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Travel Tip For Today

Bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes as well as a pair of sandals or Tevas. Before you leave home, break in your new shoes so you're not uncomfortable on the road.

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Great Lakes/North Central

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin

Introduction & Brief History

Dominated by the Great Lakes, the north central portion of the U.S. covers many miles and many lifestyles. From Pennsylvania to the east Minnesota to the west, the land is highly seasonal, rolling hills and expansive valleys with water seemingly everywhere.

Popular Pennsylvania, Indiana & Ohio Family Fun

Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, has always held a prominent position in the history of the United States. One of the original colonies and the site of the formation of the new rebel nation, here is where you will find numerous reminders of earlier times. When you get to Philadelphia, be sure to visit Independence National Historic Park and take the time to explore. Some people somewhere in the world is struggling for their freedom and setting up a new nation—this is where the struggle centered that produced our system. Pennsylvania also hosted the battle of Gettysburg, another decisive moment for this country.

Heavily populated to the east and west, Pennsylvania also contains mountain rangers, lakes, farmlands and wild areas. From the Poconos to mountain ranges, lakes, farmlands and wild areas. From the Poconos to Lake Erie, there are many choices for the relaxed vacations or outdoor adventure. You might also like to include a visit to Amish country and maybe a sweet side-trip to Hershey.

Stretching out to the west from Pennsylvania, with the Ohio River as a southern border and the Great Lakes to the north, are Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. These lush fertile valleys, watersheds, and open land have been the backbone of America’s growth and stability. Once heavily forested, these three states now feed and house many residential and industrial centers. Recreation often revolves around water sports, hunting, and fishing, auto racing and golf. Most parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are extremely accessible and lodging is rarely a problem. This is great car-trip territory. Just be ready for the wind in the Windy City and treat the Great Lakes like the wild open water they truly are.

Michigan & Wisconsin Family Attractions

While various states touch on the Great Lakes, the Lakes dominate Michigan and Wisconsin, each in its own way. Michigan is truly the automotive hub of the nation, with cars, trucks and tires rolling out hourly. Being on the great traffic lanes of the Lakes definitely contributed to the growth and success of Detroit. Now many people also come for the music of Motown, the connections with Canada and the wildlife preserves. Oh, and don’t miss Kalamazoo!

Wisconsin is probably best known for lumber and dairy products, the beers of Milwaukee and the football of Green Bay. For a large part of the country, Wisconsin is a somewhat nearby destination with summer and recreation for all—not too tame and not too wild. Special effort is made in this state in the area of parks and interpretive centers, which makes for an ideal trip to encompass both outdoor fun and education. This is also where you may choose to begin your family’s trek from the headwaters of the Mississippi down to the Gulf.

Family Must-Sees in Minnesota

Farthest north and west in this group is Minnesota. With its expanses of forest, cold winter and heavily Swedish and Norwegian population, Minnesota can seem like a bit of Scandinavia on the wrong continent. Hard-working farmers and foresters have slowly developed a very stable economy without sacrificing the beauty of the landscape. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t an air of excitement. It was this life that inspired the stories of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox. And the community traditions continue to be lovingly remembered and parodied as Lake Woebegone by favorite son Garrison Keiller.

Dining In the Great Lakes/North Central

You may just want to get right to dessert when you’re visiting Wisconsin, considering this state is known for creating the very first ice cream sundae. The anticipation to taste this decadent creation may just cause you to eat dinner in a reverse order. For some nutrients, grab some delicious Wisconsin barbecue and if decide to order a burger, be sure to add cheese! Wisconsin is the cheese capital of the nation. In Indiana, be sure to order the family some traditional buffalo wings with some sauce for dipping, as this state is very prized upon it’s hearty buffalo fare. Pennsylvania is all about the sugar when it comes to any mention of food. Hershey chocolate was born here, and MUST be consumed upon visitation. Ohio is also known for it’s meaty steaks, and once again, dessert is just a must for the family to try. Cheesecake is Ohio’s crazed staple. When in Indiana, breaded pork tenderloins and fried biscuits with apple butter are what you are looking for. Stop in any local eatery, and satisfy your craving.

The Great Lakes/North Central is fabulous family destinations, full of delicious food, plenty of sugar, beautiful outdoors scenery and endless adventure.


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