Menard County Tourism Council

Welcome to Menard County Illinois!


Few areas are so rich in history, recreational opportunities, the arts and entertainment as Menard County Illinois. We are home to Lincoln’s New Salem where he spent his formative years and was first elected to the legislature. New Salem features living history and major festivals throughout the year, including live performances every summer at Theatre in the Park. And don’t forget miles of challenging hiking trails, roads for biking, a campground, picnic areas, a boat launch on the river and acres of green space for kids to play safely. Just two miles away is historic Petersburg, the town surveyed by Lincoln with unique lodging, dining and entertainment options. To learn more about things to see and do in Menard County, please check out the short video.

Menard County is a great place for a day visit, weekend getaway or vacation. Our monthly Entertainment Guides (on Festivals page) provide a calendar of live entertainment and major festivals, murder mystery theatres, great sites to visit and more. The Sangamon River provides excellent canoeing and kayaking. Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Park comprises over 16,000 acres with three lakes for boating & great fishing, 73 miles of trails, hunting ground, a 26 mile equine trail, skeet and archery ranges and an endless variety of outdoor activities.

The Links page connects you with the many area Lincoln sites and other historic attractions. With Springfield only 30 minutes away, you’ll find that Petersburg is a great place to stay for exploring and taking in the sites. Leave the big city noise and traffic behind and enjoy having breakfast served in one of the beautiful B&Bs in historic mansions including one in a rural setting with a large deck overlooking a river valley. The Lodge has 24 beautifully appointed rooms and has a quiet, relaxed lounge for food and drinks on the banks of the Sangamon River. The Inn at New Salem Station offers convenience. All provide a great alternative to franchise motels and can be found on the Lodging Page. Others will enjoy the unique shops and handmade gift items from local artists.

Our “
Photo Galleries” feature some beautiful photos of the great places to visit. Albums will be updated frequently. Our Videos page lets you experience the sights and sounds of favorite tourist spots, entertainment venues, festivals and profiles of interesting places and people.

The website will be frequently changing to keep pace with new initiatives and activities. We plan some exciting geocaching tours in the upcoming weeks. Grant monies (though limited) are available through the Menard County Tourism Council. For details, please email:


Grants Available: The Menard County Tourism Council offers grants for certain activities that promote tourism or tourism-related events. A Grant Application link is provided and has the details and format for a request.

And finally, to make your visit the best it can be, we’ll offer ideas on trip ideas. Plan a weekend visit and take in the activities of interest to you! You’ll find friendly people in our towns who will help plan and make your visit a great one. Please check out the site and discover why you’ll enjoy visit and a weekend stay in Petersburg and beautiful Menard County Illinois.