The Very Best of Oklahoma

The great state of Oklahoma is known for its many casino’s and tornadoes, but I want to reassure you that it has so much more to offer than it’s very shiny, very flashy gambling facilities and unthinkable weather.

Oklahoma is the home much of our countries Native America history, it has some of the most beautiful state parks, museums and festivals full of so much history and yes of course, those casino’s everyone is talking about. I want to make sure that I give you a glimpse of some of the parts of Oklahoma that are not common knowledge, some inside local advice if you will.

Fun Facts About Oklahoma!

Let’s start off with some fun facts, shall we?

  • The world’s first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935
  • Okmulgee owns the world record for largest pecan pie, pecan cookie, pecan brownie, and biggest ice cream and cookie party
  • Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He grew up in Yukon, Oklahoma.
  • At around 200, Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state.

More than Casino’s and Tornadoes

Did you see that, Garth Brooks was born and raised in this amazing state. The rumor is Nashville the place to be, but in reality Oklahoma’s your best bet if you want to make as a country singer. Need more proof than the King of Country, well there is also Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Ronnie Dunn, and many more so hurry on over aspiring country singers were waiting for you! All joking aside I want to make sure that you understand how truly incredible Oklahoma really is.

How to Get Around

With a perfect combination of city and country, Oklahoma is a center spot to meet all personality types. Depending on which part of the state you choose to state can determine the transportation style you want to choose also. While, I highly recommend driving or renting a car while visiting Oklahoma because of the relaxed nature of the state, however there are some areas like Oklahoma City that have public transportation. Unlike some states, Oklahoma does not normally have a ton of traffic and we have plenty of parking, so that should not be a problem either.

Route 66

If you have ever wanted to take a road trip, Route 66 is one of the most well known historical routes in the United States. Oklahoma is right in the heart of this beautiful history. So you can enjoy a great road trip see some historical town and follow the best of Route 66.

State Parks

Oklahoma is home to many beautiful state parks, each with its very own unique charm that has a lasting affect on those who visit them. If you are looking for an unforgettable nature experience you can find an array of activities such as lodging, fishing, swimming, hiking, Kayaking and hunting at most if not all of the Oklahoma State Parks.

My families favorite Oklahoma state parks to visit is Beavers Bend.

Beavers Bend

Beavers Bend is a wonderful place for nature lovers of all ages and is located in the mountainous region of southeast Oklahoma along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River.  It is a wonderful place to slow down, unwind and enjoy the beauty and nature that Oklahoma has to offer. Whether you enjoy the luxurious glam-ping experience or the one with nature experiences, you can find it here.

Beavers bend offers many different options for luxury cabin rentals. These cabins are beautiful, spacious and modern. Most offer a extra amenities such as hot tubs on the balcony, playground equipment for the kids, and full kitchens, which makes our stay so much more relaxing. We have booked our cabins through several different cabin rentals in the past, but our favorite, hassle free choice is Beavers Bend Adventures.

Beavers Bend also provides tent/RV camping, along with many other activities and rental services. Some activities that you can participate in are:

  • Biking
  • Canoeing/Rafting/Kayaking
  • Various children’s Programs
  • River Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Swimming
  • Tennis Court
  • Watchable Wildlife
  • Rock and Mineral finding
  • And More

For more information on activities, camping information and prices visit the Beavers Bend State Park Information website.

Places To Eat Near Beavers Bend

When you visit this amazing state park, you can always cook yourself, but if you want to enjoy some great dining experiences here are two of my favorite places.

The Grateful Head

This groovy pizza joint is a neat change of scenery. Their menu is fully loaded with oddly creative recipes that are worth trying. I recommend the “tree hugger” or the “funky chicken,” both are amazing! For the not so adventurous type, you can make your own safe pizza.

Blue Rooster

This is my favorite place to eat, it is not only a fun place, but the food and service has always been great. The Blue Rooster serves fried anything you can think of, family style. We always walk away satisfied. Another thing I love is that it is a great place for kids, they roll out a piece of paper to cover the table and the kids (and adults) stay entertained until the food is served. This is a must try!

The Gathering Place

Not too long ago, Facebook went crazy about a place called the Gathering place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The reviews were amazing, the captions read that it was equivalent to Disney World, but free. I want to tell you, it is a pretty amazing place. We recently went and our kids had an amazing time and I highly recommend it.

