Midwest Spring Break Road Trip Ideas
Updated March 2022
Spring Break is right around the corner! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to leave the cold months behind and embrace the Spring. The Midwest is FULL of ideas for families when it comes to taking a vacation during school breaks. The coastlines will always hold a special place in my heart, but traveling within the Midwest can be just as beautiful and fun. Not to mention, it’s a vacation that is easy on your wallet (especially if you are traveling as a family!).
Below I’ve listed 15 Midwest Spring Break destinations ideas. Naturally, being a Hoosier, many of these are located in Indiana. However, you’ll find ideas in Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, and Ohio as well.
If you like nature, Brown County is a great place to land your feet for Spring Break. You can spend days here hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Renting a family cabin at Brown County State Park is a great way to get in some outdoor time and enjoy the inn’s indoor waterpark (all cabins include passes to the inn’s waterpark). Additionally, visitors enjoy shopping, dining, and activities in Nashville, Indiana. Nashville is a quaint Hoosier town known for its artistic culture and restored buildings. (Brown County is featured in the Indiana chapter of Midwest Road Trip Adventures)
Also, spend a day or two in neighboring Columbus, Indiana, taking advantage of their architecture and art trails, and parks.
I love my visit to Cincinnati with my husband, but it’s also a great place for families. Kids will like the unique sites in Cincinnati, like the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Newport Aquarium, King’s Island, Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, Highfield Discovery Center, and Coney Island. Taking in a game at the Great American Ball Park is another great Spring idea for the family.
Dayton is home to the World’s Largest Aviation Museum, it is free to visit and you’ll want to plan on spending most of a day here (there is SO much to see!). There are several museums in Dayton – history, art, auto, and science! You’ll also find that performance opportunities are vast, with an opera, Philharmonic, ballet, and dance theatre.
Evansville offers a scenic view of the Ohio River and is located within just a few miles of Kentucky and Illinois. Whether you are just stopping through on your travels or making a week out of this destination, you’ll find it’s a great option for families! While visiting in the Spring, you may be able to catch an Evansville Otter’s baseball game at Bosse Field, the filming site for the movie A League of Their Own. Other family-friendly finds include Mesker Park Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Indiana’s oldest zoo), an aquatic park, museums, and more. (Evansville is featured in the Indiana chapter of Midwest Road Trip Adventures)
There are over eighty parks in Fort Wayne, that’s an impressive amount for one city. If that doesn’t entice you, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Historic Old Fort, and a Science Central Museum are all great family-friendly options in “the Fort.” My personal favorites include visits to Lakeside Park and Rose Garden, Promenade Park, Fort Wayne’s Coney Island for hot dogs, and drinks from Fortezza Coffee. (Fort Wayne is featured in the Indiana chapter of Midwest Road Trip Adventures)
Families feel like royalty at the French Lick Resort. Although the casino might entice parents, French Lick is full of activities for kids! The resort offers an indoor and outdoor pool, free parking, kid’s activities, a bowling alley, horseback riding, and an arcade. You can take a free trolley ride or historical tour through the resort. Outside of the resort, The Wilstem Wildlife Park animal encounters, French Lick scenic train rides, and indoor go-karting are popular things to do around French Lick.
Indianapolis is one of the most family-friendly cities in the Midwest! I may be biased, but I believe it really is. It’s a bigger city but spread out enough for families to be able to enjoy everything from two state parks to city parks, museums, sports, and downtown shopping and dining. Indianapolis boasts one of the best children’s museums in the country! You can catch a baseball game (Indianapolis Indians) or basketball game (Pacers) in the Spring. Enjoy many of the museums and the walk (or paddleboat) along the Whitewater River Canal. (Indianapolis is featured in the Indiana chapter of Midwest Road Trip Adventures)
Although filled with small towns, Henry County packs a powerful punch with its location between Indianapolis and Dayton. Families in Indiana and Ohio looking for a Midwest Spring break staycation will benefit from Henry County’s museums, parks, and history. If you are a Hoosier fan, you will enjoy all the many basketball-themed activities and sites in this area, including the filming site of the film Hoosier, and the largest fieldhouse in the world (New Castle Fieldhouse).
Spend a few days exploring neighboring towns such as Greenfield, Indiana – visiting the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home, trails, parks, and coffee shops. And Richmond, Indiana – visiting Thistlewaite Falls, Firehouse BBQ & Blues, Cope Environmental Center, and more.
I love all of the Michigan cities along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, it’s hard to narrow down just one. For me, an ultimate Midwest Spring Break road trip idea would include a drive north up the Lake Michigan shoreline, starting in New Buffalo and ending in Traverse City. If you like camping, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of camping at several of the Michigan State Parks along the way!
In Madison, Indiana you’ll be chasing waterfalls, visiting historical landmarks, and learning about how Madison was a vital part of the underground railroad. Clifty Falls State Park is one of the most scenic and beautiful state parks in Indiana, with 12 miles of trails and 4 waterfalls. (Madison is featured in the Indiana chapter of Midwest Road Trip Adventures)
Do you have any video game fans in the family? Ottumwa, Iowa is the Video Game Capital of the World! Additionally, Ottumwa has 26 parks and trails for camping, hiking, fishing, and biking. Beach Ottumwa offers a 13-acre outdoor water park in the warmer months – a great opportunity to spend the day in the sun and water (tip for summer break). The American Gothic House, Airpower Museum, Wapello County Historical Museum, and food scene are just several of the other attractions and perks of visiting Ottumwa.
When in Iowa, consider visiting Grinnell and staying in the unique Hotel Grinnell (an old school building turned hotel).
Grab a ride on the Miller Ferry and leave all your worries behind as you depart for Put-In-Bay, Ohio. Surrounded by Lake Erie, you’ll feel like you are on an island in the Midwest! You’ll find plenty to do in this small lake town with two state parks, beaches, nature preserves, a lighthouse, and a boardwalk. You can ferry your car over, or leave it behind and pick up a golf cart rental for your visit.
Tucked along the Indiana/Ohio border, Richmond, Indiana offers visitors plenty of fun for families. Wayne County is full of museums, great food, and lots of activities. When it comes to affordability, Richmond is great for families on a budget with fun trails, parks, and even a waterfall! Educational opportunities are vast, with history regarding the Underground Railroad, Gennett Records, Starr Piano Company, and more. (Richmond is featured in the Indiana chapter of Midwest Road Trip Adventures).
You can experience Christmas all year in Santa Claus, Indiana! I suggest booking a Midwest Spring break in the neighboring town of Lincoln, Indiana at the Lincoln Pines Resort and taking advantage of visiting the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Lincoln State Park throughout the week. Kids will love visiting everything Santa-related in Santa Claus. Although Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari isn’t expected to up until the summer, the Santa shops, Santa’s Post Office, restaurants, wineries, golf courses, and Frosty’s Fun Center are open. Other sites opening in April include the Holiday Drive-In, Santa Stables, and Santa’s Lodge.
Wichita is a great place to visit with kids! You’ll find plenty of family-friendly activities for children and adults, of all ages. The Tanganyika Wildlife Park is one of the best interactive animal encounters in the Midwest! You’ll also enjoy spending an entire day at the Old Cowtown Museum, visiting the Keeper of the Plains, and eating some great Kansas barbeque.
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