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7 Reasons Your Family Should Explore the Midwest

The Midwest is an underrated place for you and your family to explore. Full of nature and fun attractions, the 12 states are a perfect place to plan your next vacation. Here are seven reasons to explore the Midwest on your next vacation. 

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Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes is a national park in Michigan that your family will love exploring! The park’s name comes from its 33 miles of towering dunes that your kids and inner child will love climbing up and racing down. 

Kids can build sandcastles and play games on the dunes, swim and bodyboard in Lake Michigan or participate in ranger-led activities, like a reenactment of a shipwreck rescue. 

Visit during the day or camp in the park overnight for an adventure you and your family will never forget.

 

Photo By: Heather Higham

Skydeck Chicago

See all of Chicago above at Skydeck Chicago, located at the top of the Willis Tower. You and your family will get a fantastic view from the third largest tower in the western hemisphere. 

Step into the Ledge to get a breathtaking panoramic view of the whole city and a great family photo. The glass floor on the building’s 103rd floor gives you the feeling of floating over Chicago.

Before the Ledge, you’ll encounter interactive exhibits that explore Chicago’s history, giving your family an even greater appreciation for the city you’re about to see. It’s also an excellent place for family members afraid of heights to wait for those taking in the view. 

Mount Rushmore 

Mount Rushmore is a sight to behold for kids and adults alike. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are carved in stone and surrounded by the natural beauty of South Dakota. 

Go hiking throughout the national park or take a self-guided tour to learn about its history. The tour comes with a junior ranger quest, packed with 16 challenges for your kids to complete along the way.

Mount Rushmore is a great way to learn about American history in an up close and personal way. 

Nearly 400 men and women worked for more than 14 years to carve the images of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln into Mount Rushmore in Keystone, S.D.

Mall of America

Your family will love visiting the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, a shopping center and amusement park. 

With over 500 stores and 60 restaurants, this attraction is one of the largest shopping centers in the world. It has an aquarium and indoor theme park that your kids won’t want to leave. 

You’ll want to plan your trip ahead of time so you know which stores you want to visit, or make a vacation out of it and stay in one of the hotels to get the whole mall experience. 

Museum of the Great Plains

The Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton, Oklahoma, isn’t your average museum. The museum immerses your family in the past, present and future through interactive exhibits. 

The living history exhibit transports your family to the 1840s, with outdoor recreation of a trading post that used to be not far from the museum. Complete with reenactors, the museum immerses your family in history.

Along with indoor exhibits and several temporary exhibits, there’s always something unique for your family to explore.

To make even more of a trip out of your experience, spend the night and visit the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Rescue to enjoy the plains.

Photo By: Chris Ratzlaff submitted to cbc.ca

Northern Lights 

Did you know you don’t have to leave the country to see the Northern Lights?

There are several places in the Midwest where you can view the Aurora Borealis, with a few perfect stops for your whole family. 

Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City, Michigan, is specifically maintained to have a good view of the lights. You can also learn about the lights through free visitor programs and events at the observatory. 

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Duluth, Minnesota, has over 1,100 lakes and 1,500 miles of canoe routes that your family can enjoy. The wilderness area has an open sky space perfect for viewing the Northern Lights. 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota has a junior ranger program and kid research center to immerse your kids into the park filled with plateaus that make perfect viewing spots for the Northern Lights. Spend the night in one of three campgrounds or visit during the Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival to learn about and experience the night sky like you never have before. 

The Enchanted Highway

You and your kids will be amazed at the sculptures built along the 32-mile stretch off of I-90 in North Dakota. 

Seven metal sculptures of animals and farm life provide unique photo opportunities and are sure to keep your kids talking about them. 

Use it as a travel detour or get the whole experience by staying at the Enchanted Castle for the entire royal experience. 

USATODAY.COM

Exploring the Midwest

The Midwest is full of great places for your family to explore, from the Great Lakes to the plains. Whether your family loves nature, is full of history buffs or loves having unique experiences, the Midwest is for you. 

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