Can’t-Miss Summer Destinations in the Midwest

Arnolds Park in Okoboji, Iowa | Drew Dau

The Midwest offers an abundance of attractions for summer visitors, from some of the country’s largest cities to the natural beauty of America’s Heartland. Let’s look at some of the top destinations in the Midwest that should be on every visitor’s must-see list this summer.

Norfolk, NE

Norfolk serves as an important regional hub in Northeast Nebraska. Located alongside the Elkhorn River and surrounded by the Midwest’s renowned architectural landscapes, the city has several scenic public green spaces. The Ta-Ha-Zouka Park is a highlight, with lovely trails and sports facilities. Also, Norfolk’s downtown houses delightful locally owned shops and delectable restaurants that further add to its charm.

Omaha, NE

Omaha, a major city in Nebraska along the Missouri River, is a popular vacation option throughout the year. A major draw is its excellent cultural attractions, such as the Durham Museum and the Joslyn Art Museum. However, there is no better time to experience Omaha than in the summer. During this vibrant season, the city comes to life with exciting festivals and events, including the Omaha Summer Arts Festival and Taste of Omaha.

Omaha | Jesse Duering

Branson, MO

Branson is a tourism center of Missouri’s Ozark region, one of the country’s most sought-after summer vacation spots. Positioned on Table Rock Lake, lined with pleasant beaches and idyllic hiking trails, Branson thrives as a bustling hub for fishing, boating, and water sports. With live music venues, amusement parks, and themed attractions, Branson has also earned a reputation as an entertainment mecca. 

Branson | Oyin Enoch

Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, the most populous city in Missouri, stands as a prominent city in the heart of the Midwest. Famed for its food and music scene, Kansas City boasts some of the best barbecue in the country and plenty of excellent live music venues. It also comprises captivating museums and diverse neighborhoods, each with distinct cultures and histories. Kansas City’s summer events, to name just a few, include the Q BBQ Fest, the KC Fringe Festival, and the KC Airshow.

Downtown Kansas City | Farhodjon Chinberdiev

Kansas City, KS

While the Missouri side of Kansas City may be better known, the Kansas side offers its own array of attractions to explore. Situated along the Missouri River, this charming city is a busy urban hub, home to a casino and the Kansas Speedway. During the summer, visitors flock to the city’s Wyandotte County Lake Park, featuring a serene lake and picturesque trails for leisurely enjoyment.

Kansas Speedway | Robert Linder

Norwalk, IA

Norwalk, a charming little city near Des Moines, Iowa, offers a quiet community with an authentic all-American, small-town feel. Home to around 14,000 residents, it presents an ideal vacation choice for those seeking to escape big crowds and immerse themselves in a more intimate setting. Norwalk offers plenty to do during the summer, with terrific local golf courses, scenic public parks, and a quaint downtown. Also in Norwalk, Lake Colchester is a tranquil destination perfect for fishing enthusiasts.

Okoboji, IA

Okoboji, a scenic community with abundant natural beauty, stands out as one of Iowa’s best-known summer destinations. This bustling tourist hub is nestled on the shores of West Okoboji Lake and serves as a favored option for waterfront summer homes. During the summer, the area is filled with visitors who enjoy boating, fishing, and water sports on this major lake. The Okoboji area exudes a fun atmosphere, with a popular nearby theme park, Arnolds Park Amusement Park, and several other enthralling attractions. 

Okoboji | Drew Dau
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