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39 Best Things To Do in the Midwest (According to RVers)

The poor Midwest is often neglected when it comes to travel plans. People think there’s nothing but flat roads and open plains. But really, there are so many great things to do in the Midwest! Our RV community shared their experiences and must-visit Midwest destinations…

In a recent post in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group, a member named Rhonda posted, “Looking for ideas for Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. We know these are areas often overlooked but have beauty and history.”

Our RV community came to the rescue with nearly 150 comments and lots of excellent suggestions of things to do in the Midwest.

While Rhonda included a couple of southern states in her post, we’re going to focus on the Midwest states she mentioned in this article. I’m going to round up a bunch of the members’ different suggestions and organize them by state.

Then, you can add these often overlooked destinations to your itinerary!

Best Things To Do in the Midwest States

Starved Rock State Park in Illinois 39 Best Things To Do in the Midwest (According to RVers)
Starved Rock State Park in Illinois

The Midwest actually consists of 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. 

If you’ve followed RV Lifestyle for any length of time, you know Michigan and the Great Lakes are one of our favorite places to explore. We’ve written an entire Adventure Guide for each (see ebook bundle here). And the Dakotas are known for Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone. (We also have a Yellowstone 7-Day Adventure Guide). 

So, to Rhonda’s point, we’re going to focus on the Midwest states most often overlooked: Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, and Nebraska. 

Since our community members gave SO many great suggestions, I’m going to list as many as possible and link you to where you can explore them further.

(Psst… I didn’t realize how much there is to do in Nebraska!)

Best Things to Do in Iowa

ledges state park - 39 Best Things To Do in the Midwest (According to RVers)
Ledges State Park – Iowa

From the iconic covered bridges of Madison County to the real-life Field of Dreams, here are some of the best famous and lesser-known things to do in Iowa.


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39 Best Things To Do in the Midwest (According to RVers) 1
Your Adventure Awaits! New colors and designs are waiting for you.

Best Things to Do in Illinois

Cahokia Mounds
Cahokia Mounds

I owe most of the following list to two members of our RV Lifestyle Facebook group. Karen and Kevin, thanks for making my job easy! In truth, I owe thanks to every single member who contributed to this entire article. Thanks so much!

Karen’s Suggestions:

Kevin’s Suggestions (I’m just copying and pasting his post here since he explains it so well. He even included the links!):

“Greetings Rhonda! Far Southern Illinois is often overlooked by travelers after a long day of travel, but offers a number of interesting places to camp as well as a variety of things to do.

Cairo, Illinois, the Southernmost point of Illinois is home to the convergence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers that can be viewed from an elevated platform in Fort Defiance State Park.

Also in Cairo, you will find the Cairo Customs House Museum. Built in the late 1860s, it was one of the furthest inland points at which US Custom Houses were located.

There is also the Magnolia Mansion. A Victorian Era Mansion that has been restored as a museum and is open to the public.

Moving north from Cairo, you can visit Superman’s hometown, Metropolis, Illinois and take your photos with his statue, and visit other related attractions.

While in the area you are in or very near the Shawnee National Forest with a huge variety of camping opportunities as well as recreational opportunities.

Public camping and recreation areas aren’t limited to Shawnee National Forest. Southern Illinois is also home to several State Parks.

Giant City State Park, Makanda, Illinois — home to fantastic scenery, camping, trails, and a Lodge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps that is stately in its organic beauty and serves excellent meals.

While at Giant City State Park, you are just a few miles from one of the area’s most recognized attractions — The Bald Knob Cross of Peace near Alto Pass Illinois.

Alto Pass is in the heart of the Southern Illinois Wine Country. There are numerous Vineyards and wine trails in the Southern Illinois region, including Shawnee Wine Trail.

Ferne Clyffe State Park near Goreville is another State Park in far Southern Illinois that is known for its hiking trails and camping opportunities.

The Trail of Tears traversed far Southern Illinois and there are a number of historical markers and other features of note. Trail of Tears State Forest near Jonesboro, Illinois.”

