The Very Best of Kansas

The Very Best of Kansas

 

When you picture Kansas The Wizard of Oz and tornado’s may be all that you can think of but there is much more to this midwestern state. From the vast plains to the rolling flint hills, Kansas has much to see and is a beautiful representation of the Midwest. I have done my best here to highlight the must see spots of Kansas that can be done on a round about road trip. If you hit all attractions on this road trip and spent a couple days in the major cities this would best be done in a couple of weeks. However, you could always split up eastern or western Kansas or major cities if looking for a less time consuming itinerary. Majority of the state is rural so a car is paramount for getting around. Also I will only talk about Kansas City briefly as I am sure this will also be covered in the Very Best of Missouri as most of KC is indeed in Missouri.

 

The cheapest way to get to Kansas and start your road trip through the state is probably to fly into Kansas City, Missouri then rent a car. Another option wound be to fly to Wichita however Kansas City is usually cheaper. Starting in Kansas City there is plenty to see and do some of which I will casually mention but again will likely be covered more in depth as part of Missouri.

 

Kansas City

 

One of the best things about Kansas City is there is literally something for everyone. It is easy to find something for the whole family, adults only, the museum or sports lover. If vacationing with kids don’t worry you will have plenty to keep kids of any age occupied. A few attractions for the whole family are the Kansas City zoo, Union station and union station science center, world of fun and oceans of fun. In contrast, if you are hoping to make this an adults only trip Kansas City is a wonderful place for a weekend or just a night out. Spend a night in power and light which has several bars, a central courtyard and during the summer a weekly concert series. Are you a fan of beer? Take a tour of the Boulevard Brewing Company on the Missouri side.

 

From Kansas City I would recommend heading next to Wichita. This is about a 2.5 hour drive on interstate. The drive will take you through part of the rolling flint hills which are perfectly lush green during the summer.

 

Wichita

 

Wichita, while not the capital, is the largest city in Kansas. It is the perfect blend of small town and city with a lot to do and see.

 

Wichita is nothing if not family friendly. Spend a day at the Sedgwick County Zoo or if you are looking for a little different experience visit Tanganyika Wildlife park (https://www.twpark.com). Tanganyika allows you to interact with the animals and even feed them. Next make a stop at the cowtown museum to take a step into the past with this old west town built on 23 acres. Make sure you also visit the exploration place with the kids for fun interactive learning. Lastly, make sure to witness the lighting of the keeper of the plains which occurs at 9pm.  Next, whether you are a young adult or an older couple looking to get away for some adult time ,Wichita is more than just a family friendly escape. With microbreweries popping up left and right you will not be disappointed with a stop to this Midwest city. Stop at River City brewing company then take a walk around old town to see the murals, unique shops and eateries. If you are a pizza lover Wichita Brewing Company is for you, with their unique wood-fire pizzas and hearty brews there is something for everyone.

 

If you still have time additional things to do include visiting the botanical gardens, catching a movie at the old Starlite Drive in theatre, try your hand at axe throwing at Blade and Timber or pickle ball at Chicken and Pickle. If sports aren’t your thing, you can always test your brain at one of the many breakout rooms.

 

From Wichita make your way northwest to Hutchinson, KS. About an hour from Wichita on the highway this is an easy drive to start your next day.

 

Hutchinson

 

Hutchison is a moderately sized town with some of the top state attractions. Along the way make a stop in the old Amish town of Yoder to enjoy amazing home made Amish foods. In Hutchinson you should be sure to visit the Strataca salt mines (http://underkansas.org) as well as the Cosmosphere (https://cosmo.org). These are both family friendly activities. This town also hosts the state fair every year so if visiting in late August, September make sure to take in the concerts, animals and unique foods that can only be found at state fairs.

 

After leaving Hutchinson you will be heading more rurally and away from the more major cities of eastern Kansas.

 

Dodge City

 

If you are into old Western history or movies Dodge City should definitely be a stop on your Kansas road trip. Once a town frequented by Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp this town was an epicenter in the old west. See some of the old west figures in wax form at their wax museum before stopping a the Boot Hill Museum and Fort Dodge. Traveling without kids? Get in a little gambling at the small Boot Hill Casino. Lastly, if visiting in July be sure to check out Dodge City Days and one of the best PRCA rodeos.

