Midwest Region Vacations

If you are planning your next family vacation, consider visiting the midwest region of the United States. The midwest states offer something for the history buffs, sports fans, outdoor enthusiasts or those just looking to explore a bustling city. With a little planning, your midwest vacation will be a fun adventure for everyone in the family.

Chicago, Ill.
One of the best spots for your next midwest family vacation is Chicago. The city is full of kid friendly attractions for all ages. Head to Notebaert Nature Museum to learn about conservation and how to live a green lifestyle. Kids can check out the 17,000 square feet of rooftop gardens, solar rooftop panels and climbing vines. Visit the city's Navy Yard for a ride on the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel or cruise along the water on a Lake Michigan boat cruise for a spectacular view of Chicago's skyline. Don't forget to visit one of the last remaining free admission zoos in the country, the Lincoln Park Zoo.

If your children enjoy a little culture lesson, check out the city's architecture on a guided tour. As the birthplace of the modern building, you can learn about some of the area's architects including Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Helmut Jahn. If your family enjoys music and dance, catch a show at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

St. Louis, Mo.
St. Louis is another great midwest travel destination for the family. The city offers many free attractions, which is sure to make your wallet happy. Check out the interactive exhibits at the Saint Louis Science Center, get in touch with your child's inner artist at the Saint Louis Art Museum, or make faces at the monkeys at the Saint Louis Zoo. Experience the beauty of a National Historic Landmark at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The 79 acres of scenic landscape include a tropical rain forest and Japanese garden. Don't leave out the NASCAR lovers in the family. Head to the Gateway International Raceway, home to NHRA POWERade Drag Racing, NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series and the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

If mom and dad want a little alone time, tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery for a taste of some delicious brews, view the world's largest collection of mosaic art at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis or bike along the riverfront and KATY trails. A romantic trip through St. Louis is not complete without a visit to the Gateway Arch Riverfront, where couples can take a tram ride to the top, visit the Lewis & Clark exhibit in the museum or go shopping.

Indianapolis, Ind.
Indianapolis is a great destination for your next midwest vacation if you have sports fanatics in your family. The city is home to many annual sporting events, as well as home to numerous top notch athletic facilities. Get a true racing experience as you cross the finish line of the famous Indianapolis 500 or ice skate any time of the year on the indoor Olympic Rink. Ever had dolphins swim above your head? If you visit the Indianapolis Zoo, you can watch the animals swim in the world's first fully submerged viewing chamber. Examine Native American and Western art at the Eiteljorg Museum or experience what life was like in the 19th century at the Conner Prairie, a living history museum.

Sandusky and Lake Eerie Islands, Ohio
Sandusky and Lake Eerie Islands are the perfect spots for the adventure seekers and water lovers in your family. Sandusky is home to Cedar Point Amusement Park, where the family can experience the thrills of 17 roller coasters. When the kids have gotten their fill from cotton candy and death-defying drops, hop on the ferry and head to Kelleys Island. Take a quiet stroll along berry patches or bike the nature trails. A quick tram ride will take you to Inscription Rock, where you can view Native American petroglyphs dating back 300 to 400 years or visit Glacial Grooves State Memorial, which claims to be the world's largest visible glacier trail.

If you want a little more hustle and bustle, head to South Bass Island. You can cool off by hopping in the lake at South Bass Island State Park's Stone Beach. The kids will love the Butterfly Museum, where they can walk through hundreds of the colorful creatures.

Mount Rushmore, S.D.
It's almost impossible to plan a midwest vacation without visiting the Mount Rushmore National Monument. The half-mile Presidential Trail offers you the best view of the carved faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Head to your next history lesson at the nine-story Crazy Horse Memorial, a tribute to the leader of the Lakota tribe. When the monument is completed, it will be the world's largest mountain carving. If you stay until dusk, you can view the laser show, where images are projected onto the stone. Want to see where the buffalo roam? Take a safari ride through Custer State Park or tour two of the country's longest caves, Wind Cave and Jewel Cave.

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