There is something to do for all ages, and I mean ALL ages. I found my husband in the play area’s, “testing” the safety of the slides several times.

We got to the park at 9 am and the park was relatively empty. We did not have to fight large crowds of people to enjoy any part of the park. We spent the day climbing ropes, playing in the sand, making tornadoes, climbing in sitting pods and swinging on zip lines, the possibilities were endless!

From a Mom’s Point of View

It was definitely the place to be full of fun and excitement for all member’s of the family. As as a mom I value some parts of the park that my kids or even my husband would never have thought about. There were several bathrooms throughout the park and the were so CLEAN. My children visit the bathrooms a lot, I am certain we went to them all and everyone of them were very well maintained.

The parking was plentiful! now it appeared to get a little busy when we were leaving in the afternoon. Even then though, there were many parking options, unlike some places that you visit. This is always a nice way to start off your trip.

The play area’s were themed and backed by education. I LOVE when my kids are learning while they play. There is an interactive part of the park where you can make tornadoes, learn about music, sounds and echos… We spent quite a bit of time in this area, just trying to figure it all out. The coolest part is that it was designed into a maze, so that alone kept my children busy.

The Thought Behind It

I was fascinated with the amount of thought that was put into creating such an amazing park. The toddler area was not only size appropriate, but the color schemes, the theme and deliberately placement so that parents can see their children was mind blowing and quite honestly, relieving. There was a sand are where toddlers could play and a soft padded ground area.

The bigger play areas had the same thought behind it. The themes were so uniquely interesting. It was not something you have seen over and over again. They put forth the effort to match the theme to the play. The crazy slides were located at the “inventors” play area, the green hanging pods where located in the tree play area, the maze was the theme of the arts and science play area… They put a lot of effort into making sure it was a great experience.

Other’s Amenities

We spent most of our time in the play areas, but there were several other amenities as well. There was a skate park, kids activities and so much more.

They also have a couple eating options with plenty of healthy options that even the kids will love. They have an option to eat outside on the lawn, on picnic tables and inside in the cafe. The prices were a little higher than we normally like to pay, but for free entry they have to make money somewhere.

They do allow you to bring in coolers and outside food. We brought snacks and a small cooler full of drinks and a lunch for my dietary restricted daughter in to the park and had no issues.

In conclusion…

Oklahoma is a great place to visit if you are looking for a slower pace relaxing visit. It is not only full of so much history, culture, nature and fun. I highly encourage Oklahoma as a place to visit for all ages.

Danielle Farrington, MBA
Impossibly Imperfect
 
 
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The Very Best of Illinois

My Home State, Illinois!

I was born and raised in Illinois, and I’ve always been proud of where I’m from. I’ve visited and stayed at places from the southern tip of the state all the way to the north. Illinois is way more than just Chicago, and I hope to convince you of that in this post. If I were to visit my fair state as a tourist with a week to spare, I’d split my visit up into three parts:

  • 3 days in Chicago
  • 2 days in Springfield
  • 2 days in Southern Illinois

I’ll tell you about each area in more detail, and why I recommend them so highly. First, we’ll talk about the best way to get around Illinois.

Getting Around Illinois

Illinois is a big state – over 200 miles wide, and nearly 400 miles long. If you arrive in Chicago and are venturing anywhere outside the city, it’s best to have (or to rent) a car for the duration of your stay. Driving in the city can be a hassle at times, and parking is expensive. But if you’re going anywhere outside the metro area (city and close-in suburbs), there’s really no good transportation. Amtrak travels to Chicago and Carbondale 2-3 times a day, but you’re on their schedule.

Trust me – get a car. You won’t be disappointed. And the money you spend will be worth it.

Chicago

As the largest city in Illinois and the third largest in the US, Chicago is truly a world-class city. It’s got everything you could want: great restaurants, nightlife, family-friendly activities, and great sports teams. It’s not easy to see the entire city in three days, but I’ll recommend some activities you should check out.

The Loop

The Loop is Chicago’s central business district and is also home to a lot of cultural and architectural wonders. It was originally defined as the area inside of the rectangular route of the Elevated Train system, or the “El” as we call it. I wrote a post on touring Chicago’s Loop on foot, so I’ll just hit a few highlights here.

