5 Best Road Trips in the Midwest for a Weekend Escape

  • Aug 2,2019
Open highway with cliff in the background Open highway with cliff in the background

A fun-filled road trip is your best bet when you need a vacation, but you don't want to pay for airfare. If you live in the Midwestern states, you're in luck! The region is packed with beautiful landscapes and dreamy lakes that'll satisfy your wanderlust (at least for now).

So, whether you're looking for fun and adventure, some well-deserved R&R, or a little bit of everything, your perfect weekend escape is just a gas tank or two away. Check out the five best Midwest road trips, and get ready to shift into vacay mode!

1. Door County, Wisconsin

See the sights in Wisconsin! Door County is the perfect spot for a low-key Midwest getaway. You'll quickly fall in love with Door County and understand why it's called, "The Cape Cod of the Midwest."

In this charming place, it's easy to live like a local! Fill your tummy with cheese and cherry pie. Experience a Scandinavian fish boil, explore the farmer's markets, and stay at a quaint bed-and-breakfast. At night, enjoy a show under the stars at one of the many outdoor theaters, or catch a movie at the Skyway Drive-In.

And with 300 miles of shoreline, Door County has a beach for everyone! Nicolet Beach has a playground, paddle sports rentals, sand volleyball courts, and concessions. Waterfront Park in Sister Bay is near shops and restaurants. And Rock Island State Park is beautiful and secluded—probably because it's two ferry rides away from the mainland!

2. North Shore, Minnesota

Up for a drive? Follow Lake Superior's shoreline from Duluth to Canada for one of the most scenic Midwest road trips! A few gems along the way are Black Beach (which boasts black sand and red cliffs), Palisade Head (a 300-foot overlook off the beaten path), and Grand Portage State Park (where you can hike through the lush forest to High Fall for a jaw-dropping #nofilter photo op).

Make a pit stop in the city of Grand Marais to taste the local flavor at Dockside Fish Market: smoked fish, fish and chips, and fresh Menominee, Herring, and other locally-caught seafood. Plus, the market has a dog-friendly patio and a great view of the harbor.

While making your way along this beautifully scenic route, keep in mind that the changes in elevation can result in a loss of tire pressure. (Grand Marais contains very significant variations in elevation, notes WeatherSpark.) The last thing you’ll want to worry about while taking in those stunning overlook views is a deflated tire! So, make sure that your tires are properly inflated and in good shape before you begin your adventure. The technicians at your nearest Tires Plus would be happy to check and inflate your tires for free.

3. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Visit Grand Rapids for an urban getaway! Whether you go for a girls' weekend or a family vacation, you'll have plenty to eat, drink, see, and do. Grand Rapids has a killer music scene, outdoor activities for visitors of all ages, and mouth-watering options for all types of foodies.

Surprisingly enough, Grand Rapids is best known for its art scene. Marvel at works by renowned artists like Andy Warhol, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Rodin at the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The park’s waterfront location means paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing opportunities abound!

Slip down to South Haven (just an hour away) to escape the city's hustle and bustle. Unwind on the sandy beaches, enjoy u-pick orchards, and savor the many wineries and tasting rooms this port city has to offer.

4. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

If you're the outdoorsy type, you'll have a good time in the Badlands. This remote area takes "getaway" to the next level. Good luck finding any signs of civilization.

Colorful buttes, pinnacles, and canyons define Badlands National Park's rugged beauty. Acres upon acres of protected mixed-grass prairie are home to bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs (a.k.a your roomies for the weekend). The park has two campgrounds and many hiking trails to choose from, as well as backcountry camping and hiking for those feeling extra adventurous. Who needs a hotel, anyway?

But the fun doesn't stop. There's even more to explore around the Badlands! Check out Custer State Park and stop for a selfie with the 60-foot granite faces of four former U.S. presidents carved into the Black Hills. Hello, Mount Rushmore! And when you're driving for miles in the middle of nowhere, reliable and fuel-efficient tires, like Bridgestone Ecopia tires, can go a long way in boosting your peace of mind and helping you save money on gas.

5. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Want one of those lake vacations that leave you relaxed, refreshed, and just a little sunburned? Head to the Lake of the Ozarks!

You can rent pontoon boats, ski boats, jet skis, and other watersports vehicles from marinas or rental services, and there are several water parks and public beaches where you can cool off, too.

Plus, there's plenty of fun to be had off the lake as well. Drive into Branson for shopping and a magic show, or take the kiddos to the 1880s-style theme park, Silver Dollar City. There are also places to hike, ride bikes, and go horseback riding, like Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and Lake of the Ozarks State Park.

Seize the Day Trip!

Don’t trip over car malfunctions on your Midwestern road trip route! Get affordable car repairs at your nearest Tires Plus. Flat tire or dead battery, we'll get you back on the road to paradise faster than you can say, "Dontcha know!" We have 400+ stores across the country, including the Midwest!

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