 

From Dodge City make your way through Garden City then north toward Scott City. Now don’t let the names fool you while they have city in their name these are no large metropolises and are surrounded by vast rural plains.

 

Monument Rocks

 

Monument rocks are 80 million year old fossils out in the country between Scott City and Oakley (https://www.kansassampler.org/8wonders/8wondersofkansas-view.php?id=12). These unique rock formations attract thousands of visitors to the western plains for their uniqueness. To get here you will have to venture off of the highway onto dirt roads so watch the weather as a small rental car and muddy roads don’t bode well. If you get a chance to see these at sunrise or sunset I would highly recommend this!

 

From Monument Rocks keep going north to stop in the small town of Oakley. You can stop here briefly to visit the Buffalo Bill statue or stay for the night if you end up here later at night.

 

While heading back eastward there are several places you can stop along the way if you are looking to see the quirkier side of Kansas. If you are getting short on time or just not into weird roadside attractions skip on to Manhattan, KS. Heading back eastward from Oakley you can stop in Hays and visit the Sternberg museum before heading to Lucas to see the Garden of Eden. This unique attraction has sculptures of religious and political figures and is definitely a quirky attraction. Looking to see some more unique Kansas attractions? Next you can make your way to Cawker City which hosts the largest ball of twine.

 

Manhattan

 

Coined the “little apple” Manhattan is the home to Kansas State University (K-State) and is a fun and proud college town. Get outdoors at the Tuttle Creek State Park or Konza Prairie or learn more about the flint hills at the new Flint Hill Discovery Center (https://www.flinthillsdiscovery.org). For the adults there is plenty of night life to be found in Aggieville with a several block stretch of bars and eateries. You can also stop in at Tallgrass tap house for a fresh brew. Grab a bite at Coco Bolos, The Chef or Little Apple Brewing Company for local eats. If you are looking for a fancier dining experience make a stop a Harry’s.

 

On your way to Topeka, my next recommended stop, you can choose to stop at the small town of Wamego which is home to the Wizard of Oz museum.

 

Topeka

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The capital city of Kansas may not be the biggest but it does have its charms. Topeka is rich with history and is trying more and more to build up its downtown and things to do. The capital building has a beautiful dome and can be toured for free. Make sure you also take in the history of the Brown vs Board museum where segregation was challenged in schools. If you are looking for a little more fun with the kids or by yourself check out Gage park for its zoo, train rides or beautiful green spaces. Lastly, take in the Topeka art scene with a visit to the quirky NOTO arts district (https://explorenoto.org). This is a few block stretch in North Topeka of shops, eateries and art galleries. Here you will also find great wall murals for photos and the monthly first Friday art walk which attracts thousands.

 

Some of my favorite places to eat include Blind Tiger Brewery, The Iron Rail, The Wheel Barrel and the Burger Stand.

 

Lastly on your way back to Kansas City to head home I recommend stopping in Lawrence.

 

Lawrence

 

Lawrence is home to KU and the nationally known Jayhawks. This town is one of my absolute favorites in Kansas because it is so quirky and relaxed. I would consider this to the be most eclectic town the state has as it has a little something for everyone. Take a walk down Massachusettes (Mass) Street to take in some of the best food, entertainment and shopping. There are so many amazing food and drink options here you can’t go wrong. If visiting in September make a fun trip out to Grinter Farms (https://www.facebook.com/GrinterFarms) to take in the free sunflower fields.

 

So there it is…some of the best things to see on your Kansas road trip. Now, if I didn’t live here I probably wouldn’t pick it as my top destination either but there are some amazing things to be witnessed by visiting Kansas. If you are from a city and haven’t been rurally much you will be amazed at the clear starry nights of perfect sunsets you can witness on the plains. The people are usually very friendly and the history of the old west and the days of the first settlers can still be found.

