Top 7 State Parks in the Midwest for Family Adventures 2024

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

The Midwest has often been labeled as “flyover country,” a region observed from the air but often overlooked for ground exploration. But those familiar with the Midwest argue that this characterization has its advantages. It means fewer crowds in some of the US‘ most picturesque state parks.

Across Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri, you will discover expansive old-growth forests, ancient million-year-old sandstone gorges, roaming bison, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes.

One of the best ways to experience the region’s diverse ecosystems and outdoor recreation opportunities is by visiting its state parks. These diverse outdoors makes the Midwest a haven for adventurous families looking for off-the-beaten destinations. To help ease your search, we have compiled a list of 7 state parks in the Midwest worth exploring.

Make sure to go all the way through to our surprise #1 Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

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. Indiana Dunes State Park, Indiana

Nestled along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes is a hidden gem offering a perfect blend of pristine beaches, towering dunes, and diverse ecosystems. One of the most thrilling activities at Indiana Dunes is climbing the iconic dunes.

Challenge the family to conquer the 125-foot “Mount Tom,” offering panoramic views of the lake and surrounding landscape. The exhilarating climb is an adventure in itself, and sliding down the dunes is a favorite among kids (and adults too!).

Indiana Dunes State Park has a network of family-friendly hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. The Dune Ridge Trail is particularly accessible and offers captivating views without a strenuous climb. Pack a picnic and hike through the tranquil woods, spotting birds and wildlife along the way. The trails provide an excellent opportunity for the family to connect with nature.

The park is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 350 species recorded. Kids will be fascinated by the chance to spot unique bird species and other wildlife, creating lasting memories of their time in the great outdoors.

6. Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri

Ha Ha Tonka State Park beckons families with its captivating blend of natural wonders and historic charm. This hidden gem offers a perfect escape for those seeking a family-friendly adventure. Begin your journey with a visit to the iconic Castle Ruins. Perched atop a bluff overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks, the ruins are the remnants of a 20th-century mansion that add fairy tale magic to the park.

Ha Ha Tonka also offers a variety of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. The Colosseum Trail, for example, is a relatively easy loop that leads to the park’s natural sinkhole, the “Colosseum.” For more adventurous families, the Spring Trail leads to the park’s stunning spring and offers an opportunity to witness the park’s geological wonders.

The park’s freshwater spring is another must-see destination for families. The vibrant blue-green water is surrounded by lush vegetation, creating a serene and picturesque setting. Kids can dip their toes in the cool water, and the more adventurous ones can explore the shoreline while parents relax and enjoy the natural beauty.

5. Maquoketa Caves State Park, Iowa

Nestled in the heart of the Hawkeye State, this captivating park offers not only an enchanting underground world of caves but also scenic trails and abundant wildlife, making it an ideal spot for a memorable family outing.

The highlight of Maquoketa Caves State Park lies beneath the earth’s surface. The park has more than a dozen caves, each with its unique charm and geological features. As you embark on the trail system, prepare to be awe-struck by formations like stalactites and stalagmites, creating an otherworldly atmosphere that sparks the imagination of both young and old.

While the caves steal the spotlight, Maquoketa Caves State Park offers a network of family-friendly trails that wind through lush woodlands, providing opportunities for exploration and wildlife spotting. The moderate difficulty level of these trails makes them suitable for children of various ages.

Take the Dancehall Trail for a picturesque stroll that leads to the iconic Dancehall Cave. This trail is well-suited for families with younger kids, offering scenic beauty without an overly strenuous hike.

4. Devil’s Lake State Park, Wisconsin

Devil’s Lake State Park is a natural playground waiting to be explored. This scenic gem offers families an opportunity to connect with nature, embark on exciting adventures, and create lasting memories. Whether you’re hiking the trails, splashing in the crystal-clear lake, or marveling at the breathtaking bluffs, Devil’s Lake is a perfect destination for a family getaway.

Devil’s Lake State Park has a variety of trails suitable for all ages and skill levels. Younger children will enjoy the Tumbled Rocks Trail, a short loop that leads to a beautiful view of the lake. For more adventurous families, the Balanced Rock Trail and the East Bluff Trail offer stunning vistas.

The park’s sandy beach along Devil’s Lake is a perfect spot for families to relax and play. The kids can build sandcastles, soak up the sun, or dip in the lake’s clear waters. Devil’s Lake is known for its clean and safe swimming areas, making it an ideal spot for families with children of all ages.

