Readers' Favorite Midwest Small-Town Getaways | Midwest Living

Readers' Favorite Midwest Small-Town Getaways

Explore shops, restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, beaches, festivals and more on a day trip or weekend getaway to Midwest small towns recommended by our Facebook fans and readers.
  • Wilson's in Ephraim.


    Ephraim “Shop at Beach People and go to The Old Post Office for a fish boil and Wilson's for ice cream. And of course relax looking at the beautiful views of Green Bay.” – Debbie Wishnow Janicek

    Baraboo “Home of the Ringling Brothers Circus and Devil's Lake State Park. Also surrounded by the beautiful Baraboo Bluffs. Aldo Leopold shack is just a few miles outside of town. We also have the International Clown Museum and International Crane Foundation.” – Kathy May​

    Boulder Junction “Great dining options, fun shopping, best fishing in Wisconsin. Johnny Depp stayed at the Big Bear Hideaway while filming Public Enemies. Must-do activity: Visit the Aqualand Ale House for great camaraderie, delicious food, and a cold beer or a glass of wine” – Ted Pittman

    Ephraim-Door County Visitor Bureau
    Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce
    Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce

  • View from Montelle Winery in Augusta.


    Augusta “Wineries, vineyards, Katy Trail, apple picking and beautiful scenery. A must-do for any age.” – Colleen Foster

    Weston “Love the Avalon restaurant. Love the shopping. Especially love My Sister's Closet resale clothing store. We love to go there because we love history, the views of the river and it's a great walk from Weston Bend State Park into town. Camping at the State Park is great, too.” – Kathy Sapp Blackburn

    Kimmswick “Quaint town with a great restaurant–The Blue Owl. Amazing bakery! And neat little shops everywhere. A fun day. Close enough to St. Louis for a day trip, too.” – Irene Salkowski

    Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce
    Weston Chamber of Commerce
    Kimmswick Visitor Center

  • Root River Bike Trail, Lanesboro.


    Lanesboro “It's a wonderful secret little town with so much to offer. The 70-mile paved bike trail is the best.” – Kirsten Mensing

    Red Wing “Take in the glorious view of the Mississippi River hiking on Barn Bluff, riding the Amtrak train and driving to scenic heights that overlook the wide expanse of rivers and bluffs. My husband and I enjoy outdoor dining at the Brickhouse Pub and Grille, shopping downtown and scouring through the multitude of antiques shops. I have also enjoyed an overnight stay with my mom and sisters at the Moondance Inn. I've been visiting Red Wing for nearly 30 years and never tire of its beauty and bounty.” – Tracie Solum Henkel

    Hackensack “Idyllic small town. Not touristy, but lots of cute shops, restaurants, friendly residents, and a wonderful resort where I stay. 10 miles from Leech Lake, so perfect location. 127 lakes within a 10-mile radius of Hackensack. Lots of fishing, sight-seeing, relaxing, laying out, hanging out by the campfire, fun!” – Carrie Harmon Olerich

    Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce
    Red Wing Visitors and Convention Bureau
    Hackensack Chamber of Commerce

  • Nebraska's Big Rodeo in Burwell. Courtesy of Burwell Area/Garfield County CVB.


    Burwell “Home of Nebraska's Big Rodeo. Since 1921, Nebraska's Big Rodeo has been thrilling rodeo fans with nonstop rodeo entertainment. Every summer (the last full weekend in July), Burwell's population explodes with rodeo fans ready to get in on the excitement! Burwell is also home to the Calamus Reservoir. Lots of fun to be had on this beautiful lake with white sandy beaches and great opportunities for watersports and fishing! Burwell has a wide variety of great restaurants and many different opportunities for lodging." – Stacie Newlin

    Chadron "Chadron, Nebraska, has their Fur Trade Days. About 25 miles down Highway 6 is Crawford and Fort Robinson. The fort has enough activities to keep you occupied for at least a week, but it's also a great place to just relax. North of Crawford is Toadstool Park, the Cookshack, and the Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Research and Visitor Center. There's also a gorgeous 3-mile hiking path from Toadstool to Hudson-Meng." – Heather Nabower 

    Burwell Area/Garfield County Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Chadron Chamber of Commerce


  • Gella's Diner & Lb. Brewing Company, Hays.


    Hays “Their downtown is just wonderful—boutiques, coffee shops, an amazing bakery and an award-winning brewery with a fabulous diner. The campus of Fort Hays State University is beautiful also.” – Cindy Day

    Council Grove “Santa Fe Trail, lots of history, eat at the Hays House restaurant and stay at The Cottage House. Walk the river walk and then drive the Flint Hills Scenic Byway. Gorgeous rolling hills and you can still see the ruts in the ground from the Santa Fe Trail.” – Jen Scott

    Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau

    Council Grove/Morris County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism

  • Harbor Springs.