A little about the author

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Morgan Martin mostly grew up in rural western Kansas on a 17,000 acre nature preserve and later moved to eastern Kansas for schooling. Now located in the capital city of Topeka she works full time as a physician assistant but has a passion for traveling. Recently starting a travel blog she shares her tips, tricks and destinations to inspire wanderlust in others. While Kansas is where she resides she considers the world her home and loves any chance to see more of it.

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Morgan thank you for sharing about Kansas! I should visit there more since I am not too far away! Hopefully we can make a long weekend trip someday soon!

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The Very Best of North Carolina

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Though I’ll be sharing a huge variety of activities for you to enjoy in my beautiful state, I am an outdoor lover, so I’ll start with one of the best budget-friendly and family-friendly activities you can enjoy anywhere in North Carolina – our state parks!  This year, NC State Parks have continued the NC 100 mile challenge where the goal is to log 100 miles of outdoor activity over the course of the year.  This can be hiking, walking, running, biking, swimming, or kayaking and you can earn badges and prizes along the way.  This is a wonderful initiative to encourage physical activity with the whole family (including furry friends) while exploring the 27 state parks.  Fun fact – ask for a passport at any of the state parks and you can request a stamp at each park you visit. Once you have visited all 27 parks you will earn a reward, so it’s a fun challenge for those who are ambitious and want to hike portions of the Appalachian Trail and/or Mountains To Sea Trail.

One of my favorite parks is Hanging Rock State Park which is up near the Virginia border and offers a nice variety of trails as well as places to camp.  We love bringing our Cattle Dog Mix (Sasha) along for our outdoor adventures.

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Now that you’ve seen some of what the state parks have to offer, let’s delve into the major regions of North Carolina and what each one is famous for.

The Piedmont Triad

First, we’ll start with the Piedmont Triad, which is the north-central region where I live.  The Triad is made up of Greensboro, High Point, and Winston Salem and has a lot of kid-friendly activities.  Just north of us, you can visit the home of Andy Griffith in Mayberry!

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Greensboro

  • We boast a large variety of public artwork throughout the city as well as student-created Jeansboro sculptures due to the large influence of Wrangler in this city.
  • Along with Charlotte and Raleigh, Greensboro was a resettlement city for Montagnards so you will notice many Lao and Vietnamese restaurants and markets due to this population.  I love the ethnic diversity in Greensboro!
  • Stop in for the best dessert of your life at Maxie B’s and be sure to grab a hot dog at Yum Yum.
  • Take your pooch to The Barking Deck where you can enjoy some brews while they play with other dogs.

High Point

Winston Salem

The Triangle

Next up is the Triangle which consists of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.  You may be most familiar with this area of the state because it is basketball central.  

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Raleigh

  • The beautiful State Capitol building is definitely worth a visit
  • The train station was recently revamped and is quite modern and clean.  We love traveling via train here for New Years and other holidays.
  • Check out the NYE celebration here with the Acorn drop.

Durham

Chapel Hill

The Coast

Any beach lovers out there?  If so, North Carolina has some gems for you in that category.  When we were first married, my husband and I lived in Wilmington for a few months, which is right on the coast.  Thankfully it is recovering from the recent hurricane damage and is starting to flourish once again. There are so many nice coastal cities, it was hard to narrow it down!

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Wilmington Area

  • Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach and Kure Beach, along with Topsail are all wonderful places to enjoy the sun and sand, as well as fishing.  You can even stay in a shipping container for a unique accommodation just 2 blocks from the beach in Carolina Beach!  We stayed here recently and it was a blast. It’s also pet-friendly!
  • Visit the Riverwalk, Battleship NC, and enjoy some volleyball at Capt’n Bills or Dig and Dive.
  • Visit Fort Fisher’s Aquarium.
  • Check out the Venus Flytrap Trail to see some carnivorous plants.
  • Try to locate all the Bear statues in nearby New Bern.
  • Enjoy fresh sushi and home-made sake at Genki.

