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White Water Rafting in the Arkansas River!

White water river rafting is one of the most thrill water adventures one can experience in a river. Higher the rapids, more is the fun. I and couple of my friends went for white water rafting in Arkansas river earlier this year. We did the Class 3 rapids because none of us had real rafting experience and that was a good choice for beginners. We were trained to raft in coordination with each other in calm water before we hit the huge waves down the river. The waves were intimidating as they came through and we had to keep rowing strongly to get through them. We had a great time in the water and our guide was super nice to help us out every time we got stuck along the rocks in the river. We would all cheer up as a team as we passed through the rapids. We crossed about 7 rapids in all , the initial ones being class two and later ones class 3 I would definitely recommend this adventure for all the those who are fond of water sports and next time it is going to be Class 4 rapids for me 🙂

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Best 5 summer weekend getaways from Chicago!

Summer is the best time to travel and explore beautiful destinations around. This summer has been a great adventure for me so far in terms of travel and here are my recommendations for travel for all those who live in the Midwest.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin – Lake Geneva is a go to summer destination for all travel lovers in the Midwest. The freshness of Lake Geneva comes with its colorful flowers along the pathways in downtown that stretches by the lake itself. Riviera Beach is right in the downtown by the Lake which is a great spot to relax and swim. The lake offers all kinds of water sports and is surrounded by all great restaurants that offer variety of cuisines to enjoy. My love for water and flowers has taken me there twice this summer season.

Distance: 1.5 hrs.

Activities: Speed Boat, Jet Ski, Pontoon Boats, Swimming in Beach

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin – Enjoyable both in summer and winter, Wisconsin Dells is the perfect destination for adventure seekers. Every time I go there, there is something new and exciting to explore. The beautiful Wisconsin river showcases magnificent rock formations. Some of the most fun adventures there are the upper dells boat tour, canyon horse tours, zip lining and Jet boat tours. The most intimidating yet fun adventure was the ghost tour in the forest while its pitch dark. At night the Witches Gulch come to life and gets hold of your nerve. A haunted ship takes you into the forest and the rest will be all for you to experience if you make it back!

Distance: 3 hrs.

Activities: Boat Tours, Water Parks, Water Sports, Zip-lining, Tubing

Starved Rock State Park, Ottawa, Illinois – Living in the Midwest away from all the national parks gave us an opportunity to discover the Starved Rock State park. The state park is just 1.5 hours’ drive from the city of Chicago and beholds beautiful flora and fauna right from spring until the fall season. Hiking, camping and biking are some of the most enjoyable summer activities there. We hiked for 5 miles back and forth during our visit to the park and enjoyed the canyons, waterfall and lush forests all around. It is a definite getaway from the city life.

Distance: 1.5 hrs.
Activities: Hiking, Biking, Camping

Japanese Anderson Garden, Rockford, Illinois –This beautiful garden in the midst of bridges, waterfalls and Koi Ponds is a very refreshing getaway from Chicago. About just an hour away it is a go to spot for nature lovers. We were lucky to visit this garden during the Japanese spring festival when they had authentic dance and song performances.

Distance: 1.5 hrs.

Activities: Music, Nature

Saugatuck, Michigan – A small cute little downtown surrounded by Lake Michigan with restaurants, souvenir, art and gallery shops all around is a very pleasant outing from the city of Chicago. About 2.5 hours away from Chicago, the small vibrant city offers all kinds of boat rentals including kayaks, banana boats and duck tours. The most famous ride in the lake out there is the Chain Ferry that takes you around the lake. Also the Oval beach is very pristine and known for its sand dunes and ATV rides. Keep in mind that Michigan is one hour ahead in terms of time difference from Chicago so head out early to enjoy your day there.

Distance: 2.5 hrs.

Activities: Chain Ferry, Duck Tours, Boat tours, Swimming in Beach

The other two getaways that I am looking forward to this summer is Door County, Wisconsin and Mackinac Island, Michigan. I have heard a lot of good things about these places and I can’t wait to explore them myself. What are your summer travel destinations? I would love to hear!