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Published on: Sep. 20, 2011

snake that loves to steal our bait and there isn’t much room for casting, so I spend a good portion of my time either casting for the youngest children or untangling their lines from nearby vegetation.

But here the docks were large enough for us to fan out to the four corners, and the boys could cast to their hearts’ delight without catching a tree or a brother. It was completely relaxing.

When the kids grew bored with fishing from the dock, we decided to hike the perimeter of the lake. Along the way, we found half of a hollowed out tree stump that was large enough for each of the boys to stand in. I lost count of the great fishing holes as we hiked. We got our lines wet a dozen more times. We didn’t catch anything, but that was because we’d cast once and then spy another fishing spot we couldn’t wait to try. So we’d reel in and scurry to the next location.

Little Dixie Lake is the kind of place that beckons you to spend a lazy day fishing, picnicking and exploring. I promised the boys we would go back next summer to rent a boat for the day.

It’s easy to fall victim to an overly full schedule—days slip by. It’s hard to carve out time with your family, even harder to find something to do that won’t empty the bank account. Or so I thought. Once I knew where to look, I realized that I’m surrounded by free or inexpensive ways for my family to spend time together. And the memories we created were well worth the effort it took to rearrange my schedule.

Things to See & Do

Each of the areas I visited with my family has plenty to see or do. Here are a few things I recommend checking out on your family’s adventure:

Powder Valley—the list of things to do at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is nearly endless. While there, choose from one of three paved trails for a hike or a stroll. Give yourself plenty of time to explore the many indoor exhibits. A favorite for my family is an interactive game that allows you to “run a park” of your own. Before you arrive, check their calendar online for upcoming classes and events.

Rocky Creek Conservation Area Driving Tour—be sure to take along the corresponding guide,

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