The Midwest doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being the most exciting part of the United States, but Midwestern states cover a vast amount of territory and include some of the most amazing natural beauty and exciting cities in America. If you head to the landlocked states north of the Ohio River and east of the Rockies, you may experience a vacation you’ll never forget.
Take Part in a Convention in Indianapolis
Image via Flickr by Serge Melki
Indianapolis, Indiana, sits at a major crossroads: south of Chicago, east of St. Louis, west of Columbus, and north of Louisville. The city never had a major industry aside from agriculture and hospitality. Beginning in the ’70s, the city marketed itself as a destination for sports lovers and conventions held by every industry and fandom. Stop by the city during the Indianapolis 500 if you want to see the city come alive during this exciting event.
Get Away from Everything in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is heavily settled, especially near Detroit and Lake Michigan. But much of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is as wild and forested as the days when European fur traders sailed Lake Superior.
State and national forest areas protect the thick trees of the peninsula. Since tiny towns dot the highways and the shores of Lake Superior, you won’t have to spend a night in a tent unless you want to. And if you’re willing to brave the roads during the winter, you can see the rare and beautiful frozen falls that line the lake.
Explore the Source at Lake Itasca
Image via Flickr by tvdxer
Minnesota is the state of 10,000 lakes, and one of them happens to be the headwaters of the Mississippi River. In the northern part of the state, farther north than most of the Upper Peninsula, you can find the oldest state park in Minnesota: Itasca State Park. You can swim, hike, or camp by the shores of Itasca. When you’re done, you can drive down U.S. Routes 71, 10, and 61 to follow the river south and watch as the impressive bluffs of the Upper Mississippi grow around you.
Get Cultured in Columbus
Columbus, Ohio, isn’t particularly famous for any one attraction (except Ohio State University), but it’s the second-largest city in the Midwest behind Chicago. In Columbus, you can find world-class museums, libraries, parks, and historical attractions, plus the city has one of the best zoos in the country. Since many tourists overlook the city in their travels to Chicago, you’ll also find better traffic conditions. Don’t forget to use travel resources such as Hotel Planner to find good rates on Columbus hotels so that you can enjoy a multi-day experience in the city.
Midwestern destinations may not pay for massive tourism ad campaigns, but plenty of cities and state parks in the region can give you an unforgettable vacation. The prices are lower, the crowds are smaller, and the experiences you’ll be able to take home with you will be all the more memorable because few of your friends will have seen anything similar.