Midwest Vacations

18 Top-Rated Midwest Vacations

18 Top-Rated Midwest Vacations

One of the best features when considering a Midwest vacation is that these states experience all four seasons, so the scenery and experience are different each time you visit.

While major cities like Indianapolis and Chicago are top places to visit in the Midwest, some of the best vacation spots are in more subdued destinations, like Mackinac Island in Michigan or Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Depending on the time of year you want to plan the vacation, you can consider places that offer ski resorts and scenic byways or simple sunset and spring break getaways.

What makes a Midwest vacation even better is the convenience of visiting most cities, as they are centrally located in the United States.

Pick the ideal place to visit with our list of the best Midwest vacations.

  1. Mackinac Island, Michigan

One of the most magical vacation experiences in the Midwest is on Mackinac Island in Michigan. The island has a quiet charm, as no vehicles are allowed.

Vacationers are taken to the resort by horse and carriage; during their stay, they move around on foot or by bicycle.

There’s a vintage holiday elegance to the island, with the Victorian architecture of the houses and the beautiful Grand Hotel perched on top of the hill.

Your vacation begins with a ferry ride across Lake Huron from Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island, and have you spend your day hiking through Mackinac Island State Park, kayaking along the shoreline and Arch Rock, or kick back to watch the sunset from an Adirondack chair; you can put your wristwatch away and feel comfortable while on vacation.

If you want to do some sightseeing in a few days, you can arrange horseback riding around the island and visit Fort Mackinac, a historic military outpost.

The best experience on the island is only by exploring it yourself, behind the intricately manicured gardens and lilac trees.

On summer weekends, you can book a sunset cruise or a fireworks cruise on the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry.

  1. Chicago, Illinois

The great city of Chicago in Illinois is one of the best vacation destinations in the Midwest because there are so many things to do.

The Windy City is full of culture, music, art and the famous deep-dish pizza. You can theme each day of your vacation to cover the best that Chicago has to offer.

Two of the top places to visit during your Chicago vacation are Millennium Park and Navy Pier. Millennium Park is part of Grant Park, where you are likely to see summer concerts or festivals during your stay.

There is much to see at the historic Navy Pier, from gardens and restaurants to a performing arts center. You can ride on a 150-foot Ferris wheel for one of the city’s best views.

If it’s a family vacation, kids will enjoy the Chicago Children’s Museum located at Navy Pier.

Plan a day to visit the Art Institute of Chicago to catch some of the art scenes in the city and see a live show at one of the city’s theaters, such as the Chicago Theater, the CIBC Theater, or the Cadillac Palace Theater.

No Chicago vacation is complete without some time to shop along Michigan Avenue and the Magnificent Mile. Upscale retailers and shops create an exciting day by filling your shopping bag with discoveries.

Add to that a day of adventure at two of Chicago’s most ambitious attractions: 360 Chicago, located on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building, is not for those afraid of heights.

The observation deck gives you a great view of the city, with a tilt feature that leans you over the Chicago skyline 1,000 feet.

Another high-rise attraction worth visiting is the Willis Tower Sky deck. When you walk up to the Sky deck on the 103rd floor of the world’s tallest office building, you’ll be 1,353 feet off the ground and look at the landscape for about 50 miles.

  • Door County, Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula, most recognized as the “thumb” of the state, is one of the best vacation ideas in the Midwest because of the wide variety of things to do and the number of cities you can visit in smaller cities.

The period can be seen in time. Door County consists of 19 small towns along a 66-mile peninsula, bordered by Lake Michigan on one side and Green Bay on the other.

You can stay in Egg Harbor or Sister Bay and spend your vacation days experiencing family-owned cherry orchards, biking, or riding the Door County Trolley to see some of the area’s highlights in other communities. Can spend going.

Outdoor enthusiasts can go hiking daily at one of Door County’s five state parks. One of the best and most significant is Peninsula State Park.

The water is the main draw in Door County, with more than 300 miles of coastline, so plan a few days to experience some beaches and kayaking opportunities where you can see shipwrecks and sea caves.

