Quality of Life

Quality of Life is a key reason we are the Jobs Capitol of Southern Illinois. Residents in Jefferson County get the best of both worlds – avoiding the daily congestion and high cost of city living, yet able to drive to downtown St. Louis in around 90 minutes. This is the heartland of Southern Illinois and we are part of a tapestry of small towns offering the best in country lifestyle, cultural and historical variety, and natural beauty. Employers are able to draw 91% of their employees from within 30 miles of the county seat.

Recreation & Entertainment

Recreation & Entertainment

From exhibits at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts to high-speed water slides at the
Mt. Vernon Aquatic Zoo to a fantastic dinner in our Downtown district, there is always something to do in Jefferson County. Click on “Recreation & Entertainment” to find out more!



Our many strong communities offer great variety for growing families and seniors alike. From historic homes to new luxury apartments, living in Jefferson County means you are close to everything you need, with an organized street system and sidewalk network. Click on “Neighborhoods” to learn why so many are proud to call Jefferson County home.



With a new Mt. Vernon Township High School and numerous school districts, Jefferson County residents have many options for the education of our children. Rend Lake College, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and seven more nearby campuses enhance keep our students credentialed and ready to enter the local workforce. Learn all about it by clicking on “Education”.



Jefferson County is not just the Jobs Hub of Southern Illinois, it is also a healthcare hub. Our area hospitals and clinics provide a combined 181 beds and top-trained specialists for many procedures. Click on “Healthcare & Safety” and you will see why people and businesses know they can count on our local medical professionals, police, fire and EMS services.

Amenities at a Glance
  • 1000 Hotel Rooms
  • More than 50 Restaurants
  • Revitalized Downtown
  • 10 City Parks in Mt. Vernon (130 acres)
  • 9+ Miles of Trails and Bike Paths
  • An outdoor water parks, separate club pool
  • Two Golf Courses
  • Six Softball/Baseball Fields
  • Eight Tennis Courts
  • Community Soccer Field
  • Community Volleyball Court
  • Three Museums
  • Community Theatre
  • Six-Plex Movie Theatre
  • Bowling Center and Roller Rink

Recreation & Entertainment

We have so many options for recreation in Jefferson County; fishing, golfing, tennis, biking, jogging, hiking, water sports, bowling, swimming, picnicking, skating and ball games are only a few of the possibilities. For the spectator, there are movies, chamber music, festivals with national acts, band concerts, theater, and sporting events. The best place for you to learn about all the great things happening here is the Mt. Vernon Convention & Visitors Bureau at EnjoyMtVernon.com.

Outdoor Fun

The City of Mt. Vernon has more than 90 acres of parkland available for recreation, gatherings with the family, or a relaxing stroll. The Aquatic Zoo features a Lazy River, Splash Pad, two Water Slides and a Lap Pool for those who want a more serious workout. Learn more about the Aquatic Zoo here AquaticZoo.org.

Rend Lake is the second largest human-made lake in Illinois; an 18,900-acre reservoir with 162
miles of shoreline, 27 boat ramps, nearly 800 campsites, a shooting complex, a 27 hole golf course and 19 miles of bicycle trails. Rend Lake attracts more than 3.6 million visitors each year. Learn more about Rend Lake from the following links:

Rend Lake Area Tourism Council – EnjoyRendLake.com
Illinois Department of Natural Resources – Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers – Rend Lake
Rend Lake Conservancy District – RendLake.org

If golf is your thing, we have Green Hills Golf Club and Indian Hills Golf Course both available in Mt. Vernon. Or enjoy more than 10 parks in Mt. Vernon, with more information available at MtVernonparks.com.

Culture & History 

The Cedarhurst Center for the Arts offers permanent and rotating exhibits, art classes and a variety of live music events throughout the year. The Cedarhurst is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition a museum can receive.
You can step back into the 19th Century by visiting the Jefferson County Historical Village and Museum. Historical building replicas, a full museum with permanent and rotating exhibits, a range of events and reenactments and even nature trails are here for your family’s enjoyment. And our RD White Veterans Museum and Hall of Honor  at Mt. Vernon Outland Airport is a 2014 Governor’s Hometown Award Winner.
Mt. Vernon’s downtown has numerous art sculptures and historic buildings. The Appellate Courthouse is a must-see. It still houses the 5th District Appellate Court but is also available for special tours. Abraham Lincoln argued a case here prior to becoming our 16th President.


