Planning midwest family vacations with kids may not be the most popular choice for some families, but don’t discount what this beautiful land has to offer. Here are some beautiful midwest family getaways and destinations you might know know about that both you and your little ones will be sure to love!
Our little family of six has evolved into an era where we can now take some vacations to places other than our backyard. While I’m sad that era of our life is gone, we’re really excited about this next stage of exploring the world with our little ones in tow.
These are all of the places that are on our bucket list before our kids head off to college! I’ve done my best to round up some of the internet favorites on places to go with littles. I’ve also found some other bloggers who wrote a trip report on some of these destinations, which are linked.
I hope this helps you in planning a vacation in the midwest – we’re more that just farm and plain land! There is just SO MUCH to do!
Ideas for Midwest Family Vacations with Younger Kids
Door County, Wisconsin
There are tons of beaches in Door County. The beaches are gorgeous and all have their reasons for visiting. It has 300 miles of shoreline and known for all of its orchards, cherry pie and 11 amazing and historic lighthouses.
Read more about Door County and all the fun activities you can do with kids!
Mount Rushmore & Rapid City, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore is a beautiful monument, but there are so many things to do in Rapid City. There are restored buildings, green public space and tons of statues of our Presidents.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
You can climb and explore anywhere in the Badlands, which makes it amazing places for littles. The kids can also be part of the Junior Ranger program to earn a badge during their vacation.
Brainerd Lakes, Minnesota
There are so many things to do, including the Northland Arboretum, Moondance Ranch, Adventure Park, Paul Bunyan land and the Franklin Art Center. The city is known for the Brainerd International Raceway which draws crowds in August for the national drag race. The has a lot of information on other activities you can explore.
If you live in the heartland, Omaha is only a few hours away and has one of the best zoos in the nation. They are known for their pioneer history, museums and amazing cultural centers.
Grand Island, Nebraska
Grand Island is in central Nebraska and is the home of the Crane Trust Nature Visitor Center, Stuhr Museum of Prairie Pioneer and Island Oasis Water Park.
Kansas City, Missouri
I might be biased, but there is just SO MUCH to do in Kansas City! From Science City, Worlds of Fun, Union Station, Sea Life, Lego Land, Shatto Milk Tour, Liberty Memorial, Wonderscope, Hallmark Kaleidoscope, great barbeque, live jazz bands – the list goes on and on! Check out my Kansas City guide on my Family Vacations page.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Saint Louis is such a beautiful city, especially when you are driving from Columbia to Saint Louis because of all the gorgeous foliage in the fall. I would recommend visiting the Arch, Children’s City Museum, Anheuser Busch tour and visiting the downtown area for delicious food. Don’t try STL BBQ, Kansas City BBQ is way better. KIDDING! Here’s the link to the
We absolutely love going to Branson. Yes, it’s the home of a lot of corny shows, but it is a great family city! The strip can also not be missed! There is a Mexican restaurant that has delicious food that you will need to visit as well.
When we go down there, we stay at Big Cedar Lodge and it does not disappoint. Make sure you do the Top of the Rock Branson golf cart tour – our family of six loved the beautiful landscape of waterfalls and caves!
If you love amusement parks, check out our money saving tips and hacks for Silver Dollar City.
Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
This is the summer destination for all families in Kansas City and Saint Louis, and it could be yours too! As a family, I would recommend staying away from Party Cove, but everything else is fair game. There is world class golfing, shopping and fishing to be had!
Springfield is home to Henson Robinson Zoo, Knight’s Action Park & Caribbean Water Adventure and the Dana-Thomas House! Washington Park is beautiful when the blooms are out! This should definitely be part of any of your plans for midwest family vacations!
Holland Michigan is known for it’s Dutch heritage as well as the Tulip Time Festival in May. There’s a pony farm your kids must visit! If you are considering a midwest family vacation, this should be on your list!
You’ll need to visit the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – it has five floors of fun! You should spend a whole day dedicated to this museum because it is packed with a ton of fun! There are a million places to eat that your kids will love in Indy!
From a botanical garden to an aquarium, Cincinatti is has an amazing history and attractions that will sure to keep your family entertained. There is Kings Island, which is an amusement for everyone.
This city is on the shores of Lake Erie. With a ton of family attractions, this is not to be missed (even if it’s last on this list). There’s a huge amusement park that is known for it’s multiple rollercoasters as well as a Merry-Go-Round Museum that has gorgeous detail! The Maritime Museum is also not to be missed.
There is No Reason Why You Can’t Go On an Affordable Midwest Family Vacations
Now, you have no excuse to visit the midwest! There are so many places and things to do in between those BIG vacations.
I hope this helps you plan your next few midwest family vacations!
If you are looking for a BIGGER vacation idea, I’ve written about our family’s experiences as a family of six doing an amazing double vacation at Disney World Parks followed by a Disney Cruise that you can read about here.