Chicago El tracks

If you head toward the east side of the Loop (closer to Lake Michigan), you’ll encounter Millennium Park. The park is 25 acres and is full of beautiful landscaping, architecture and public art. It’s also full of fun, free and family friendly activities year-round. It houses one of my personal favorite sculptures: Sir Anish Kapoor’s sculpture “Cloud Gate,” which we affectionately refer to as “The Bean.”

The Bean

The Bean is one of the best-known sculptures in all of Chicago. It’s accessible 24 hours a day and draws visitors all hours of the day and night. It’s interesting by itself, and it also provides some unique reflections of the Chicago skyline. If you get the chance to see it, walk all the way around – including underneath it – to experience the reflections from all angles. It’s like a funhouse mirror writ large.

One final memorable spot I’d recommend in the loop is Buckingham Fountain. The fountain is just to the south of Millennium Park and is located in Grant Park. From the spring through the fall, the fountain has an active and fun light and water show going on continually. It’s surrounded by well-tended gardens and lots of sitting and relaxing space – all the better to take in views of the Chicago skyline.

Pride

During the summer, you can find free concerts and other forms of entertainment in the Millennium Park and Grant Park area. There are way more activities and wonderful sites in the park than we can cover in this short article, so be sure to check out ChooseChicago.com’s list of Top 10 Things You Shouldn’t Miss at Chicago’s Millennium Park Campus.

As big as the Loop is, this is just the tip of the Chicago iceberg. One other area I recommend highly for tourists – especially families – is the Lincoln Park area, located just north of downtown.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park is nestled between the Chicago River on the west, Lake Michigan on the east, and is between Diversey Parkway and North Avenue. It’s a very short bus or taxi ride from the Loop area and is full of family-friendly activities.

Lincoln Park Zoo

One of the most popular family activities in this area is the Lincoln Park Zoo. Opened in 1868, is one of the nation’s oldest zoos. It is also one of the few remaining zoos with no entrance fee. Hours vary by season and holiday, but the zoo is generally open from 10:00AM to either 4:30PM or 5:00PM most days. It stretches over 35 acres and contains well over 1,100 animals from over 200 species. It’s open 365 days a year, and has both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Just past the north end of the zoo, you’ll find the Lincoln Park Conservatory. It’s a 3-acre conservatory and botanical garden containing a variety of species from many different climate types – from arid to tropical. The conservatory is open from 9AM to 5PM every day, and admission is free.

If you’re planning to be in Chicago in August, try to plan your visit around the Chicago Air and Water Show. The show is planned for the third weekend every August and is the country’s largest free air show. Both civilian and military aircraft fly in the show – everything from propeller-driven biplanes to our military’s fastest and most effective bombers and fighters. If you’re going to attend the show, check out my post on tips for attending and photographing it.

A Word About Chicago’s Food

Of course, you can’t visit Chicago without indulging in our decadent food choices. I recommend a few:

  • Garrett’s Popcorn: When out-of-town friends come in, Garrett’s is the number one most requested item. Their specialties are cheese popcorn, caramel corn, and what they call the “Chicago blend” – a mix of cheese and caramel corn. The blend of savory and sweet is to die for!
  • Lou Malnati’s pizza: I don’t care what New Yorkers say…Chicago has the best pizza, hands down. Chicago is the home of the deep-dish pizza, and Lou Malnati was a real Chicago chef instrumental in its creation. Of all Chicago’s many pizza places, this has got to be my favorite.
  • Italian beef sandwiches: I’ve never found these anywhere other than Chicago. It’s made of thinly-sliced beef marinated in a gravy with onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and a few other spices for good measure. It’s served on a French roll, often with peppers (sweet and/or hot). There are literally hundreds of fast food restaurants in the city that sell them. Portillio’s makes my favorite, but I’ve never had a bad one anywhere I’ve been to.

WHEW. That’s a lot to see and do in three days. But wait…Illinois has more in store.

Springfield

After three whirlwind days in Chicago, it’s time to take a trip south to Springfield. The best way to reach Springfield from Chicago is via Interstate 55. The drive takes approximately three hours.