(Can we all give a round of applause to Kevin?!)

Best Things to Do in Kansas

39 Best Things To Do in the Midwest (According to RVers) 2

When most people think of Kansas, they picture tornadoes and yellow brick roads. But there are so many wonderful (and real) things to do in this beautiful midwestern state.

Best Things to Do in Nebraska

39 Best Things To Do in the Midwest (According to RVers) 3
Chimney Rock

When I first started reading the comments, I did not expect such a long list of recommendations for things to do in Nebraska. That’s what makes our RV Lifestyle community so great! Your input is always so valuable!

Many of the following locations (especially the Archway and Scotts Bluff) were mentioned multiple times.

Join our RV LIfestyle Facebook Group

As you can see, our RV Lifestyle Facebook group is a valuable resource and a fount of information. Join the conversations! Share and learn from fellow RVers.

Do you have destinations to add to this post?

Let us know about them in the comments! You can see all our “Destination” posts right here.


Looking for more Expert RV Trip ideas and RV Travel suggestions?

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All of our Adventure Travel ebooks

We’ve written a library of RV Travel books that lay out guided RV explorations of scenic areas of the US that we’’ve explored and think would make an excellent RV trip for you.

In each location, we provide a suggested route and itinerary (7 stops in each guide, one for each day of a week trip!) as well as links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, local tips, and interesting things to do at each location.

You can hit everything in seven days, do a whirlwind weekend tour, or you can take your time and explore the area over a 2+ week period.

Planning an RV trip can be very time-consuming so that’s why we’ve done the research for you! Just take our guides and use them, we’re sure you’ll have an RV trip for the ages! Instant download. CLICK HERE for information on our RV Travel Guides



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10 Responses to “39 Best Things To Do in the Midwest (According to RVers)”

June 24, 2022at7:40 am, Ruth Potter said:

Don’t miss Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. Closed on Tues.

Reply

June 22, 2022at11:25 pm, Cece Wroblewski said:

True – outside Lebanon, Kansas.
[Link deleted]

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June 20, 2022at5:04 pm, Doug Fox said:

Lewistown, IL — the town & it’s Oak Hill Cemetery inspired Edgar Lee Master’s “A Spoon River Anthology” — tour the cemetery to see the graves that inspired him.
Also in town: Rasmussen Blacksmith Shop Museum
Nearby:
6 mile east: Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge – wetlands restoration
5 miles southeast: Dickson Mounds Museum – archeological museum of Native American artifacts.

Reply

June 21, 2022at9:16 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thank you for sharing this and adding to the list for others! Happy Trails! Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

June 20, 2022at12:30 pm, Mike Mitchell said:

I was excited to see the lead in, but slightly disappointed to see that Missouri wasn’t included. Being from there, I easily recognize that Missouri could be a series article entirely on its own. I’m wondering when readers might expect a similar “Best Things” article on the Show Me state.

Reply

June 21, 2022at9:14 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Missouri definitely has some beautiful things to see! Mike and Jen have featured Missouri many times in their travels through the years. They followed the lewis and clark trail and featured some beautiful spots, or ran stories like this one https://rvlifestyle.com/off-beaten-path-three-missouri-caves/. They do love your state and appreciate your note! Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

June 20, 2022at11:10 am, Harry Salit said:

What about the rest of the states that are part of the Midwest?

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June 21, 2022at9:10 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hi Harry – There are definitely lots of things we couldn’t get to. Next story! 🙂 Happy Trails – Team RV Lifestyle

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June 20, 2022at9:04 am, Susan Sandor said:

It’s “Pella” not “Pella” in Iowa. Where the windows are made. Camp nearby at Roberts Creek County Park, West Campground, for shaded full-service sites. Next to Red Rock Lake and the Volksweg Trail.

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June 20, 2022at8:23 am, Vince Ornelas said:

I believe the geographical center of the United States is in Kansas not Neb.

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