Take advantage of the park’s designated picnic areas and enjoy a family meal surrounded by nature. Devil’s Lake State Park also offers family-friendly camping facilities, allowing you to extend your stay and experience the magic of the park after the sun sets. Roasting marshmallows around a campfire under the starlit sky is sure to be a highlight for the kids.

3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Renowned for its breathtaking cliffs, colorful sandstone formations, and pristine Lake Superior shoreline, Pictured Rocks offers a perfect setting for a family adventure. Pictured Rocks offers a variety of hiking trails suitable for different skill levels.

For a family-friendly adventure, try the easy and accessible trails like the Chapel Falls Trail or the Miners Falls Trail. These paths wind through lush forests and lead to impressive waterfalls, providing a perfect opportunity for the little ones to experience the wonders of nature.

Head to Sand Point Beach for a relaxing day by the water. The sandy shores and shallow waters make it an ideal spot for families. Enjoy a picnic, build sandcastles, and dip your toes in the refreshing waters of Lake Superior. Keep an eye out for the occasional freighter passing by on the horizon.

Embark on a narrated boat tour along the stunning shoreline of Lake Superior. Numerous tour operators provide family-friendly cruises, allowing you to witness the vibrant hues of Chapel Rock, Miner’s Castle, and the iconic sea caves. Kids will be captivated by the fascinating geological formations and the tales of shipwrecks shared by knowledgeable guides.

2. Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

Nestled along the Illinois River, Starved Rock State Park stands as a testament to nature’s beauty and offers a perfect escape for families seeking outdoor adventure. With its towering sandstone canyons, scenic waterfalls, and diverse wildlife, Starved Rock is an ideal destination for a memorable family outing.

One of the highlights of Starved Rock is its family-friendly trail system. Trails like the St. Louis Canyon Trail and the Illinois Canyon Trail offer easy walks suitable for children, featuring well-maintained paths and captivating scenery. Make sure to grab a trail map at the visitor center to help plan your route.

Starved Rock is also renowned for its stunning waterfalls, and kids will be enchanted by the cascading waters. The park has several waterfalls, including Wildcat Canyon Falls and LaSalle Canyon Falls.

Pack a picnic and take advantage of the designated picnic areas scattered throughout the park. Enjoy a leisurely lunch surrounded by nature, and let the kids burn off some energy in the nearby grassy areas. It’s a great opportunity to relax and appreciate the natural beauty that Starved Rock has to offer.

Starved Rock has a Junior Ranger program designed to educate and involve kids in the wonders of nature. Pick up a Junior Ranger booklet at the visitor center, and encourage your children to participate in activities and complete challenges to earn their Junior Ranger badge.

1. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Nestled between Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio beckons families with its enchanting blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Contrary to the notion that national parks are best suited for seasoned adventurers, Cuyahoga Valley offers a family-friendly experience, ensuring that visitors of all ages can immerse themselves in the wonders of nature.

One of the unique features of the park is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Kids will be captivated as the vintage train winds its way through the park, offering stunning views of the Cuyahoga River, dense forests, and charming landscapes. Consider taking a round trip or combining the train ride with a hike, creating a multi-dimensional adventure for the whole family.

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is a flat and family-friendly biking trail that stretches through the heart of the park. With rental options available, families can explore the picturesque surroundings at their own pace. The trail is not only easy for little legs to navigate but also provides glimpses of wildlife, wildflowers, and the historic remnants of the canal.

A visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park wouldn’t be complete without witnessing the breathtaking Brandywine Falls. A short and accessible hike leads to an observation platform where families can marvel at the 65-foot waterfall cascading over cascading layers of sandstone. This natural wonder provides an excellent backdrop for family photos and is sure to create lasting memories.

For families looking to add an educational element to their visit, Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers a Junior Ranger Program. Geared towards engaging young explorers, this program provides activity booklets and guided activities that teach kids about the park’s flora, fauna, and history. Upon completion, participants are sworn in as official Junior Rangers, making the visit both fun and educational.

The Midwest’s state parks offer a remarkable blend of natural beauty and outdoor activities, making them ideal destinations for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Whether you’re captivated by waterfalls, enchanted by dense forests, or drawn to geological wonders, the Midwest’s state parks provide a diverse array of experiences for every outdoor enthusiast.

Sleep under the stars in comfort with our guide to ‘7 Camping Sleeping Bags for Restful Nights Outdoors‘ Find the perfect blend of warmth and coziness for your next adventure. And for the ladies hitting the trails, don’t miss out on our curated selection in ‘Discover the Perfect Fit: 7 Best Hiking Shoes for Women‘ Unleash comfort, style, and support for every step of your journey. Explore the outdoors with gear that ensures a memorable experience!

Happy Travels!

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