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Updated January 2023
Places to visit the Midwest in March | Midwestern spring break | fun spring break ideas | driveable spring break destinations | Michigan | Ohio | Wisconsin | Illinois | spring break destinations | State Park |
It’s that time of the year again – the first trip of the year for many – spring break!
I don’t know about you, but the thought of Spring alone makes me happy, especially after a brutal winter.
Maybe it’s the slightly sunnier days, the tulips starting to bloom, and the thought of Spring Break around the corner, it’s definitely a happier vibe and for many, it’s the unofficial start of the travel season.
Though destinations such as Mexico or other warmer climates may come to mind when imagining Spring Break destinations, I wouldn’t forget about some of the amazing, and uniquely beautiful places to travel around to in the Midwest.
In today’s post, I want to share with you some of the most beautiful, unique, and interesting Midwest spring break destinations to check out this year, whether you’re looking for local ideas, or you’re planning to visit family in the Midwest.
As someone who’s been living in the Midwest for the past 20-ish years, I have traveled to many different parts of the Midwest during Spring Break, so these ideas are meant to inspire you to look further into activities, and sights to check out while visiting the Midwestern region of the US.
Let’s get to it!
Why should you plan a Midwestern Spring Break?
When you think of the best places to plan a spring break trip to, the Midwest may not be your idea of warmth and beach.
The temperature is climbing up to the low 50s, and some places in the Midwest may even feel a bit cooler. However, Spring in the Midwest is quite a beautiful sight to see.
From the beautiful and colorful Tulips starting to make their appearance, and add color to the natural landscape, to the hospitality and friendliness of the people here, as well as affordability, and much more.
Spring Break here may be significantly less expensive in comparison to some of the most popular Spring Break sites to be at.
Oh, and less crowded too!
While Spring Break may look a bit different up here in the Midwestern region of the U.S., you can rest assured knowing that there are plenty of things to do and explore during your Spring Break visit that are special and unique to the Midwest in March-April.
What is there to do in the Midwest in March?
Considering the fact that many across the U.S. have Spring Break all throughout the month of March, you can rest assured knowing that you will find something just about every week of the month happening!
From beautiful flower festivals to food festivals, parades, plenty of world-class indoor attractions, and more!
Truly, there are some things you just have to experience here in the Midwest, that you can’t ever get elsewhere.
From its unique mix of world-famous cosmopolitan cities like Chicago, blended with the small-town charm, open fields, and iconic plains of this region – the Midwesterns know how to have fun, put on a good festival, and welcome everyone to join.
It’s a unique experience to have yourself at least once in your life, and I hope this post helps give you an idea and travel inspiration to get started on your Spring Break plans in the Midwest.
The Best 19 Midwest Spring Break Destinations To Plan Your Trip
Midwest Spring Break Destination: Wisconsin
1. Door County
To kick off the best of Midwest spring break destinations, let’s head to the “Cape Cod of the Midwest” – Door County.
If you’re a reader of the blog, then you KNOW how much I love a good road trip to Door County.
Just a 3-4 hour drive from Chicago.
Door County is a very quaint, very beautiful place to explore during Spring Break, with one of its unique experiences such as the Guided Winter Hike, where you will get the customized experience to explore the natural landscape of Door County, learn about the native animals, vegetation, and more!
Another unique and awesome experience to catch while you’re visiting Door County is the Northern Lights.
While according to the official Door County site, you can experience this magical sight anytime throughout the year, so why not check it out when you’re in town? Follow and track the aurora borealis in the midwest by checking out sites like The Great Lakes Aurora Hunters Alerts on Facebook to see if you can coordinate your Spring Break around this time.
Other than that, you can pretty much customize your Spring Break trip to Door County based on any of your likes.
From wanting a historical trip, arts and culture, relaxation and wellness, or weird and unique.
Check out their site to get the most updated information to start planning your Spring Break trip!
While you’re there, don’t forget to stop by and grab some of the best wood-fired pizza at Wild Tomato – honestly, so freaking delicious! With locations in Sister Bay and Fish Creek, Click here to check out their menu, and what others have to say about their experience and food!
Tours in to check out in Door County
- Door County Wetlands Kayak Tour
- Death’s Door Bluff Kayak Tour
- Peninsula State Park Segway Tour
- Fish Creek Electric Scooter Guided Nature Glide
Where to stay in Door County:
Check out staying in the comforts of Homestead Suite – Fish Creek, equipped with the best amenities, from a swimming pool to fast wi-fi, clean rooms, and comfortable beds. Stay near the Orchard Country Winery attraction as well as the beautiful Peninsula State Park.
Another great option is staying at the cozy Open Hearth Lodge in Sister Bay, in the heart of Door County, and nearby some incredible eateries, including the best pizza in Door County, Wild Tomato. Take in the stunning sunset at the outdoor fire pit with views of nature around, or slip into a cozy robe as you contemplate your surroundings on your personal balcony. The hotel is pet friendly, so feel free to bring your canine buddies!
2. Devil’s Lake in Baraboo
Calling all nature lovers! A visit to Devil’s Lake is just the ticket, especially visiting during spring break when you have a few of those beautiful warm days for the perfect hike before the main summer season rolls in.
Whether you visit in March or early April, birdwatching season may be starting up with the migration of different birds returning north for spring. Bring your bike, and ride some of the beautiful trails zig-zagging around the quaint nature, lakes, and hills, while also admiring some of the fresh new blooms of the seasons.
