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Midwest U.S.

This travel guide to the Midwest USA has everything you need to know about Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The Midwest United States is known as “America’s Heartland” because of its location in the middle of the country and its critical role in the manufacturing and farming industries.

Fun Fact: more than one-quarter of the U.S. presidents are from the Midwest.

This Midwest is known for the Gateway Arch, Great Lakes, Mount Rushmore, Chicago, and the filming site for the movie Field of Dreams.

Ready to plan your trip? Then here’s your ultimate travel guide to the Midwest USA!

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Cities to Visit

Chicago, Illinois

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Kansas City, Kansas

Indianapolis, Indiana

Mackinaw City, Michigan

Madison, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Saint Louis, Missouri

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When To Go

Autumn

Fall is a fantastic season to visit the Midwest because the temperatures have cooled off, but the days are still long and sunny. The foliage will be changing colors, and the national parks are still fully open. Plus, prices and tourist numbers will be decreasing from the peak summer season.

You’ll want layers for the mornings and evenings, and in late-October and November, you’ll need warmer layers for the whole day.

In October, Chicago celebrates its version of Oktoberfest, so make sure you time your trip from some beer tasting!

Winter

Prepare yourself because Winter in the Midwest can be bitterly cold. But the region can also be stunning. You’ll have your pick of ski resorts and snow-blanketed cities. The Lake Superior sea caves turn into ice caves, and Chicago’s famous Christkindlmarket will be open in December.

Many National Parks have partial closing during these months due to weather conditions. So if there’s a specific trek or road trip you want to take, make sure the trails or roads will be accessible in Winter.

Spring

Spring sees the return of mild weather, sunny days, and the region’s famous wildflowers. Roads and trails will re-open, and as long as you avoid the peak Spring Break weeks from mid-March to early April, the crowds and prices will still be relatively low.

The weather can still be cold in the evenings and mornings in March and early April, so make sure you have layers.

Summer

Summer days are hot and sunny, and the nights are warm enough to camp out under the stars at the National parks.

But be aware that, like most places in the U.S., summer is the peak travel season because of school breaks, so crowds and prices will be at their highest.

Chicago ranks as one of my Best Destinations To Visit In August!
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National & State Parks to Visit

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Custer State Park, South Dakota

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin

Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Indiana Dunes State Park, Indiana

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan

Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota

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The Most Scenic Drives

Lake Michigan Shoreline

Needles Highway in South Dakota

Onekama to Empire and the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan

US 2 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

US 61 Winona to Red Wing in Minnesota

Wildlife Loop Road in South Dakota

Wisconsin Great River Road

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Must-Do Excursions

See Mount Rushmore

Tour The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio

Paddle or sail on at least one of the Great Lakes

Do a brewery tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Drive across the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan

See where Field of Dreams was filmed in Dubuque County, Iowa

Spend at least a weekend in Chicago

Tour the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio

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Midwest USA Travel Guide Books

travel guide to the Midwest USA

travel guide to the Midwest USA

travel guide to the Midwest USA

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Shop My Travel Essentials

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Local Foods To Try

Cheese Curds

Barbecue

Deep-Dish Pizza

Ribs

Fish Fry

Reuben Sandwich

Polish Boy

Frozen Custard

Hot Dog

Sugar cream pie

Fat Rice

Beer cheese soup

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Have you been to this region? Comment below with anything you’d add to this Midwest United States travel guide!

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Explore The U.S. By Region

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Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are 3 points of interest in the Midwest?

    Here are the top attractions in the Midwest U.S.

    1. Chicago, Illinois

    2. Mount Rushmore

    3. St. Louis, Missouri

    4. Gateway Arch National Park

    5. Lake Michigan

    6. Badlands National Park

    7. Michigan’s Upper Penninsula

    8. The Field of Dreams filming site

    9. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

    10. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

  • Is there anything to do in the Midwest?

    Yes! There’s so much to see and do in the Midwest U.S. You’ve got beautiful cities such as Chicago, Ann Arbor, and St. Louis. National Parks such as Badlands, Gateway Arch, Voyageurs, and Wind Cave. Plus, this part of the U.S. has some incredible wine regions and beaches around the Great Lakes.

  • Where can I road trip in the Midwest?

    The best scenic drives in the Midwest are:

    1. Lake Michigan Shoreline

    2. Needles Highway in South Dakota

    3. Onekama to Empire and the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan

    4. US 2 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

    5. US 61 Winona to Red Wing in Minnesota

    6. The Wildlife Loop Road in South Dakota

    7. The Wisconsin Great River Road

  • Where should I go for summer vacation in the Midwest?

    The best Midwest destinations for a summer trip are:

    1. Chicago

    2. Mount Rushmore

    3. Wind Cave National Park

    4. Michigan’s Upper Penninsula

    5. Mackinac Island

    6. The Black Hills in South Dakota

    7. St. Louis

    8. The Gateway Arch

    9. A Mississippi River cruise

    10. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

  • What is the Midwest famous for?

    The Midwest is known as “America’s Heartland” because of its location in the middle of the country and its critical role in the manufacturing and farming industries.

    This region is famous for the Gateway Arch, the Great Lakes, Mount Rushmore, Chicago, and the filming site for the movie Field of Dreams.

    Fun Fact: more than one-quarter of the U.S. presidents are from the Midwest.

  • What is the best Midwest state to visit?

    The Midwest is perfect for any trip. If you want large, bustling, metropolitan cities, then Chicago and St. Louis are for you. If you want an epic road trip, then head to Michigan or South Dakota. If you want beaches, then choose anywhere that borders the Great Lakes. And if you want national or state parks for hiking or camping, you could choose to go to any state in the Midwest.

  • Where should I go in the Midwest?

    The top cities to visit in the Midwest are:

    1. Chicago, Illinois

    2. Cleveland, Ohio

    3. Indianapolis, Indiana

    4. Mackinac Island, Michigan

    5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    6. Cincinnati, Ohio

    7. Rapid City, South Dakota

    8. St. Louis, Missouri

  • Where should I go in the Midwest in the fall?

    The best fall getaways in the Midwest are:

    1. Marquette, Michigan

    2. Custer State Park, South Dakota

    3. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

    4. Door County, Wisconsin

    5. Mackinac Island, Michigan

    6. Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

    7. St. Louis, Missouri

    8. Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

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This travel guide to the Midwest USA is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Some of the links in this travel guide to the Midwest USA are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

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