Springfield is the capital of Illinois, and the place where Abraham Lincoln spent most of his time. It also has great architecture that’s worth a visit. We’ll cover a few key places you should consider seeing during your time in Springfield.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum

The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum documents the life of our 16th President as well as the Civil War, which occurred during his administration. It is one of the most visited Presidential libraries in the entire United States.

In addition to documents covering the life and history of Lincoln, it also contains all his Presidential papers. The papers are preserved in a climate-controlled environment and are available to scholars and researchers from all over the world. The museum also contains records and archives on the state of Illinois, providing rich insight into the progress and events that have occurred since the state’s founding in 1818.

The Museum is open from 9AM-5PM daily, with exceptions for certain holidays. Check the museum’s website for current admission fees and schedules of upcoming events.

Lincoln Home National Historical Site

Lincoln_Home_1

The house in which Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln lived during their tenure in Springfield was the only home they ever owned. After falling into disrepair in the first part of the 20th century, the home has been lovingly restored to its former glory. It’s now a National Historical Site that can be toured during normal hours of operation. The Site also has ongoing living historical demonstrations: actors dressed in period clothes, doing activities and chores that people in Lincoln’s day would have done…giving you an insight into the history and culture of the time.

For hours of operation and fees, consult the National Park Service page for the Lincoln Home.

The Old State Capitol

old state capitol

The Old State Capitol building is a reconstruction of Illinois’ fifth capitol, and the first one located in Springfield. This capitol was an important site in Lincoln’s life as well as in the history of the United States. It was one of the spots for the Lincoln-Douglas debates prior to Lincoln’s election as President. It also saw the sad end of his tenure – it was the final location where his body laid in state after his assassination in 1863.

The building was rehabbed and modernized in the 1960s. Tours are conducted on a daily basis, explaining and demonstrating not only the architectural features of the building but also providing a glimpse into Illinois’ history.

Dana-Thomas House

dana thomas house

6The Dana Thomas House

There are, of course, things to see and experience in Springfield besides Lincoln-related sites. One of my favorites is the Dana-Thomas House. The house was constructed by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1902 for local socialite Susan Lawrence Dana. The 12,000 square foot home has been restored to its initial construction specifications. It contains many fine specimens not only of Wright’s architecture, but also his stained glass and furniture designs.

Southern Illinois

After departing Springfield, drive approximately three hours south. You’ll go past Carbondale, the home of Southern Illinois University (SIU). It’s a good college town and a good place for food if you need a stop. From here you’ll step out of the hustle and bustle of city life you experienced in Chicago and Springfield – and trade it for some real natural beauty.

Two sites you should definitely visit in Southern Illinois are Giant City State Park, and the western edge of the Shawnee National Forest.

Giant City State Park

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Giant City State Park, just outside Carbondale and within the bounds of the Shawnee National Forest, is a natural paradise offering a wide variety of activities for those who love the outdoors. The park offers hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing and rappelling.

Giant City Lodge, located within the park, offers reasonable and comfortable stays while you’re in the park. The park also offers camping opportunities. You can reserve a spot head of time or take advantage of one of the “first come, first served” sites.

Hunting is also allowed in the park at certain seasons. The park is open year-round from 7AM to 10PM daily. For more information, consult the park’s website.

Shawnee National Forest

shawnee

We’ll end our tour of Illinois with a day in the Shawnee National Forest. The forest borders the Ohio River in the extreme southeastern corner of Illinois. Its 289,000 acres of forests, wetlands and rugged hiking trails are relaxing and beautiful – a great way to stay in touch with nature. A wide variety of plants and animals can be found within the park year-round. It also offers a wide variety of outdoor activities such as bicycling, hiking, fishing and hunting, horseback riding, and swimming.

A lodge and camp sites are available for visitors who choose to extend their stay in the Forest.

A Few Final Thoughts

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of my home state. A visitor could easily spend a week in any one of these places, but there are always tradeoffs to make with limited time. Hopefully you’ll enjoy enough of Illinois that you’ll come back soon!

Author Bio

Jim Jones is an award winning blogger and travel photographer. He’s been to all 50 states, over 40 countries, and 5 continents…and he’s not done seeing the world yet. He works to inspire people to visit great destinations and to start or improve their focus on travel, nature and landscape photography. As his site’s tagline says, he encourages people to “Go Travel. Take Photos. Tell Stories.”

