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The village of Cave-in-Rock lies on the edge of the Ohio River, the mighty waterway that brought Europeans to the region’s shores in the late 1700s. Named for the spectacular cave etched into the sandstone on the riverbank, Cave-in-Rock is hemmed with captivating scenery. Explore pretty wooded parks, look out across the river from the high bluffs and take a trip through time on a historic ferryboat.
Take some time to stroll down Cave-in-Rock’s main street and check out the historic architecture of the village’s shop fronts. The street leads directly to the shores of the Ohio River and the historic Cave-in-Rock Ferry terminal. Beginning operation in 1807, the ferry between Cave-in-Rock in Illinois and Crittenden in Kentucky is one of the last passenger services to continue crossing the Ohio River.
As you stand on the river’s edge, imagine the fledgling 19th-century village. The river was the major route for transport and communication between Cave-in-Rock and the neighboring communities. Ferries and larger boats transported people to work each day, with connections to Paducah in Kentucky and Evansville in Indiana. The mailman would do his rounds by boat and the village’s mining boats would transport fluorspar to the cities downriver.
Head east and reach Cave-in-Rock State Park to explore the lushly wooded parkland named for the yawning 55-foot (16.8-meter) wide cave within the sandstone bluffs of the river. Formerly used as a hideout for river pirates and outlaws, the breathtaking cave opens out onto the river’s rocky shoreline and is surrounded by tranquil forests. Explore the park’s hiking trails or spread out at one of the park’s shaded picnic areas. There are playgrounds for children and a several large shelters, so you can have a relaxing day with the family whatever the weather. Fish in the park’s pond or drop a line in the Ohio River. The park has two boat ramps.
Cave-in-Rock is located in Southern Illinois and is surrounded by the picturesque Shawnee National Forest. The nearest domestic airport is in Marion, 62 miles (99.8 kilometers) away. Visit Cave-in-Rock as a stopover on the Ohio River Scenic Byway and stay overnight in the charming lodges situated within the state park.
Situated in Golconda, this guesthouse is within 25 mi (40 km) of Hardin County Court House, Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, and Gambit Golf Course. Vienna City Park and Vienna Public Library are also within 25 mi (40 km).