Want to extend the fun? Consider booking a cottage or cabin at Devil’s Lake! Wake up to the sound of some of the frozen waterfalls starting to melt, as the bright sun shines bringing everything alive at the park.
Where to stay:
Modern meets rustic when you stay at this 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom, 2800-square-foot cabin, with Devil’s Lake only less than a mile away, as well as a few other attractions nearby like the North Shore Beach and the Circus World Museum.
Opting for something a bit different but still comfortable? Stay at a tiny house in Devil’s Lake! Stay in the coziness of 200 square feet, with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom, kitchen, and dining, but equipped with all the things you’d need for a unique but comfortable stay. The tiny house is a 30-minute drive from Devil’s Lake.
If you’re opting for something with a bit more comfort, consider staying at the Ringling House Bed and Breakfast, only an 11-minute drive from Devil’s Lake! Equipped with a warm sun terrace, and a quaint garden to enjoy, guests also raved about the breakfast options, choosing between standard American, vegan, and vegetarian options as well.
The state capitol of Wisconsin has its own fair share of things to do, specifically during spring break which makes it a top Midwest spring break destination, from nature to fun museums, and other cultural events.
Take a walk in one of Madison’s more than 200 parks and 5 beautiful lakes, never more than 10-minutes away from each other, head to the lake if the water has melted, and contemplate the beauty of the sparkling water, and if the water is still frozen, you can do some ice fishing!
For families and art lovers, check out the beautiful works of art inside the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and for live events happening during spring break, check out International Festival to experience the wide array of cultures that reside in Madison, the Black Arts Matter Festival, or take a peek at the beautiful horses at the Midwest Horse Fair.
This doesn’t include of course stopping by the State Capitol, and booking a tour to see the intricate details and design of this monumental building.
There’s so much to do in Madison, it’s often so underrated, but here are just a few ideas of what you can expect when you head to northern Wisconsin!
Tours to check out in Madison:
Where to stay:
With views of the state capitol building and the city, a stay at the Madison Concourse Hotel is sure to guarantee nothing but a beautiful stay. Central to pretty much all the shopping and dining in Madison, guests will be spoilt with the incredible dining options in the hotel as well as luxurious cocktails at the bar.
Hotel Indigo is the epitome of luxury, art, and style when it comes to a boutique hotel. Located downtown Madison, Hotel Indigo offers its guests a hearty American breakfast, every morning, before heading out to the day’s adventures exploring the State Capitol Building, or seeing what’s up at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.
Lastly, treat yourself to a stay at The Edgewater, and feel presidential with stunning views of the lake from many of the fully-furnished rooms. Depending on when you visit for spring break, you may still find the fun and seasonal skating rink, or perhaps the luxurious gardens will begin blooming.
4. Lake Geneva
It’s always fun by the lake, and for the perfect Midwest spring break destination, be sure to consider a few days spent at beautiful Lake Geneva.
From renting a bike to take for a spin at Andy’s Skate and Bike Park, only a 21-minute drive from Lake Geneva, or it’s taking yourself on a winery tour at Apple Barn Orchard and Winery, a 20-minute drive from Lake Geneva, or going on a self-guided historical and architectural tour of Lake Geneva, basking in its beautiful Gilded Age mansions and Queen Anne style Victorian homes – this is just the cusp of it all.
For a quaint horseback ride around Lake Geneva, a petting zoo, pony rides for kids, and carriage rides, head to Dan Patch Stables, or for the nature seekers, take on a nature walk at Duck Lake Nature Trail, a 45-minute relatively easy walk for birdwatching and nature appreciation, especially during spring when the flowers and trees start to bloom again.
Where to stay:
Consider booking your stay at Bella Vista Suites Lake Geneva, situated on the beachfront and within walking distance from the downtown area. Relax and unwind at the spa, or hot tub, or enter the Himalayan salt sauna for ultra relaxation. For nature seekers, you’ll be surrounded by Big Foot State Park and various other trails nearby for your convenience.
Harbor Shores on Lake Geneva is another great hotel option in Lake Geneva, offering a 5-minute walk to hop on board the famous attraction, the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. Located on the lakeshore, you’ll be able to indulge in the 2 pools or get your workout in inside the state-of-the-art fitness center. End your nights with the restaurant and bar located within the hotel, and enjoy free parking!
Enjoy the fresh spring air from your balcony or patio, in one of Lake Geneva’s more modern hotels at The Abbey Resort. Relish the modern and sleek decor in the lobby and rooms, as well as the great selection of dining options at the hotel, with views of the harbor. The hotel also has a coffee bar inside, for those who wish to start their day with a latte without leaving the hotel.
As the birds begin to chirp, and the lake starts to melt, spring begins to show its glorious face around Milwaukee, bringing all visitors from near and far to come to discover its long list of spring activities.
Start your adventures exploring the beautiful nature with a walk at Lake Park, passing by the beautiful lighthouse dating back to 1855, ravine paths, and paved paths, with optimal views of the lake.
Enjoy lunch at one of the freshly opened patios for instance at Cafe Benelux in the Third Ward with outstanding views of the lake and historic neighborhood, a local favorite, the Lakefront Colectivo Coffee, situated on the Lake Michigan lakefront, or why not grab a few local craft beers (you’re in Milwaukee after all!) and you head to Milwaukee Ale House for a few flights. Stop by the Milwaukee Public Market for a few light snacks, and to peek at some of the local products produced in Wisconsin, from cheese to international cuisine.
