Best of the Upper Midwest: 10 Fun Destinations for the Whole Family

This is a guest blog post by Hydaway ambassador Zelphia Peterson. Follow her on Instagram @z_claire29.

If you were born and raised in the midwest, you’ve heard the saying “Midwest is Best.” Which, by the way, is completely true. We may not have the glitz and glamour of New York or LA, but we’ve got down-home roots, a laid back atmosphere, friendly natives, and incredible natural resources. We also happen to be extremely family friendly. This is a list of some of our family’s favorite sites from our many years of road tripping around the midwest together. So, get packed, get buckled, and make your next destination somewhere in the Midwest!

1. Upper Peninsula, MI. While it’s the upper peninsula of Michigan state, it’s actually the south shore of Lake Superior. Warmer water temperatures and beautiful scenery make for the perfect summer outdoor adventure. Check out the mammoth Porcupine Mountains State Park for great hiking and camping in real yurts!

2. Chicago, IL
. Easily the midwest’s largest city, Chicago is big city on a midwest scale. With world class museums, a hopping nightlife, and a Hershey’s candy store to delight everyone’s sweet tooth, it’s fun stop. Extra points if you ride the L, Chicago’s public transit train.

3. Six Flags, IL. The largest amusement park in the Midwest. If your family is into roller coasters, look no further. They’ve got something for everyone, and enough variety to keep you occupied and slightly dizzy all day.

4. Wisconsin Dells, WI. If you haven’t been to Wisconsin Dells before, it’s kind of hard to describe. A midwest staple, it’s kind of like a town comprised of mega-waterpark resorts and tourist attractions. There are heated debates on which waterpark is actually the best, but the family fun is guaranteed.

5. Apostle Islands, WI. For the adventurous at heart, the Apostle Islands are a great option. The rocky islands nestled into lake superior offer some of the best outdoor recreation around, including hiking, camping, biking, and kayaking.

6. Amana Colonies, IA. This collection of seven villages in Iowa is a unique historical stop. Artisans and shops, authentic restaurants, historical preservations, and cute B&B’s make this a great stopping point if you’re crossing the state of cornfields.

7. Duluth, MN. The crown jewel of Minnesota, you can’t miss this if you want to truly say you’ve been to the state. It’s the gateway to the charming and scenic north shore of Minnesota’s stretch of Lake Superior, and has plenty of great shopping, tasty bites, and family activities.

8. Southeastern MN. Before you laugh and say this sounds like a bore, hear me out. The bluff country along the Mississipi river is gorgeous, and the rolling farmland is beautiful to behold. Several state parks preserve the scenery, and contain  attractions like Mystery Cave, and Niagra Cave, and Forestville Historical site. Lanesboro is a fun little town to visit nearby, which also happens to be in a predominantly Amish county. This makes for a great place to find furniture, fresh veggies, and beautiful home-made goods.

9. Minuteman Missile State Historic Site, ND. An unconventional but utterly fascinating stop on any road trip through and otherwise uneventful state. How often do you get to say that you’ve been inside a real life missile bunker? Although no longer an active site, the guided tours show you military life underground during the Cold War, and how servicemen prepared and guarded atomic weapons.

10. Mount Rushmore/Badlands, SD. This is pretty much a classic. See the iconic faces in granite, marvel at the ongoing construction of the Crazy Horse memorial nearby, watch in awe as herds of bison cross the road in Custer State Park, and enjoy the stark beauty of the badlands. This is road tripping at it’s finest.

This is just the start each state has so much to see and do! Check out our past blog post for an Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities if you’re looking for a more in-depth look at another great location in the midwest. And as always, if you’ve got other ideas or suggestions, let us know!


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