My social links are as follows:

Blog: https://travelstoriesandimages.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/storiesnimages

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/storiesnimages

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/storiesnimages

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/storiesnimages

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Jim thank you so much for telling us all abut your home state. I have been to Chicago before for a long weekend and loved it! Here is all about our stay. My son and husband have been talking about wanting to go back really soon for the pizza!

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The Very Best of Iowa

Why I Will Always Love My Home State

I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to talk about my home state of Iowa. There is so much more to the great state of Iowa than meets the eye. It is not all about cornfields, cows, and flatlands.

I was born and raised in Iowa but have not lived there for almost 20 years. However, despite residing in several different states over the years, currently in New York, Iowa will always be home to me. I miss Iowa and I love telling people about the state that is so different than the stereotype it endures.

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The Food

Iowa has some of the best food in the United States and not just burgers, steak or corn. There is a wide variety of fabulous cuisines and restaurants you can’t find anywhere else. Some Iowa staples include pork tenderloin, kettle korn, corn dogs and Iowa’s famous Maid-Rite loose meat sandwiches. The latter is an Iowa specialty, with several locations making their sandwiches a must have when visiting the state.

Along with unique food, Iowa also has a slew of ethnic restaurants that rival those in New York City. Zombie Burger & Drink Lab has over 20 unique burgers inspired by The Walking Dead. Their Dead Moines burger is a fan favorite with smoked Gouda, prosciutto, ham, and truffle mayo.

Tumea & Sons restaurant serves up the best Italian food in Iowa, in the country in my opinion. The restaurant is an old school family run restaurant bringing, family dishes all the way from Italy. It was voted Best Italian restaurant in the Iowa by MSN.com.  Come enjoy the delicious food and stay for a game of bocce ball because everyone is family Tumea & Sons.

Other must-try restaurants include Americana, Tequila Restaurant & Cantina, George The Chili King, Christopher’s Whitey’s Ice Cream, Jethro’s BBQ and The Waveland Café.

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Fun Activities

Iowa is full of fun activities for adults and kids. Lake Okoboji is the best family getaway. Everyone can enjoy fishing, motor boating, water skiing, jet skiing and of course swimming. It is a natural body of water making up part of the Iowa Great Lakes. Rent a cabin, bring your camper or rough it in tents, there is plenty of space for all experiences.

There are a few iconic spots everyone must check out in Iowa, which have been featured in Hollywood blockbusters. The Field of Dreams, yes the one in the film, where you too can play on the baseball field Kevin Costner did in the flick. The Bridges of Madison County are the most beautiful and historic covered bridges in the country. People were enjoying the bridges long before Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep made them famous on the big screen.

Clear Lake Iowa and the Surf Balloon were made famous by tragedy. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” J. P. Richardson, were killed in a plane crash outside Clear Lake on February 3, 1959, after finishing what would be their last performance at Surf Balloon. The crash site and ballroom have become tourist destinations, including an annual event held at Surf balloon every year in honor of the talented men gone too soon.

Other fun activates to check out, Prairie Meadows and Casino where adults can watch live horse racing, play slots and tables, as well as enjoy a good meal. Nearby is Adventureland Resort, a water park and amusement park that will keep the kids busy all day and night. Boone Speedway and Knoxville Raceway are perfect for those who love to watch live car races.

The Grotto, Effigy Mounds, Spook Cave, The Brucemore Mansion, Basilica, Fenelon Place Elevator, and Mississippi River Museum, Grout Museum and Lost Island should also be added to the list.

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Special Yearly Activities

Iowa is full of unique activities that occur once a year. The Tulip Festival in Pella is a great way to kick off the spring season. It is a celebration of Dutch Heritage and is a three-day event full of parades, food, Dutch performances, craft beer and the one of a kind Tulip gardens. The festival happens every May.

Ragbrai, which stands for Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is a state-wide bike ride that occurs every July. People from all over the country come to participate. The route changes each year, so all cities in Iowa benefit from the annual event, which brings over 8500 riders. It goes east to west and has become such a popular event, there is a lottery drawing for those who want to participate in the ride.

