With Easter behind us and May on the horizon, we’ve reached one of the greatest times of the year: summer vacation season! While school is out, nearly half of Americans will travel to a spectacular summer destination to relax, let loose, and have fun. But before you break out your shorts and sunglasses from their winter hiding spots, it’s time to sit down and plan out your summer trip. No matter what your idea of fun is, the Midwest is a great destination for your family trip.
Here are some of our favorite midwestern summer vacation spots:
Mackinaw City, MI (pictured)
This city, located on the northern tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula, is everything your family needs to unplug, relax, and leave your worries behind. With beautiful blue waters, scenic views of the great lakes, and tons of history to enjoy, you will love every minute spent in this village. Take a day trip via ferry to the car-free Mackinac Island, take a boat cruise around a beautiful lighthouse, face your fears on a zip line, explore the nearby Headlands International Dark Sky Park, and so much more!
This city on the shores of Lake Erie is perfect for the family that seeks adventure. Home to the world-famous Cedar Point amusement park, known as the Roller-Coaster Capital of the World, this city is bursting with opportunities for fun. There are several water parks to choose from (or visit them all!), multiple museums, or your family can simply enjoy the wildlife in and around Lake Erie. The charming historic buildings and crystal blue waters are sure to make for fantastic photos!
This unique South Dakota park is known for it’s striking beauty and wealth of fossils. Whether you prefer camping or traditional lodging, the amenities you need are not too far out of reach. Enjoy one of the many hikes, while stopping to bird watch along the way, enroll the kids in a junior ranger program to teach them about the park and conserving our planet, or hold hands with a loved one for some of the best stargazing you’ll find in America. With over 300 species of wildlife known to inhabit the park, you never know what you’ll see!
We’ve talked about the Roller-Coaster Capital of the World, but what if water parks are more your style? The Wisconsin Dells is the perfect fit for you! Known as the Waterpark Capital of the World, the region is home to a multitude of indoor water parks, golf courses, breweries and wineries, and animal-related attractions. Choose to stay in the middle of the fun at one of the water park resorts, or enjoy a secluded cabin overlooking the Wisconsin River.
As a bonus - if you head north on I-39, stop by Bull Falls Brewery in Wausau - you won't regret it!
Bourbon-, cuisine-, baseball-, and horse lovers, alike, will all enjoy what Louisville has to offer! Home to Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, this city actually has quite the foodie scene with top-rated restaurants all around town. And, whether you prefer craft beer or bourbon, Louisville has you covered. Bottle some yourself and take it home to share with your friends!
Been dreaming about hitting the beach, but don’t want to fly all the way to the coast? Your solution liesin Indiana. Located on Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes offer sandy beaches perfect for relaxing, playing volleyball, and trying new watersports. There are a number of hiking trails, and inland activities available as well, such as museums, amusement parks, a great shopping scene, and a variety of different entertainment options. If you’re looking for fun in the sun, the Indiana Dunes are a winner!