Cheer on the Milwaukee Bucks at a game at the Fiserv Forum, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, be a bystander at the Shamrock Shuffle or the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, or listen to a live concert at Quadracci Powerhouse or at a coffee shop like Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.
Tours to check out in Milwaukee:
- Discover Iconic Milwaukee Tour
- Shakers Original Historical Ghost Tour
- Milwaukee Walking Tasting Tour with Secret Foods Tours
- Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Museum Admission Ticket w/ Audio Guide Option
Where to stay:
Stay in the sleek accommodations provided by Hotel Metro in Milwaukee, where you will be only a 15-minute walk from the Milwaukee Art Museum as well as the Lake Michigan lakefront walking path. Unwind every night at the rooftop tiki bar “Pufferfish Tiki” and soak in the beauty of Milwaukee with your preferred drink in hand. The hotel is pet friendly and offers baggage storage for your convenience.
Relish the elegance at The Plaza Hotel in Milwaukee, featuring a luxurious in-house spa to help you rejuvenate after much sightseeing. Enjoy an in-house coffee bar, restaurant, and a 1920’s overall style decor throughout the hotel. Situated in downtown Milwaukee, you’ll have no problem getting around to the main sights!
Stay in a 100-year-old renovated warehouse turned luxurious boutique hotel that is conveniently close to the Harley Davidson Museum, at The Iron Horse Hotel. Equipped with an incredible restaurant and bar featuring craft cocktails and local beers, you’ll enjoy being one of the first ones to open the patio for the season when you visit during spring break! Breakfast is available to guests, perfect for those jam-packed itinerary days!
Midwest Spring Break Destination: Illinois
Chicago is a bustling city that will have numerous reasons to visit time and time again no matter the season however visiting during Spring Break shouldn’t be missed!
In the month of March, you can expect many events happening in the city, from the fun St. Patrick’s Day parade, which is a city-wide festival where the city and its people dress up in green, the streets and bars are bustling with life, and everyone is out celebrating no matter the slightly chilly temperatures – so if you’re here to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – Chicago-Style, make sure to bundle up for the frigid Chicago winter temperatures that may still be lingering.
>> Read More: The 25 Coziest and Best Coats for Chicago Winter in 2023
The St. Patrick’s Day parade is a seriously fun time, and one not to miss if you’re here on March 11th. Watch as the beloved Chicago River gets dyed a bright green, but be there promptly as the color lasts approximately 24-48 hours.
Stop by some of the many diverse and beautiful neighborhoods surrounding Chicago to catch some of the first blooms of the season, from the stunning tulips on Michigan Avenue to the bright cherry blossoms blooming at Jackson Park’s Japanese Garden. For true flower lovers, head over to the Chicago Botanic Garden to really be in your botanical element at this lively time of the year.
Patio season will be opening back up during spring break at many of Chicago’s stunning rooftops, but if it’s still too cold, you can always head to the famous Skydeck at the Willis Tower, where you can step inside the thrilling The Ledge, or for the true adventurers, book your spot on the famous TILT at the John Hancock Building, literally tilting you towards the abyss of the city below, some 1,030 feet up!
Looking for quaint vibes? Head to the various charming small towns near Chicago on the Metra train, and explore all you can see!
>> Read More: The Prettiest Small Towns To Visit In Illinois
Tours to check out in Chicago:
- The Chicago Crime and Mob Bus Tour
- BYOB Spray Paint ‘n’ Sip at Studio W.I.P Chicago
- Chicago Favorite UltiamteFood & Walking Tour
- Chicago in a Day: Food, History, and Architecture Walking Tour
- Skip-the-line Art Institute of Chicago Exclusive Guided Museum Tour
- Chicago Pizza Tour
Where to stay:
Set only a few minutes away from Michigan Avenue and all its incredible shopping opportunities, as well as the John Hancock Building, The Eurostars Magnificent Mile Hotel, is a prime location with equally incredible amenities. Enjoy waking up to the views of the city, with a coffee in hand as gear up for a day in the city! Laundry facilities, fast wi-fi, and a state-of-the-art spa and fitness center are available.
For travelers seeking luxury, consider booking your stay at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, welcoming guests with its stunning European-style exterior architecture, and modern amenities inside. Relish the on-site spa and wellness center, enjoy breakfast inside the hotel’s restaurant, or grab drinks at night with your dinner. The hotel is at a close distance to the main sights to see in Chicago, including the Magnificent Mile.
Check out the artsy digs at citizenM Chicago Downtown, only one 1-mile away from Ohio Street Beach. Enjoy the 24-hour front desk, as well as baggage storage services, and fast wi-fi. The hotel has been raved about for its downtown location, as it’s close to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as tons of eateries. However, if you didn’t want to leave your hotel for dinner, you can opt for the vegetarian and vegan buffet inside.
It’s no surprise that Galena, Illinois is a beautiful gem of a historic city with tons of charm, and history, with plenty of natural breaks in between the red brick iconic architecture.
Take a brisk walk through Casper Bluffs Land and Water Preserve, ride the historic trolley to gain a deeper sense of appreciation of the town, visit Thunder Bay Falls to feel the mist of the grand waterfalls awaiting you, or reserve your spot on the next winery or brewery tour if it’s a rainy day.