Finally, the best thing to see in Iowa is by far the Iowa State Fair. On over 300 acres of land, people come from all over the country every August to enjoy the 10-day event. It features various competitions, shows, musical guests, all types of animals, a midway full of games rides, as well as game and most importantly food. The fair is famous for its different but delicious foods, mostly on a stick. Corn dogs, tenderloins, pork chop on a stick and giant turkey legs are just a select few of good eats. There are too many amazing foods to mention so you can get the entire list here.

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Iowa is chock-full of fabulous things to see, do and eat. However, what makes the state genuinely different is the people. Although I miss doing and eating at all the places I mentioned, what I miss most about my home state the most is the people. There is a sense of community in the state that is unlike anywhere else. Describing in words is hard. You will just have to visit Iowa to find see what I mean.

http://www.zombieburgershakelab.com/

https://www.tumeaandsons.net/

https://www.iowastatefair.org/food/

https://www.iowastatefair.org/

http://maid-rite.com/

https://www.adventurelandresort.com/

https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/stay-at-field-of-dreams-house

https://www.tuliptime.com/

Author Bio:

I am writer who is passionate about writing and talking about celebrity gossip, television, movies, women’s empowerment, fashion trends, and dogs. When I am not writing I enjoy spending time with my corgi Milo, watching and going to the movies or binge-watching TV, as well as spending time with her family and friends. I believe in spreading positivity through my writing that hopefully will entertain as well as inspire people.
I don’t have my own blog right now as I am writing for other companies but I would love for people to follow me on social media.
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Rachelle thank you for sharing about Iowa! Someday I will get there and the state fair looks to be like tons of fun!
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The Very Best of West Virginia

West Virginia is a misunderstood and misrepresented state with so much natural beauty. There are so many things to do and see when you visit. From eating good ol’e fashioned home cooking to white water rafting you will be able to find something for anyone in your family. Below are some of the best and lesser known places to visit when you come to West Virginia. I have already visited many of the places, including all locations mentioned. My goal is to make it to every destination- get my kayak out, camp, fish and hit the rapids. My husband and I try to take a trip in state every year for our anniversary. We stayed at the sweetheart log cabins (I’m actually working on a full review of that on my website). I was asked to plan a 1 week vacation. These wouldn’t be in order but these are my top five weekend or day trip locations for the whole family.

Transportation

I would suggest either driving or using a rental to get from point A to B to C and so on. Some of these places do provide transportation but if you need to get out of the area to pick something up or do some shopping, a car is needed. A lot of the places also have other fun activities located outside of the area so once again, a car is a plus. A few areas in WV have public transportation, but most only have greyhound access. If you don’t have a license, you may want to call the greyhound to find out the times and how often they go.

Dining

There are restaurants- both fast food and sit down near all these attractions, bars, cheaper hotels and stores to buy your supplies. The first on my list is Cass Scenic Railroad. It’s an old style train ride and tour, Blackwater Falls is a great location to visit for a picnic and walk while traveling. The waterfall is absolutely beautiful and it’s a great day trip with the kids, Blennerhassett Island is another great day trip. You can tour the mansion, take the riverboat across the Ohio River and ride in a horse drawn carriage, spend the weekend touring the Smoke Hole Cavern, grilling out and taking the kids fishing. The end of the trip will be wrapping up with laying on a fishing boat or riding a kayak across Charles Fork lake and ending the trip camping on the on ground camping site.

Cass Scenic Railroad

1 Cass Scenic Railroad. The primary attraction is, of course, the train ride. Hikers, bikers and fishers can also find plenty of entertainment, from the youngest fishers and hikers to seniors. Geocaching is also fun for kids of all ages, as well as adults or teens. There are also historical museums in the park, so you can take your children and learn about the history of the railroads. If you enjoy hunting or golf, there are places nearby where both are welcome and there are also places nearby to take your boat out.

 

Activities for toddlers and young kids

1 Biking trails

2 Fishing

3 Hiking

4 Historical museum

5 Geocaching

Activities for Older children

1 Same as toddlers and young kids

2 Outdoor “adventures” (as they say on the website). Outdoor adventures are outdoor games like volleyball, basketball, tennis, obstacle courses and other types of activities.

