13 Midwestern Towns That Are Hidden Gems For Your Summer Vacation

Although the coasts of the country are usually the hottest vacation destinations, your perfect trip might actually be somewhere in the middle. These Midwest spots have everything from stunning lake fronts to quaint downtown areas, making them perfect for either a summer escape or a road trip with the kids. Check out the best of the Midwest!

  • Galena, Illinois

    Galena, Illinois

    An often overlooked Midwestern city, Galena boasts golf courses, wineries, hiking and biking trails, boating locations and lots of cultural happenings that are easily accessible. The area also has lots of scenic farmland and quaint downtown walkways that are perfect for window shopping.

  • Okoboji, Iowa

    Okoboji, Iowa

    You don't really think about lakes when you think of Iowa, which makes Okoboji all that more of a steal. Located in northern Iowa, Okoboji is home to the "Iowa Great Lakes," which glacier-carved lakes that spread for about 15,000 acres. With stunning nature scenery and even an amusement park nearby, you'll want to start planning vacations exclusively in Iowa after visiting Okoboji.

  • Lake Erie Shores, Ohio

    Lake Erie Shores, Ohio

    Lake Erie Shore in Ohio is the perfect family vacation spot. With the famous Cedar Point amusement park and islands like South Bass and Kelleys Island, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Oh yeah, and Lake Erie is there too. The Great Lake continually wows visitors with its natural beauty, in addition to the famous Marblehead Lighthouse on its shore.

  • Branson, Missouri

    Branson, Missouri

    This town in southwest Missouri excels in both natural wonder and righteous entertainment. From Table Rock State Park and Table Rock Lake to Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede and the 76 Country Boulevard Strip, it's a great family getaway destination that ensures no shortage of activities.

  • Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

    Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

    Another Missouri gem, the Lake of the Ozarks might look like a river, but it's actually a wonderful vacation destination that has over 1,150 miles of shoreline. With lots of neighboring small towns with fun activities and great dining choices, Lake of the Ozarks is a wonderful place to spend your summers.

  • Door County, Wisconsin

    Door County, Wisconsin

    A smaller part of the larger Door Peninsula, Door County has over 300 miles of shoreline and no less than five state parks, proving that this destination is the premier one for access to Midwestern wildlife.

  • Bayfield, Wisconsin

    Bayfield, Wisconsin

    Bayfield is a quiet and picturesque town, with lots of boating and kayaking to enjoy. It's perfect for a weekend getaway with a spouse or even yourself.

  • Grand Marais, Minnesota

    Grand Marais, Minnesota

    Grand Marais is nestled between the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior, resulting in stunning natural scenery. It's also home to the Grand Marais Art Colony, meaning the local culture scene is buzzing with creativity.

  • Duluth, Minnesota

    Duluth, Minnesota

    Resting against Lake Superior, Duluth is an adventure town for outdoorsy folks, with historic architecture backed up against amazing lake scenery. Duluth is also home to the Great Lakes Aquarium, which holds the distinction of being the only all-freshwater aquarium in the United States.

  • Mackinac Island, Michigan

    Mackinac Island, Michigan

    Mackinac Island provides visitors with a truly unique experience by essentially transporting its inhabitants back in time. The island is care-free, which means island dwellers get around by either bicycles or horse-drawn carriages. The island also has small museums and idyllic state parks. All in all, amazing!

  • Saugatuck, Michigan

    Saugatuck, Michigan

    Saugatuck takes the Michigan beaches you love and improves upon them by adding a cultural identity that's to die for. Located on the "Art Coast of Michigan," the town has many art galleries and music festivals that draw crowds from all over.

  • Charlevoix, Michigan

    Charlevoix, Michigan

    Yes, yet another Michigan town, but you simply cannot beat the beauty of the Great Lake State. Nicknamed "Charlevoix the Beautiful," this little town looks like something from a postcard. With a beautiful harbor and beaches and three lakefronts (Lake Michigan, Lake Charlevoix and Round Lake), Charlevoix definitely lives up to its name.

  • Medora, North Dakota

    Medora, North Dakota

    Medora, North Dakota has some of the best entertainment the Midwest has to offer, featuring a state-of-the-art theater awe-inspiring views of the incredible Badlands. There's plenty of sightseeing to do too, with lots of small shops and eating establishments. You might see buffalo on the golf courses while you tour the ranch where Theodore Roosevelt lived and worked. Experience midwestern hospitality at its best in Medora.

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