>> Read More: 27 Incredible Things to do in Galena, Illinois
History and culture buffs won’t want to skip out on the story behind The Dowling House on a guided tour, or the gilded architecture and time-honored interiors of The Belvedere House and Gardens, both of which offer tours! Speaking of historical homes, I cannot move on without mentioning touring the fascinating home of Ulysses S. Grant – a Civil War General and U.S. President who resided in Galena.
Another great reason to visit Galena during Spring Break is the tons of local activities and events put on by the city, from Whiskey Weekend the first week of March, to a horseback riding session celebrated with a warm bowl of soup at the Saturday Soup and Ride at Shenandoah Riding Center happening throughout March, and so many more.
Be sure to check out the City of Galena’s events calendar to be up to date with all spring break activities!
Tours to check out in Galena:
- Groovy Galena Scavenger Hunt
- Canoeing and Kayaking in Mississippi Wildlife & Fish Refuge
- Horseback Riding and Petting Zoo
Where to stay:
Give yourself the ultimate bed and breakfast experience when you stay at the Cloran Mansion Bed & Breakfast, where you can enjoy a lovely full English or Irish breakfast in the garden, or of course, in your room. Full of delicate and classic decor, this bed and breakfast is raved about by long-time loyal customers for its attention to detail, hospitality, and cleanliness. Retreat in the evening after some sightseeing to make smores or small talk with those hanging out at the fire pit in front of the beautiful bed and breakfast.
The exterior of the Goldmoor Inn & Resort resembles a castle, and the interiors certainly do not disappoint, with beautiful and tasteful decor. Enjoy the free bike rentals available to guests every day, or for those days you want to slow down, enjoy the wellness treatments at the in-house spa. Every morning, you’ll be awakened by the wonderful smell of American-style breakfast, with vegetarian and vegan options as well as dairy-free.
For budget travelers, you cannot go wrong with staying at Country Inn & Suites, offering modern decor, and fully furnished rooms decked out in all the amenities you’d need for a comfortable stay. Enjoy taking a dip in the swimming pool or working up a sweat at the fitness center before heading out to your sightseeing duties. This hotel is rated high for its proximity to places like The Dowling House, Belvedere Mansion, and the Mississippi River.
Speaking of historical cities, Springfield, Illinois is a bright city brimming with countless historic, nature, and child-geared fun, perfect for families looking for the perfect Midwest spring break destination.
During spring break, you can visit the Illinois State Capitol, and even book a tour of the government building. Since it’s the Land of the Lincoln, be sure to stop by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, as well as the Lincoln Home and National Historic Site, where you’ll get to enter President Lincoln’s home before he became president, within the neighborhood re-made to what it would have looked like.
As far as events happening in March and April, for ghost lovers, consider booking your spot on the Lincoln Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore, or plan a visit to the Washington Park Botanical Garden for the Spring Floral Show (admission is free!), or snag your free entry into the Henson Robinson Zoo, available every Tuesday starting in April.
For more information on these events, and more fun activities to do during spring break in Springfield, check out the city’s event calendar.
Tours to check out in Springfield:
- Fun Scavenger Hunt in Springfield by Operation City Quest
- Springfield City Scavenger Hunt Excursion by Zombie Scavengers
Where to stay:
Make the State House Inn your home away from home when you visit Springfield, offering incredible views of the Illinois State Capitol, and only a 5-minute walk to the Korean War Veteran National Museum & Library, as well as the State Capitol. Guests are welcomed to an American-style breakfast every morning, and laundry and ironing services are available upon request. The modern hotel features boutique hotel accommodations and decor, so it’s definitely a beautiful hotel to relax in.
Enjoy the comforts and commodities offered at Inn at 835 Boutique Hotel, which offers free parking for guests, incredible garden views, and free bikes for its guests to use and explore the capital city of Illinois. A continental breakfast is served every day, before heading out to some of the attractions nearby like the Korean War Veteran National Museum & Library.
Spend the night in the comfort and sleek, modern accommodations and decor at the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, featuring a large indoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, and an airport transfer available to guests. The hotel is near important sights like the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. If you’re driving to Springfield, the hotel is located near the interstate, making it easier to find as soon as you get to Springfield.
Midwest Spring Break Destination: Ohio
From rock music landmarks to beautiful views of Lake Erie, and tons of fascinating museums to explore, Cleveland Ohio has a bunch of great activities to add to your Midwest spring break itinerary list that is worth checking out!
Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Cleveland Metropark Zoo, the foodie haven that is West Side Market, and even Cedar Point as it’s only 1 hour away.
Though all are great options to explore during Spring Break and any other time of the year, however, let’s talk about nature in Ohio, specifically close to Cleveland.
Ohio is also known for its stunning parks, from the botanical beauty of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens to incredible waterfalls at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Chagrin Falls, as well as its abundant spring cultural events, from the Polish celebration of Dyngus Day on April 18th to the biggest Indian classical music event, the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival from April 5th-16th, and the Cleveland International Film Festival going on from March 22nd-April 1st.
It won’t feel anymore like spring has sprung in Cleveland without a visit to the bright cherry blossom blooms at the Metroparks, like the Brookside Reservation or the Bedford Reservation, and hey, if you’re up to it, maybe even set up camp for the night and stay overnight in a cottage.
Have you ever heard of Maple Sugaring?
Maple Sugaring is the process of creating maple syrup, and for that, northern Ohio has a ton of events and places to check out the process for yourself!
Visit the Maple Sugaring events at Rocky River Nature Center, or to see the maple syrup-making process in a 19th-century village, check out Maple Sugar Days at Hale Farm & Village, taking place in the first few weeks of March.
