Since living in the Midwest, I’ve discovered the joy of State Parks. Think of National Parks (such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone etc) only on a much smaller scale and they are usually free to enter! The state DNR (Department of Natural Resources) are in charge of maintaining the state parks and their websites will have handy information about visiting and any current park closures etc. Some may have a bit of a lakefront, a camp ground, walking trails or just simply be a woodland area that offers a means to escape and find some people. I’ve come across some state parks though that have had something a little extra about them, making them a little more unique compared to some of the others! So in this post I share my top Midwest State Parks that are perfect for adventurous travellers!
I still find it hard to believe that a lake has beaches…and waves! Growing up by the English coast, it’s a given that the sea comes with sand and a tide, lakes are usually surrounded by mud and grass, but not Lake Michigan! The sheer size of it is crazy, it’s 307 miles long and 118 miles wide, it has a total shoreline of 1640 MILES. Putting this into perspective, the whole coastline of the UK is 7723 miles! Lake Michigan borders 4 US states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan and each state is home to various Lake Michigan beaches and beach towns that you should visit!
Once a year in Rockford Illinois, the Midway Village Museum hosts the Sock Monkey Madness Festival celebrating all things sock monkey in its official home! The Sock Monkey is recognised around the world and started right here in the Midwest, and yes they are made completely from a pair of socks!
Freak Shakes. I’m sure you’ve seen them all over the internet too. Giant milkshakes topped with literally EVERYTHING. I had become obsessed with trying to find somewhere that creates these masterpieces and was rather excited when I stumbled across Dylan’s Candy Bar in Chicago!
I was AMAZED to find out that Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is completely free to visit! It’s not unusual for city attractions to have a free day every now and then but Lincoln Park Zoo does it one better by being free 365 days a year!
Chestnut Mountain in Galena Illinois has you covered for year round fun! In the winter months it is a ski resort with 19 runs of different difficulties. But the Chestnut Mountain adrenaline rush isn’t just confined to winter, nope, during the summer there are a whole range of other activities to keep you entertained while enjoying views of the Mississippi River!
It took a while for me to get into the swing of Instagram, despite being a lover of photography. But now, I LOVE the filters, especially the ones that really make the colours stand out! My Canon PowerShot SX720 HS has a vivid colour mode (which I constantly shoot in) but I love the way Instagram can push the colours that little bit further! Today I share 10 Instagrammable places in the town of Galena, Illinois!
Ever dreamed of hitting the open road and doing an all American road trip? How about a trip down historic Route 66?! Stretching 2448 miles across America, starting in Chicago, Illinois and finishing up in LA, California, taking in a total of 8 States. This is my tried and tested 16 day Route 66 Road Trip Itinerary with side trips to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas (so essentially stepping foot in 9 States!). I include: the daily miles covered, travel time (with stops), must see roadside attractions, where to stay and where to eat!