The Midwest is often treated as an ugly stepsister by travelers. For example, when U.S. News and World Report surveyed readers as to the places they considered the best to visit in the U.S., only one — Chicago — made its top 20 list. But, in truth, the Midwest is more like Cinderella than an ugly stepsister. Unassuming and gracious, the Midwest boasts some of the finest spots in America to visit, as evidenced by the following list.
Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Photo by Corvair Owner via Flickr
For wildlife lovers, this is a very special island, as it is one of the few places left in the continental U.S. where you might still see wolves and moose. Isle Royale is located in the middle of Lake Superior and can only be reached by either a boat or by seaplane.
Dells first became famous for the scenic sandstone formations that line the banks of the Wisconsin River. Plan a vacation at the Dells and take in the sights by scheduling a boat tour, planning a camping trip, or going down a zip-line. This beautiful area is just waiting to be explored by those that love the outdoors.
Photo by Amadeust via Wikimedia Commons
Motorsports lovers just have to take a pilgrimage to this city to visit the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard 500.
Photo by momentcaptured1 via Flickr
The third largest city in the U.S., Chicago is an electric and exciting destination where you’ll find world-class museums and some of the Midwest’s best restaurants. The Windy City is also sports crazy, so make sure to take in a Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Black Sox or Cubs game, if possible.
Phtoo by Wright Way Photography via Flickr
If you enjoy seeing live shows, then head over to Branson. This town boasts over 50 theaters where you can see all types of fun productions, including variety, magic, country music and comedy shows.
Photo by Counselman Collection via Flickr
Moore Ranch, Dodge City, Kansas
If you have ever dreamed of saddling up and herding longhorn cattle, then you need to head over to Moore Ranch, a real working spread. According to the Dodge Globe, this ranch’s cattle drives book up fast.
Photo by josephleenovak via Flickr
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Visiting this island, which is located in Lake Huron, is like going back in time. Almost all motor vehicles are prohibited on Mackinac Island and the entire island was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
Photo by Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau via Flickr
Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast
Named as one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 destinations for 2014, Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast is a lovely area with approximately 300 miles of beautiful beaches and many charming small towns. Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast is also home to a number of wineries.
Photo by Freekee via Flickr
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Kansas
Only 4 percent of the tallgrass prairie that once covered a large portion of North America remains. By visiting the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, you will be able to get a glimpse of the wildlife and plants that once lived in much of the Midwest.
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services-Midwest Region via Flickr
Badlands National Park
The landscape found in Badlands National Park is some of the most surreal and beautiful in the U.S. Here, you will also find some of the creatures that once roamed the Midwest, including wild bison, bighorn sheep and prairie dogs.
Photo by britta heise via Flickr