Take the ferry to Washington Island for a fun day trip, where you can explore lavender fields and Schoolhouse Beach with its unique alt-rock shoreline. (Midwest Vacations)

  • Put-in-Bay, Ohio

One of the best Midwest spring break ideas is Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island in Ohio. The island is off the northern Ohio coast in Lake Erie and has gained a reputation as one of the best getaways in the Midwest.

The island calls for spring breakers every year, who board the Jet Express ferry from San-dusky or Port Clinton and head to the small island, which is just as fun.

For the younger crowd, your vacation will likely be centered around the social scene of the put-in-bay. In the center of town is a slew of restaurants and activities where vacationers congregate.

Things calm down as soon as you exit the main drag, South Bass Island State Park and the other side of the island.

You can rent kayaks and jet skis and head out on the waters of Lake Erie or enjoy walking, which is what most visitors do here.

Families will find many things to do in Put-in-Bay as well. To get a layer of the land, it’s wise to start with a tour of the island on the tour train.

You can get on, and off the train however you like and visit some top attractions, such as Perry’s Victory, International Peace Memorial, and Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Kansas City

A Kansas City vacation is one of the best vacation ideas if you want to get the most for your buck. The city spans Missouri and Kansas, so it is possible to visit both states in a single trip.

Start with some of the best Kansas City in Missouri, including free city activities, such as the Crown Center, which has excellent shopping and restaurants and is the international headquarters for the Hallmark Card.

Make your way to the Money Museum (also free), which features interactive exhibits like a 27-pound gold bar.

Walk around the city and see how many of the 200 fountains you can visit and why Kansas City is known as the City of Fountains.

While you head to Missouri, enjoy the famous Kansas City Barbecue, a jazz performance, and the Kansas City Chiefs football game featuring the 2020 Super Champions.

The Kansas side of your vacation can be a day trip or several days to cover some of the best attractions on this side of the river.

Kansas City Speedway is a must-experience, where you can participate in NASCAR races or hop in a car with Richard Petty’s Driving Experience.

Another day can be spent at Zip Casey Zip Line Park, an adventure park with zipline tours. You can round off your quick trip to Kansas at T-Rex Cafe, fun and educational dining experience. (Midwest Vacations)

  • South Dakota Ski Resorts

If a Midwest winter vacation is what you’re looking for, you might want to consider some of the ski resorts in South Dakota.

Terry Peak Ski Area near Lead and Deadwood is where many winter vacationers go, as it is a family-friendly destination in the Black Hills.

There are 29 trails for each ski level and a Terrain Park. There are also cross-country ski trails through dense pine forests.

Another option is the Great Bear Ski Valley near Sioux Falls. It is a year-round amusement park that offers winter skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.

There are 14 downhill skiing trails, a tubing park for families, and trails geared towards cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Lessons and rentals are available, so all you have to do is show up.

South Dakota is great for winter recreation other than downhill skiing. This is the U.S. for snowmobiling.

One of the top places to visit in the U.S., with more than 1,500 miles of trails in the state. Outside Spearfish, you can find 350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and accommodations. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Wisconsin Dells is one of the best Midwestern family vacations because of its charm and is considered the water park capital of the world.

With top water parks like the Kalahari, Noah’s Ark Water Park, and Great Wolf Lodge, it’s great to vacation at one of these resorts, where you can stay in or out.

Wisconsin Dells is the kind of Midwestern vacation that brings back forever memories with unique experiences, like riding in the original Wisconsin Ducks, which tour on both land and water.

Wisconsin Dells has family-friendly tourist attractions, such as the Ripley Believe it or Not Museum and the Rick Wilcox Magic Theater and Illusion Show.

Spend at least a day outside at Wisconsin Deer Park, or hike and zipline near Dalton Lake to enjoy some of the natural sides of the Wisconsin Dells.

  1. St. Louis, Missouri

Plan a road trip through St. Louis along Route 66 in Missouri. You’ll see the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch and other historical sites along the famous highway.