Outer Banks

  • This area has a less touristy and more untouched feel than most beach areas since it’s a little harder to get to, but it’s definitely worth the trip!
  • Make sure to see the lighthouses – Hatteras, Bodie Island and Ocracoke are my favorites.
  • Ocracoke Island is just a short ferry ride away from the mainland and is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway with your significant other.  They have plenty of Inns and B&B’s on the island.
  • Enjoy seeing wild horses in Corolla
  • Visit the original Duck Donuts.  Maple Bacon flavor is legit.
  • Stop by the huge sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park and visit the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.

Maybe the beach isn’t really your thing and you’d rather spend time in a big city with plenty of options for shopping, professional sports, the arts, fine dining, etc.  Charlotte has a lot of options for you if so!

Charlotte Area Attractions

  • Pro sports – go watch NASCAR or see the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Knights or Charlotte Checkers play.  
  • IKEA – even if you don’t need to buy anything, it’s a fun activity to just walk through.  Be sure to try the Swedish meatballs and chocolate cake.
  • Indoor Skydiving at iFLY
  • US National Whitewater Center – this place has EVERYTHING!  Rafting, music festivals, SUP, ropes courses, mountain biking, trail races, rock climbing, kayaking and much more.  It’s also pet-friendly and you can bring your own hammock to chill in.
  • Enjoy a night out in NODA enjoying some shopping, music and the arts.
  • South Park Mall – if you just want to shop at a posh mall that has all the top shelf stores, this is your place.

As you can tell, Charlotte isn’t lacking for things to do, but it can get rather hectic and congested with traffic.  For a more relaxed setting, why not head to the mountains? I must admit, growing up I was a total beach girl, hated the cold and didn’t appreciate the mountains.  Then, I married a mountain man who went to school in Boone, and he has slowly won me over and showed me just how much there is to love about the colder temperatures and stunning scenery.  Some of our favorite mountain towns are below, but you can’t go wrong with any of them in NC!

Mountain Towns

Boone

  • Named after the famous pioneer Daniel Boone, it is home to Appalachian State University, Appalachian Mountain Brewery and countless outdoor activities for both winter sports and water sports in the warmer months.
  • Not far from Boone is Blowing Rock where kids will love the Tweetsie Railroad.
  • Nearby Banner Elk is a fun stop and is famous for the Wooly Worm Festival.

Asheville

  • Probably most famous for The Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Parkway, this eclectic hippie town is home to countless breweries and a huge selection of restaurants.
  • Our favorite restaurant/brewery is Bhramari Brewing!  Just around the corner from Wicked Weed and much less crowded.  
  • If you visit in warmer months, be sure to check out Sliding Rock and the many swimming holes and waterfalls in the Pisgah National Forest.  
  • You can save money by camping at Lake Powhatan which is a short drive to downtown Asheville or by staying at Airbnb’s just outside the city.

Chimney Rock, Pilot Mountain, and Grandfather Mountain

  • These all deserve a visit as well, but beware of the crowds – it’s best to visit very early in the day or in the off-season in order to find parking and not be grouchy.

Other Unique Sites in NC:

Lastly, don’t you dare leave North Carolina before trying our vinegar-based BBQ.  You can find this in many cities, but my absolute favorite place for this is located between Charlotte and Greensboro in a famous restaurant called Lexington BBQ.  No frills, just amazing flavor and friendly service.  After having mustard based BBQ while living in South Carolina and tomato-based BBQ while living near Kansas City, I can confidently say vinegar based has won my heart, forever and always.

Thank you so much for reading about North Carolina, and please let me know if you have any questions or need any more information on any of the places I’ve mentioned.  I’ll be glad to help if I can!

Author Bio

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Emily is a nutrition and movement coach certified by The Institute for Integrative Nutrition who has made it her goal to plank in as many new places as possible.  After struggling with serious health issues for several years, she learned the importance of embracing healthy living both at home and on her travels. She started her blog The Planking Traveler as a way to share her passion for wellness with others and offer them support in their own health and fitness journeys.  Through sharing her planking adventures, non-toxic living tips, and free fitness opportunities, she hopes to inspire you to embrace enjoyable movement and optimal nutrition as a sustainable lifestyle instead of just a temporary fix to lose weight.  

