Midwest road trip ideas for a traveler who wants the best out of a water, woods, and city vacation.
Aptly nicknamed the American Heartland, the Midwest offers an open and welcoming landscape for the curious traveler, no matter what they say on the East and West coasts. Are you looking for a vacation on the water, in the woods, or in a big city? These Midwest road trip ideas make for a great adventure!
Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska
Automobile enthusiasts must stop by Carhenge, the unique art structure built by Jim Reinders out of antique automobiles just outside of Alliance. Thirty-eight vehicles were assembled in 1987 to replicate Stonehenge with the same proportions in regard to physical size and placement.
Additional art structures, known as the Car Art Reserves, have been erected throughout the years. Using car parts, structures were formed in the shapes of a salmon, a whale, and a dinosaur!
Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri
If you love animals, there’s no better destination than the free St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park. From insects to elephants, the zoo has creatures that all members of your family will enjoy. Kids of all ages can sign up to be an Engineer for a Day on the St. Louis Zoo Railroad, assuming all duties of the train engineers.
While in Forest Park, stop by the St. Louis Art Museum, where admission is also free, and if you visit on a Friday, the featured exhibit is available at no cost, as well. Collections include art by Degas, Monet, van Gogh, and Picasso.
After a long day enjoying the zoo and museum, head over to the Hill, the city’s Italian section, for a hearty dinner and a glass of wine.
Villisca Axe Murder House and Museum, Villisca, Iowa
Those who enjoy mysteries might like a drive to the Villisca Axe Murder House and Museum in Southwestern Iowa. In 1912, someone brandishing an axe snuck into the home of Josiah Moore and murdered him, his wife, and his six children. The murders went unsolved, and the house went untouched. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it was restored to its 1912 condition, and tourists began to flock to the house in the hopes of witnessing paranormal activity.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Looking for a great time in both the sand and the surf? Check out the town of Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. The 5,500-square-acre Geneva Lake is a fantastic road trip destination for those who enjoy water sports. Consider boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, and parasailing. There are four beaches to choose from if you care more for fun on the sand. For those who enjoy diving, try your luck at the two shipwrecks at the bottom of the lake.
Second City, Chicago, Illinois
Enjoy a good laugh? Considered one of the most influential comedy centers and specializing in improvisational techniques, Second City is gem in Chicago. Sets include scripted, improvised, and semi-improvised material, and with talent such as Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and Gilda Radner once performing on stage, you could bet that every set is roll-on-the-floor funny. A special dinner package is available as an option when purchasing tickets. The box office will make reservations for ticket holders at restaurants within walking distance of the comedy club.
Strataca, Hutchinson, Kansas
Strataca, which is perhaps better known as the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, is 67 miles long and inside of a 400-foot-thick block of salt 650 feet underground. The elevator ride down to the mine is pitch black, and is the scariest part of the tour for most visitors. The Underground Vaults and Storage company have been stockpiling items in the salt mine for years, as the constant temperature of 68 degrees and 40% humidity is perfect for preservation. While visitors are not allowed into the vaults, there is a small exhibit that showcases what the larger, secure vaults would be like. Be sure to stay with the tour!
Hall of Heroes Super Hero Museum, Elkhart, Indiana
A two-story replica of the Hall of Justice from the 1970s Superfriends collection houses one of the world’s largest collections of comic books and superhero paraphernalia. Inside the museum, slide down the Batpole into the Batcave or peruse more than 100 original works of art from famous comic artists. Admission is by appointment only, so don’t forget to call ahead of time.
Ohio Amish Country
Popular year round, Ohio’s Amish country is among the great Midwest road trip ideas for those in search of a simple, timeless vacation. Depending on the time of year, visitors will witness planting, harvesting, or maple sugar season. Be sure to check out the handcrafted Amish furniture and household goods and sample the homemade chocolates and cheeses. Ohio is home to 24% of the country’s Amish population, and there are many counties spread throughout the state. If you’re unsure where to start, try the popular Holmes County in the heart of Amish Country.
It’s impossible to mention all of the road-trip-worthy destinations in the center of this beautiful country. Whether you want to enjoy small-town charm or big city sparkle, these states will deliver. Just remember to check your auto insurance policy before you get on the road. At Pekin Insurance, we take special care to provide affordable car insurance and quality coverage. Play it safe and contact us for more information.
What are some Midwest road trip ideas you’ve discovered while traveling across the United States? Let us know in the comment section!