Mainstream Adventures

When You Constantly Push Your Limits You Will Never Reach Them

A Trip To Johnson’s Shut-Ins Will Make your Summer Complete

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is one of the most unique state parks in the region. Not only is it an excellent spot for hiking and camping,but its most famous for its epic natural waterpark!

This picture is owned by Matthew Montgomery

During the summer months, the Shut-Ins transforms into a tropical oasis that is perfect for swimming, and even has a natural rock waterslide. Visitors come from miles around to splash, and swim in the cool clear water that this swimming hole is known for.

This Picture is owned by Jeffery Berkbigler

A shut-in is an Ozark term used to describe a river that is confined within a deep narrow channel. There are close to a hundred Shut-ins in and around the St. Francois mountain region of southeast Missouri.

This picture is owned by Lonnie Edgecomb

The Johnson’s Shut-Ins Trail is the most popular hiking trail in the park. This is a 2.5 mile moderately rated loop trail. An off chute from the trail leads you to an observation platform over the clear waters of the Shut-Ins.

Picture is owned by Shella Embree

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is also a great place to camp with both basic and electric sites available. Forgot to pack the tent? The park also has a limited number of camper cabins available for rent. There is even a special use camping area, which is perfect for scout and youth groups, and can accommodate groups up to fifty.

The unique wilderness qualities and geology of Johnson’s Shut-Ins and the neighboring St. Francois mountains make this park a special place to visit. The rugged character provides the perfect backdrop for hiking, camping, exploring, splashing around or just relaxing!

To plan your trip, visit:

This Epic Park in Missouri Is The Perfect Place For A Weekend Adventure

It’s no secret that some of the best hiking trails in the Midwest can be found in the Missouri Ozarks, and Hawn State Park near Ste. Genevieve is certainly near the top of that list!

Rolling hills of pine, massive oak trees, sandy bottom streams, sandstone canyons and cliffs all come together at Hawn State Park, to create one of the most scenic landscapes in Missouri. This amazing park offers visitors a scenic and peaceful setting where they can hike, camp, picnic, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Dreaming of a night under the stars? The campground at Hawn State Park is the perfect place for your next family camping trip! The campground lies beneath a beautiful canopy of lofty pines, and includes both basic and electric sites. There is also a special use camping area, which is perfect for scout or youth groups, and can accommodate groups up to fifty.

The best way to explore the park is on one of its three named hiking trails! The Whispering Pines Trail is one of the most popular in the entire Midwest. This 9.75 loop trail is a favorite for seasoned hikers, and offers breathtaking views! There is also the White Oaks Trail, and the Pickle Creek Trail, that combine for 5.8 miles, and are perfect for those looking for a shorter hike.

Hawn State Park is located at 12096 Park Drive Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670-8121 For more information visit:

Elephant Rocks State Park Is One Place That Must Be Seen To be Believed

The southeastern corner of Missouri, is a perfect destination for outdoor lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. Nowhere is this more true than at Elephant Rocks State Park in Belleview, Missouri.

Picture is owned by Kenny Dillingham

Elephant Rocks is a fairly small State Park with only about 150 acres to explore. However, there is so much to see and do you could spend an entire day hiking, climbing, and playing within the park.

Picture is owned by Kenny Dillingham

A favorite attraction in the park are the Elephant Rocks for which the park is named after. The Elephant Rocks are a series of boulders that look just like elephants lined up in a circus train.

Picture is owned by Ashton Reuter

The giant pink boulders were created from granite more than 1.5 billion years ago! The largest stands over 27 feet tall and weighs in at 680 tons. This massive rock formation, has earned the moniker of Dumbo and is a popular attraction for children and adults alike.

Picture is owned by Daryn Calton

Visitors to Elephant Rocks State Park can easily view the granite boulders from the one-mile Braille Trail, designed to accommodate people with visual or physical disabilities. The trail passes by a quarry pond, which supports a variety of animal life and offers breathtaking views.

Picture is owned by Kenny Dillingham

Other highlights of the park include, 150 year old rock carvings, an old quarry lake, and an abandoned engine house. As well as a beautiful picnic area and playground. With so much to see and do it’s easy to see why Elephant Rocks State Park is considered one of the most unique parks in the entire Midwest.