You can follow her on the following social channels:

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Emily thank you for sharing North Carolina with us! I have been there to the Outer Banks and it is beautiful! I hope to visit again sometime.

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The Very Best of Georgia

Ray Charles said it best, I’ve got Georgia on my Mind, ya’ll!  From mountains, to cities, historic sites and beaches, Georgia’s got it all!

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  1. North Georgia is home to the Blue Ridge Mountains and boasts peaks near 5000 feet above sea level. Our favorite mountain town is Helen, which sits in the north east corner of the state. Covering just over two square miles, Helen boasts more charm and packs in more fun than most larger cities! Visitors will be captivated by it’s Bavarian inspired architecture and picturesque downtown. There are plenty of stores for shopping including boutique gift shops, galleries, and even a handmade toy shop. While there are several fine dining options located along the Chattahoochee River, there are several more family friendly options for authentic German cuisine including Bodensee’s and Cafe International. Don’t forget to save room for dessert at Hansel and Gretel’s candy shop! If you’re looking for adventure, go tubing down the Chattahoochee, ziplining through the mountain range, or take a paved hike to Anna Ruby Falls. Anna Ruby Falls is a personal favorite for my family! It’s made up of twin waterfalls and is the perfect photo op. The half mile hike to the falls is scenic, paved, and accessible for everyone. When you’re ready to wander off the main path, choose from several other hiking trails on site or within Unicoi State Park. Unicoi State Park and Lodge offers offers hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing, and overnight accommodations. Visitors can stay in their hotel-like lodge, cabins, or campground. For more more information on the activities mentioned, visit Explore Georgia.pasted image 0 (11)

 

2. Atlanta is the state’s capital and is a financial and international transportation hub. It’s also an amazing tourist destination with too many attractions to list! Here are a few of our family-friendly favorites:

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The Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the U.S. and is a must-see for children and adults. Get up close with a whale shark, attend their sea lion presentation, and be awed by their dolphin celebration. You can even go “Behind the Seas” for $15 to see how the aquarium cares for these amazing animals.

Travel 15 miles east of Atlanta and you’ll see Stone Mountain. This massive mountain spans 600 acres and boasts a historical carving that covers more than three acres. A natural playground, Stone Mountain offers a plethora of kid friendly activities. Start by taking a cable car to the top of the mountain to enjoy scenic views including the downtown Atlanta skyline. Later take a 5 mile train ride along it’s base on a genuine 1940’s locomotive or test your limits on Skyhike, their tree-top adventure course.

Did you know Coke was invented by an Atlanta pharmacist in 1886? All the more reason to visit the interactive, multimedia Coca-Cola Museum! You’ll be greeted in the lobby with a complimentary soda before learning about their history and production process through a series of galleries and exhibits. And our personal favorite: taste more than 100 beverages bottled by Coca-Cola from around the globe.

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  1. Savannah is a historic city that lies on the east coast of Georgia.  It is an iconic, charming southern city; filled with cobblestone streets, moss laden Oak trees and antebellum homes.  While the list of things to do in Savannah is quite extensive, we’ve narrowed it down to our favorite must-dos!

 

Forsyth Park is the largest park in historic Savannah.  This family friendly 30 acres of land makes it the perfect spot for jogging, sports, concerts and relaxing.  Don’t forget to snap a photo at the famous fountain!

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Fort Pulaski is National Monument located between Savannah and Tybee Island.  During the civil war, the fort was taken by Union troops, and even used for a prison for Confederate Officers.  Today, visitors can tour the ruins (self-guided or guided tours also available), picnic on the grounds, or hike one of several trails.

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Bonaventure Cemetery is located in Thunderbolt, Ga, just East of Savannah on the Wilmington River.  This beautiful, historic cemetery (originally a plantation in the mid 1700s) became famous with the success of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Bonaventure is the final resting place of many confederate soldiers and other veterans, singer and songwriter Johnny Mercer, and Little Gracie, a well loved little girl who passed from pneumonia shortly before Easter in 1889.  The Bonaventure Historical Society offers free guided tours, appropriate for all ages.pasted image 0 (16)

 

The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is located in the historic district, on Lafayette Square.  After the slave rebellion in Haiti in the late 1700s, the cathedral became the primary church for free black and immigrants.  The historic church is adorned with gold trim and stained glass, and is the mother church for the Roman Catholic Diocese in Savannah.

