxed when they read their favorite book and feel the sand sift through their toes. Wilborn Creek Recreation Area is similar to Wolf Creek as it has lots of beachfront access to the water. Wilborn Creek Recreation Area also has a great campground for you to use when you rent an RV, as well as a boat ramp and fish cleaning station for all the anglers out there.
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park sits on Rend Lake to the far south, and as you might have guessed, is yet another perfect place to swim, cool off, go fishing, or take a boat ride. There are thousands of acres of wide-open space, lush forests, and extravagant waterfront camping spots for you and your Mattoon motorhome rental.
Shawnee National Forest is one of the largest forests in both the state of Illinois and the entire Midwest region. Although it is located in the southern tip of Illinois, it is worth taking a small road trip from Mattoon as it has some of the most bizarre geological features and natural caves you could imagine. The park is even home to the “Little Grand Canyon” which is nowhere near the same size as the Grand Canyon, but still quite a sight to behold. The forest is great for both long-distance treks or short excursions in search of waterfalls and swimming holes.
People don’t necessarily head to Mattoon for its collection of attractions like they would in Indianapolis or Chicago, but if you look closely enough in the surrounding areas, you just might find a few quirky roadside attractions and informative museums. The Douglas-Hart Nature Center is a small, educational facility designed to foster a love of the great outdoors for children of all ages. The knowledge they can pick up at this center can be applied immediately outside on one of the many nature trails. The Lincoln Log Cabin is not far away and was known as one of the childhood homes of President Abraham Lincoln. The museum is a replica of the original cabin that belonged to Lincoln’s parents and is a valuable resource for people who want to learn more about the 16th President of the United States. The Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum is also relevant to Lincoln as it is a small museum that describes the legendary debates between Lincoln and Douglas. There is a wealth of interesting photos, artifacts, and a documentary concerning the debates.
The most bizarre attraction in the area is probably the Two-Story Outhouse, which is exactly what it sounds like. The Two-Story Outhouse is the remnant of a general store with an apartment above it, where the tenants decided to build an attached outhouse. This strange novelty attraction is odd but is great for taking photos.
Where to Park It
Most of the campgrounds and RV parks near Mattoon are concentrated around Lake Shelbyville, but there are others in every direction outside the small city.
You can bring your Mattoon RV rental by owner to Casey KOA to the southeast of town and cool off in the in-ground pool at the park. The small lake at Casey KOA is great for swimming and fishing, and you can even rent a boat from the campground to take out for a spin. Sullivan Marina & Campground sits on Lake Shelbyville and is a hub for fishing and boating activity where guests can stay overnight and camp.
Lake Mattoon Campground & Marina is located on a different lake but has similar features to Sullivan Marina & Campground. There are a few campgrounds in different spots and a public beach. Robin Hood Woods Campground is a secluded forest retreat with mountain biking and hiking trails, an in-ground pool, a game room for kids, and much more.