As you start to plan your spring getaways and summer vacations, we've discovered some of the best spots to visit right here in the Wild, Wild, Midwest.

Using traveler recommendations, bloggers, and first-hand experience, Explore has revealed the spot in each U.S. state that's best for a vacation.

Heartland of America Has Must-Visit Vacation Destinations

Whether you're craving a scenic escape, a taste of history, or thrilling adventures, the Midwest is always best for a vacation with a down-home twist.


Let's explore the best vacation spots in each Midwest state and what makes them must-visit destinations, courtesy of Explore.

Michigan: Mackinac Island

As the post says, this vacation spot in Michigan is "picture perfect." Mackinac Island is known as the Fudge Capital of the World because "13 fudge shops produce up to 10,000 pounds of fudge daily in peak season," according to Explore.

Indiana: Indiana Dunes National Park

About an hour from Chicago, the Indiana Dunes National Park is about 15,000 acres of beautiful beaches and impressive sand dunes.

Iowa: Okoboji

Okoboji is home to the Iowa Great Lakes, which is "a chain of seven glacial lakes that boast some of the clearest, bluest water in the world."

Minnesota: North Shore Scenic Drive

If you enjoy the drive to the destination is part of your vacation, this is a must-trip to Minnesota's North Shore Scenic Drive.

There are endless attractions along the way, from lava rocks at Artists' Point and hawks at Hawk Ridge to waterfalls at Cascade River State Park. -Explore


Wisconsin: Madison

It's just a short drive to one of the Midwest's best cities of Madison to enjoy all that it has to offer from "its thriving, artsy downtown, large university, state capital, world-class cheese and beer, and the five lakes spanning more than 15,000 acres."

Illinois: Chicago

Everything you could want to do is here in the Second City, which is second to none for vacations. There's so much to do in Chicago, I had to ask AI to break down the 10 best things I must do in Chicago, and it's pretty much the best of the best.

  • Visit Millennium Park: See the famous Cloud Gate sculpture ("The Bean"), Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and Lurie Garden.
  • Explore The Art Institute of Chicago: Discover renowned artworks including Grant Wood's "American Gothic" and Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte."
  • Take an Architecture River Cruise: Learn about Chicago's iconic skyline and architectural history while cruising along the Chicago River.
  • Stroll along Navy Pier: Enjoy waterfront views, rides, attractions, and events like fireworks and live music.
  • Indulge in Deep Dish Pizza: Savor a slice of authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza from iconic pizzerias like Lou Malnati's or Giordano's.
  • Catch a Cubs Game at Wrigley Field: Experience the excitement of a baseball game at one of America's most beloved ballparks.
  • Explore The Field Museum: Discover natural history treasures including Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.
  • Take in the Views from Willis Tower Skydeck: Step onto The Ledge, a glass balcony extending from the 103rd floor, offering breathtaking views of the city.
  • Enjoy Blues Music in Chicago's Blues Clubs: Immerse yourself in the city's rich musical heritage by catching live performances at famous blues clubs like Kingston Mines or Buddy Guy's Legends.
  • Shop and Dine on The Magnificent Mile: Explore upscale boutiques, department stores, restaurants, and landmarks along this premier shopping destination on Michigan Avenue.

See the Must-Drive Roads in Every State

Gallery Credit: Sarah Jones

The Definitive List of The Oddest, Strangest and Downright Filthy Town Names In Every State

We combed through list after list of the oddest, strangest and somewhat naughty-sounding town names in every state. From Smut Eye to Ding Dong, you can learn unbelievable facts about each of these towns below.

Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll

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