 

Blackwater Falls State Park

2 Blackwater Falls State Park. Blackwater Falls is an absolutely beautiful waterfall located in the Allegany Mountains in Tucker County, WV. Besides picnics and letting your kids play, this is great for family reunions, weddings, school events and much more. This is a popular destination for kids, schools and field trips for camps.

 

Activities for infants and toddlers

1 Geocaching

2 Hiking

3 Boating

4 Camping

Activities for elementary school kids

1 Geocaching

2 Hiking

3 Boating

4 Camping

5 Swimming

6 Fishing

7 Biking

Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park

3 Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park. Located in an island right outside of Parkersburg, WV this is a day trip that must be taken if you’re traveling to WV. You can reach the island by sternwheeler. On the island, you can take tours of the museum and mansion and they offer horse drawn carriage rides. The rides and tours last from late May to late October.

Activities for babies and toddlers

1 Tours of the mansion

2 Visit to local businesses- including the glass factory

3 Hiking

4 Horse drawn buggy rides

Activities for older kids, teens and adults

1 Fishing

2 Tours of the mansion

3 Hiking

4 Horse drawn buggy rides

If you’re wanting to take the Sternwheeler, it costs 10 for an adult(13 and up) and 8 for a child. (3-12)

The island is open from Tuesday- Sunday, including holidays on Mondays.

 Smoke Hole Caverns and Log Cabin Resort

4 Smoke Hole Caverns and Resorts. If you need a place to get away from it all, a cabin to spend your honeymoon or a fun spot to take your whole family, this is your place. The smokehole caverns will give you a fun tour of the caverns or you can go mining for gold outside the cavern. While you’re waiting for your tour group to start, you can take the kids to play Putt Putt.

 

If you’re not at the gift shop, the cabins are absolutely beautiful. The sweetheart (honeymoon/anniversary) cabins have one bed, a heart shaped hot tub and only the couple is allowed inside (you can’t have guests). It is absolutely perfect for new couples or couples celebrating anniversaries. They give you an extra option to order wine with your stay and you can spend a few extra dollars for a Smoke Hole mug.

They also have a resort and separate family cabins. You can take your pick of staying in the family cabin that fits

 

If you’re interested, you are able to reserve online on their website. There are grills throughout the grounds as well as a fishing pond that you can let kids (or adults) fish in and a small shop for your fishing needs. There is a restaurant located in the gift shop but the cabins come with a fridge, oven and what you need to bring your own food.

They have tours every 30 minutes of the caverns where you walk through and they teach the history of the caverns and the people who used them. The tour is good for all ages, I would

 

 

 

 

Charles Fork Lake

5 Charles Fork Lake. Charles Fork Lake is a smaller, more private lake in the Spencer, WV area (Jackson County). It’s a great place to camp out or take a kayak/boat out and get some fishing and hiking in. They have a camp ground on site as well as a small shop where you can buy small things for your camping trip and the fishing items you have forgotten.

Activities for infants and toddlers

1 Hiking

2 Boating

3 Camping

Activities for older kids and adults

1 Hiking

2 Boating

3 Camping

4 Fishing

About the Author:

20181224_154335 (1)Bethany Boggs is a 30 something married mother of two girls, an angel and a cat. She is an aspiring fantasy author and has a few projects published on Lulu. She studies dreams and dream interpretation, tarot and astrology, works as a writer and has had work published on sites such as Babygaga, PregnantChicken and Yoga Digest (to name a few.)

She is currently working on designing and creating a home décor and home accessories line and is hoping to get into the decorations and sustainability markets. She also reads Tarot and Astrological Natal charts professionally (https://www.etsy.com/shop/newagedreamchick  

In her free time, when she is not writing, you can find her sewing, reading the cards, making candles, cooking, baking or bowing down to the coffee gods.

She can be found at the local Starbucks, falling asleep standing up or chasing her energetic kids around.

You can find her at https://www.newagedreamchick.com, https://www.diymommy18.com or https://www.astromommy.com

Twitter- https://twitter.com/dreamgirlBA (handle is @dreamgirlBA)

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/NewAgeDreamChick/?ref=bookmarks

Insta- https://www.instagram.com/dreamchicknewage/

Website is https://www.newagedreamchick.com and https://www.diymommy18.com

 

 

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Bethany thank you for writing about West Virginia! The railroads looks so neat to see! I hope to come visit someday!