Picture is owned by Kyle Pacatte

For more information visit:

Make Your Summer Epic On This Natural Lazy River

What better way to enjoy summer, than by spending it on the river.  Monticello Canoe Rental, is  taking reservations for the 2019 season. So get your friends together, pick a date and make your reservation today. You can register online at Or call 319-465-3697

Monticello Canoe Rental is a family-owned, and operated business . Addam and Lori Fier have taken over the former McDonugh Canoe Rental and are very excited for the upcoming season, they are in their sixth year of operation and absolutely love what they are doing. This canoe rental has been in business for over 30 years, and the Fier’s plan to continue providing the same great service, that has made them one of the most sought after canoe rental companies in the state.

Monticello Canoe Rental is located on the Maquoketa River, in Monticello Iowa. Whether your interests are canoeing, kayaking, or tubing, the Maquoketa River is the perfect location to relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

Whether it’s your first time in a canoe, or your a seasoned paddler, Monticello Canoe Rental will do their best to make sure your time on the river is a safe, relaxing, fun filled day. There team of employees do all the work, so you can worry about what’s most important; Having Fun!

Your float begins at the canoe rental office, located below the Mon-Maq Dam, and continues down river to beautiful Pictured Rocks Park. The trip should take about 3-4 hours in a canoe or kayak, and approximately 5-6 hours in a tube.

With 160 canoes, 50 kayaks, and 250 tubes, Monticello Canoe Rental is ready to handle your next group outing. Whether its a scout group, business retreat, bachelor party, church group, or just a weekend with friends, their friendly staff will make sure your float is a success.

Some dates will fill up fast, so make your reservation soon, this is one summer Adventure you won’t want to miss.

As a way to say thank you to all their loyal customers, Monticello Canoe Rental has added 3 deals of the week! Tubular Tuesdays- All tubes are just $10 each! Wacky Wednesdays- All kayaks are $15 each! and Crazy Canoe Thursdays-All Canoes are just $20 each!

For more information visit:

Or call: 319-465-3697

For An Unforgettable Experience Visit Sky Tours At Union Park

Looking for a little adventure, that’s close to home? Look no further. Sky Tours in Dubuque Iowa has just what you’re looking for.

Sky Tours has 9 amazing lines, that will take you 70 feet above ground, on zip lines as long as 1,000 feet. During the tour, you will fly over the beautiful and historical Union Park.

The views from above are magical! As you fly through the air, you will have a 360-degree view of Horseshoe Hollow as well as the ancient ruins that lie below.

First time ziplining? Have no fear! Sky Tours is a guided tour with two guides with every group. These guides are highly trained and certified in zipline safety, with countless hours spent going over the course and equipment.

Each tour takes about two hours, and includes a bit of hiking from one platform to the next. The tour is open to anyone over the age of 10, who weighs between 70 and 270 lbs.

Sky Tours is a perfect place for your next group outing. Scout groups, youth groups, church groups, and even corporate groups all have an amazing time ziplining. For groups over 12 be sure to call at least a week in advance to reserve your spot. For more information visit:

Don’t Miss: The thrill seekers in your group may enjoy a night flight. This unique adventures lets you fly thru the pitch black night air.

Logistics: Sky Tours can be found within the YMCA Union Park Camp at 11764 John F Kennedy road in Dubuque Iowa.

Best Time: The Nicer the weather the better your visit will be.

Pit Stop: After the tour plan a trip to the Fenelon elevator.
The Fenelon Place elevator is described as the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway, 296 feet in length, elevating passengers 189 feet from Fourth Street to Fenelon Place. Where you will see a magnificent view of the historic Dubuque business district, the Mississippi River and three states. located at 512 Fenelon Place Dubuque, Iowa 52001.

Extended Play: While in Dubuque be sure to stop by Crystal Lake Cave. The cave has more crystal formations than any other cave in the Midwest. Tours start every hour and take about 45 minutes.

