With the weather warming up and the semester winding down to an end, everyone is itching to do something fun this summer. Although COVID vaccines are rolling out and cases are slowing, many places still have restrictions in place. Here’s a handful of summer ideas involving sweet treats and outdoor fun you can do with your friends, family, or alone while being responsible during the pandemic.
Looking for sweets? Here are some of the best local spots on each side of the river.
Bobby’s - A local legend in Maryville, IL - Bobby’s Frozen Custard has been around and thriving for 30 years. The walk-up ice cream stop radiates vibes from the 50’s - designed to look like an old metallic diner with the neon lights flashing. It is almost always busy, but the line is always so fast that you shouldn’t wait longer than a few minutes. The menu is immense, including sundaes, concretes, cones, and so many more specialties. They’re decently priced, and this is a great stop for family, friends, or even going alone. It’s usually pretty busy so be sure to bring your mask and patience for long lines, because it is so worth the hype.
Dairy Haven - Located in Caseyville, IL, Dairy Haven is a small ice cream walk up and drive through right off highway 157. In the warmer months, this small shop gets insanely busy - both with the walk up and drive through. Known for their orange sherbet and their relatively cheap prices, it’s no surprise people line up to get their ice cream fix. There is customer rivalry and deciding who is better - Bobby’s or Dairy Haven. This summer you and your friends can try both and decide for yourself!
White Cottage - Located steps from the Farmer’s Market in downtown Belleville, IL, White Cottage has captured the hearts of ice cream lovers all over the Metro East. Serving both ice cream and hot food - it’s no surprise locals flock to White Cottage during the in season months. White cottage is both window service and indoor dining, although that may be limited due to COVID. With your choice of scoop or soft serve ice cream - it can be served on a cone, a sundae, a bowl, or even a milkshake - and their flavors are anything but ordinary.
Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery - Located in St. Louis, MO, Clementine’s is a great option for diverse ice cream. Looking for vegan options? They’ve got it. Want alcoholic ice cream? Go to Clementine’s! Clementine’s ice cream and desserts are borderline luxurious from visuals to taste. Their flavors don’t stop at chocolate or vanilla - they offer unique and interesting flavors including gooey butter cake, carrot cake, honey lavender, lemon poppyseed, and so many more. Most flavors can be served in scoops and sold in pints while some are only available in pints. Clementine’s is a must-stop this season for a treat from the summer sun.
Tower Grove Creamery - Off of Grand and Arsenal in St. Louis, MO, Tower Grove Creamery is a must have if you’re in the area. Offering both sherbets and classic and unique ice cream flavors, these sweet treats are freshly made daily by Missouri farmers. After spending a day walking around the park, this ice cream stop is in the heart of Tower Grove and within walking distance of restaurants, coffee shops, and more. This shop gets a little busy, so be sure to bring a mask and be prepared to hang out during busy hours. Seating indoors may be limited due to COVID restrictions, but there is outside seating offered. Above all else, Tower Grove Park is steps away and is a perfect spot to enjoy a sweet treat.
Would you rather spend more time outdoors? No worries - there are plenty of options.
Tower Grove Park - Located in the heart of Tower Grove South and conveniently next to Missouri Botanical Garden, Tower Grove Park is scenic and quiet place to grab a friend and bask in the sun during conversation. Within walking distance, you’ve got multiple shops - including Mokabe’s, Hartford Coffee Company, City Park Grill, Pho Grand, and so much more. There is usually less traffic in the park than compared to Forest Park.
Forest Park/Art Hill - Although widely known, Forest Park and Art Hill are both great hang out spots for picnics, bird watching, walks, and even paddle boating. The area can get a little congested, especially as the weather gets warmer. What's nice about this area, although it gets heavy foot traffic, is that the park is huge. If you get tired of sitting outside, the Art Museum, The Muny, and the Zoo are within walking distance for a change of scenery.
Creve Coeur Lake - Here in Creve Coeur, you can head over to the lake and rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to kill a couple hours on the water. For land travel around the park, surreys are available to rent as well. The price is $12-$16/hour and half price for each additional hour for most rentals.
The Watershed Nature Center - Located in Edwardsville, IL, this is a protected area that is great for walking or hiking for a few hours and seeing wildlife. There are multiple trails to explore and even an educational center for those interested in checking it out. This area is significantly less congested and good for those looking to be surrounded by nature.
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area - Well known for its sunflower fields, the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in St. Louis, MO is not only a good stop for admiring nature, but also aids in any of your photo needs. This area is rather popular for pictures for friends and family and can get congested during sunflower season. The area is massive and offers different sights to see. Besides the sunflower fields, this area is an open field of greenery - even offering a rock front view of the Missouri River. Sunset watching and seeing wildlife in the more secluded areas are highly recommended here