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Midwest U.S. Summer Road Trips for Families

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Summer Road Trip Treats

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Summer Vacation Ideas Midwest with Kids
During the summertime, I typically don’t do as much crafting, and spend more time creating memories with family and friends. Since my family is taking several road trips this summer, I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite attractions around the Midwest! From museums to beaches and water parks, there’s plenty of fun to be had for kids and adults within a few hours drive from our home in Indiana.

Kid-Friendly Road Trips in the Midwest

The Bean Chicago

1. Chicago, Illinois

Big cities are lots of fun for families, and Chicago is tops on our list. With free attractions like Millennium Park and “The Bean” interactive sculpture (pictured), a stellar children’s museum and deep-dish Chicago pizza all over the Windy city, it’s a win-win for everyone in the family! Be sure to visit the incredible Maggie Daley Park playground to let the kids burn off some energy, and take an architectural boat tour for a unique experience.

Train ride in Nelsonville, Ohio

2. Columbus, Ohio

This capital city has lots of offer families. An award-winning Columbus Zoo, the COSI science museum, lots of parks and playgrounds, and some great family-friendly restaurants. Take a mini road trip just an hour south to Nelsonville, Ohio to enjoy a historic train ride (pictured).
Saint Joseph, Michigan beach

3. Saint Joseph, Michigan

With access to beautiful Lake Michigan, this beach town offers visitors a quaint downtown with the popular Curious Kids Museum, Silver Beach Carousel, and some fun parks and splash pads. Get a taste of history with a trip to the Saint Joseph Lighthouse and enjoy some Silver Beach Pizza.

Largest underwear at The City Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri

4. Saint Louis, Missouri

The City Museum in Saint Louis is the oddest place we’ve ever seen, and we’re not sure “museum” is the best word to describe it. With the largest pair of underwear (pictured) and ten stories of tunnels and caves for kids and adults to climb, it’s a sight to behold! Don’t miss a visit to The Saint Louis Arch, the zoo, and Six Flags.
Cincinnati Zoo

5. Cincinnati, Ohio

The Cincinnati Zoo (pictured) is just one of the many draws to this vibrant, riverfront city. It’s just a short drive from Kings Island amusement park, and the Newport Aquarium at Newport on the Levee. Check out the Fire Museum downtown and catch a Reds game for some classic, American fun!
Breakfast at Milktooth, Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolils

6. Indianapolis, Indiana

Take the kids to Milktooth, a trendy brunch spot in hip Fountain Square (pictured), and leave time to visit the award-winning Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Stop at Broad Ripple Village for dinner and shopping, or catch an Indianapolis Indians minor league baseball game at Victory Field, with a walk along the scenic canal.
Summer Road Trip Snacks

Packing for a Summer Road Trip

Aside from comfy clothing for the car ride and activities like road trip bingo, I think it’s a good idea to take along some pillows in the car for kids to lounge on. Of course, we like to pack snacks the whole family will enjoy, to keep us from stopping at every gas station along the way. It’s a good idea to stash a big tote bag with some salty and sweet snacks, plus drinks for the road. We like to save money by buying these on our normal grocery run!

Crackers aisle

While shopping at Walmart, I stopped by the crackers and cookies aisle for some RITZ Crisp&Thins. They come in delicious flavors like bacon and salt & vinegar! I absolutely love salt & vinegar chips, but appreciate that these crackers are baked and not fried, for the ultimate crunch.

Soda display

One of my favorite ways to save money when preparing for a road trip is to pack a cooler of drinks, to avoid having to stop at convenience stores along the way. I found an end-cap display with 8-pack of 12oz. A&W® bottles, and they are perfect for family road trips! I also love that they are caffeine free, since I don’t drink it myself.

Candy aisle

Look for the Sour Patch Kids 1.9lb Bag in the Walmart candy aisle. This family-size bag is perfect for sharing and provides a pick-me-up during a long drive!

Summer Road Trip Snacks

Is your family headed on a summer road trip? What are your favorite tips for keeping adults and kids happy on a long car ride?

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