Mainstream Adventures

When You Constantly Push Your Limits You Will Never Reach Them

Author: marklongmainstream (page 1 of 8)

Spend A Day At One Of The Midwest’s Most Unique Parks!

Pickle Springs is a 180-acre natural area that is registered as a National Natural Landmark. This hidden gem is one of Missouri’s best kept secrets, and is located just 13 miles from Farmington.

This picture is owned by Carol Turner

The park is known for its unusual rock formations, wet weather waterfalls, spectacular canyons, and wide range of plant species. Pickle Springs is without a doubt one of the most diverse natural areas in Missouri.

Some of the interesting geological features include a natural double bridge that holds up a shelf of sandstone, narrow slot canyons, giant sandstone blocks, (known as Hoodoo’s) and of course Pickle Springs flowing out of a sandstone wall. Not only is the park known for its unique geology found throughout. The natural area is also home to more than 250 species of vascular plants, including many rare species that are considered relics

This picture is owned by Terry Mays

.With so much to see and explore in the area, it’s no wonder that Pickle Springs is often referred to as a geological wonderland. From the scenic waterfalls to the breathtaking views, to the mysterious rock formations found within, it’s easy to see that Pickle Springs is unlike any other natural area in Missouri.

Don’t Miss: The Trail Through Time is the most popular attraction at Pickle Springs. This 2 mile long hiking trail will provide you with an unforgettable trek past ancient rock formations. For this hike I would plan to spend about two hours on the trail, to fully explore this gorgeous park.

Best Time:  My favorite time to visit is right after a good rainfall, the park really seems come alive, and the waterfalls will be at full strength.

Logistics:  From the junction of Highways 32 and W in Farmington, travel east on Highway 32 for 5 miles, then turn right (east) on Highway AA. Follow Highway AA east for 1.7 miles to Dorlac Road (gravel). Turn left (north) onto Dorlac Road and drive 0.4 mile to the parking lot on the right (east) side.

Pit Stop:  After a day of exploring stop into 12 West in nearby Farmington (just 7 miles away) for a delicious meal!

Extended Play:  Stay for the weekend and visit Hawn State Park, located just  11 miles away.  Hawn State Park has an excellent campground, or you can get a room in Farmington at one of their motels.  For more lodging options click here.

Travel Smart:  Whenever venturing into the great outdoors, I always pack sunscreen, bug spray, snacks and drinking water.  Remember to check weather conditions before heading out and always let someone know where you plan on hiking.

For more information on planning your trip visit:




Spend A Day On Beautiful Lake Okoboji

 Lake Okoboji is part of the Iowa’s great lakes, and covers more then 3,847 acres.  The natural beauty of the lake makes it a popular destination for boating, water skiing, sailing, and swimming. The lake is also one of the most popular fishing destination in the state. There is literally so much to do on Lake Okoboji, I could write an entire book  just on this one location.

Arnold’s Park is the center of the Iowa great lakes resort.  In 2012 the amusement park was selected as one of the fifteen best in the region by Midwest Living magazine.  There is a ride for everyone at Arnold’s with a wide range of kid and family rides available.  The thrill seekers in your group will love the Legend, believed to be the 13th oldest wooden roller coaster in America.  Arnold’s Park also has 2 different go- kart tracks known as the Raceway. There is also the Queen II cruise ship, which is a great way to view the lake in style.

Images from David Thoreson’s copyrighted photographic collection.

Another attraction on Lake Okoboji is The Iowa Guide Service.  The Iowa guide Service is one of the most sought after fishing guide services in the entire region.  During your fishing trip, you will cruise the lake in the comfort of a Crestliner 2050 Raptor powered by Mercury 250 Optimax with Humminbird electronics.  They cater to both families on vacation, as well as the serious angler. Your fishing trip will be loaded with fun and you will have a great chance to catch big bass, walleye, pike, and maybe even a giant muskie.  For more information click here.

One of the best attractions on Lake Okoboji is the many options for recreational water sports.  There are several different outfitters in the area renting everything from pontoon boats to paddle boards.  So no matter how you choose to spend your time on the lake, your sure to have an amazing time!

Don’t Miss:   Play a round of golf at Pirate’s Cove Miniature golf course.  Pirate’s Cove is an award winning 18 hole mini golf experience that will provide fun for the whole family.

Logistics:  Lake Okoboji is located in Dickinson County in Northwest Iowa.

Best Time:  The summer months are a perfect time to visit the Iowa great lakes.

