The Midwest might not be as popular of a vacation destination as places like the West Coast or the East Coast, but this area of the United States is home to several hidden gems that make amazing getaways.
1. Badlands National Park
Head over to South Dakota to experience this beautiful national park. This National Park makes an amazing vacation destination for visitors of all kinds. It’s home to some of the most stunning rock formations in the United States as well as a variety of camping/hiking spots and wildlife. Some of the interesting animals you can look forward to potentially seeing at badlands are black-footed ferrets, bison, and deer.
2. Weston, Missouri
If you’re looking for some genuine small-town charm, Weston, Missouri is the place for you. This town is home to countless historic buildings including gorgeous old homes and an old distillery, making it a fantastic way to get away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities. Despite the town’s quaint size and old-fashioned charm, though, there’s plenty to do as well. Some popular things to do in Weston include wine tasting, antiquing, and skiing in the colder months. There’s also a variety of small boutique-style shops in the center of the town that are perfect for finding some unique gifts or souvenirs. The serenity of this town, as well as the number of laid-back activities, make this spot worth a visit.
3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Located in Michigan, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is the perfect spot for a waterfront getaway. You can look forward to sparkling waters bordered by stunning rock formations and greenery. This area sits on Lake Superior, and there’s no shortage of memorable activities. Some of the more popular ones include kayaking – especially near the Pictured Cliffs – boating, and hiking. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore can make an amazing day trip. If you’re looking to stay several days, though, it’s a great destination for that as well. You’ll be able to enjoy a variety of lodging options nearby, including campsites, hotels, and rentals.
4. Meramec Caverns
This truly stunning national wonder in Missouri is more than worth a visit. Meramec Caverns is the largest commercial cave in the state. The entire cave structure stretches seven stories, and a walking tour of the caverns takes approximately an hour and a half. The caverns are well lit and trails mostly level, and tours are guided by experienced rangers, making this a great option for visitors of a variety of ages. Strollers are not allowed within the cavern, however. Tickets can be purchased online.
5. Starved Rock State Park
Located a few hours outside of Chicago, Starved Rock State Park is the perfect option for a serene and beautiful dip into nature. One of the best times to visit is in the spring – the park is home to several seasonal waterfalls and spring is the best time to visit to see them fully flowing. There’s plenty to do year-round though, and each season brings its own delights. The park frequently enjoys a beautiful blanket of snow in the colder months, while the changing of the season in the fall brings stunning foliage. If you’re looking to stay for a few nights, the park is also home to Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center.
6. The Henry Doorly Zoo
The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska has been called one of the best zoos in the world. This is thanks to its amazing work in conservation as well as providing high-quality homes to a variety of animals. Some of the many animals you can look forward to viewing include gorillas, sea lions, and elephants. The zoo also offers a variety of memorable experiences in addition to viewing animals. Examples include a 70-foot shark tunnel, a carousel, and a giant theatre.
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