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Paved in cobblestones, River Street is the most famous street in Savannah!  As the name implies, it’s located along the Savannah River, and is home to many restaurants, pubs, boutiques, art galleries, and my personal favorite, River Street Sweets (Try their famous pralines)!  River Street is lined with historic buildings that once served as cotton warehouses, and also a holding place for incoming slaves.  It is said to be one of the most haunted places in Savannah.  Be sure to park your car and wear comfortable shoes to see all this street has to offer!

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City Market is located just 2 block from River Street.  The market once served as a meeting ground for residents to buy, sell and trade food, goods and services.  It is now filled with restaurants, galleries and shops. You can grab some of the city’s best pizza here at Vinnie Van GoGo’s.

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How to get around:

 

Savannah is a very walker-friendly city with tons to see and do!  If possible, you will want to choose a centrally located hotel or inn.  The Hyatt, East Bay Inn, and the River Street Inn are all excellent choices located in the historic district.  

 

With so many sights to see, many tourists opt for a guided tour.  Tourists can choose

From carriage tours, trolley tours, walking ghost tours and haunted pub tours.

 

Where to eat:

 

Savannah is known for some seriously amazing cuisine!  If southern soul food is what

you are looking for, Mrs. Wilkes or Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons will hit the spot.

The Pirate’s House is a historic restaurant in downtown Savannah.  Built in 1734, it is the oldest building in the state of Georgia.  It became an inn and gathering place for sailors, travelers, and pirates!  Perhaps the most intriguing part of The Pirate’s House is the underground tunnel that runs from the building out to River Street.  Legend says men would enjoy one to many drinks at the bar, and wake in the morning on a ship, forced to work at sea! The tunnel is now covered, but a portion is still visible to guests in one of the dining rooms.

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In the mood for seafood?  Savannah Seafood Shack has been featured on the Food

Network, The Cooking Channel, and the Travel Channel.

 

  1. Beaches  Georgia’s coastline boasts of hundreds of beautiful beaches.  Dive into nature with a

Camping trip on the natural, undeveloped beaches of Cumberland Island (you may even catch a glimpse of the wild horses!), or take trip back in time on historic Jekyll Island.  No matter what your family fancies, lasting memories are sure to be made on Georgia’s coastline.pasted image 0 (21)

About the Authors:

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Welcome to The MOMBOX! We’re Tori and Sarah, a couple of stay at home moms with a passion for faith, family, food and fitness. We are each military wives, and moms to 4 amazing little ones! We believe being Strong: Body, Mind and Spirit makes us better moms. Join us along our wellness journey!

You can find us online at themombox.net, on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

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Thank you for sharing about Georgia. I want to go there so bad an see the aquarium.

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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:
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The Very Best of Arkansas

Touring Arkansas – the Natural State

I would like to take you on a tour of our great state of Arkansas. We will be traveling by car. because one of the greatest aspects of our state is that each place we visit, can be a day trip. First we would start in my hometown, Vilonia. It is located in the central part of the state, about 45 miles from our capital city, Little Rock. Vilonia is a close knit community which has endured two devastating tornadoes, one in 2011 and another in 2014. But through it all, the people of our small town stand together and help each other in every way possible.

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We would leave Vilonia and go to our closest town, Conway, which is the home of Toad Suck Park. I know that’s a strange name for a park but it’s based on the following legend:
“Long ago, steamboats traveled the Arkansas River when the water was at the right depth. When it wasn’t, the captains and their crew tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock and Dam now spans the river. While they waited, they refreshed themselves at the local tavern there, to the dismay of the folks living nearby, who said: “They suck on the bottle ’til they swell up like toads.” Hence, the name Toad Suck. The tavern is long gone, but the legend and fun live on at Toad Suck Daze.” * Each year on the first weekend in May, an event called Toad Suck Daze is held in downtown to raise money for local scholarships. Live music, food and craft vendors, carnival rides and yes, toad races fill up the fun-filled weekend.

