The Best Midwest Trip Ideas for Every Type of Traveler
Explore the Midwest according to your interests. We've curated the best destinations across all Midwest states—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin—so you can have a memorable escape that aligns with your travel goals and the experiences you crave.
The Midwest is a wonderful place to raise kids, and it also delivers great family getaways in destinations like the Black Hills, Indianapolis, the Twin Cities, Chicago, Dubuque, Milwaukee and more. Interactive museums, zoos, parks, sculpture gardens, aquariums and sports experiences give tiny travelers a glimpse of the world around them and let their imaginations soar. Plus, you'll cherish the memories you make during a Midwest family vacation forever.
Your mission: Reconnect with your besties. That may take the form of antiquing, lounging poolside, wine tasting and painting the town—or a combination of all the above. Fortunately, the Midwest's exciting cities and small towns offer a wealth of trip ideas for friends of all ages and interests (mother-daughter duos, too!).
Travel makes the heart grow fonder, and these romantic Midwest destinations are certain to bring the two of you closer together. Retreat to a cabin or lodge in the wilderness, enjoy a pampering spa-themed retreat or make yourself right at home in a new and exciting city. We've found 50 of the best spots for you and your partner to find your bliss.
Whether your prairie-style garden is the talk of the block or you're an avid orchid collector, the Midwest is home to an impressive variety of arboretums and botanical gardens worth planning a trip around.
A quick weekend getaway can be a budget-friendly stratgy to see a new place, and with the Midwest's connectivity, it's easy to cover a lot of ground in just a few hours. Explore a historical district, find your thrill at an amusement park, travel the pathways of pioneers and experience world-class museums at some of our favorite Midwest weekend escapes.
For Lake Lovers
Life's better at the lake, especially in the Midwest. Michigan's 3,200 miles of sparkly shoreline touch more territorial water than any state in the Lower 48. The mighty Great Lakes may be the Midwest's most famous string of beaches, but there are many others to add to your visit list: Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks, Minnesota's North Shore and Wisconsin's Apostle Islands and the Dells, to name a few. Find serenity at a lake resort and make waves at one of these top Midwest lake destinations.
For Active Travelers
With four true seasons, the Midwest offers explorers myriad opportunities to explore. In warmer months, hike otherworldly rock formations at the Badlands; follow sandy trails along mountainous dunes in Michigan; paddle through shoreline caves in Wisconsin; float along cool, clear waters in Missouri; and bike through a green oasis in Ohio. Scenic fall drives lead to showstopping Midwest foliage. And in winter, the region's outdoor festivals and activities are just as thrilling—if you can tolerate the cold.
For Wellness Enthusiasts
When you need to relax and recharge, turn to these top spa and wellness destinations around the Midwest. Spa treatments, massages, hot springs, yoga, meditation, nourishing meals and more await at these restorative escapes.
For Small-Town Discoveries
Our editors have frequented the Midwest's small towns for more than 30 years. See our favorite spots to find coastal charm, enjoy memorable meals, discover amazing art, shop on historic main streets and more.