Tours to check out in Cleveland:
- Ohio City Neighborhood Food Tour of Cleveland
- Sip of Cleveland Guided Brewery Tour
- Guided Walking Tour: Downtown Highlights
Where to stay in Cleveland:
Overflowing with modern and beautiful interior decor is the Kimpton Schofield Hotel, situated in one of Cleveland’s most historic buildings. Enjoy being in close proximity to sights like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Playhouse Square theater district. After a successful day enjoying Cleveland, relax with a craft cocktail prepared for you at the hotel’s luxe bar.
Why not go all out and book a room at The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, where you will surely be taken care of by the highly attentive staff inside the beautiful space. Enjoy the state-of-the-art fitness room, just as much as the delicious food served inside the wonderful in-house restaurant. The hotel is also close to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as a few concert venues.
Lastly, the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade is a wonderful option to book your stay at, featuring a complete spa, delicious restaurant, and bar in-house, or if you want to step out for dinner, you can as the hotel is surrounded by incredible dining spots and shopping. Breakfast and Lunch services are available to guests, as well as enjoying a cocktail in the stunning 1890 Lounge.
Midwest Spring Break Destination: Indiana
Whether it’s driving around Monument Circle, checking out the works of art inside the Indianapolis Museum of Art (Newfields), or taking a spring walk in the canal at White River State Park, located smack dab in the middle of the city, there are plenty of things to do in Indianapolis to make it to your list of best midwest spring break destinations to check out.
For history buffs, pay a visit to the Lilly House and Gardens, considered to be a National Historic Landmark, which was the home of a wealthy philanthropist back in the 1930s.
Today, the house has been conserved throughout time, and a step inside will show you that.
Don’t leave without visiting the gardens, which may be starting their gorgeous blooming season during spring break. Did you know that the designer of the Lily House Gardens were the same geniuses who designed Central Park?
The more you know!
Speaking of knowing more, learn a bit more about the indigenous culture, especially local to Indiana at the Eiteljorg Museum, to get a better idea of the native people who inhabited Indiana way before it was even Indiana, for a dose of education to your travels in Indianapolis.
After a visit to the Eiteljorg Museum, check out the Indiana State Museum, for a recollection of the formation of the state, and facts that not many people know, and many would be surprised to find out about this underrated state!
If you’re looking at things to do with kids in Indianapolis, this is the perfect city to check out with your family!
From learning archery at the Strawtown Koteewi Park with the kids to taking your kids to release their energy indoor speed racing at K1 Speeds, or at the Urban Air Adventure Park, as well as zipping on the zip line inside The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The list truly goes on!
If you want to streamline your activities, consider purchasing the Indianapolis 3-Day Indy Attraction Pass to unlock many of the city’s main attractions, while also receiving restaurant discounts, all at once!
Tours to check out in Indianapolis:
- Fountain Square Food Tour
- Self-Guided Smartphone Walking Tour of Downtown Indianapolis
- Indy Walking Tour
Where to stay in Indianapolis:
Check out the amenities inside the JW Marriot Indianapolis, conveniently located in downtown Indianapolis, with 2 in-house restaurants and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Start your days with a hearty breakfast, before heading out to explore the abundant things to do in Indianapolis, with the Circle Center Mall and the Indiana State Capitols within a 10-minute walking distance.
Stay in the elegant Conrad Indianapolis Hotel, also located in the heart of Indianapolis, offering local transportation to a few sights from the hotel to guests. If you’re trying to get work done, The Conrad offers fast wi-fi and a business center open 24 hours. You can walk to Monument Circle, and the Indiana Convention Center, among other sights.
Tru By Hilton Indianapolis Downtown offers open, bright, and clean rooms for its guests as well as a 24-hour front desk service, private parking, and of course a full buffet breakfast available daily. If you’re wondering what you’ll be near if you book your stay here, you’ll be close to the Hilbert Circle Theater and the Lucas Oil Stadium. Enjoy beautiful city views from almost every room!
Midwest Spring Break Destination: Iowa
11. Des Moines
From art lovers to nature seekers, Des Moines proves to have it all for you to explore on foot.
Start your art adventures walking the 6-mile art-filled Des Moines Art Route, located downtown Des Moines, where you can take a look at over 70 different public artwork displays, as you also walk through downtown Des Moines.
Next, head to Pappajohn Sculpture Park for another art walk, this time featuring more than 20 life-size sculptures and statues created by world-renown artists.
Athlete lovers, Des Moines has something for you too! Head over to the Prairie Meadows Casino & Racetrack to view a rousing horse race, starting back up in March, so check tickets ahead of time!
You’re visiting the Iowa capital city, so of course, you must pay a visit to the Iowa State Capitol for a tour of the award-winning structure, due to its unique 5-domed appearance that apparently is the only one of its kind in the U.S.
History lovers, check out a fancy dinner affair as they did in the 1870s when you book your seat at the table at the Flynn Mansion High Style Coursed Dinner, offered throughout the month of March, Thursday-Saturday nights.
Top off your cultural stay in Des Moines with a jazz concert at Noce, a jazz bar in downtown Des Moines. From Big Band, or blues, and classic jazz, you won’t want to miss an evening like this!
For more springtime activities to do in Des Moines that will surely surprise you (in all the good ways) head to their city calendar here!