Pit Stop:  My favorite restaurant in the area is Kazarelli’s at Millers Bay.  Weather your looking for delicious bar food or a gourmet meal, this is the place to go. Visit their website by clicking here.

Extended Play:  The Iowa guide service is now offering a Fish n Fun Family Pac. This awesome package includes 4 hours of Iowa’s best fishing, and after a picnic lunch, 4 hours of water sports! Take your pick between tubing, skiing, and wakeboarding.  For more information click here

Travel Smart:  Lake Okoboji is one of the most visited locations in the state, for a more personal experience plan your visit on a weekday, and avoid visiting on holiday weekends.

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 Underrated Missouri Town Should Be On Everyone’s Bucket List!

Just one-hour south of St. Louis on the edge of the beautiful Ozark mountains you will discover Farmington, Missouri. This quaint little town is surrounded by nine of Missouri’s most scenic state parks, challenging golf courses, an extreme off-road recreation area, hiking trails, and fifteen award winning vineyards and wineries. No matter your interests Farmington is the perfect destination!

Hawn State Park

One of the most popular sites in the area is Elephant Rocks State park. Elephant Rocks is one of the smaller state parks in the area 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. A favorite attraction at the park, is the Elephant Rocks for which the park is named. The Elephant Rocks are a series of boulders that look just like elephants lined up in a circus train. 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 Kenny Dillingham

Another attraction in the area is Pickle Springs Natural Area. Pickle Springs is a 180-acre natural area that is registered as a National Natural Landmark. This hidden gem located just 13 miles outside of Farmington, is known for its unusual rock formations, wet weather waterfalls, spectacular canyons, and wide range of plant species. Pickle Springs is without a doubt one of the most diverse natural areas in Missouri.

Picture is owned by Midwest Hiking

It’s no secret that some of the best hiking locations in the Midwest can be found in the Missouri Ozarks, and Hawn State Park is certainly near the top of that list! 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 United States. There is also a gorgeous campground that lies beneath a canopy of lofty pines, and includes both basic and electric sites. 

Hawn State Park This Picture is owned by Doug Neidholdt

Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is often referred to as a natural waterpark, and is a popular place to cool off during hot summer days. This unforgettable swimming hole is a must see for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. Cool clear blue water, smooth rock waterslides and spectacular geological formations make Johnson’s Shut- In one of the most popular destinations in the region. There are also great campgrounds on-site and numerous well maintained hiking trails.

Picture is owned by Matthew Montgomery

St. Joe State Park is located in the heart of the old “Lead Belt” of southeast Missouri where much of the nation’s lead ore was mined for more than a century. Today, St. Joe is Missouri’s third largest state park, featuring four lakes, two swimming beaches, equestrian trails, a hiking and bicycling trail, a water trail and picnic sites, as well as two campgrounds. The highlight however is the more than 2,000 acres set aside for off road vehicle riding. These trails make St, Joe the premier off road course in the state.

St Joe State Park

Whether you are seeking a peaceful walk through the woods, a challenging trek in the Ozark Mountains, an off-road adventure, or even a relaxing visit to one of the many charming wineries you will discover it just outside Farmington.

This picture is owned by Justin Smith

Don’t Miss: The Bonne Terre Mine, is located just 20 minutes from Farmington, and is the largest fresh water dive resort in the United States! Bonne Terre Mine offers a variety of activities for the whole family including boat and walking tours, school group tours, scuba diving in the mines’ vast water system, and much more! 

Lodging: In Farmington, you can choose from a variety of locally owned and managed hotels that offer wonderful amenities and friendly hometown service. All of the hotels are located close to area attractions and just a short drive away from Missouri’s most premier wineries, beautiful state parks, and fabulous golf courses. For more information on local lodging, click here.

Pit Stop: Enjoy a picnic lunch and a glass of award winning wine or brew in the beautiful saltpeter cave, located beneath Cave Vineyard at 21124 Cave Road STE. Genevieve Mo.

Extended Play: Take in a round of golf in the moonlight at Pallo’s Par 3 Golf Course. With state-of-the-art lighting which fills the night sky, Pallo’s brings a new aspect to the game of golf.

Logistics: Farmington is located in St. Francois county, 60 miles south of St. Louis, in the southeastern corner of Missouri.

To plan an unforgettable weekend in Farmington 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 Farmington 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 Click here

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 click here

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 click here

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 by clicking here

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 click here.

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 click here

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 click here.  

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 click here.  

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 click here

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.

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