The Midwest is the best – as we like to say, though we do have a bit of bias. In the country’s heartland, there is so much more to see than people may necessarily give the so-called “flyover states” credit for.  Check out these five fantastic destinations to explore and enjoy for your next vacation!

In this five-part series, we’re exploring the best destinations to travel to right here at home. With our coverage of the five main regions of the continental U.S. – Northeast, Northwest, Southwest, Southeast and right here in the Midwest – we’ll take a look at some of the top romantic getaways, family destinations, historic and sightseeing tours and unique locales that make the states so great!

Top City to See: Chicago

This may seem like a cop out since it is the nation’s third largest city – despite the long held “Second City” name – but truly Chicago offers visitors so much to see and do. The city plays host to many nationally and internationally recognized museums, including the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium, all located on the city’s lakeside Museum Campus. Foodies can get their fill too with the many great restaurants and up-and-coming culinary destinations, offering everything from the classic Chicago deep dish pizza to the traditional Chicago hot dog – but be sure to hold the ketchup! With convenient access from either of the two city airports, nearly two centuries of architectural and cultural history and easy transportation on the network of “El” trains, Chicago is truly a great city to visit!

Malayan Sun Bear Omaha ZooBest Place for Families: Omaha

Omaha, located on the eastern edge of Nebraska is the state’s largest and most exciting city, filled with plenty of opportunities for families to get away with the kids for a fun Midwest vacation. The city is host to one of the best experiences for animal lovers – the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, which was recently named the top animal attraction in the states by Parents Magazine. The zoo offers unique experiences, like the Skyfari, which takes guests above the wildlife to provide a unique and unforgettable glimpse of exotic animals. Elsewhere in Omaha are countless museums and cultural centers to provide great cultural influences and history lessons for the young ones. There’s also great food, including succulent Omaha steaks and the Reuben sandwiches – which the city claims originated there. Your family is sure to have a blast in this Nebraskan city!

Spend a Romantic Evening in: St. Paul

If you’re looking to spend a weekend or a week away from home with your sweetheart, there’s no better place than St. Paul, Minnesota in the Midwest – or in the country! Recently named the Most Romantic North American City in a USA Today and 10Best poll, this smaller of the Twin Cities offers great getaway activities throughout the four seasons. Whether you’re an active couple looking for fun ice skating or walking through the city’s landmarks, want to spend the day on romantic boat rides on the mighty Mississippi or want to take in some of the region’s great theater and performing arts. St. Paul also offers visitors the best of both worlds with all of Minneapolis next door to explore, as well. There are plenty of fantastic dinner destinations to try too – just check out this great list or dining locations put together by the city’s convention and visitor bureau.

St. Louis SkylineSports: St. Louis

Home to professional baseball, hockey and football clubs, St. Louis offers sports fans a game day opportunity nearly every week throughout the entire year. Travelers to the city can check out one of these world-class teams, or enjoy some athletic adventures of their own. The network of biking trails known as Gateway City offer guests plenty of beautiful exploration routes for trips on two wheels. There are also many state parks in the surrounding region that provide opportunities for fishing, hiking, swimming and more. Don’t forget the many other sites of St. Louis, including the city’s signature Gateway Arch, the many museums and cultural centers, and of course the nightlife. Find out even more great destinations and sites to see in this list from Explore St. Louis, the city’s official guide for visitors.

Can’t Miss Slice of Americana: Mount Rushmore

Rounding out the list is taking in the sights that are famous from coast to coast, and smack in between lies Mount Rushmore. Located in Keystone, South Dakota, this iconic carving of four of the most famous and influential American presidents is recognized far beyond the American shores for the feat of engineering that it represents. Planning a visit should center around Rapid City, the nearest major city, which offers great activities for kids, like Storybook Island and the Reptile Gardens. There also are great museums, like the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, and many other activities to keep visitors young and old entertained. Just check out this great list from TripAdvisor for a more in depth look! Take a trip a bit off the beaten path and check this landmark off your list of places to visit with a trip to Rapid City.

At Blue Horizon, we have connections all around the country to help you plan your perfect domestic getaway. We can help you find great deals and excellent accommodations at an even better price. Contact one of our travel experts today and get started on planning your next vacation!