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Category: Illinois

Ferne Clyffe State Park – A Secret Oasis in Southern Illinois

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…

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Best St. Louis Area Hiking Books

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…

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

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…

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

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…

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Trail of the Week – Salt Lick Point Trail, Illinois

Trail of the Week – Salt Lick Point Trail, 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…

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St. Louis Area Summer Fun List 2019

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…

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Trail of the Week-Jackson Falls

Trail of the Week-Jackson Falls

Shawnee National Forest, Illinois We’ve done a lot of hiking and exploring over the years and one of our favorite spots to spend a day is in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. While we have visited many scenic spots including Bell Smith Springs, Garden of the Gods, and Ferne Clyffe, we somehow had never made it over to Jackson Falls. I can’t believe we had missed this awesome trail for so long! The trail starts at a parking…

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Boo Memorial Garden 7-22-18

Boo Memorial Garden 7-22-18

After hiking the Nature Trail at Giant City State Park (Link to that Post), we stopped by Boo Memorial Garden (Atlas Obscura Info) near Carbondale IL. Wow! We were completely blown away at how nicely maintained and well made this park was! Everything was sanded smooth (no splinters to when you bonk you head on something) and there was oodles of things for the kids to find as they ran through the castle. Absolutely worth the stop if you are…

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