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Our next stop on our tour would be Petit Jean State Park. It’s one of the 52 state parks in Arkansas. Petit Jean mountain is a wonderful place to hike and enjoy some of Arkansas’ natural beauty. You can hike to the majestic Cedar Falls or follow the Seven Hollows Trail to see natural bridges and caves. The legend of Petit Jean is:
“In the 1700s, a young French girl named Adrienne disguised herself as a cabin boy named Jean in order to follow her beloved to the New World. Because of her small size, the other sailors nicknamed her “Petit Jean,” French for “Little John.” At some point after arriving in Arkansas, Petit Jean became ill. Her identity was revealed. Unfortunately, she succumbed to the illness, died, and was subsequently buried atop the mountain now called Petit Jean. ”

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Petit Jean Mountain – Cedar Falls *www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net

Now let’s travel to the beautiful Historic town of Hot Springs. It is known for its natural hot springs. People travel from far away to experience the therapeutic healings from the natural springs and tubs. My favorite place to stay in Hot Springs is the Arlington Hotel. It was originally built in 1875 but was destroyed by fire in 1923. It was rebuilt in 1924. Many famous people have stayed there including Al Capone, whose favorite room was 443. He had the whole floor for his staff and bodyguards. He could look across the street from his window and see the activities at the Southern Club, now the Wax Museum. *

The Arlington Hotel – Hot Springs
*www.arlingtonhotel.comimg_8915

Now on to Northwest Arkansas, a favorite part of the state for many people. We will travel via “The Pig Trail”. It’s called this because it is the scenic highway leading to Razorback Stadium at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. We will head there first to enjoy a Razorback football game. Arkansas is famous for calling the hogs to cheer on their favorite team. From then, we would go to my favorite place to stay in the Northwest part of the state, The Lodge at Elm Springs. This Bed and Breakfast is amazing! It’s a beautiful place to stay, the owners are wonderful. You will be served a homemade afternoon dessert and wake up in the morning with a delicious hot home-cooked breakfast. Just right down the street is a fantastic eclectic-styled antique/flea market shop, The Mercantile at Elm Springs. Also, a great place to eat is Mama Z’s which serves the best Italian food around.

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Next we will travel to Murfreesboro to the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Arkansas if the only natural diamond producing state. In 1906 a farmer discovered diamonds in his field. Years after, diamonds are still being found there. Anyone can go to the 44 acre diamond mound and try your luck at finding that great diamond. Some have been very lucky. There’s also a cafe, water park and gift shop. I went last summer with my grandsons. We had fun digging in the dirt but we weren’t able to find any precious gems. Maybe next time!

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Crater of Diamonds State Park craterofdiamonds.com

Our last stop on this tour of the Natural State is the Buffalo National River. This natural river is a main attraction for spring and summer canoeing. There are many places along the river that offer canoe rental. We love to grab a group of family and friends and make a day of enjoying this beautiful river. There’s always something different around every bend. Beautiful landscape, large rock formations, wildlife and even places to stop and swim and enjoy the lunch you packed for the trip.

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I hope you enjoyed your tour of some of my favorite places in Arkansas. There are so many places to see and things to do for all ages in our beautiful state. It’s easy to see how it got the name of the Natural State.

About the author:

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I have lived in the great state of Arkansas my whole life. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 33 years. We have three daughters and now four grandkids. I have recently retired from teaching first grade for 29 years. My hobbies include: sewing, quilting and blogging. I have a part-time job at a local fabric shop where I enjoy meeting and being around other quilters. I am very grateful for my life and know that is only by the Grace of God that I have the life that I have now.

Follow Paula:

https://sewsassybypaula.net/?p=1316

www.instagram.com/sewsassybypaula

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Paula, thank you so much for sharing with us Arkansas! I visited Hot Springs one year with my family and had a wonderful time there! I would love to go visit all the places you listed, but that Diamond spot looks pretty interesting to me!

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