In the Louis section of Route 66, spend a few days with a loose plan to make your way to the drive-ins, diners, filling stations, and old signage along the St. Louis section of Route 66.

You’ll find an added thrill by traversing the various alignments of Route 66 that pass through the city. (Midwest Vacations)

You can settle in the city for the rest of your vacation and experience some of the best attractions, like the Missouri Botanical Garden and the City Museum.

You’ll want to spend several days exploring the Forest Park area, where many attractions are free. The park is home to the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and the City Art Museum.

If you plan a summer vacation, spend an evening at Busch Stadium and catch a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, is one of the best Midwest vacations because there is plenty of fun energy and many options to fit in one trip.

For families, the holidays will likely center around the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the world’s largest children’s museum, with exhibits ranging from dinosaurs to an immersive Sports Legends experience. (Midwest Vacations)

Couples vacationing in Indianapolis will enjoy the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Spring is the prime time to visit Indy 500 events, but even outside of race activities, the speedway has year-round experiences such as museums and other races.

While you can fill your schedule with attractions, you may want to plan some time to enjoy White River State Park, a sprawling green with three miles of walking paths, shops, and restaurants in the middle of the city. is location.

If you need a little more outdoor time, you can head to Eagle Creek Park and Nature Preserve, where you can kayak, hike, fish, and zipline. There is also a golf course in the park. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

The Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri is one of the best outdoor vacation spots in the Midwest. If you stay at one of the resorts or cabins in the area, you will be surrounded by water and forest and can fill your days with many outdoor activities.

The Lake of the Ozarks State Park is the largest in Missouri – you can find 85 miles of shoreline, several public beaches, hiking, bird-watching, biking, and boating.

A few days could be used to explore one or all of the four cave systems in the Lake of the Ozarks: Bridal Cave, Stark Caverns, Ozark Caverns, and Jacob’s Cave. While there are thousands of caves in the region, these caves have been adapted for safe trekking.

Three courses are dotted around the lake if you want to get into the beautiful game of golf. For a pleasant evening before the bonfire and stargazing, you can catch a performance at the Ozarks Amphitheater, which adds an excellent entertainment option while enjoying the scenic outdoor view of Missouri. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Traverse City, Michigan

A vacation in Traverse City, Michigan, is excellent for a true getaway. It is a relaxing area with a spa, golf course, and beautiful back roads.

You can also enjoy the luxury resorts and beautiful views near Grand Traverse Bay and then head out to enjoy the natural outdoor playgrounds.

Head to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake shore for a day and tour the famous dunes or go for a swim in Lake Michigan.

You’ll want to spend another day in downtown Traverse City, where you can shop in tiny boutiques and peruse the antique shops and quaint art galleries.

Lake Michigan sunsets are spectacular from Traverse City, so plan to spend a few nights enjoying farm-to-table fare at one of the waterfront restaurants. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Duluth, Minnesota

The Lake Superior port city of Duluth, Minnesota, is an excellent Midwest vacation because it includes the best of the Great Lakes, beautiful outdoors, and a charming downtown experience.

A Duluth vacation is ideal for those who want to enjoy time outside and are looking for a quiet getaway. The city has thousands of acres of parkland and hundreds of miles of hiking trails.

The Lake walk is an excellent place to start in downtown Duluth, as the 7.3-mile walking trail follows the shoreline of Lake Superior. (Midwest Vacations)

Anglers can try some of the 16 designated trout streams around Duluth and hire a guide to learn or improve fly fishing techniques.

You can spend time on the water with a guided kayak tour along the north and south coasts or rent a fat bike or paddle board.

You will want to plan a window of your itinerary to visit Canal Park and watch the ships coming in and out of the port.

Since the scenery in Duluth is so spectacular, you may want to spend a day driving along the Skyline Parkway, a 25-mile scenic byway with great views of the city and Lake Superior. You can make a day of it by stopping by to enjoy the views and the parks along the way. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Mount Rushmore and Rapid City, South Dakota

The Mount Rushmore vacation in South Dakota is one of the most coveted American vacations for residents and international visitors. You can base yourself in Rapid City and visit Mount Rushmore, less than 20 miles away.