Tours to check out in Des Moines:
Where to stay in Des Moines:
Enjoy all the comforts of staying at the Comfort Inn & Suites Event Center, where you’ll be able to spot the hotel easily as it’s right next to Interstate 235. Before heading out to your day’s adventures, enjoy the daily breakfast served buffet style, as well as the daily newspaper, free for all guests. From some rooms, you may enjoy the sights of the city, the Des Moines River, as well as the State Capitol.
The Hyatt Place Des Moines Downtown also offers great, clean, and spacious amenities, conveniently located in the heart of Des Moines. Enjoy access to the indoor pool, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Don’t have a car to get around in? The hotel offers a free shuttle service downtown! Start your day with breakfast at the restaurant, or for the early risers, enjoy a flat white or coffee of choice at the coffee bar downstairs!
For the ultimate hotel experience in Des Moines, check out the Hotel Fort Des Moines, a boutique hotel that is in the heart of downtown, and only 11 minutes away on foot from the Science Center of Iowa. Enjoy a hot breakfast daily in the beautiful dining area, free parking for those driving, and enjoy unwinding after a day of exploring at the magnificent bar.
Midwest Spring Break Destination: Missouri
12. St. Louis
Spring in St. Louis means outdoor activities, sights, and neighborhoods to explore.
Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, visiting St. Louis’ Botanic Garden is a MUST!
Exploring the almost 79 acres of blooming gardens where you can see everything from tulips, cherry blossoms, daffodils, peonies, azaleas, and more!
While exploring the beautiful gardens and grounds, explore the historic sites such as the Linnean House, which is the oldest greenhouse west of the Mississippi, the Climatron, which is the first geodesic dome to be placed in a conservatory, and Sachs Museum, a museum collection of local art pieces, artifacts, and more.
Catch the stunning views of spring colors, especially after a cold, brutal winter. Find tickets to the Missouri Botanical Garden here!
Exploring the neighborhoods, from Delmar Loop, The Hill – St. Louis’ Italian neighborhood with amazing Italian food, Lafayette’s Square – a French-inspired neighborhood lined with Victorian homes, and beautiful coffee shops and restaurants, is a must!
To get some real St. Louis vibe, check out Soulard – live music, St. Louis-style food, farmers markets, a lot of hometown pride, and more!
Head to the historic Union Station for a ride at the St. Louis Wheel for incredible views of downtown and The Arch, fun obstacle game fun at the Rope Course, and of course a stop at the St. Louis Aquarium, all inside!
For more information on more neighborhoods to explore, check out this map for more!
Lastly, if this is your first time in St. Louis, you have to make sure to make a stop at St. Louis Gateway Arch, and take in the views either from the ground looking up or from above looking down and around.
Get views of the famous Mississippi River from the sidelines, or on a boat! Enjoy lunch or dinner on one of their famous River Boats, with different themes, and for all interests!
Tours to check out in St. Louis:
- Lemp Haunted Neighborhood Walking Tour
- True Crime Walking Tour in Soulard Neighborhood
- Historic Lafayette Square Shared Walking Tour
- Missouri Private Party Bike Tour
Where to stay in St. Louis:
Stay in the sleek and modern digs at The Last Hotel, located in downtown St. Louis, only a 1.6-mile distance from St. Louis Arch, and dozens of restaurants and cafes nearby. If the sun is fully shining, don’t hesitate in heading to the sun terrace for a little vitamin D, and then take a walk in the surrounding area to take in the beauty of downtown.
For a unique hotel concept that will surely add to your great memories of St. Louis, stay at the artsy Angad Arts Hotel, where every room has a color theme, designed to improve your mood. Breakfast is served daily, and the attention to detail and the hospitality of the 24-hour front desk workers are one of the things that previous guests truly enjoy about this hotel.
Stay a little outside of downtown St. Louis, to enjoy the close proximity to the beautiful Forest Park, the city’s main urban park with plenty to do, see, and enjoy. Hampton Inn & Suites St. Louis at Forest Park accommodates its guests with daily served breakfast, a complete gym center, and a cozy lobby where coffee and tea are available all day.
13. Kansas City
If you’re looking for a family-friendly midwest spring break destination, then look no further than Kansas City, Missouri’s capital city.
Kansas City has many things to do in spring, and perhaps one of those most popular things to do is check out the sprawling green and blooming parks and the botanical gardens, starting with the beauty awaiting you at Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, or Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden.
Foodies, make sure to head to the various markets throughout Kansas City, from Independence Uptown Market to Parkville Farmers Market, and the Historic City Market, featuring some of the best of local produce, delicacies, ingredients, and more!
Kansas City has deep Irish roots, so you won’t want to miss your front-row seat at the St. Patricks Day Parade, taking place on March 17th, or if you are a sports fanatic, make sure to catch a home game at Kauffman Stadium, to cheer on the Kansas City Royals.
For bonus things to do in Kansas City in the spring, make sure to check out the city’s events calendar!
Tours to check out in Kansas City:
Where to stay in Kansas City:
Enjoy the sleek styles at The Fontaine, located in the middle of the beautiful Country Club Plaza Shopping District, a stunning shopping center with Andalusian-inspired architecture, fountains, walking paths, and more. The hotel itself offers all the amenities you’d need for a comfortable stay, including close proximity to sights like the National War Museum, The Kansas City Power and Light District, and of course, excellent shopping and dining options!
Stay at Kansas City Marriot Downtown for incredible views of the city, as well as luxurious rooms, workspace, and coffee bar. Enjoy the in-house restaurant offering American-style food options, and other extra options for guests like dry cleaning. This hotel is located near the Lyric Opera House, the Midland Theater, and more.
