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Family Vacations

Family Vacations: Midwest

Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of Michigan's best-kept secrets.
Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of Michigan's best-kept secrets.

Family vacations to the Midwest -- Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and both Dakota's -- entice with destinations like Cedar Point in Ohio, home to the world's tallest, fastest rollercoasters, and Conner Prairie in Indiana, one of the nation's most calm natural landscapes.

Seek all-out-exciting trip or a quiet weekend by visiting the links below, and find Mobil-rated family-friendly hotels and restaurants that will help you plan your trip in advance.



Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Springfield, Illinois, is home to President Lincoln's humble log cabin and his impressive library.

The Art Institute of Chicago

Kids head directly for the armor or miniature collections at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Chicago Blues

Chicago's Blues Festival celebrates the genre with a festival in June that spotlights the region's legendary performers and songs.

Chicago International Children's Film Festival

Films for -- and sometimes by -- children are celebrated in a lively Chicago festival in October.

Magnificent Mile

Those few who aren't interested in shopping on this legendary street can still be delighted by its architecture, entertainment, eateries and diversions.

Millennium Park

A reclaimed Brownfield becomes a coveted city space in downtown Chicago's Millennium Park.

Museum of Science and Industry

Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry lets kids explore lots of machinery.

Navy Pier

The giant Ferris wheel attracts kids to Navy Pier, activities and restaurants keep families there all day and night.

Shedd Aquarium

Chicago's famed Shedd Aquarium was the nation's first inland water museum, and remains a beloved landmark.

Wrigley Field

Chicago's vintage baseball field features an old-fashioned feel, and a few lovable quirks.

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Chicago's Lincoln Park lights up during the holidays, offering events, ice sculptures and guided tours to visitors.


Children's Museum of Indianapolis

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is a bright world of exploration.

College Football Hall of Fame

South Bend, Indiana, celebrates the spirit, legends and heroes of college football.

Conner Prairie

Work the fields as they did in the 1800s at Conner Prairie, Indiana's living history museum.

Holiday World

In Santa Claus, Indiana, preschoolers have a special place to play at Holiday World.

Indianapolis 500 and the Finish Line 500 Festival

The days leading up to Memorial Day Weekend mark the Indianapolis 500 and the Finish Line 500 Festival.


Amana Colonies

Visit the Amana Colonies, one of the most successful communal colonies in American history.

Bridges of Madison County

The bridges that crisscross the waters of Madison County draw visitors who seek romance.

Iowa State Fair

Traditional fair competitions as well as a rubber chicken-throwing contest highlight the Iowa State Fair.


Dodge City

Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City shows kids what Front Street was like in 1876, a rough-and-tumble tour of the Old West.

The Oz Museum

A visit to the Oz Museum is like stepping into the story, with witches, flying monkeys, and munchkin memorabilia.



It's Christmas all year long in Frankenmuth, Michigan, and families arrive for a dose of holiday cheer and fried chicken dinners.

Grand Hotel

Michigan's Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is a charming masterpiece of old-fashioned luxury.

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

Dearborn, Michigan, celebrates innovation at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.

Mackinac Bridge

Connecting Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas and is nearly five miles long.

Mackinac Island

Northern Michigan's car-free island welcomes visitors for a historic retreat.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Lake Superior's shoreline features sculpted sandstone cliffs, best seen by boat tour.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Lake Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a favorite for families.

Tulip Time Festival

Holland, Michigan, pays tribute to its Dutch ancestry with a tulip festival held in the shadows of its picturesque windmills.


Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness offers 1,200 miles of canoe routes.

Children's Theater Company

The Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis presents classics as well as forward-thinking works.

Mall of America

A gigantic mall with roller coasters, the Mall of America features a four-story Lego play area.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.

St. Paul Winter Carnival

Button up their coats and get the kids out at the St. Paul Winter Carnival, a celebration in the city streets.



The Live Music Show Capital of the World, Branson, Missouri thrills with musicals, amusement parks -- and go-cart tracks.

The Gateway Arch

From the Gateway Arch's observation area, see the gateway to the Old West.


Kansas City's Hallmark Cards invites children into Kaleidoscope to create in a world developed just for them.

The Magic House

In St. Louis, kids are encouraged to play in this unusual Victorian house-made-museum called the Magic House.

St. Louis Zoo

Kids get up close to animals at the St. Louis Zoo, an imaginative place thoughtfully designed with kids in mind.


Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historic Park

Memorabilia from his Wild West shows make a visit to Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historic Park a treat.


A place where cars mystically Chimney Rock

Its rising spire can be seen from the Oregon Trail and it also serves as the place where the plains give way to the Rockies.

Chimney Rock

Standing out as a landmark in the landscape, Chimney Rock has long oriented travelers.

Henry Doorley Zoo

A glass dome and a glass tunnel allow visitors at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo to walk into animal habitats.

North Dakota

Fort Abraham Lincoln and Fort Mandan

Visit this authentic fort on the American frontier that was once the most important stop on the Northern Plains.

International Peace Garden

Stand in two countries at once in a garden that celebrates peace between the U.S. and Canada.

North Dakota State Capitol

Bismark's tallest building is an Art Deco gem that stands out in the town and on the prairie.


Cedar Point Amusement Park

Superlatives abound at Cedar Point Amusement Park where the tallest, fastest, and highest coasters lure visitors.

Cincinnati Museum Center

An old train station comes to life as a museum center, where kids can explore science and fun.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

In Ohio, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center tells the story of the road to freedom.

Paramount's Kings Island

Rides themed on Paramount movies attract visitors to Paramount's Kings Island on Southwestern Ohio.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival

In August, fans descend on Canton, Ohio, to revel at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Rock stars' report cards amuse kids who visit Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Serpent Mound

Ancient people formed this snake into the land, and visitors arrive to wonder at its origins.

South Dakota

Crazy Horse Memorial

Begun in 1948, the Crazy Horse Memorial is a nine-story sculpture being carved into the Black Hills.

Mammoth Site

Kids can participate in a dig where more than fifty mammoth skeletons have been found.

Mount Rushmore

More than 5,700 feet tall, Mount Rushmore is stunning to witness by day, and at its nightly lighting ceremony.


The little town of Sturgis throws a big party each year, welcoming revelers to its streets to shop, play, and celebrate.

Wind Cave National Park

Visitors to Wind Cave National Park come to see - and hear - one of the world's longest and most complex cave systems.


Apostle Island National Lakeshore

In northern Wisconsin, this group of 21 islands is a summertime ritual for visitors who arrive to explore nature and play.

Door County

Charming cottages populate this Lake Michigan peninsula near Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion

Ornate, roomy, and a bit fascinating, the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee reflects a Flemish style and gives insight to the man behind the brand.

Jelly Belly Warehouse Tour

Tour, and of course taste, during the Jelly Belly Warehouse Tour in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

Lambeau Field

To fans, it's not just a stadium, it's an experience. Visit the hallowed stomping grounds of the Packers and find out more about Wisconsin's beloved team.


Frank Lloyd Wright's sublime creation is a National Historic Landmark offering tours and opportunities to learn more about Wright's philosophies.

Wisconsin Dells

The Wisconsin Dells lures families with more than a dozen waterparks and many attractions.

Northern Wisconsin's summers are short, so families take advantage of every free moment at destinations like the Wisconsin Dells. During the winter, Midwesterners look for destinations in the Southwest, where warm skies and dry air make for a relaxing family vacation. Continue to the next page to find out more about family vacations in the Southwest.

Visit the following links to learn about scenic drives or to get recommendations on Mobil Travel Guide's ratings on hotels, resorts, and restaurants.