• Hikes,  Hiking,  Illinois,  Kids,  St. Louis,  Trips

    Pere Marquette -Illinois’s Largest State Park

    Pere Marquette is one of the very best parks in the state of Illinois. Over 8,000 acres of lush forests and rugged hills are waiting to be explored just an hour north of St. Louis along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. Fall brings a spectacular display of colorful foliage while winter is prime time for eagle watching. The expansive views and overlooks of the Illinois River and its backwaters can be viewed any time of year. Horseback riding, camping, boating, and…

  • Hikes,  Hiking,  Illinois,  Kids,  St. Louis

    Exploring Caverns and Rock Art at Piney Creek Ravine in Illinois

    Piney Creek Ravine Nature Preserve is a bit of a secret hike. Visit this spot even on a summer weekend and you may still have the whole trail to yourself. So many don’t realize this dramatic and historic spot exists tucked deep in the farm fields of southern Illinois. Not only does the preserve feature dramatic canyons and trickling creeks, but the main claim to fame here is the biggest display of prehistoric petroglyphs and pictographs in Illinois. You can view these impressive vistas in…

  • Hikes,  Hiking,  Illinois,  Kids

    Ferne Clyffe State Park – A Secret Oasis in Southern Illinois

    Many people think of Illinois as “flyover country.” They believe the state is nothing but flat and boring farm fields as far as the eye can see. While much of the state is geographically monotonous, far southern Illinois is drastically different. This rugged area is known as the Illinois Ozarks. Rising bluffs, trickling waterfalls, and jagged rocks create a lush and varied landscape worthy of exploration. Tucked away near the bottom of the state, Ferne Clyffe State Park has been inspiring visitors for almost a…

  • Hikes,  Hiking,  Illinois,  Kids,  Missouri,  St. Louis,  Trips

    Best St. Louis Area Hiking Books

    Have you been wanting to take a hike but don’t know the best places to visit around St. Louis? Maybe you want to find a trail that is kid friendly or one that is not likely to be crowded. Maybe you have seen local pictures of a hiking trail with a beautiful waterfall or stunning overlook and want to know how to get there. The one hiking question I’m asked over and over is how exactly do I find all the great trails and hikes…

  • Illinois,  Popular,  Trips,  Uncategorized

    Visit to Casey, Illinois-The Little Town of Big Things

    At first glance the tiny town of Casey appears just like any other location in small town America. Like many small towns, this spot just off I-70 in eastern Illinois has seen a loss in population and manufacturing as people and jobs moved on to bigger cities. However, the town of Casey has reinvented itself in a big way. It all started when one of the residents decided to try and fight the decline by attracting more attention and business back to his hometown. The…

  • Hikes,  Hiking,  Illinois,  Kids,  Trips

    Favorite Family Hikes near St. Louis – Part 1, the Illinois side

    One of the questions I get asked the most is which hikes do I recommend in the St. Louis area, especially which hikes are good for kids. We are blessed with so many amazing hikes in the area, but I’m going to try and narrow it down to the ones I think give the best bang for your buck. I’m going to start with the Illinois side of the river as there are so many Missouri area hikes that it’s going to take me longer…

  • Hikes,  Hiking,  Illinois,  Kids,  St. Louis

    Climb to Great Views at Salt Lick Point Trail in Illinois

    Salt Lick Point is a favorite hike of ours on the Illinois side of the metro area. This hike is located on a former quarry site in Valmeyer, Illinois. In fact you can even spy interesting old remainders of this site’s former life. The preserve consists of three different trails. We like to make a loop by hiking a portion of the Salt Lick Trail along the bluffs, continuing along on a section of the Newman Trail, and then completing the loop by hiking the…

  • Hiking,  Illinois,  Missouri,  Playgrounds,  St. Louis

    St. Louis Area Summer Fun List 2019

    Each year I put together a list of fun St. Louis area places to go with the kids in the summer including museums, playgrounds, and parks. I also search though hundreds of events to come up with a good list of family friendly local events as well as vacation Bible schools. This list includes both sides of the river but the events are more focused on the Illinois side. I want to share this list with anyone who is interested so I added the files…