Traveling with your pup? Consider staying at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, located downtown is a modern hotel with access to a deluxe swimming pool, fitness center, attentive 24-hour front desk, and spectacular restaurant in-house.
Midwest Spring Break Destination: Michigan
14. Mackinac Island
Michigan is a very beautiful state, with tons of destinations for the perfect Midwest spring break adventure.
Aside from the beautiful nature, and overall charm of this enchanting island, visiting during spring break, around April, is a good time to visit Mackinac Island because of fewer crowds.
Mackinac Island is a charming island located on the scenic Upper Peninsula region of Michigan, where you can walk through the picturesque, pedestrian-only streets throughout the island, take in the beautiful victorian-era style homes, gaze at the magnificent Mackinac Bridge on the horizon, as you hear the sound of the horse-drawn carriages or bicyclist taking the quaint streets.
April is a great month to spend the night under the starry night over Mackinac Island, where you can catch sight of the beautiful Lyrid meteor showers, considered to be one of the oldest known meteor showers known to be recorded.
Did you know that Mackinac Island is the capital of fudge? A mandatory stop is part of the list of things to do in Mackinac Island, especially at The Original Murdick’s Fudge, which has been in service making fudge for Mackinac Island since 1887!
Here you can also hike around the beautiful island, and view one of its natural monuments, Arch Rock.
Check the island’s event calendar, full of different events to check out for during late spring break, and throughout the year.
How to get to Mackinac Island from Mackinaw City:
Hop on a ferry from Mackinaw City, either going with Mackinac Island Ferry, with different options from online family specials, to hopping on the hydro-jet ferry for faster service. You can also check out Shepler’s Ferry, which offers various ticket options for adults, and families, if you’re traveling with luggage, bikes, etc.
The ferry from Mackinaw City to Mackinac City is around 16-30 minutes.
Tours to check out in Mackinac Island:
Where to stay on Mackinac Island:
Enjoy the magnificent sights of Lake Huron from your room at the Bicycle Street Inn and Suites, situated close to the iconic Haunted Theater, as well as a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Probably the most iconic hotel at Mackinac Island is hands down Grand Hotel, with its impressive facade, sights of the lake from the charming porch, and outstandingly beautiful gardens right beside. The interiors look like you’ve just stepped back in time, but with all the modern amenities you’d need from a flat-screen TV to a coffee bar and air conditioner/heating.
Relish a filling breakfast at the terrace of the Island House Hotel, the beautiful 19th-century home-turned-hotel that comes with everything from a coffee machine, air-conditioned rooms, flat-screen TV, and more. Breakfast options come with vegetarian and vegan options too!
Visit Detroit and explore The Henry Ford – 3 part attraction that includes the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village (opening mid-April), and Ford Rouge Factory Tour – all of which in combination exhibit in their words “American culture, inventions, people and can-do spirit.”
Explore the historic Greenfield Village, take a step back to the time of significant inventions, and step into the museums to learn about the history of American-made creations.
And while you’re there, explore one of its beautiful farmer’s markets such as Eastern Market.
Tours to check out in Detroit:
- Explore the undiscovered beauty of Detroit
- Private MotorCities National Heritage Area Antique Car Tour
- Detroit City Scavenger Hunt Excursion by Operation City Quest
Where to stay in Detroit:
Explore all there is to do in Detroit after a restful sleep at the Atheneum Suite Hotel, with private parking, a 24-hour front desk, and a room with a minibar and stunning views of the city below.
Shinola Hotel is a beautiful, sleek and chic hotel that is located in downtown Detroit, close to sights like The Filmore Detroit and GM World, with a variety of restaurants and cafes nearby. This hotel also has beautiful sights of the city.
Feel like you’re staying at your own apartment in Detroit when you book your stay at Sonder The Randolph, situated in central Detroit. With the space of an apartment, as well as amenities such as a kitchen, living space, and rooms, you’ll also receive hotel amenities like toiletries, a hairdryer, and kitchen appliances with kitchenware.
Can you imagine taking a stroll through a field of tulips like you would if you were in Holland?
You can, actually. In Holland, Michigan that is.
Brimming with Dutch heritage, a trip to Holland in the Spring means a trip to these beautiful tulip fields.
To see the endless fields of pinks, reds, and yellows, head to the beautiful Tulip Time festival, taking place May 6-14th. Another place to see the colorful abundance of tulips is Veldheer Tulip Gardens, with approximately 5 million tulips and other flowers on display since the 1950s.
Explore more Dutch Heritage when you attend the variety of events and attractions, from the stunning architecture in downtown Holland to stepping into the variety of bakeries selling different Dutch goodies or see the only authentic Dutch windmill in the U.S. in Holland, MI, at Windmill Island Gardens, which is currently still used to grind wheat and flour! Walk through the numerous flower-paved paths, as you take in ornate Dutch decor and art along the way.
Visit Neli’s Dutch Village, a community of Dutch homes in which each house has a variety of different Dutch goods to sell or share, from wooden shoe carving demos to Dutch-inspired food and drinks.
Check out the Holland Michigan Farmers Market, starting in May, to try more Dutch goodies, as well as locally made baked goods and other organic produce and products, proudly Michigan-made.
And lastly, speaking of flowers and nature, Michigan has some of the most beautiful state parks in the Midwest.
