• History,  Illinois,  Kids,  St. Louis

    French Colonial History Comes Alive at Illinois’s Fort de Chartres

    Rising from the farm fields in southern Illinois is an impressive stone fortress celebrating 300 years of history. Long before the United States was established, the French ruled over southern Illinois. The proximity to the Mississippi River, the hunt for precious metals, and the rich farm ground established this area as of strategic importance. Fort de Chartres is one of the best historic sites in the state and recreates this era of Illinois’s history under…

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

    Fults Hill Prairie Preserve – Steep Hiking with Panoramic Views

    Bluff Road in southwestern Illinois is one of the most scenic drives in the area. Rugged bluffs rise high above the road on one side with farmland stretching toward the Mississippi River on the other. If you have ever wondered what the view is like from atop those rocky bluffs, check out the Fults Hill Prairie Nature Preserve. Located off Bluff Road near the tiny town of Fults, the hiking trail at this preserve will…

  • Illinois,  Kids,  Missouri,  St. Louis

    The Best Christmas Light Displays around St. Louis

    One our family’s favorite holiday traditions is to drive around and look at the colorful light displays. Some of these trips are through elaborate set ups in various parks with millions of lights. Other displays are put up by festive homeowners who go all out to celebrate the season. No matter which side of the river you are on, here is a list of some great spots to check out this year. Lights in Illinois…

  • Hikes,  Hiking,  Illinois,  Kids,  Trips

    Best Hikes in Shawnee National Forest

    The Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois is one of our favorite areas to explore. You forget anything you ever thought about Illinois’s flat landscape when you view the rugged bluffs, trickling creeks, and dramatic overlooks that can be found in Shawnee. Shawnee has an amazing amount of scenic areas and parks to explore. There are trails available for all ages and abilities from a 1/4 easy trek to a multi-day backpacking adventure. It’s hard…

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

    Explore Mighty Views and Rugged Terrain at Illinois’s Little Grand Canyon

    Arizona is not the only state that can claim a Grand Canyon. Illinois has its own version. While nowhere near as large or as grand, this rugged area is still an amazing sight. Not designed for the beginner hiker, this rough and tumble trail requires you to literally scramble up and down a slick waterfall in and out of a steep ravine. However, the constant stunning views both from above and below the bluffs are…