Jefferson County gives you a breadth of lifestyle options. If you want to be close to shopping and employment, Mt. Vernon has housing choices, both historic and modern. If you want lots of acreage in the country, ample opportunities await. And if you are looking for the best of both worlds, your many small towns and villages can meet your needs.

Those interested in home ownership or leasing will find a variety of realtors who can help them learn what is available, including Cross Davidson, RE/MAX Elite, and Coldwell Banker.

Upscale apartment living has experienced a lot of attention, with more than 60 new units either built or under construction since 2016 at the new Renaissance Hills Apartments and Southgate Apartments. Along with Tanglewood and many others, we have a number of complexes available for those who prefer low-maintenance living.

If you are considering a move to Jefferson County, our new Welcome Guide  may come in handy!


Eight universities and colleges are located within one hour of the county seat, offering a range of workforce training and degree options. These resources are strengthened by a cross-section of 23 schools within the county. This includes four high schools, two middle schools, 12 pre-/kindergarden-through-8th grade schools, two elementary schools, and three alternative and special education schools. You can find out more about each of these schools at the Public School Review website.

Mt. Vernon Township High School, boasts enrollment of 1,325 students. With a new $75 million campus completed in 2016 and one of the state’s few regional career and technical centers , MVTHS provides career/technical programs in:

MVTHS aireal

• Agriculture
• Automotive Repair
• Business
• Health

• Consumer and Family Sciences
• Industrial Technology
• Computer Assisted Design
• and Cooperative Education

The facilities and staff are available for specific workforce training as well.

Mt. Vernon has seven colleges and universities within 50 miles, offering combined enrollment of 24,000. These include; Rend Lake College (Ina), Southern Illinois University (Carbondale), Kaskaskia College (Centralia), Frontier Community College (Fairfield), John A. Logan College (Carterville), Southeastern Illinois College (Harrisburg) and Greenville College (Greenville).

Rend Lake College (RLC), 13 minutes from Mt. Vernon, was ranked the #1 community college in the State by www.CollegeMeasures.org. RLC is dedicated to training our economic base and provides several valuable programs relevant to manufacturing, including; Industrial Electronics, Maintenance, and Technology; and Mining, Manufacturing, and Welding Technology. The RLC Advanced Technology Center teaches:


• Computer Programming
• Computer Science
• IT Systems
• Web Design
• OSHA Compliance

• PLC Training
• Haz-Mat
• Forklift
• Business Soft Skills

Known for quick response and custom programming, RLC works closely with industry leaders throughout our region.

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, now in its second century, is a major public higher education institution dedicated to quality academic endeavors in teaching and research, to supportive programming for student needs and development, to effective social and economic initiatives in community, regional, and statewide contexts, and to affirmative action and equal opportunity.


Mt. Vernon is fortunate to have two premiere healthcare facilities. Both SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital – Mt. Vernon and Crossroads Community Hospital have won prestigious awards for their services and they continue to improve delivery of health care in our region.

SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital – Mt. Vernon Campus is a not-for-profit hospital with a new $247 million campus that opened in 2013. The Mt. Vernon campus has 134 beds, eight observation beds, and numerous specialty programs. They continue to expand their services through the establishment of tertiary programs, such as interventional cardiology and open heart surgery and in 2006 they opened the state of the art Center for Cancer Care in Mount Vernon. is the only hospital with an open heart surgery program in the region. In 2015, the hospital launched a new pediatric emergency and NICU telemedicine program in conjunction with the physicians at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital​. For three consecutive years, Healthgrades has presented SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital with the Patient Safety Excellence Award. In 2014, Quest by Premier Inc. recognized SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital with the Citation of Merit Award for Outstanding Patient Care.

Crossroads Community Hospital  has 47 beds and offers a wide range of specialties including, but not limited to, general surgery, neurosurgy, thoracic/vascular surgery, urology, orthopedics, cardiology, pediatrics, radiology, 3D mammography, sleep disorder center, as well as 24-hour emergency services. CCH is also equipped to handle industrial accidents and emergencies such as burns, chemical exposure/respiratory distress, and traumas.


Orthopaedic Center of Southern Illinois was founded in 1974 and offers treatment for various musculoskeletal issues including bones, joints, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue. It serves both as an orthopaedic center and a sports injury clinic and performs a number of surgical procedures  as well as providing rehabilitative and imaging services.