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Best Midwest Road Trips

In this article, we’ll explore the best Midwest road trips for anyone looking to hit the open road across America’s heartland. From the rolling hills of Missouri and the grandeur of the Great Lakes to the wide-open plains of South Dakota, there’s something for everyone in the Midwest. So, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or just looking for a change of scenery, keep reading to discover some of the best Midwest road trips to add to your travel bucket list.

Nebraska’s Sandhill Journey

Nebraska’s Sandhill Journey is one of the best road trips in the Midwest region of the United States. This spectacular route takes you through the Sandhills, a unique landscape that features rolling hills and vast fields of tall grass prairie. Along the way, you’ll encounter quaint towns and unexpected attractions, making for an unforgettable journey.

Starting in North Platte, Nebraska, this road trip spans 272 miles and can be completed in two to three days. Along the way, you’ll see the world’s largest sandbox in Alliance, an 80-foot-tall sandcastle in Hyannis, and the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park in Royal, where you can see prehistoric animals preserved in volcanic ash.

The Sandhills themselves are a highlight of this journey, with their unique geological features and unparalleled natural beauty. You’ll have the opportunity to hike, fish, and stargaze in this remote part of Nebraska.

This road trip is best enjoyed in the summer or early fall, although the quiet beauty of the Sandhills is also enchanting in the winter months. No matter when you go, Nebraska’s Sandhill Journey is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.

Indiana’s Natural Wonders and Small Towns

There is no doubt that the Midwest region of the United States is full of natural beauty and quaint small towns that are just waiting to be explored. One of the best destinations for road trips is Indiana, which is home to a myriad of natural wonders and charming communities that will captivate any traveler.

For those who love the great outdoors, Indiana’s natural attractions will not disappoint. One must-visit destination is the Indiana Dunes National Park, which boasts 15 miles of pristine beaches, towering sand dunes, and lush forests. Another must-see attraction is the awe-inspiring Falls of the Ohio State Park, which boasts stunning rock formations and scenic hiking trails.

In addition to its natural wonders, Indiana is also home to some of the most charming small towns in the Midwest. Take a trip to the town of Bloomington, which is known for its vibrant arts scene, delicious local cuisine, and charming historic district. Alternatively, head to the city of Madison, which is home to beautifully preserved historic architecture and a plethora of outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, and golfing.

Wisconsin’s Great River Road

The Midwest is full of scenic drives and road trip destinations, but if you’re looking for one that’s less well-known than the Route 66s of the world, the Great River Road in Wisconsin is definitely one to consider. This 250-mile stretch hugs the banks of the Mississippi River as it winds through the state, offering breathtaking scenery and plenty of opportunities to explore charming river towns along the way.

To make the most of your Great River Road trip, start in the charming town of Prescott, located at the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. From there, you’ll pass through stunning natural areas like Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge and the Buena Vista Park overlook. Along the way, be sure to stop in towns like Alma, where you can check out the National Eagle Center, and La Crosse, where you can explore the charming downtown area and enjoy some delicious local eats.

To really get the full experience of the Great River Road, plan at least a few days for your trip, especially if you want to take advantage of outdoor activities like hiking and fishing. And be sure to bring your camera – the scenic views along the way are truly unforgettable.

Route 66

As one of America’s most iconic and beloved roadways, Route 66 remains a popular choice among Midwest road trippers. Running from Chicago to Los Angeles, the Mother Road offers a rich and storied history, as well as breathtaking scenery and fascinating attractions along the way.

If you’re planning a Midwest road trip and Route 66 is on your list of must-sees, there are a few stops you won’t want to miss. Illinois’ Route 66 State Park offers a chance to explore a bit of the original road, while Missouri’s Meramec Caverns provides a subterranean adventure. In Oklahoma, the Route 66 Museum in Clinton offers a glimpse into life along the road during decades past. And of course, no Route 66 road trip would be complete without a stop at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

Minnesota’s North Shore

Beginning in Duluth, the Superior Hiking Trail offers 300 miles of trails that can be tackled in sections or as a through-hike. Along the way, hikers will be treated to panoramic views of Lake Superior and the surrounding forests. Just north of the city, Gooseberry Falls State Park is popular for its easy hiking trails and stunning waterfalls. Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort is a must-visit in winter, while Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is the perfect spot for a picnic on a sunny day.

For a true North Shore experience, head to the town of Grand Marais and explore the harbor, shops, and restaurants. Don’t miss out on a chance to see a moose or bear in their natural habitat, by taking a drive along the Gunflint Trail. The road winds through the dense pine forests of the Superior National Forest, offering glimpses of wildlife and serene lakes.

Whether you’re traveling on your own or with the family, Minnesota’s North Shore is one of the Midwest’s best road trip options. With its natural beauty and small-town charm, this stretch of highway is sure to create lasting memories for every traveler.

South Dakota’s Monuments

Road trips are the perfect opportunity to explore new places and create lasting memories with family and friends. If you’re planning a Midwest road trip, make sure to add South Dakota’s monuments to your list of must-see destinations. South Dakota is home to some of the most beautiful natural landmarks in the country, including Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Badlands National Park.

Mount Rushmore, a national monument and beloved American icon, features the faces of four U.S. presidents carved into the granite mountainside. Visitors can take in breathtaking views, attend daily flag ceremonies, and explore the museum and gift shop.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain carving of the Oglala Lakota warrior and leader, Crazy Horse. The carving, which has been under construction for over 70 years, is expected to be the world’s largest sculpture when completed. Visitors can watch a multimedia presentation, visit the museum, and attend Native American cultural events.

Badlands National Park is a unique landscape known for its eroded rock formations, colorful layers of sediment, and fascinating geological history. Visitors can hike, camp, spot wildlife, and stargaze under some of the darkest skies in the country.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see some of the Midwest’s most beautiful landmarks. Plan your South Dakota road trip today and experience the natural beauty and rich history of this incredible state.

Michigan’s Peninsula

When it comes to road trips in the Midwest, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a must-see destination. With its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture, the UP has something for everyone. Here are our top recommendations for the best road trips in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

First on the list is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a 42-mile stretch of stunning cliffs, sand dunes and beaches along the shores of Lake Superior. Taking a drive along the scenic highway will provide you with breathtaking views of the shoreline and natural rock formations.

Another must-see destination in the UP is the Keweenaw Peninsula, known for its copper-mining history and stunning views of Lake Superior. Take a drive along the scenic M-26 highway and stop by the numerous historic sites and lighthouses along the way.

For those seeking outdoor adventures, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is a must-visit destination. With over 60,000 acres of natural forests, waterfalls and hiking trails, you can easily spend days exploring this beautiful area.


In conclusion, the Midwest region of the United States is full of scenic and historic road trip opportunities. From the rolling hills of the Driftless Area to the shores of Lake Michigan, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you prefer the urban vibe of Chicago or the small-town charm of Door County, there are endless possibilities for adventure along the way. So pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on one of the best Midwest road trips you’ll ever take.

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