Our Plans Cave In!

Cave in Rock State Park sign.

When visiting Rend Lake, we like to spend one day taking a day trip. While there are several good choices, we choose one destination and leave the other options for another time. This time, we decided to visit Cave-in-Rock state park. Right by this state park is the Cave-in-Rock Ferry which transports its riders over the Ohio River into Kentucky. Once in Kentucky, there is a large Amish settlement not too far from the ferry, and a little bit farther down the road is the town of Marion, Kentucky. This sounds like an adventure with lots to explore. Off we go!

It was about an hour and 20 minutes from our campsite to Cave-in-Rock state park. Located close to the state park entrance is the town of Cave-in-Rock. This is a very small town, and one can see the ferry dock on the drive into town. Scattered throughout the small town are a number of signature bicycles painted various colors. Flowers and our American flag complete each bicycle’s setting. In the town, there looks to be a couple of bed and breakfasts as well as one restaurant. As we drove through the town to the state park, the charming decor felt festive and welcoming.

Yellow bicycle with American flag in background.
Betty with red bike and patriotic banner.
Salmon colored bicycle with American flag and a white home in the background.

By the time we arrived at the park, the day had gotten pretty hot. We found the Visitor Center which was closed due to Covid-19. The restaurant was also closed, same reason. The Visitor Center did have a charming garden out front which included the town’s signature bicycle display. Near the Visitor Center and restaurant, but sitting lower and with river views, sat several cabins available to rent. These cabins looked very nice; the park also offers a campground.

Garden out front of Visitor Center with yellow bicycle.
Visitor Center Garden
Metal arbor arch into restaurant patio overlooking the river.
Restaurant Dining Patio

After seeing the closed Visitor Center and restaurant, we decided to look for the park’s namesake cave. We drove to the area and hiked the short distance down to the river where the cave lay off to the side. While the cave wasn’t technically closed, due to the river’s high waters, the path was extremely muddy and not passable. We then climbed back up where one can peer down into the cave through a heavy, metal grate. It’s not quite the same as exploring inside the cave, so we vowed to return again another day.

Our View of the Cave-in-Rock.

We found a shady picnic table and enjoyed lunch and some Scrabble before heading for the ferry. For some reason, I just like ferries, with this being a free one, you know, I’m on board! We took the ferry and crossed into Kentucky in about 6 minutes.

Ferry landing with view of Ohio river and Kentucky on the other side.
Take me to Kentucky

We didn’t quite know where the Amish settlement was exactly, so we headed to the town of Marion 11 miles down the road. There, we found the town’s Visitor Center (always a good first stop). Of course, due to Covid-19, it was closed, but there were some brochures in the lobby. The brochure showed us exactly where the Amish settlement was located (closer to the ferry). The brochure also had a map of Marion noting the locations of the stores, shops and restaurants.

We had envisioned, who knows why, that Marion was a smaller town with a high rating on the walk-ability scale. We thought we’d walk to some shops, and then walk to a restaurant for dinner. We were wrong. While we started out walking, we quickly realized the nice simple map on the brochure was not to scale. We did get some steps in towards our daily fitness goal.

Once back to our car, we drove to a local restaurant called “The Front Porch.” Just the Friday before, they began inside dining at what looked like 25% capacity. The food was delicious, the service excellent, and the dining room cool. After our meal, with an hour and a half drive in front of us, we headed back to the ferry and our campsite.

Loni Jo Ferry on Ohio River.
Take me Home, Loni Jo

Sometimes, it seems when we visit an area, I am happy with how the day worked out, but then I formulate a plan for “how we’ll do it the next time.” The next time we visit Rend Lake and take a day trip to Cave-in-Rock, we’ll hike into the cave. We’ll take the free ferry again, and then we’ll visit the Amish area. We’ll consider dining on the patio overlook at the state park’s restaurant or perhaps we’ll try one of the Amish places, and if those don’t work out, we can always head back to “The Front Porch.”

In any case, whatever we do, we’ll do what we always do, and that is to make the best of each day. I hope you do the same.

Sometimes you just have to roll with it!


  1. Covid-19 is messing up everyone’s plans. Do hope before long the world is back to normal – if that is possible. Enjoyed your photos and it seems you still managed to find things to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We knew things wouldn’t be quite normal, but we didn’t expect not getting to go in the cave. We were very happy to find a dine in restaurant where we could go in and cool off. Enjoy the day!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a good read Betty. I know the frustration with places being closed due to COVID-19 as we have experienced that too. We are finding new things opening up everyday. We pray this trend continues. Love your positive outlook.

    Have happy days and safe travels,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love reading posts about day trips people take. This sounds like it was a great one, oven with the kinks. I look forward to doing more of this type of thing when things open up more. Now that I am not working, it should be easy to do on Dan’s days off.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m gad you had a great day out. It sounds like my kind of place, a place I would like to visit some day. I sense your frustration with attractions, museums, etc not being open. We are discovering the same thing. We travel in order to explore and it is oh so difficult to do that now. I do, though, like your positive outlook on things. I try to have the same. I also keep telling myself given all that everyone else is going through my wife and I are two of the most blessed and fortunate people alive. Take care

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I do sense your positive outlook on life. That and your sense of humor is why I read your posts most every day. We knew things would be closed, but we didn’t expect not to see the cave. Oh well. It’s a reason to go back! We also were very happy to find indoor dining. Have a good day, stay safe and happy exploring!


    • Yes, we did have a wonderful day. And yes, you are right – surprises make nice memories. Thanks for reading, and have a good, safe day.


  5. Thanks for sharing your experience. We’re not used to sitting around our rig all day since we much prefer to explore. From reading this post, I can see you managed to make the best of the day. Wishing you many more happy travel days.

    Liked by 1 person

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