Explore the Heartland: 7 Best Family Vacations in the Midwest

foreign [Music] lower than the legal limit allowed during...

lower than the legal limit allowed
during this summer don't let the
vacation season sink your spirits if
your budget is like a sucky sweater that
cannot stretch much you don't need big
stacks of cash to create magical
memories with your fabulous family our
11 epic budget-friendly family vacation
ideas will provide your fam with a
healthy dose of sunshine to turn the
kiddos Brown upside down welcome to
wonderfully lost the best place for
parents to plan their travel let's take
the plunge shall we number 11. Ocean
Ocean City Maryland
City Maryland do freebie family
activities tickle your fancy then head
over to Maryland Pronto you and your
nearest and dearest can have Oodles of
fun at this family-friendly Beach Town
imagine sinking your teeth into salty
buttery popcorn with a good movie on the
beach or boogieing away at an
action-packed Beach concert Ocean City
is the place to be if watching golden
sunsets on the beach rocks your world
children can spend hours Landing the
ocean for dolphins sounds like heaven
doesn't it engage in some friendly
banter with your fam by taking a
cheerful stroll in the Parks or tuck
into a hearty meal with your loved ones
at the lovely Boardwalk which is a
smashing hit with visitors an impressive
number of restaurants and shops with
knickknacks await you to come along and
browse don't forget to try the yummy
saltwater taffy who says you need tons
of cash to have fun number 10. Yosemite
Yosemite National Park California
National Park California have we got a
bucket load of tips and tricks to Pare
down your budget without compromising on
the fun Factor so get ready the gorgeous
Park is immensely popular for its
picturesque landscape which is every
hiker's dream there are hiking trails
Galore Yosemite some trails are even
stroller friendly which is a big plus if
you have very little kids tip number one
bring your own grub yep Yosemite allows
visitors to bring their own edible
goodies that can save you a ton of money
you can even camp out breathe in the
breathtaking colors of the spectacular
scenery and take in the Rippling and
gushing noises of the cooling waterfalls
with your kids as you sail around on a
bike join your family for a jaunty walk
if you're tired feet can't take you any
further then hop on the shuttle that
allows you to take in the chirpy sights
and sounds of the budget-friendly
getaway you're welcome
Atlanta Georgia
number 9. Atlanta Georgia you don't need
to blow out your budget to Avail the
best big city perks and Atlanta Georgia
with its trimmed out budget Savvy costs
allows you to do just that the city is
simply overflowing with attractions and
historical attractions that's what we
call an affordable education a free tour
is available of Martin Luther King
Juniors Abode at the junior National
Historic Park fill up on local historic
knowledge at the national Center for
civil and human rights this is one
history lesson your kids will not get
enough of want to get away from the
crowds and Mayhem then sue their senses
by hitting the state parks and letting
all your stresses melt away with the
cascading waterfalls watch the
glimmering lights aboard the Skyview
Ferris wheel at Olympic Park number
Orlando Florida
eight Orlando Florida maximum enjoyment
on a minimum budget is the Forte of this
Hub of amusement parks and tourist
attractions your best bet try to pick a
resort that is big on Recreation and
amenities to have a fun-filled hall
holiday you simply can't go wrong with
this combo Universal's Cabana Beach
Resort is perfect for making a big
splash with your kids in a selection of
pools and shooting the breeze in the
Mellow depths of the Lazy River there's
more good news room rates are well below
200 and get this the guest limit is out
of this world three of your kids can
share your room free of cost sideline
the idea to hit the theme parks and go
for the amusement parks instead or hit
the sand at Florida's magnificent
beaches it's a pretty Savvy deal so gear
up to visit the Sunshine State we hope
San Diego California
you're enjoying learning about these
family-friendly vacations don't forget
to subscribe so you can hear more number
7. San Diego California so what makes
San Diego different from all the other
lovely touristy places you can visit on
a shoestring budget well for one San
Diego offers an amazing mix of all kinds
of cool stuff there are theme parks
museums and beaches if you want to
switch things up there are Harbor
Cruises and top attractions like the
stupendous San Diego Zoo what's not to
like and here's the best part you and
your Junior Brigade can safely opt for
the go City all-inclusive pass what it
lacks in exclusivity it makes up for
with up to a 50 discount per person the
