10 Best Things To Do In Effingham, Illinois

things to do in effingham illinois

Effingham is known as the “Crossroads of Opportunity.” With fascinating museums, beautiful recreation areas, and unique art attractions, there are plenty of opportunities for a good time in this central Illinois town. Here’s where to get started on your trip.

1. Taste a bit of Tuscany at a family-owned winery

No rain and perfect weather for SANGRIA SATURDAY! When you buy one pitcher of Sangria, you'll receive your 2nd pitcher 50% off! Tag your friends to make plans!

Posted by Tuscan Hills Winery on Saturday, 17 June 2017

Nestled in the heart of Effingham, Tuscan Hills Winery offers tastefully crafted wines. Since its opening in 2011, the winery has served as a community gathering place, where friends can lounge on the covered porch sipping sangria and families can munch on pizza. Stop by for a casual tasting session, or plan ahead and indulge in live music and revelry. The calendar at Tuscan Hills is always bursting with themed parties and other community gatherings. Along with unique vintages, craft beers, and cocktails, Italian treats can also be found on the bistro menu. Both Italian and Midwestern hospitality converge at Tuscan Hills Winery, as the friendly team fulfills their motto of “come as our guest, leave as our friend.”

Tuscan Hills Winery

Address: 2200 Historic Hills Drive, Effingham, IL, 62401

Website: Tuscan Hills Winery

2. Lounge on the shores of Lake Sara

Lake Sara
Source: Pixaby

This beautiful lake is the perfect place for a day of recreation and relaxation. Take a canoe, kayak, or motor boat onto the water, or simply fish from the water’s edge. The lake is stocked with bass, channel catfish, blue gill, and white and black crappie. There are over 27 miles (43 km) of shoreline to enjoy, whether you’re staying at the Lake Sara campground or just visiting for the day.

Lake Sara

Address: 15482 Wildwood Dr. Exit 160, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: Lake Sara

3. Marvel at the Cross at the Crossroads

Effingham cross
Source: Photo by user Daniel Schwen used under CC BY-SA 4.0

While some of the roadside attractions in America veer towards the wacky and absurd, the Cross at the Crossroads was built as a token of faith. This architectural marvel stands nearly 200 feet (61 m) tall and greets the approximately 19 million travelers who pass through Effingham on Interstates 57 and 70 each year. View the monument from afar or travel to its base for a display of the Ten Commandments, a welcome center, refreshment area, media room, and chapel.

The Cross at the Crossroads

Address: 1900 Pike Ave, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: The Cross at the Crossroads

4. Brake for a break at My Garage Museum

Happy Independence Day America! Have a safe and happy holiday! #Corvette #CorvettePassion #MidAmericaMotorworks #4thofJuly

Posted by Mid America Motorworks: Corvette on Tuesday, 4 July 2017

For car enthusiasts, a visit to this museum is a detour worth taking. Gawk at rare and unique cars and take a peek at Corvettes that were used for research, experimental concept projects, iconic films and more. Although the exhibits are constantly changing, there are usually between 20-25 cars on display, so visitors can see vehicles like the unusual XP-819 prototype Corvette, the last C4 Corvette, or a custom VW Meyers Manx Dune Buggy. In addition to the cars, a collection of antique automotive memorabilia and collectibles are on display and the museum’s store is always the best bet for some unique gifts.

My Garage Museum

Address: 17082 N US Highway 45, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: My Garage Museum

5. Explore unique, natural ecosystems at Ballard Nature Center

Posted by Ballard Nature Center on Friday, 30 June 2017

For a day of family fun, head over to the Ballard Nature Center. Walking trails crisscross through distinctive Illinois ecosystems, giving you glimpses of woodlands, prairies, wetlands, and savannas. Explore the area with the guidance of the center’s naturalists or pack a picnic and relax at the spot of your choosing. Learn more about the area from the interactive exhibit room, where aspiring ornithologists can watch birds from a large window.

Ballard Nature Center

Address: 5253 E. US Highway 40 Exit 82, Effingham, IL 62411

Website: Ballard Nature Center

6. Get your hands messy at Frye Pottery Gallery

Potters wheel
Source: Pixaby

A passion for pottery inspired this studio that sits in a beautiful country setting. Follow the instruction of artists Tim and Pam Frye as you get behind the potter’s wheel and mold your own ceramics in one of their workshops. If you’re short on time, you can also tour the gallery and pick up one of the functional stoneware pieces or a stunning ceramic artwork.

Frye Pottery Gallery

Address: 19746 N. 1060th St., Effingham IL 62461

Website: Frye Pottery Gallery

7. Tour the Dr. Charles M. Wright House

Posted by Dr. Charles M. Wright House on Sunday, 18 November 2012

Get a glimpse of history on this tour, as you explore the house that once belonged to Charles M. Wright, a “horseback” doctor, and proprietor of the C. M. Wright & Co. private bank. The house, which was originally built in 1874, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a prime example of the Second Empire (Mansard) style, with Italianate style influences.

Dr. Charles M. Wright House

Address: Jackson and Main Street, Exit 82, Altamont, IL 62411

Website: Dr. Charles M. Wright House

8. Find your dream automobile at Heartland Classics Cars

Posted by Heartland Classics Cars, Inc. on Tuesday, 30 September 2014

If you have a love of classic vehicles, you must head over to Heartland Classics Cars. In this 30,000 square foot (9 km) showroom, over 200 cars and motorcycles are on display. View vintage classics in the museum or purchase the car of your dreams off the lot.

Heartland Classics Cars

Address: 1901 W Evergreen Ave, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: Heartland Classics Cars

9. Sit down for a fresh, organic feast at Firefly Grill

Summer is in the air today! ☀

Posted by Firefly Grill on Monday, 17 July 2017

The atmosphere at Firefly Grill emphasizes its eco-friendly initiative. Set on the peaceful shores of Lake Kristie, the menu is a composite of organic farm-to-table options. Most of the food is grown on-site, and the rest is sourced locally from artisan farmers and foragers. There is an emphasis on sustainability in everything they do here, from the recycled steel frame of the building to the garden’s composters to the sustainable seafood on the menu. When you sit down at this award-winning restaurant, savor the wholesome and soulful flavors of its wonderful, fresh, cuisine.

Firefly Grill

Address: 1810 Avenue of Mid-America, Effingham, IL 62401

Website: Firefly Grill

10. Take a walk along TREC Recreation Trails

A huge thank you to Christ Church, New Hope Church, Assembly of God, Cornerstone Christian Church, and Centenary...

Posted by TREC - Trail Recreation Effingham County on Sunday, 21 October 2012

Escape into nature and peruse the TREC Recreation Trails. Stroll along beautiful pathways and enjoy the peaceful nature of Effingham County. The paths are well-maintained and perfect for cyclists and horseback riders.

TREC Recreation Trails

Website: TREC Recreation Trails

Experience the beauty of Effingham

Enjoy life at a leisurely pace. Meander through museums, sit back and sample refreshingly natural food, and admire the peaceful ambiance along the lake’s shores. Effingham provides the perfect opportunity to do it all.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Hannah is a freelance writer, list making aficionado, and world traveler currently based in Germany. She is an avid explorer, and believes in creating new experiences to put on her bucket list to...Read more

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