A day trip or several to Mount Rushmore should be planned to make the most of your time there. The national park receives over two million visitors a year, and there is so much to see, so it requires a little visitor strategy. (Midwest Vacations)

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, surrounded by the Black Hills, is the focal point of your visit, so it’s worth starting with the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center to learn essential background about the monument, its purpose, and its preservation.

You can take a self-guided tour of the area or participate in ranger talks on site. To avoid large crowds, plan your visit in May, September or October, and try to arrive before 9:30 a.m. or after 3:30 p.m.

Spend the other part of your vacation in Rapid City, where you can experience the history of the Black Hills with a trip on the Black Hills Central Railroad, visit historic sites significant to Native American culture, or visit the Black Hills National Forest.

Rapid City has many other tourist attractions, including the Geology Museum and a thriving arts district. Be sure to walk through the city to see the City of Presidents and try to identify some life-size bronze statues of American presidents. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Cleveland, Ohio

Ohio’s second-largest city, located on the shores of Lake Erie, is an excellent Midwest getaway for those who love sports, music, the arts, and cities that have repurposed industrial areas into modern public and entertainment spaces.

A visit to Cleveland begins with some of the most notable attractions, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Cleveland Botanical Garden. (Midwest Vacations)

With so many teams calling Cleveland home, you’re sure to see sporting events happening in the city almost any given week.

From professional sports like Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians, National Football League Cleveland Browns, and National Basketball Association Cleveland Cavaliers, be sure to pack your logo gear for the excitement that fills the city on game days.

Exploring Cleveland’s diverse ethnic neighborhoods are fun and soaking up the culture that defines each. Start with the historic West Side Market, which houses an early 1900s market with over 100 vendors selling meats, cheeses, baked goods, and specialty products.

There are multicultural neighborhoods to visit in Cleveland, such as the Clark-Fulton area with Hispanic and Latino populations, Little Italy, or Broadway-Slavic Village.

For shopping, visit historic Arcade Cleveland, and for a night of entertainment, head to the iconic Warehouse District for various restaurants and nightlife. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is a city full of surprises; it becomes even more exciting once you discover all its hidden attractions. Begin your Milwaukee trip with a stroll through downtown, the River walk District, and Historic Third Ward.

You’ll find small eateries and the center of the social scene along the streets. Stop by the Milwaukee Public Market, one of the city’s most bustling places to visit and where you can find unique items ranging from spices to gifts.

Take a closer look around the city at the edges of buildings and pedestrian areas for an abundance of Instagram-worthy public art, which makes for a fun and whimsical stroll through the city.

Plan to visit the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum, a remarkable waterfront landmark on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The building is an art piece with a vaulted glass ceiling extending 90 feet into the air, designed to look like wings.

The Harley-Davidson Museum is another Milwaukee attraction, with this iconic American brand running back in time. (Midwest Vacations)

See the evolution of Harley-Davidson’s more than 100 years of history, then stop for a hearty meal at the Motor Restaurant at the museum.

Many quirky things to do in Milwaukee, such as the National Bobble head Hall of Fame and Museum, are worth an hour or two of your time.

You’ve probably heard the term “cheese head” associated with Milwaukee, even if you don’t know much about the city. It refers to the iconic cheese head hat worn by fans of the NFL team, the Green Bay Packers.

You can book a factory and production tour of The Original Cheese head Factory or stop at the small storefront to see all kinds of cheese head merchandise and try on the famous foam hat.

Take advantage of the Milwaukee River, which runs through the city, by booking a kayak tour that includes a history of the city, or take a river cruise at night to see the artsy and illuminated city scape from a new perspective. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Ohio’s Amish Country

The largest Amish population in the United States is in Ohio in the northern part of the state, making it one of the most peaceful and memorable Midwest vacations you can experience.