pass allows you to access the San Diego
Zoo various museums housed by Balboa
Park as well as Harbor Cruises sail away
to let the Salty Sea Air tickle your
nose or have a wild time at the zoo this
California Locale is the top spot to
make memories on a budget number 6.
Myrtle Beach South Carolina
Myrtle Beach South Carolina what's not
to love about Myrtle Beach it has golden
sand beaches Emerald ocean and a
picture-perfect boardwalk that is made
for a holiday brochure make Barefoot
Landing in North Myrtle Beach your first
stop this will be the launch pad for all
your family vacay Adventures drop in at
the Alligator Adventure Zoo to meet some
sharp toothed crooked friends after your
hair raising Adventure it might be a
good idea to simmer down at the House of
Blues Myrtle Beach feeling the Breezy
Vibe already we feel you if you're
looking for a kid-friendly pocket
friendly option look no further than
Dunes Village Resort with a ginormous
indoor water park your family is going
to worship you for being the fabulous
parent that you are number five
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park Montana
Wyoming Idaho you knew this one was
coming didn't you no family vacation
plan is complete without giving an
honorable mention to this iconic
destination it is bound to be number one
on every kid's list with a wacky
Wildlife that boasts bears Elks moose as
well as Buffalo it's a fascinating place
for kids to Marvel at the Wonders of
Nature and wait till you experience the
hot springs along the likes of grand
prismatic spring and Mammoth Hot Springs
they're truly something else what makes
the park ideal is the sheer number of
cheerful and Cheapo accommodation
options available such as campgrounds in
proximity to the park as well as in the
park itself vacation rentals and hotels
Arcadia National Park Maine
number four Arcadia National Park Maine
the main thing about this amazing stop
in Maine is that you and your toddler
train get to see the stunning beauty of
the coast along with the best of Inland
Landscapes you can't beat that combo now
can you get Spellbound by The Parks of
burst Wildlife get busy with your kids
on the Beehive hike for some
age-appropriate kitty outdoor fun there
are other hiking trails and exciting
Adventures such as swimming canoeing and
riding bikes to keep your family
entertained at all hours whoever came up
with the ingenious idea to plot a
scavenger hunt was right on the mark so
that your young scavengers can have a
ball of a Time
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
number three Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania is a perfect
pocket-friendly Paradise that's a bit of
a tongue twister but it's perfectly true
hit the PPG aquarium or explore the
Children's Museum of Pittsburgh this
great City offers a steady stream of
options which spell fun for the entire
family and did we mention the Pittsburgh
Zoo it will be tough for you and your
family to decide which fantabulous place
you need to visit next and if you're
planning to visit in the summer your
children are in for a treat summers are
Rippling with excitement as the 10-day
Grand Prix featuring vintage cars is in
full swing as are the walking tours you
don't want to miss this Thrill Ride the
freebie subway ride to the downtown area
and Golden Triangle is super budget
friendly the upside Pittsburgh has
plenty of low-cost eating options to
fill your family's tummy the downside we
can't think of any number two the Grand
Grand Canyon Arizona
Canyon Arizona four words the Grand
Canyon National Park not only do you get
to Traverse some of the best hiking
trails in the US accompanied by your
family your kids can also become a part
of the national park services Junior
Ranger program immerse yourself in the
fascinating history of the canyon by
embarking on the trail of time the
russet Hue of the canyon and its height
Trails offer epic views of toe curling
drops they can also face their eyes on
the Colorado River
South Padre Island Texas
number 1. South Padre Island Texas full
points to this piece of Nirvana that
allows families to relax and unwind
minus the Thrills and big Frills of the
big cities the ultimate family-friendly
destination goes easy on your pocket
while offering the perks of a beach
vacay you can drive on a patch of the
beach too that's double the fun hop on
to savor the experience at all the
famous attractions such as South Padre
Island Adventure Park learn about Marine
Turtles at sea turtle or get dazzled by
the Dolphin Watch Eco tour and there you
have it don't despair we're here to pump
some jazz into fizzlin vacation plans so
which of these awesome escapes will your
family be heading to thanks for watching
hey are you a Wanderer yet if not head
on over to our travel blog at
wonderfully losttravel.com