Visiting in the Spring means exploring wildflower hikes, trails, and other beautiful Spring sites such as Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Where to stay in Holland:
Have a drink at the bar inside the Hampton Inn Holland to celebrate a successful sightseeing day in Holland, or head to the fitness center with an indoor basketball court, and table tennis, for a little fun with new friends. The Tulip Garden and Windmill Island are nearby, only a few minutes.
Enjoy the luxe and modern digs at the Staybridge Suites in Holland, where you can be near the main attractions, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
Stay in the eco-friendly rooms at CityFlatsHotel, featuring a modern style throughout the hotel. Be close to important sites like Holland State Park Beach and Lake Michigan, and various options for restaurants and cafes to check out.
From the sandy beaches to the public art displays and murals, endless water and sports activities, from paddleboarding to hiking, and of course, a good way to refuel with boutique restaurants and ice cream shops, Saugatuck has that quintessential Midwest charm that you see in movies, except it’s here, well and alive in Saugatuck.
Considered to be part of the “Art Coast of Michigan”, a visit to art galleries such as Armstrong DeGraaf Fine Arts and Good Goods is a given to revel in the unique art scene that has been beating with talent since the 1940s!
Looking for a fun afternoon taste-testing some local wines and brews? Check out Modales for the perfect Michigan wine with a charcuterie board, or step into Fenn Valley Vineyards and Wine Cellars for wine-tasting tours, readily available to accommodate your group.
Guardian Brewery uniquely combines international-style beers with local ingredients to create some incredible craft beers worth trying, or perhaps you want a good meal with your craft beer? Then head to Saugatuck Brewing Company for the best of both worlds!
Want to hit the trails for a bike ride? Then definitely check out bike tours and bike rentals so you can explore more, at your own pace.
Tours to check out in Saugatuck:
Where to stay in Saugatuck:
Wake up every morning with views of the lake when you book your stay at Kingfisher Cove Cabin, a 3 bedroom, 2 bath vacation home, where when you’re not taking in the golden sun rays from your porch, you are cycling in the paths nearby. The vacation home comes with all the amenities you’d need for a comfortable stay, as well as clean linens and towels.
Sneak into the deck to soak up some one-on-one time with nature when you stay at the Charming Saugatuck Condo, featuring 1 bedroom, living space, fully equipped kitchen, and closeness to Douglas Beach, about 1.6 miles away, and 0.9 miles away from Oval Beach.
Another highly rated Saugatuck stay is at Peterson Mill, with s 1 bedroom and 2 bathrooms condo, with a full kitchen, bath linens, and close proximity to bike and hiking paths. Stay near Oval Beach, only 1.2 miles away.
BONUS: The Ultimate Midwest Spring Break Destinations and Routes
18. Route 66
So maybe you’ve made it this far, and you realize that there are some pretty cool and unique things to explore in the Midwest for Spring Break.
Maybe you’re discovering that a road trip may also be calling your name.
Why not combine many of these destinations (and more because this is just barely scratching the surface) and drive down one of America’s most famous routes?
Route 66 is an iconic road trip that many Americans, as well as tourists, dream of driving one day, and exploring for themselves.
While the whole journey is around 2,448 miles and goes from Chicago to L.A. you could make it a trip to explore at least a stretch of it.
Journey down from Chicago to St. Louis on Route 66, or from Chicago to Oklahoma City, or wherever you feel you’d like to go on this famous route.
If you’re up to it, take the route all the way to L.A. and cross it off your bucket list this Spring Break!
Talk about quite the iconic journey.
19. The Lake Michigan Circle Tour
Another famous road trip idea (local to the Midwest) is a drive around Lake Michigan!
Explore some of the beautiful small towns that reside around Lake Michigan, and explore snippets of 4 states – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
I’ve done it, and it truly gave me a deeper appreciation for the Great Lakes and the Midwest in general.
I visited Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island for the first time thanks to this iconic Midwest road trip, plus the beauty of the Upper Peninsula region of Lake Michigan, is very scenic, and definitely a worthwhile journey in the Midwest to explore!
The lake is beautiful, and the towns around are very charming.
The Wrap-Up: The Best Midwest Spring Break Destinations in 2023
Which Midwest spring break destination called out to you the most?
I hope that you enjoyed reading through this list and that you got a good idea of the best Midwest spring break destinations for 2023!
Have you been to any of these? Let me know if you have any or which other Midwest destinations you’d recommend visiting.
To recap, the best Midwest spring break destinations in 2023 are:
- Door County, WI
- Devil’s Lake, WI
- Madison, WI
- Lake Geneva, WI
- Milwaukee, WI
- Chicago, IL
- Galena, IL
- Springfield, IL
- Cleveland, OH
- Indianapolis, IN
- Des Moines, IA
- St. Louis, MO
- Kansas City, MO
- Mackinac Island, MI
- Detroit, MI
- Holland, MI
- Saugatuck, MI
- Route 66
- The Lake Michigan Circle Tour
The truth is, there are so many beautiful places throughout the Midwest, that make them unique.
Not just because of the sights, places, islands, famous routes, or historic attractions, but also because of its people.
I can’t really describe it, but there is just optimism that is felt during this time of year amongst Midwesterners.
Coming out of a dark, cold, blustery winter, and onto brighter, warmer, longer days where we can start to hear the birds chirp and the tulips start to bloom – it changes people’s moods and really makes people feel happier.
You can feel it. Along with the nicer days.
Which one of these are you headed toward this year? I’d love to know where you’re headed!
To many more travel moments like these ✨