Travel Smart: You will spend most of your 2 hour tour flying thru the air, so dress accordingly for the weather. Also closed toe shoes are a most.

Enjoy a Night at one of the Midwest’s Best Campgrounds

Camping season is in full swing in the Midwest, with literally thousands of campers venturing into the woods each and every weekend.  Some drive RV’s others tow a camper, some pitch a tent, and a unique few get by with just a hammock hung between a couple trees.  No matter what style of camping you choose, your sure to have a fun filled adventure!  That is if you are fully prepared and know where to go.  Recently I wrote an article covering all the camping tips I could think of.  Today’s article will cover some of the Midwest’s best campgrounds.  While there are literally hundreds of great campgrounds around the Midwest, this list will focus on our personal favorites.

Have you ever considered hammock camping on your next trip into the great outdoors?  If not you may want to reconsider. At Home Of Hammping they have taken hammock camping to a whole new level.  The term glamping is a fairly common expression in the camping world, but very few are familiar with hammping.  Each hammock tent on this secluded property,  features lined sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses, blankets, and pillows. Let yourself experience the Ozarks in a completely new fashion at Famous Home Of Hammping in Park Hills Missouri.  This gorgeous  campground provides a one of a kind camping experience you will never forget.

To book your stay at Home Of Hammping visit:

Solis Farms in Bourbon Missouri is one of the Midwest’s most unique campgrounds.  At Solis Farms campers enjoy a magical camping experience in their very own teepee!  Each teepee comes equipped with two queen size beds, WIFI, and breakfast in the morning.  Solis Farms, also offers a variety of classes for campers to enjoy, including soap and cheese making classes. 

To book your stay at Solis Farms Campground visit:

Branson Treehouse Adventures: This heavily wooded area is an outdoor paradise featuring 7 absolutely breathtaking tree-houses, as well as 6 gorgeous ground level cabins, there is also an RV campground featuring 67  sites with electricity, and 6 primitive sites perfect for tent camping!   The campgrounds are spread out over 40 acres  of  natural beauty that can  only be  found in southern Missouri.  All 7 of the Treehouses come brilliantly themed to add to your staying pleasure.  There is the African Safari, the Captain’s Quarters, Southern Comfort, The Owl’s Roost, Misty View, Belle’s Arbor, and Ben’s Hideaway.  Each one carefully decorated to give you an experience you will never forget. 

For more information visit:

Rest Up Camping & RV Corral in Grayville is a old west themed campground that will completely blow your mind! Head to the Old West and camp like they did during the Gold Rush at this campsite. This fun campground,has RV and tent sites, as well as cabins to rent.  The campground is packed with fun western themed activities the whole family can enjoy.  There is panning for gold, the critter gorge, and the hen house hoedown shooting gallery. As well as a huge playground, mini golf course, and western saloon.

  Reservations can be made at:

Spook Cave Campground:  This haunted campground is located just west of McGregor.  The campground has 95 sites, 90 of which have electric, water, and sewer hookups, and each site is furnished with a picnic table and fire ring. From the 90 foot high towering bluffs, to the refreshing sound of Beulah Falls pouring out of the cliff side , the campground is surrounded with natural beauty.  This unique campground also rents some of the most charming cabins in the entire state. Imagine after a long day of family fun, coming home to a beautiful log cabin overlooking the lake. There is also a playground, and a one of a kind cave tour! 

To book your stay visit:

Lost Island Waterpark/Campground is one of Iowa’s most popular campgrounds the Lost Island KOA is a perfect combination between camping and a resort style vacation.  The campground features 148 RV sites, 8 tent sites, and 13 cabins are available for rent.  Electricity is provided at all sites. Lost island KOA is conveniently located across the street, from the Lost island Waterpark.  Outside the water park are two challenging 18- hole mini golf courses, appropriately decorated with native vegetation, volcanoes, rapids, dinosaur fossils, and a skull pit!