The Midwest may not always be the first place that comes to mind when you think of family vacations, but this region is packed with hidden gems just waiting to be explored. The Midwest’s American charm is showcased through its expansive and captivating scenery, stretching from the Great Plains of North Dakota to the rivers, shorelines, and islands of Michigan and Ohio.

This region is a treasure trove of quaint towns, national parks, historic landmarks, and lively cities, all brimming with cultural experiences and culinary delights suitable for the entire family.

So, if you’re ready to ditch the traditional tourist traps and embark on an adventure that your family will never forget, pack your bags and get ready for some Midwest marvels! Here are the 7 best family vacations in the Midwest;

Make sure to go all the way through to our surprise #1 Chicago.

This post includes affiliate links. It’s super important for us to be transparent with our Wanderers! If you click on one, we may receive a small, but wanderful commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for WANDERING with us!

7. Mackinac Island, Michigan

From the moment you step off the ferry onto Mackinac Island, you will realize that this place is special. It’s one of the few spots on Earth where you won’t hear the distant hum of engines or the impatient honking of horns. That’s right, there are no cars allowed. None! Just horses, bicycles, and good old-fashioned foot power. The result? A serene escape from the everyday hustle and bustle.

Mackinac Island is also world-famous for its fudge, and for good reason. You can’t turn a corner without encountering a fudge shop, each one offering a dizzying array of flavors. Watch in awe as expert fudge-makers work their magic, and make sure to sample some of the island’s delectable, melt-in-your-mouth creations.

With more than 70 miles of paved and unpaved trails, Mackinac Island is perfect for riders of all skill levels. You will have a blast exploring the island’s picturesque landscapes, from dense forests to stunning shoreline views. There’s even a paved, eight-mile path that takes you around the island, providing the perfect opportunity for family bonding while taking in the beauty of Lake Huron.

For the history buffs, take a tour of the famous Grand Hotel, where the movie “Somewhere in Time” was filmed. Or visit Fort Mackinac, a living piece of history where reenactments of 18th-century military life bring the past to life. Your kids will be so enthralled with the history, they will forget they’re learning something!

6. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Lake Geneva, as the name suggests, is the crown jewel of this destination. The lake itself is like something out of a postcard. Its crystal-clear waters, surrounded by rolling hills and elegant lakeside homes, are enough to make for a memorable family outing. Families can set sail on a boat tour, go fishing, or enjoy a lazy day at one of the many public beaches. Lake Geneva offers a watery wonderland for kids and adults alike.

One of the best spots to soak up the lakeside atmosphere is Riviera Beach. Here, you can build sandcastles, take a dip in the clear waters, or stroll along the scenic Lake Geneva Shore Path. But here’s the fun part: The Ice Cream Challenge!

You and your family can embark on a quest to try the best ice cream in town. With multiple ice cream parlors competing for your taste buds, it’s the perfect way to keep cool and have some sweet family fun.

Lake Geneva’s downtown is as charming as it gets. The quaint streets are lined with boutique shops, unique eateries, and cozy cafes. Take a leisurely walk and explore the specialty shops, like the Cornerstone Shop & Gallery or Delaney Street Mercantile, where you’ll find one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

5. Branson, Missouri

Branson is often referred to as the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World.” And believe us, it’s a title they take seriously. You will find shows that cater to all tastes, whether you are into toe-tapping country tunes, magic that will leave you scratching your head in awe, or comedians who will have you rolling in the aisles.

