5 Weekend Road Trips in the Midwest

  • Copy by: Reema Desai

Near and dear to our hearts, the Midwest is home to number of beautiful weekend getaways that immediately capture the heart of visitors. This time around, we’ve highlighted five destinations that showcase some of what we love best about this beautiful region of the country.

The Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

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Outdoor lovers in the Midwest will want to make a beeline to the Lake of the Ozarks for a weekend (or longer) filled with trails, fishing, cycling, and more. There are over 30 hiking trails in the lakes region, as well as many options for both the casual and more serious cyclist. For water lovers, there are boating options as well as fishing spots and a water park. With so many outdoor options, it’s hard to know where to start but a major standout in the area is the Ha Ha Tonka State Park spanning over 3,700 acres. The park is chock full of amazing scenery including the ruins of a castle! Another major standout in this region? The caves, a unique and must explore aspect of the region.

When it comes to lodging, there are plenty of cabins, houses, resorts, etc. in the area to stay—there’s something for every taste and price point.

Galena, Illinois

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Galena is a scenic, historic town that is almost too picturesque to be true. It’s easy to get to from several cities in the Midwest and if you’re in the mood to unplug and relax for a few days, we can’t imagine a better spot. There are a few different lodging options, but we especially love the many quaint bed and breakfast and guesthouse options this area offers. If you’re looking to stay in a full-service resort complete with a spa, you can’t go wrong with the Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa.

The area is home to a few different wineries and breweries including Galena Cellars, a winery that has been in the same family for three generations. Nearby, Galena Brewery is a good option if you’re a beer drinker. For a bit more action, explore the Crystal Lake Cave or head to The Belvedere Mansion and Gardens for a glimpse into the history of Galena.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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In the last few years, it feels like Minneapolis is quickly rising as one of the most hip places to be. Home to a growing arts and design scene, great food, and a host of outdoor activities, it’s a great spot for a weekend getaway. Known for its incredible theater scene, make sure to carve out the time to see a show while here. Walker Arts Center and the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District are two other great options as well.

For shopping options, you can’t go wrong with Mille, a clothing and housewares shop or The Foundry Home Goods for some seriously stylish home decor finds. When it comes to food, there are some seriously creative and varied options to choose from. Hola Arepa and Tilia come to mind as topnotch options, but if you’re in the mood for a drink, you can’t go wrong with Surly Brewing Co. When you’re ready to get outdoors (as long as it’s not too cold), you’ll be happy to know that the city is very bike friendly and there’s a great bike share system if you want to rent some wheels.

Traverse City, Michigan

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Located in Northern Michigan, Traverse City is a fabulous spot (especially in summer and fall months) filled with plenty of outdoor activities as well as a host of great food and drink options. If the weather allows, head out on one of the many area hikes for some of the most excellent views in the area. The Pyramid Point Trail is a favorite, and you’ll be able to take in plenty of beautiful Lake Michigan views. There are a lot of other trail options in the region depending on how long or how difficult you’d like your hike to be. For those of you that prefer to be by the water, there are plenty of beach options too.

After working up an appetite, head to Mission Table for a gourmet meal made using the freshest local ingredients and produce. For a more casual experience, head to Little Fleet, which is part bar and part food truck destination. It’s perfect for groups since everyone can get exactly the type of food they want from the variety of food trucks and the open-air bar is lively and fun.

Des Moines, Iowa

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Though you may not always hear it, there is a lot happening in this capital city of Iowa. Concerts, breweries, and trails are just some of the many things this city has to offer. We can’t say no to farmers markets and luckily, the Downtown Farmers Market is a great one. In addition to amazing local food, you’ll often catch local artisans and live music at this spot. While food is on your mind, head to Django for some mouth-watering French cuisine or Malo for if you’re looking for Latin American flavors.

While here, a visit to the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a must for any art lover who wants to experience beautiful public art. Round out your experience by a visit to the Iowa State Capitol for a stunning glimpse into the ornate capitol building.