Mid-West

Mid-West

MICHIGAN FAVORITES

PARK:   Dutch Treat Campground

RATING:   

LOCATION:   Zeeland, Michigan

WHAT WE LIKE:   We love how this park is a throwback from our youth!  There is a big pond in the middle of the park with catch-and-release fishing from the bank or from a wooden dock. The playground is full of old-fashioned and dangerous fun playground equipment. Giant steel slides, swings with thick chains that leave your palms smelling like iron, and that spinning merry-go-round that has surely been the center of a lawsuit somewhere/someplace during this century!  The evenings smell like campfires as families sit around outside enjoying each other’s company and stray fireflies blink in the bushes.  This is what it’s all about!

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:   The roads in the park were very narrow and upon departure it was common to have to request that your neighbor move their truck so you could swing wide.

AREA ATTRACTIONS:

  • Windmill Island is a fun place to really get your “Dutch” on when visiting this part of Michigan.  The famous centerpiece of the park – a windmill called De Zwaan (the Swan) still grinds corn and wheat today and the flour is available for purchase in homespun muslin bags. This is the place to buy wooden shoes and take pictures with tulips – in case you’ve been looking for one.
  • If you’re craving a day at the beach just head for the shores of Holland State Beach.  You have to keep reminding yourself that this is Lake Michigan and NOT the ocean.  It is so huge that it’s easy to forget.  And on sunny days in the summertime, the beach is CROWDED – there just aren’t that many prime beach days in this part of the country, so you go when you can!
Fishing
What a catch!

MISSOURI FAVORITES

PARK:  

370 Lakeside Park

RATING:   

LOCATION:   St. Peters, Missouri

WHAT WE LIKE:   It’s always a treat for us to be able to park our big, honkin’ 43-foot fifth wheel in a State Park and when we are right up next to the lake it’s even better!  All the sites at this park sit just a few yards from the lake and the 4.5 mile paved path around the lake is excellent for biking or morning walks. There is a splash park for the kids and live music at the covered pavilion on the weekends.

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:  Our neighbor warned us that he had found a couple of tics on his dog.  Sure enough, upon our departure, we found a tic on each of our dogs and one on our granddaughter who was traveling with us for the summer.

AREA ATTRACTIONS:

  • The St. Louis Arch is such an iconic memorial in this region and if you’ve never been up close and personal – you should definitely go.  The photo opportunities and lovely surrounding park located right on the Mississippi River are reason enough to visit. But splurge for the ride in the claustrophobia-inducing pods that jerk you up to the very tip top for an incredible view of the St. Louis area. And just so you can say you did it.
  • One of the weirdest entertainment venues I have ever visited is the odd City Museum.  It is part funky art installation, part historical museum, part amusement park.  I have seen lots of pictures of this place but none do them justice – you just have to go.  It has an indoor ten-story slide and the whole thing is built in a former shoe factory. Really, you just have to go.
St Louis Arch
The Gateway Arch

WISCONSIN FAVORITES

PARK:

Patricia Lake Campground

RATING:   

LOCATION:   Minocqua, Wisconsin

WHAT WE LIKE:   This is another park that was much more “cozy campground” than “upscale resort” and we were delighted upon pulling into the park.  There were trees everywhere and down a gradual slope was the lovely Patricia Lake.  The lake had a nice sandy beach and an area to launch rented rowboats complete with life vests, oars and an anchor.  Each site had a patio and fire pit. This was one of the parks where I would have loved to have extended our stay.

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:   The only sites that would accommodate us were on the upper level of the park.  The sites down on the lake level were in the midst of lovely winding, tree-lined roads that were a bit too narrow for us.  That’s it – everything else we loved!

AREA ATTRACTIONS:

  • A nice hike while visiting this area is at Northwoods Zip Line Adventures.  It is a terrific place to go if you’re wanting to participate in some amazing ropes courses and fly through the trees on a variety of zip lines.  But if you aren’t interested in their gravity-defying adventures, you can also hike a 2.5 mile loop for free! It winds through the same forest where the zip liners scream overhead making for quite an enjoyable and entertaining hike!
fishing boat on lake
Fishing on Patricia Lake