Cummins Falls State Park

Cummins Falls State Park

Swim in a Water Fall

Cummins Falls State Park is located NorthWest of Cookeville, TN, and is about a 3 hour drive from North Atlanta.  But the drive is worth the experience!  It is a 75-foot waterfall with shallow wading and swimming pools, water cascading down shelves at different levels.  The hike in is probably about 1.5 miles, but depending on conditions, be prepared to hike through water.  This is not a difficult hike, but does require scaling boulders and wading through knee-deep areas of the stream.  We are use to paying entrance fees to GA State Parks, but they did not ask for an entrance fee here.

This is a perfect day trip if you leave early enough to get to the park.  Being early in the day will help you avoid the heat of hiking in the sun and crowds.  It is a popular place for people to visit, and you can avoid some of the crowds by not going on holiday weekends, or going earlier in the day versus later.

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Chattanooga TN

Chattanooga TN

There is so much to do and see here!

Chattanooga is a fantastic place to visit.  But you’ll have to come multiple times to do and see all it has to offer.  Here are a few of our favorite highlights from Chattanooga.

Walnut Street Bridge

This is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world.  The bridge was built in 1890 and spans over the Tennessee River, allowing pedestrians to cross from the North Short to Coolidge Park.  The park under the bridge offers great views of the bridge, city line on the other side, and nice shady grass, splash pad, etc.

Chattanooga has a lot of great walkways and trails.  Take the bridge over from Coolidge Park to the North Shore and follow the nature trails to the river where you will find stairways of water cascading down from the City to the River area.  The kids will have a blast playing in the water.

Sunset Rock – Lookout Mountain

For a beautiful view, visit Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain.  The view is amazing!  It is a short hike from a small parking lot to the lookout.  You can see Chattanooga to the right and view miles of hilly mountains to the North.

Watching the Hang Gliders

About 8 miles further down the ridge of Lookout Mountain, there are some overlook areas you can pull over and view the valley where people hang glide.  If the weather is nice, you can watch as people get carried on the back of airplanes from the hang gliding strip below up into the sky and then released to glide down, while others jump off the mountain.  It is really cool to watch as people prepare and then jump off the cliff.

 

Cool Places to Eat

Cutler Reservoir, UT

Cutler Reservoir, UT

Sunset Canoe Trip

Cutler Reservoir is a reservoir located in Cache Valley, UT.  It is an impoundment on the Bear River built for irrigation, flood control, and water supply… but has become a haven to all kinds of birds in the marsh and a beautiful place for a day on canoes or kayaks.

Antelope Island State Park, UT

Antelope Island State Park, UT

If you want to see the Great Salt Lake, see it through Antelope Island.

Beautiful drive.  Beautiful hiking.  Great place to swim at Bridger Bay (parking next to Island Buffalo Grill).  We went in early June, right before the noseeums (biting gnats) by luck… so if you plan to go make sure you go then too!

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

Turquoise Lake

Bear Lake is a natural fresh-water lake on the Utah-Idaho boarder.  It is the second largest fresh-water lake in Utah, and is 48 miles around (if you were to ride a bicycle around the lake – which I’ve done twice!).  But one of the characteristics that stands out most about this lake is the deep blue color.  It is gorgeous… like water from the Bahamas.

 

Lake Access

There are a couple great lake access points.  One is Garden City Park (on the UT side).  There is a nice park here with a boardwalk that goes to a small-ish beach access point.  The park is nice for the kids with a playground, pavilions, good parking and bathrooms.  Beautiful scenery.

The second place would be North Beach (on the Idaho side) which I believe you pay a small fee to park.  The beach is more sandy and spread out, so there is more room there to find a spot away from the crowd, and the water is shallow and fun to play in.

Bear Lake West Golf Club

Just North of the Utah / Idaho boarder on the West side of the lake is Bear Lake West, a golf club community.  Our family has a cabin in this area, so we’ve always enjoyed the amenities of the community, but guests are welcome also to take advantage of the golf course, pool, hot tub, restaurant and of course the amazing view of Bear Lake.

 

Minnetonka Cave

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Minnetonka Cave is open for tours.  It is about an hour drive from Garden City.  Bring cash / check because they do not accept cards.  But the cave is worth a trip to walk through with a tour guide.  It has over 1000 stairs, but the trail inside is paved in most places and has hand rails… so as long as you can do stairs it is safe and fun for the entire family.

See more from our Minnetonka Cave trip

Get a Famous Raspberry Milk Shake

Garden City has some serious skills for raspberry milkshakes.  There are three main places you can pick up a milkshake when you visit Bear Lake.

  • LaBeau’s: 69 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028
  • Quick N Tasty: 28 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028
  • Home Town Drive In: 105 N Bear Lake Blvd, Garden City, UT 84028

Cafe Sabor

21 E 75 N, Garden City, UT 84028 .  Fantastic Mexican food.  We love Cafe Sabor.

Minnetonka Cave, ID

Minnetonka Cave, ID

Minnetonka Cave opens around Memorial Day through Labor Day and about a 50 minute drive from Garden City, UT (Bear Lake) makes for a great addition to a say at Bear Lake.  Bring cash or check to visit the cave, $8 for adults and $6 for kids 6-15 years old.  It is a 90 minute tour through the chambers on a trail of stone and steel stairs with guard rails.   The cave is 40 degrees year round, so bring a jacket.  You will see underground streams, all kinds of formations, bats, and in the bottom of the cave they will turn off the lights for you to experience total darkness for a minute.  We arrived in early June and found snow on the mountain which gave the kids a thrill.