Holmes County is a great place to base yourself in a quaint bed and breakfast in Millersburg, Charm, Berlin, Walnut Creek or Sugarcreek.

Drive along back country roads and watch the slow pace of life as Amish families work in the fields and do laundry on the line to dry.

Take your time, as you’ll be sharing the road with horses and buggies taking Amish families to the markets. Amish country is famous for its small shops that sell Amish-made furniture, baskets, and baked goods. (Midwest Vacations)

Depending on the time of year, you can pick apples in the local orchards, plan a horseback ride to the family-run farm in winter, or walk through the many connected villages to admire the Swiss and German influence. can drive from. Quiet Amish settlement.

One of the most popular things to do in Amish country is to visit Heaney’s Cheese Chalet or one of the many nearby cheese factories that offer tours and tastings.

Go hungry because you’ll have plenty to sample as you experience one of the other delights of Amish country: the food.

Walnut Creek Cheese is a must-visit when in Walnut Creek. While it serves as a local grocery store, it is a mecca of opportunities for bulk food purchases at low prices, from condiments to cheese.

The best days to visit Amish country are any day except Sunday, as they strictly observe a rest day, and nothing is open. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Branson, Missouri

Branson, Missouri, is perhaps best known for its abundance of live entertainment. It makes for an exciting getaway and a great family-friendly destination in the heart of the Ozarks.

Given the variety of things to do in Branson, from outdoor excursions to live shows and attractions, you can split your time to get a comprehensive experience and taste of the city.

Branson’s has over 100 live entertainment options that cater to all age groups, from comedy and dinner shows to vocal concerts and guest appearances by world-class musicians.

While the lively center of Branson is one of its main attractions, your getaway should include going out into the Ozark Mountains around the city.

There are hundreds of miles of trails to hike, and you can camp under the stars, and fish at Table Rock Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, or Lake Tanakomo.

The Highway 76 Entertainment District and Silver Dollar City amusement park has plenty of family-friendly attractions.

Branson is an easy Midwest getaway to customize, with tons of options to fill your itinerary, and accommodations in the area range from motels and B&Bs to cabins, luxury resorts, and vacation condominiums. (Midwest Vacations)

  1. Omaha, Nebraska

If all this piques your interest, there’s no better way to do it than by visiting Nebraska, where the allure of peace is its therapeutic gift.

You can set yourself up in Omaha and plan day trips from here or simply stop by to enjoy the city’s art, tourist attractions, and hearty food.

Plan to spend a part of your getaway exploring all the things to do in Omaha, starting with Lauritzen Gardens, which has 100 acres of botanical gardens and dedicated areas like the rose section and Victorian gardens.

For some background on the location, it makes sense to opt for a few historic sites and museums, such as the Durham Museum, located inside Omaha’s historic train depot, and the Art Deco Joslin Art Museum, which has marble from around the world on the interior. And on the exterior of the building.

You can’t visit Omaha without seeing the 3,000-foot pedestrian bridge, known as the “bob,” that feeling when you walk on it.

Bob’s is a fun stop because it has a centerpiece in Omaha and connects Nebraska and Iowa so that you can stand simultaneously in two states. Bob certainly poses excellent photos for social media.

Your getaway would not be complete without taking advantage of the incredible stargazing that Nebraska has to offer.

The closest location is at Zorinsky State Park, which has 1,000 acres of forest and low light and is open year-round for stargazing.

Another location is Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, just 30 minutes outside Omaha, where you don’t need a telescope to see the major constellations in the dark skies outside the city.

Explore more images of the Midwest: If you want to extend your vacation to any of the Midwest states, you can stay in our recommended cities and schedule extra time.

Ohio and Illinois are some of the best places to visit, with attractions and activities to fill a vacancy.

If you’re looking for some Midwest outdoor experiences, you can enjoy waterfalls in Wisconsin, ride mountain bike trails in Minnesota, and go swimming near some of Michigan’s great beaches.

We hope you like our article on 18 Top-Rated Midwest Vacations.

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