 

Follow me at any of these places:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loveinjune16/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrenfro99

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The Very Best of Kentucky

The Very Best of Kentucky

Before moving to Kentucky, I always assumed this was a very country state. I actually never even thought twice about ever traveling here.

 

However, life turns out to be a funny one, because I got married to the love of my life, which just so happened to live in Kentucky!

 

So Ha Ha! Well played life!

 

Anyways, when I moved here I decided to find the most amazing places to check out, or at least brag about to all my family in the big cities.

 

Below are the places I definitely recommend you stopping by and checking out, if you’re in the area!

 

Churchill Downs

 

I’m sure you’ve heard of the famous Kentucky Derby, where they race horses, guess where it’s at? Yup, at the Churchill Downs.

 

When the derby isn’t going on they have many festivities and activities going on.

 

Children 12 and under are complimentary (except on Derby days).

 

They have a venue for weddings and special occasions as well, and it’s simply beautiful!

 

If you would like more info about this you may visit their website directly

at http://www.churchilldowns.com

 

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

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As the name suggests this trail was made to promote the Bourbon whiskey industry here in Kentucky.

 

It is a self guided tour/journey to Kentucky’s many different bourbon distilleries. This is a must if you enjoy strong alcohol.

 

Children’s are allowed, however it is more of an adults activity.

 

There are many different tours that guide you around this trail, and make it an unforgettable experience.

 

Check time out at http://kybourbontrail.com

 

Louisville Slugger Museum

 

This is a museum crafted specially for baseball players. As they showcase the story of Louisville Slugger baseball bats in baseball and in American History .

 

From the moment you stand in front of it you will be greeted by their replica of Babe Ruth’s Own Louisville Slugger Bat.

 

This is an all day activity for the whole family! And for those that have little ones, children 5 and under go in for free!

 

You will actually get to see these bats in the making process, and can always buy your own customized bat, with your name and everything!

 

Https://www.sluggermuseum.com

 

Big Four Bridge

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The Big Four Bridge connects Louisville Waterfront Park to Jeffersonville Indiana, over the Ohio River.

 

You get to walk from one state to the other! It has certain parts of the bridge that has been customized with rainbow colors, enhancing the beauty of this bridge.

 

No pets are allowed unfortunately for all fur parents. However you can go biking with the family. It is definitely a must stop if you’re in the mood for a romantic date!

 

Definitely a must for pictures!

 

Http://louisvillewaterfront.com

 

Bernheim Arboretum And Research Forest

 

This is a personal favorite! It has trails, a fishing lake, public art, and even giants!

 

Yup, you read that right, Giants!

 

They constructed three giant sculptures throughout the arboretum using recycled wood. Mama Loumarie with her children, Little Nis and Little Elina, once you reach the first one, it’s up to you to find the other two, making this my all time favorite place in Louisville.

 

They have a canopy tree walk which is 75 feet above the forest floor! Do you dare take on this adventure walk?

 

They also have an Edible Garden, and a children’s play garden, making this the number one stop for families with children of all ages, as you will all definitely be entertained and amazed!

 

If you have to choose one place to stop by, let this be the place!

 

Http://bernheim.org

 

I know when yóu think of Kentucky, chances are you are like me, and automatically connect it being all country, however Kentucky has many things to offer, if given the opportunity!

 

Let me know if you check out any of these places and what you think of them!

 

Author Bio:

Dayma Garcia
My name is Dayma Garcia, born in Cuba, raised everywhere! I lived in Miami, then Georgia, and now I’m in Kentucky. When I am not writing,reading, working out, or researching, I’m a mom to a beautiful little girl, and a fur baby, along of course with being a wife to my handsome husband. Growing up I didn’t have the best childhood, went through a few experiences, which then led to anxiety and depression as an adult. This negative experience inspired me to create my blog in which I help you regain confidence in yourself, gain motivation to fulfill all your dreams and achieve your aspirations, and become best version of yourself possible! 
These are my links-
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Kentucky sounds like so much fun! I am sure my son and nephews would love to visit with Slugger Museum! Oh My Gosh, that bridge looks amazing! I would love to check that out! So many colors! Thank you for sharing Kentucky with it and I can’t wait to visit some day!
Follow me at any of these places:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loveinjune16/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrenfro99
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