Mattoon’s location in Illinois makes it a perfect place for recreational opportunities. Several parks and lakes, orchards, golf courses, bowling, laser tag, roller-skating at the area’s remodeled rink and skateboarding at the city’s new skate park—you name it, Mattoon and its neighboring communities have it.
In December 2010, the Mattoon Area Family YMCA broke ground on a major renovation and expansion project at its facility along 16th Street. The project will expand the current 28,000-square-foot facility to a 63,000-square-foot facility featuring an expanded Wellness Center, two new gymnasiums, an expanded Child Watch Area, upgraded pool systems, updated and expanded women’s and men’s locker rooms and a brand new family locker room. The facility’s new and existing amenities are joined by the Y’s long list of year-round programs for youth and adults. Members take advantage of aquatics programs, group fitness classes, sports leagues and workshops, before- and after-school programs and much more.
Created in order to regenerate and maintain the state’s significant native habitats, the more than 65-acre site of the Douglas-Hart Nature Center is equipped with a restored tallgrass prairie, a 12-acre wetland, a woodland area with more than 60 native tree species and more than two miles of winding trails and observation stations. Situated on the eastern side of Mattoon, the facility’s Visitor’s Center is open throughout the year and features educational exhibits, displays, programs and guided walks.
Residents have access to both Lake Mattoon and Lake Paradise. Lake Mattoon, situated in the southwest corner of Coles County and stretching into both Shelby and Cumberland counties, has a surface area of 1,065 acres and is fed by the Little Wabash River. Not only does the lake supply water to the city, it is also a site for boating, fishing, camping and relaxation along the public Lake Mattoon Beach. The vast Lake Shelbyville, a Corps of Engineers lake located 32 miles west of Mattoon, is a popular spot for recreation—approximately 1,500 campsites are available around the 11,000-acre lake. Boating access from several ramps span the lake’s borders, hiking trails, fishing spots and much more.
Along with several park areas—Lawson, which boasts four new tennis courts, Lytle, home to one of the largest public pools in the state, and Peterson—affording a host of recreational opportunities, the Mattoon area has access to pumpkin patches, apple orchards and strawberry patches.
Baseball continues to be a strong pastime in Mattoon, the “Baseball Capital of the United States,” with more than 10 percent of residents currently participating in over 160 organized baseball, softball and teeball teams. The community is fortunate to have top-rate athletic fields and facilities at Lawson Park and Peterson Park, as well as the Roundhouse Complex, as host to a number of games and tournaments during the season.
Three well-manicured golf courses are also available in Mattoon, offering courses for both the beginner and the expert. The Mattoon Golf & Country Club is an 18-hole, private golf course stretching over 6,690 yards from the longest tee for a par of 72. The facility also offers a 15-tee driving range. Meadowview Golf Course, home to the Mattoon High School golf team, is also an 18-hole, public course spanning over 6,900 yards from the longest tee. Golfers can find a challenge here with several water hazards, narrow fairways and large greens. And Rogala Public Links, located just west of Mattoon along Route 16, is a public, nine-hole course measuring 6,138 yards from the men’s tees. Rogala, a top spot for beginners, can be played as an 18-hole course as well, offering a par of 72. Additionally, two driving ranges are situated in the area, while miniature golf is available at Peterson Park.
Recreation is plentiful in and around Mattoon and is sure to please every interest.