For a feel of what it was like in the 19th Century, head to Silver Dollar City. This unique theme park is a history lesson disguised as an amusement park, where you can hop on thrilling roller coasters, watch skilled craftsmen at work, and even try your hand at panning for gold.

For outdoorsy families, Branson’s got you covered. Marvel at the awe-inspiring caves in the area, like Marvel Cave and Talking Rocks Cavern, where you will explore stunning formations. Or, take a boat ride on Table Rock Lake, surrounded by the Ozarks’ stunning beauty. Hiking, biking, and fishing are also on the menu. The great outdoors here are the perfect backdrop for unforgettable family bonding moments.

No vacation is complete without indulging in some local cuisine. Branson’s dining scene offers everything from finger-lickin’ BBQ joints to all-you-can-eat buffets that will leave you wondering how they fit an entire farm onto a single plate.

4. Traverse City, Michigan

There’s no better place to kick off your Midwest family adventure than in Traverse City, Michigan. With miles of pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and stunning vineyards, Traverse City has something to offer for everyone.

The local cherry orchards are a playground for the young and old, where you can pluck ruby-red cherries straight from the trees. It’s the kind of fruit-picking experience that will make your kids forget they ever wanted to play with their iPads.

Lake Michigan is your backyard when you are in Traverse City, and the beaches are as pristine as they come. Pack a picnic and head to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where you can take a dune climb that will leave your kids exhausted (in a good way) and with a newfound appreciation for sand.

Traverse City is also an aquatic wonderland. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and venture into the crystal-clear waters of the local rivers. Whether you are a seasoned paddler or a newbie, Traverse City’s calm waterways are perfect for a family adventure.

Once you’ve had your fill of cherry picking, beach bumming, and paddling, it’s time to explore the town itself. Traverse City is a haven of art galleries, boutiques, and local shops. It’s a place where you can let your family’s inner shopaholics run wild as you discover unique souvenirs and gifts that you won’t find anywhere else.

For families that enjoy outdoor activities, Traverse City has an abundance of hiking and biking trails. Take a stroll through the picturesque vineyards or opt for a more challenging hike in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

3. Kansas City, Missouri

When you think of family vacations, Kansas City might not be the first destination that pops into your mind. But let’s face it, the City of Fountains, as it’s lovingly called, knows a thing or two about turning ordinary vacations into smokin’ good memories.

Kansas City is the Holy Grail of BBQ. Seriously, when you are in a city that claims to have the best barbecue in the world, you are in for a treat. The BBQ joints here are like Hogwarts for meat lovers – only instead of magic, they serve up racks of succulent ribs, tender brisket, and pulled pork sandwiches that will have you convinced you just tasted heaven. Take the family on a saucy adventure, trying out local favorites like Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que, Q39, or Arthur Bryant’s.

Kansas City doesn’t just satisfy your culinary cravings; it also caters to your cultural appetite. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a must-visit, boasting an impressive collection of art that can captivate both art aficionados and curious kids. And for those curious minds, Science City at Union Station is like an amusement park of knowledge, with interactive exhibits that turn learning into playtime.

If your kids are more into furry friends than fine art, the Kansas City Zoo is a wild family adventure. From penguins to pandas, the zoo offers an opportunity to explore diverse ecosystems and get up close and personal with incredible animals. Don’t forget to check out the Tropics Exhibit, where your family can walk through a lush rainforest filled with vibrant birds and playful primates.

Get your groove on and introduce your kids to the blues and jazz scene of 18th & Vine Jazz District. Whether they are tapping their feet to a lively jazz band or swaying to soulful blues tunes, your little ones will experience a rich musical culture that’s steeped in history.

2. Door County, Wisconsin

Door County is the perfect blend of scenic beauty, outdoor escapades, and cheese curds. This charming peninsula, located in the heart of the Midwest, is a hidden gem that offers more than just stunning lakeside views and charming small towns – it’s a destination that turns family vacations into unforgettable adventures.

