Some unique family getaway spots await you just outside the Corridor

This weekend my family explored some of Northeast Iowa’s treasures including Spook Cave and Pike’s Peak state park.

If you’re looking for something different to do this weekend, I encourage you to travel two hours north of the Corridor and do some exploring at one of Northeast Iowa’s hidden treasures.  Spook Cave, located outside McGregor, IA , is unlike any other cave tour you’ll experience.  

I had been to Spook Cave as a child, although I don’t remember much more than the sweatshirt someone bought for me with a Casper-like ghost on it.  As we waited for our tour to start, I read up on some Spook Cave history.

Spook Cave gets its name because of the strange noises early settlers heard coming from the base of a hill along Bloody Run Creek.  A local named Gerald Mielke began blasting around the hole and uncovered the culprit of the funny noise-a large cave and underground river inside the bluff.  Mielke began boat tours of his discovery in the early 1950s. 

My family and another family of four shared a custom-made alumicraft boat with our young guide and were lead through the 40-minute tour, full of tall tales of the ghost of “Old Joe” and man-eating alligators.   I saw my preschooler’s eyes widen, and felt his grip tighten, during some of these stories, but the only scary moments my husband and I shared were ones involving ducking through some pretty tight spaces.  

I’ll admit.  I remember it being “bigger” as a child.  The rooms in the cave seemed taller. I didn’t have to maneuver as many tight spaces.  Of course, I was a kid and my memories still share the height and width of the 10-year-old that orginally made them.

I certainly don’t recall the feelings of claustrophobia like I felt today, but still – it was fun and very memorable.  My four-year-old and thirty-three-year-old both had a great time.  Spook Cave also boasts a pretty fun campground with a lake and beach, and we’d like to come back again and camp. 

After the cave tour, we drove a few more miles north to Pike’s Peak state park. From atop the 500-foot bluff, you can see some incredible views of the Wisconsin River and the mighty Mississippi. To the north, the view of the bridges connecting Iowa and Wisconsin is impressive.

We ran out of time, but on our next trip to the northeast I’d like to eat in McGregor – the quaint little town is just begging to be explored, with brightly-painted candy shops and toy stores and restaurants lining the downtown.

My husband wanted to see the Effigy Mounds, which was only a few miles away, and I wanted to show our son the Osborne Visitor Center, which has large displays of some of the wildlife natural to the area, but after walking the trails at Pike’s Peak we were ready to get on the road home.  At least we have an excuse to come back to this beautiful area of Iowa!

posted by: heatherjoy77

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Filed under Daytrips and Getaways, Stuff for kids to do, Why it's great to live here

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