To make a reservation visit:

The Hayward KOA campground is located on 28 acres in the beautiful Wisconsin Northwoods. The campground has won the Kampgrounds of America, president’s award for the last 6 years! They have 157 RV sites, and 31 cabins as well as tent and teepee sites. There is also a 80,000 gallon pool, a 300 foot water slide, miniature golf, a mining sluice, and wagon rides, just to name a few of there many attractions.  If you’re looking for outstanding camping in the Wisconsin northwoods,  you’ve found it at the Hayward KOA!  

For more information visit:

The Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground in Wisconsin Dells will absolutely blow you away. Far more than a ordinary campground, there’s so much to do right there on site that you might find yourselves not even wanting to leave the grounds. It’s such a great place that it was voted campground of the year in Wisconsin in 2018.  They have tent and RV camping, along with log cabins and yurts available for rent.  The campground also has an on-site waterpark, and 18 hole miniature golf course.  If that wasn’t enough,the staff puts on themed parties every weekend. 

To make a reservation visit:

Chimney Rock Campground & Canoe Rental is easily one of the most beautiful campgrounds in Iowa, and possibly the entire mid-west.  Featuring, 7 gorgeous cabins, as well as 30 campsites with electrical hook-ups, and 20+ primitive sites this small campground offers a relaxing, rustic country atmosphere.   In 2016 the campground was listed in the Des Moines Register as 1 of the top 100 things to do in Iowa.  The campground has shower facilities, a sand volleyball court, a swimming area, kayak and canoe rentals, a picnic pavilion, a playground, and a newly expanded Rec room with video games and a pool table. A weekend at Chimney Rock, is sure to create memories your family will cherish forever.

For more information visit:

Have you been to any of these?  Which one is your favorite?  Did I leave any amazing campground off my list?  Sound off in the comments sections!


This Hidden Beach In Missouri You Will Want To Visit Over And Over Again

It’s not often you can find a swimming hole this exotic, right smack dab in the middle of the Midwest.  Perhaps that is why, The Fugitive Beach is such a popular destination for both locals and those all over the region.  Once an abandoned rock quarry, The Fugitive Beach now serves as a tropical paradise, surrounded by towering limestone bluffs.

The Fugitive Beach is a family owned business, spread out on more then 20 beautiful acres.  The beach itself is over 300 feet in length of soft sand, just perfect for laying out in the summer sun.

Other then the beautiful views of the azure blue water, the main attraction is the 65 foot cliff side, water slide!  There is also cliff jumping, at 10, 15, and 20 foot heights as well a 60 foot slip and slide that is fun for kids and adults.

To add even more enjoyment to your visit, you can rent one of the cabanas overlooking the lake.  Each Cabana comes with seating for 5-6 people and a charcoal grill.  This is a great way to enjoy the beach in a more private setting.

Whether your looking for a fun summer activity for the family, a little adventure, or just a place to relax on a warm summer day, The Fugitive Beach has just what you need.

Don’t Miss:  The floating Rave Sport water obstacle!  It has a rock climbing wall, a 14 foot diving platform, and 3 water-slides!

Best Time:  The park is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with June and July being the most popular times to visit!

Pit Stop: Visit the Beach Bar and Grill, to refuel after a day in the water.  The grill serves pizza, burgers, nachos, pulled pork sandwiches, and hot dogs! There is also beer daiquiris, soda, and water for sale. The concession stands also offer a wide variety of snacks.

Extended Play:  Stay for the weekend!  Get a campsite at Maramec Spring Park, located apox 30 minutes from The Fugitive Beach.  The campground has 58 campsites available adjacent to the Meramec River.

Travel Smart:  The beach does get busy on weekends and holidays.  I suggest planning a visit during the week to avoid the crowds.  Remember to pack a swimsuit, sunscreen, a beach towel, and plenty of drinking water to stay hydrated.

5 Great Hikes in Illinois That You Never Heard Of

Working out at the gym can get mundane for outdoor enthusiasts, so many decide to pursue invigorating hikes in nature. From rock formations to scenic canyons, Illinois offers several challenging trails for hikers seeking a refreshing outdoor experience. Many of these hiking trails are located within state parks, but each is scenic and offers a fantastic cardio workout for fitness lovers of all experience levels. Here are five energizing hikes throughout the state.


