Midwest Bucketlist for Spring
It's March and I'm writing this on a chilly, rainy day wishing I was hiking. This has been a particularly damp and cold winter in the Midwest. I often find myself scrolling Instagram looking at anything tropical and sunny. A girl can pretend, right?
The few warm days here and there have given me just enough hope to start thinking about some day or weekend trips to adventure to in the next few months and into summer. With that in mind, I've put together a Midwestern bucket list for the warmer months coming up.
Garden of the Gods- Located in the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois, this recreation area features stunning overlooks from the sandstone cliffs that make up this area. You should be careful though if it's at all wet outside as the large bouldered areas can get slick. There are also trails and really affordable camping nearby ($10/night). I would like to stay a night or two out here with our dog. I went to college at the nearby university in Carbondale but haven't been out to Garden of the Gods since some time in my undergrad. I can't wait to go back and experience it all over again.
Fugitive Beach: I haven't been here but it looks like a good time. My boyfriend isn't fond of swimming in lakes so this beach and swimming hole located at an old rock quarry might be a good compromise. They do add blue pond dye to the water which may help you forget you're in Missouri. I love Missouri but if you can't afford the Carribean, this might be a nice place to play pretend. I prefer my murky lakes but at least I won't be paranoid about snakes here. It costs $10 a person which is a little more than we usually pay for swimming but I think it would be worth it to at least check it out.
Elephant Rocks State Park: All the good hiking in Missouri is a few hours away from St. Louis. Since I don't have a car, the fate of my hiking adventures often lies in my boyfriend's hands. I'm hoping to get him to go on a few more adventures this year. Hiking isn't his favorite thing but he's made a lot of progress on meeting me halfway with this. Elephant Rocks State Park isn't just straight up hiking but also has a bunch of cool granite boulders to climb around on. I think this would have a something for both of us.
Note: This park also features an easily accessible Braille Trail designed for people with disabilities.
Scratch Brewing: Like Garden of the Gods, it's also been awhile since I visited Scratch Brewing in Southern Illinois. They've even done some remodeling since I've last been which would be fun to check out. So why drive a few hours to a brewery? It's not just any brewery! Many of the ingredients for their beer are foraged or locally grown. The last time I went, I tried a Chantrelle Saison. Super unique! This makes a great stop on the way back from Shawnee for a pint and some wood-fired pizza after a long day hiking.
Ha Ha Tonka State Park: This is really interesting state park which is home to some castle ruins. Who knew there were any castles in Missouri? I haven't been here but am excited to check it out. Besides the castle ruins, there's also an array of bluffs, caves, and trails waiting to be explored.
What's on your bucket list this Spring & Summer? Let me know in the comments!