When in Wisconsin, do as the Wisconsinites do: eat cheese and lots of it. Start your day with a hearty breakfast of cheese curds and coffee at a local café, and your taste buds will be singing with joy.

For the active, outdoor-loving family, Door County is a haven of natural beauty and recreational activities. You can hike in Peninsula State Park, where you’ll discover stunning views of Lake Michigan and Green Bay, or rent a kayak and explore the pristine waters of the bay. And, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, go on a thrilling zip-lining excursion in one of the area’s adventure parks.

Door County boasts more lighthouses than you can shake a stick at. With eleven picturesque lighthouses dotting the peninsula, it’s a lighthouse enthusiast’s dream come true. It is also home to an array of quaint, picturesque towns, each with its unique charm.

Stroll through Fish Creek, where you can shop for local crafts and enjoy a scoop of homemade ice cream. Or head to Sister Bay, where you can witness goats grazing on the grass-covered roof of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant.

To cap off your day of family fun, make sure to catch one of Door County’s mesmerizing sunsets. The breathtaking colors dancing across the sky provide a serene backdrop for reflection and family bonding. Set up a picnic, bring your favorite playlist, and enjoy the ultimate sunset serenade while making lasting memories with your loved ones.

1. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago isn’t just known for its strong breezes; it’s also renowned for its rich culture, amazing food, and endless possibilities for family fun. The moment you land in Chicago, you’re thrust into an epic culinary showdown that’s perfect for family debates: deep-dish pizza vs. the Chicago-style hot dog.

Take the family to one of the iconic pizzerias like Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, or Gino’s East, and see whose eyes light up with cheesy delight. And when you’re ready to chase down your slice of heaven with an all-beef hot dog, head to a classic Chicago hot dog joint, and see whose eyes widen in amazement at the dazzling array of toppings, from pickles to peppers to poppy seed buns.

Chicago bustles with exceptional museums that some have labeled it the “City of Museums.” Families are spoiled for choice with world-class museums catering to various interests. Start with the Museum of Science and Industry, where kids can enjoy interactive exhibits and a real-life U-505 submarine.

Feeling artsy? The Art Institute of Chicago has an impressive collection of masterpieces, including Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.” Don’t forget to explore the Field Museum and marvel at the Sue the T. Rex exhibit, and then pay a visit to Shedd Aquarium, where you can get up close and personal with aquatic creatures.

Navy Pier is your one-stop shop for a jam-packed day of family entertainment. Explore the iconic Ferris wheel for stunning views of the city, and enjoy the seasonal attractions like Winter WonderFest or the summer fireworks display. You can even take a scenic boat tour on Lake Michigan right from the pier.

Chicago might not be the first place you think of for a beach vacation, but its lakefront offers an array of sandy stretches. Hit up Oak Street Beach, North Avenue Beach, or Montrose Beach for some sun-soaked family fun.

The kids can build sandcastles, while you relax under the shade of a beach umbrella. If you are feeling more adventurous, explore the Lakeshore Trail for a family bike ride or rollerblading session along Lake Michigan’s stunning coastline.

So there you have it, a delightful array of Midwest family vacations that will leave your clan with memories to cherish for a lifetime. Whether you’re into cherries, BBQ, lakeside serenity, live entertainment, or a little bit of everything, the Midwest offers it all. It’s time to swap out your beach towels for BBQ bibs and set your course for a family adventure in the heart of America.

And if you’re curious about what travel essentials to pack for your upcoming journey, make sure to read our blog on ‘10 Travel Essentials for a Long Flight.’ These items will make your flight more comfortable and enjoyable.

At the end of a long flight, your next destination might be a beautiful beach. If you’re planning a beach vacation, don’t forget to check out our blog on the ‘Top 5 Beach Tents for Sun Protection and Comfort.’ It’s packed with essential tips to keep you shaded and relaxed on the shore.

Happy travels!

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