Friday Top 5: Midwest Destinations

by laura.johnson

{Midwest map via Brainstorm print & design}

Summer is winding down, but if you haven’t made it on vacation yet, there are still two more weeks before Labor Day. Isn’t that the official end of summer? Lots of people head to a coast or the mountains for a summer getaway, but don’t just flyover the landlocked Midwest! We’ve got plenty of great cities and lakes to enjoy! Our list favors Iowa and Michigan, so let us know your favorite Midwest getaways!

1. Lake Okoboji, Iowa: Growing up, this was where my family spent a week every summer, boating, swimming, water skiing, and relaxing. The Great Lakes of Iowa will always hold a special place in my heart! ac

2. Clear Lake, Iowa: Where I learned to water ski and consequently drank half of this natural spring lake. It’s a great Midwest small town feel with the perfect mix of natural beauty and entertainment. lj

3. West Michigan Coastline: Michigan boasts more coastline than California or even Florida, yet it’s shores are often overlooked when contemplating a Midwest retreat. Work your way up from Benton Harbor, slide through Sleeping Bear Dunes, and look out over the bay in Traverse City. (stopping to pick a cherry or two of course.) lj

4. Des Moines: Sometimes there is no place like home. From the downtown farmer’s market and fireworks after Friday night Iowa Cubs games to the State Fair and miles of bike trails, as much as I never imagined living here beyond my 4 years at Drake I’ve now called it home for 10 years! ac

5. Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis: Baseball games, outdoor concerts, and fabulous shopping are only the beginning of what you can find in these heartland cities. Adam and I are headed to St. Louis for Labor Day to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and their new baby! ac


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  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes, which you briefly mentioned, was actually voted one of the most beautiful places in the USA recently. Totally worth a visit if someone lives in the Midwest.

  2. I just read an article in Mens Journal about a michigan beach town that gets rave reviews – for the life of me, I cannot remember it…
    Great post! As a midwestern girl, myself, we usually like to spend at least one relaxing weekend each summer close to home :)

  3. so excited you stopped by my blog bc i’m having fun checking yours out! enjoy your mini trip to STL–it’s where I live and it’s a GREAT place to visit :)

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