Benton is a small town tucked between cornfield after cornfield in the heart of Southern Illinois. With a population of approximately 8,000, there are plenty of people here to gripe and complain about what an awful town they believe it to be. But, if they took all that time they used to criticize their hometown and used it to look around at the tight-knit community, maybe they would appreciate all the little things Benton has to offer.

Without further ado, here are the five best reasons about living in Benton, Illinois:

1. It is in the middle of everything.

Benton is centrally located amongst larger towns that offer more.Twenty to forty-five minutes in any direction will take you to either Mt.Vernon, Harrisburg, Marion, or DuQuoin. If you are bored with Benton, which is bound to happen at some point, there are plenty of towns within driving range to go visit. Seriously, where else do you have that many options?

2. Rend Lake

One of the biggest attractions located near Benton is Rend Lake. Located about five minutes north of town, Rend Lake has plenty of things to do. You can go fishing, water skiing, bike riding, hike trails, or even visit one of several beaches and swim. And to top it all, you can go pay a visit to the dam at the end of the day to watch a breathtaking sunset, which just happens to be one of the prettiest sights in Southern Illinois.

3. The Square

Believe it or not, the square in Benton is actually one of the best things about the town. It is something that is unique to the area, and it really shows the history and age of Benton. It has also become a great gathering place for parades, carnivals, and car shows. Aside from the crazy driving, the square is one of the great features of Benton. And besides, without the crazy driving, what else would we have to complain about on Twitter on a Saturday night?

4. The Sports Teams

Whether it is the Benton Invitational Tournament (BIT), a Friday night football game, or even a five year old’s t-ball game at the park, the passion for sports in Benton is like no other. People literally will move their family into the Benton district just so their children can play sports for the Benton Rangers. Every single sports team from Benton, ranging from junior high to high school, is extremely talented and well-coached, This is the reason that people from Benton generally love sports. If you are from Benton, it is almost guaranteed that you have been to the park for a baseball game, watched Benton thump West Frankfort on a Friday night football game or watched a game of the BIT at some point in your life. If you haven’t, you either just moved here or live under a rock.

5. The Community

The community of Benton can be a little rough around the edges at times, but at the end of the day, it is always there for each other. Whenever there is a disaster in the area or a death to one of its fellow members of the community, the people of Benton always rise to the occasion to help one another. Whether it be through donations, a fundraiser, or any other thing they create, the people in Benton do care for others, and are willing to do their part in time of need.

Though it is small, Benton is one of the great communities in the region of Southern Illinois. Some of its greatest features include several landmarks such as Rend Lake that make it unique to the area, an absolutely wonderful and well supported sports program, and a community that always cares and looks out for each other. Living in Benton is not as bad as it is said to be, and it really is a wonderful place. People just never stop to see the little things about it that make it beautiful.