Experience the ultimate lower body workout at Swallow Cliff. This natural area features a 100-foot-tall bluff, drawing visitors seeking a challenging hike or run up the steep limestone stairs. The trail also passes through an 800-acre forest preserve with hilly terrain.


Known for its steep limestone bluffs. Apple River Canyon State Park features a scenic canyon area formed by a vast sea that used to exist in the area. The park offers five hiking trails that wind through the woods. These trails are several miles long and can be hazardous, so they’re more suitable for advanced hikers looking for an energizing workout.


Giant City State Park is famous for its huge rock formations and lush landscapes. Although hikers can enjoy several trails through the park, the Red Cedar Hiking Trail offers a more challenging 12-mile hike with an overnight campsite. This hike is ideal for an invigorating workout for more experienced hikers.


Garden of the Gods is one of the most beautiful scenic areas in the state. Located in Shawnee National Forest, this natural wonder was created from over 300 million years of erosion. Now hikers can experience these sculptured rock formations and breathtaking views from the Observation Trail, which offers an energizing hike for all fitness levels.


There are three unpaved and two paved trails at the Deer Grove Forest Persevere. The Yellow Trail is the longest in the area at 5.4 miles. According to its site, this historic 1,800-acre preserve attracts everyone from “serious botanists to weekend joggers.” This is an excellent place for a refreshing hike among beautiful wildlife.

A Weekend of Adventure in Branson

Branson Missouri is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Midwest.  Its also a great destination for Adventure.  With beautiful lakes,  over 200 miles of hiking trails, and natural beauty only found in the Ozarks its easy to see why. From world class hiking, to some of the most beautiful show caves in the country, to amazing tree houses.  Branson is a dream come true for adventure seekers.

When it comes to hiking in the Midwest, few places can compare to the beautiful hiking trails in and around Branson.  From Table Rock State Park,to Mark Twain National Forest, the area is loaded with scenic trails.  Featuring towering bluffs, roaring waterfalls, tall trees and scenic overlooks, Branson is a dream come true for nature lovers!

While visiting Branson 3 places stand out above the rest. Branson Treehouse Adventures, Dogwood Canyon, and Talking Rocks Cavern.

Lodging:  While there are lots of options when looking for a place to stay in Branson, only one delivers an unforgettable experience!  Branson Treehouse Adventures offers a one of a kind camping experience, with 7 different treehouses and 4 ground level cabins to choose from.

 Showcaves:  Missouri is known as the cave state, so its no surprise to find so many beautiful caves in the area.  But since you only have a weekend to explore you need to pick the best cave in the area.  Luckily for you I have already done the research, and Talking Rocks Cavern is the premier show cave in Branson.

Outdoors:  This area has so much natural beauty packed into one place it made be hard to choose a destination.  However Dogwood Canyon is possibly the most beautiful location in the entire Midwest.  The park is spread out on more than 10,000 acres of ruggedly beautiful terrain.  The park has 4 waterfalls, 2 lakes, and a beautiful meandering stream, that winds its way through the canyon.

When planning your next trip, be sure to consider Branson as a destination.  With so many great adventures packed into one area,your sure to have an experience you won’t soon forget.

This Hidden Beach In Missouri Will Take You A Million Miles Away From It All

Located just ninety minutes outside of St. Louis there’s a beach not many people, know about. Spend a day there and you’ll feel a million miles away from everything.

Carved into the cliffs and featuring a nice sandy bottom, Fugitive Beach gives locals near Rolla, MO a chance to relax on a beautiful sandy beach and  swim in the bluest water you have ever seen.

This rural oasis is packed full of water attractions and has an attractive wide sandy beach.

Fugitive Beach used to be an old rock quarry, abandoned after years of excavation.

Now, it’s a happy little swimming spot just south of Rolla, Missouri and not far off Interstate 44.

At Fugitive Beach you can take a spin down the 60-foot waterslide, dare to try cliff-jumping…

or…just float and soak to your heart’s content.

Set aside a day for some fun on this gorgeous landlocked beach in Missouri. The Fugitive Beach is located at 16875 County Road 5285, Rolla, MO 65401.

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