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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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Midwest

Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota

Introduction & Brief History

You and your family do not have to go to the Caribbean or California, the Rockies or Disney World to have a fun-filled vacation complete with sports, theme parks, history and natural beauty. The Midwest offers all of this, and its no more than half way across the country for anyone-right?

The Bread Basket of America is good, solid land. Much of this area was prairie and supported herds of buffalo until the last century. Those who crossed the country in the punch westward often headed out from St. Louis and met their first tests in these open prairie lands. Now farms, industry, towns and recreation areas fill the landscape.

Arkansas Family Attractions

pretty

Arkansas blends great national parks, a vast array of water sports activities on its many lakes and rivers, and cultural centers and museums enough to interest just about anybody. There are forts and historical reminders of the westward expansion as well as the Civil War. Be sure to check out Eureka Springs, the Ozark Folk Festival, and the theme park Dog patch (anyone remember Li’l Abner?), Hot Springs and the state capitol, Little Rock. The country is beautiful and the people friendly.

Intriguing Iowa & It’s Family Offerings

at the petting zoo

Iowa is one of those unassuming places, which quietly goes about its business providing for everyone else and taking its pleasure in simple things. One of the peoples who contributed to this lifestyle is the Amana community. These communities now open their doors to those who are curious or wish to reconnect with their toots. Take the time to stop and see what life is like without call waiting, in-line skates and 50 cable channels.

Settled fairly late and still predominantly agricultural, Iowa provides water sports on its various rivers and hiking and camping in its various parks. Easy to get from such metropolitan area as Chicago and St. Louis, Iowa can be the ideal getaway without having to go too far. Fishermen especially enjoy the many waterways available, while shoppers are quite happy with the many outlets and malls.

Kicking Back In Kansas With The Family

Kansas City

Kansas to many of us is where Auntie Em and Dorothy live. Somehow this state ends up starring in songs: We know there are pretty little women in Kansas City, and of course the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe passes through. The Wichita lineman will be on the job as you drive by, and check to see if you’re as corny as Kansas in August. But in reality Kansas is a mainly farming state with a strong railroad tradition and famous for cattle ranches and cattle drives. Favorite sons and daughters of Kansas include Carrie Nation and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Like Iowa, Kansas’s recreation centers on water sports and hiking, with the added excitement of greyhound racing.

Missouri Family Must-Sees

Six Flags

Missouri, like Arkansas, is bordered to the east by the Mississippi River, which has been a major influence throughout the states history. Altogether, in Missouri you will find plains, prairie, the Ozark Mountains and Mississippi River flatlands. For many years Missouri, and especially St. Louis, was the gateway to the west, the jumping-off point for early travelers going off to start new lives in Oregon or California, Colorado or New Mexico. This was the end of the comforts of civilization—the door to the wilderness.

Popular destinations in Missouri include Branson, Six Flags in Allentown, Mark Twains’ Hannibal, Kansas City, and St. Louis and Independence Catch a riverboat or wagon train to a new adventure.

There’s Nothing Like Nebraska Family Fun!

Fun on the River

Nebraska was the path of many peoples as they wandered west. It bridges the Great Prairie from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains foothills. Early settlers found it ideal for planting, and it still is corn country. But this was also good hunting, fishing and trapping country. Nebraska seems pretty tame these days, but when Buffalo Bill Cody was growing up here, life was rough-and-tumble. Sod houses were a standard and some still exist for you to examine. You develop a new respect for those who settled and worked the plains when you see the homes they lived in. So take your time and check out the history between fishing, hunting and shopping jaunts.

Discovering The Dakotas

The Dakotas can be daunting with their wide-open spaces and silence. If a city confines you most of the year and you just want to drive straight into nowhere, this might be the place to do it. But there are also very special destinations in the Dakotas, including the Badlands.

Midwest Dining

Dining in the Midwest

Although Kansas is known for opening the very first pizza hut, the family may be interested in a little more traditional Kansas cuisine, rather than a quick fast food frenzy. Kansans grilling pork, chicken and hot dogs can be found at any local diner, and this comforting food will surely please the entire family. Leading the nation in chicken farming, Arkansas is home to the complete chicken dinner. Arkansas folk also enjoy great barbecue, catfish and fried green tomatoes. Pop on into any local eatery, and satisfy your palette. Tasty Iowa pork tenderloins, creamy Maytag blue cheese, sweet and crispy Dutch letters can all be found in Iowa territory for the whole family to enjoy. The Dakotas will not let the family down when it comes to dining either. Known for their juicy steaks, and decadent home-style desserts and ice cream, the family can indulge in utter bliss.

No matter where you travel with the family in the Midwest, you are guaranteed to have an adventure full of fabulous fare, endless activity, and breathtaking scenery. A vacation to the Midwest will definitely mark a memorable new, exciting chapter for every family member. Don’t forget the camera!


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