There are a lot of great summer destinations! Most families plan a trip to one of the coasts to go to the beach, visit amazing theme parks, and check out some of the most populated cities in the country. Others who are more adventurous may hop across the pond and explore another country, while still others may decide to go on a cruise.
These are all great summer vacation ideas, but don’t discount the Midwest! There are many reasons why you might want to visit a state like Missouri, Iowa, or Illinois.
Great Theme Parks
When most people think of theme parks, Disney parks in California and Florida come to mind. Other parks like SeaWorld and Six Flags often make the top of the list, but there are so many other fun theme parks to visit. Many of them are in the Midwest!
For example, Silver Dollar City is one of the best theme parks in the Midwest. Located in Branson, Missouri, this destination includes fun rides like WildFire, a roller coaster that reaches speeds of 66 mph, and the Outlaw Run, a roller coaster that has been called the world’s most daring thanks to its steep drop. This theme park even has a cave at its heart that can be explored!
That’s not the only theme park you can visit! A few other great Midwestern theme parks include:
- Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
- Olympus Water and Theme Park in Wisconsin Dells
- Valleyfair in Shakopee, Minnesota
- Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri
Avoiding crowds when traveling is an art form. Traveling during the off season and doing outdoor activities in the rain are essential tips when traveling to a popular destination, but you’ve got a lot less to worry about when you travel to the Midwest.
Although you’ll still have to deal with crowds, the crowds in the Midwest are more manageable than they are in more popular vacation destinations. In addition, there’s a lot more room to spread out in the Midwest, so although there may be a lot of people out and about, it won’t seem like there are as many compared to densely populated cities, like Orlando or San Francisco.
The Weather is Relatively Nice
Summer is a popular time to travel, and for good reason. You don’t have to deal with frigid temperatures and snow like you would in the winter, but that doesn’t mean summer temperatures are great either. Many popular destinations consistently reach the 90s and higher during the summer months.
It gets hot in the Midwest too, but the heat is usually a bit more manageable. Highs typically reach the 80s and sometimes 90s. Although 100-degree temperatures happen, they aren’t common. It’s just warm enough to enjoy popular summer pastimes, like swimming, but not so hot that you will feel miserable wandering around a theme park.
It’s Not Too Touristy
Have your eye on New York, Florida, or California for your summer vacation? So does everyone else! Popular vacation destinations are swamped with tourists during the summer months, which can make these places feel a lot less authentic.
If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, the Midwest is the place for you. Unlike many parks and beaches on the coasts that are flooded with tourists during the summer months, Midwesterners take advantage of their own theme parks and beaches during the summer. You’ll get to experience the true Midwest surrounded by the people who live there rather than feeling like you’re stuck in a tourist trap.
You’ll Meet New Friends
Worried that being surrounded by locals means you will feel like you don’t fit in? Think again! The Midwest is home to some of the friendliest people in the country. You’ll notice as you walk around that strangers often smile in your direction, wave as they pass you on rural roads, and say high when passing you on a sidewalk or trail. Chances are, you’ll have some wonderful conversations with locals if you’re willing to say hi in a restaurant or a bar.
Not only are Midwesterners friendly in general, but they are also extremely helpful. Whether you’re lost, you’re looking for a great place to eat, or you’re looking for something to do, ask a local and they would be happy to provide you with some great recommendations.
Great Comfort Food
You can find great food all over the country, which means the Midwest is no different. While many coastal destinations have innovative food and genuine ethnic dishes, the Midwest is all about comfort food, some of which you’ll only find in America’s Heartland.
Some dishes you have to try include:
- Beer cheese dip
- Cheese balls
- Cheesy broccoli bake
- Chicago dogs
- Deep dish pizza
- Fried cheese curds
- Gooey butter cake
Small Town America Comes Alive
There are a lot of things to do in the Midwest. Theme parks and water parks are always a favorite, you can find museums, sporting events, and even some great beaches, especially if you vacation near the Great Lakes. Just make sure you pencil in some time to visit at least one small town.
There are hundreds of quaint, beautiful, and fun small towns to explore throughout the Midwest, with each one known for something different. In Mackinac Island, Michigan, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time because cars aren’t allowed on the island, history comes alive in Galena, Illinois where Ulysses S. Grant called home, and you’ll feel like you’re in a western when you travel to South Dakota. Nowhere else in the world does small-town America come to life quite like it does in the Midwest.