    Harbor Springs “Great bike trails, beaches, wonderful waterfront dining. My kids love the sailing school in the summer. Paradise!” – Julie Ellstrom

    Petoskey “Walk along the Little Traverse Bay, visit McLean and Eakin Booksellers, dine in some excellent restaurants, shop in great stores, pick up some treats at American Spoon, swim at Petoskey State Park. Most importantly—can't miss sunsets over Lake Michigan.” – Edie Bowman Posey

    Milford “Kayak the Huron River from Proud Lake to downtown Milford and disembark at Central Park for a picnic in the park, or walk into the village for lunch at Smoke Street BBQ or Palate. A perfect summer OR winter trip. The park has summer concerts, too!. – Karen Sue Lee

    Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau (Petoskey, Harbor Springs)
    Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce (Milford)

  • Photo Courtesy of Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.


    Grand Rapids “It is located right along the Maumee River. You can walk along the canals, which takes you to area parks. There is a canal boat ride and a mill to tour. It has quaint little shops selling antiques, art, gifts, etc. Also, plenty of little restaurants and cafes to dine.” – Jamie Swinford Heath

    Cardington "Our heritage festival June 28!” – Jackie Kopke

    Village of Grand Rapids
    Morrow County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau

  • Indiana Dunes.


    Chesterton "Must visit the European Market in the beautiful downtown area and Indiana Dunes State Park." – Diane McDougal Massey

    Nashville “Lots of great shopping, lodging and the biggest state park in Indiana. The old general store has the best blackberry cobbler around.” – Nicole Payton Bush

    Shipshewana “The flea market, Davis mercantile, the soda shop, the blacksmith shop,Yoder's department store—all the great local shops. It’s like being sent back in time in a great farmland setting with Amish artistry, humble small-town charm and great home-cooked meals. Homemade pies, toys, whirligigs, farmers market goodies.” – Gina Neal

    Indiana Dunes Tourism
    Brown County Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Shipshewana/LaGrange County Convention and Visitors Bureau

  • Iowa

    Pella “We always like walking around town and experiencing the Dutch influence. We have been on a tour of the windmill, which was really fun and we were able to purchase flour milled on-site. Must-do things in Pella are: coffee at Smokey Row and picking up apple fritter bread, homemade noodles and anything else that looks good at Jaarsma Bakery. There is also a small quilt shop on the square that I just love. We have often enjoyed staying in the Royal Amsterdam Hotel.” – Helen Johnston

    Prairie City “Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge and Goldies Ice Cream Shoppe (voted the BEST tenderloin in Iowa).” – Diane Southwick

    Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Prairie City


  • Medora Musical.

    North Dakota

    Medora “It's a beautiful little historic town nestled in the North Dakota badlands. Must-see tourist attractions include taking in the Medora Musical in the outdoor amphitheater, which depicts the region's 'wild west' days; visiting the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South Unit) where bison, elk, and wild horses roam; and a tour of Chateau de Mores, which was the home of the French nobleman who founded Medora. The boutiques and shops there are great as well.” – Staci Bradley McGrath

    Wishek “German-Russian heritage celebrated each fall with Sauerkraut Day.” – Katie Lukens Pinke

    Mandan "Rodeo Days—huge parade, three-day rodeo, art in the park and more. Also, the biggest Independence Day celebration in the state." – Sarah Mudder

    Medora Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau

  • Deadwood.

    South Dakota

    Deadwood “There are so many things to do, winter or summer. Strolling Main Street is always fun for the family. The summer is full of concerts and staged shootouts from the 1800s. And also the many casinos.” – Tessila Bernett

    Keystone “After visiting Mount Rushmore, you have to try Big Time Pizza and then stop for taffy downtown (where you can watch it be pulled)." – Caroline Christopherson

    Deadwood Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau
    Keystone Chamber of Commerce

  • Black Hawk Statue in Oregon.


    Oregon “Great state parks, beautiful scenery, Black Hawk Statue, Autumn on Parade Festival in October and Oregon Trail Days in July. Great fun!” – Jennifer Basler-Bakener

    Galena "Tons of quaint shops, restaurants, festivals, bed-and-breakfasts, hiking, biking. Love it. Must-do is sampling at the Galena Canning Company and wine sampling at the sausage shop. And the Halloween parade is the best I have ever seen." – Linda VanKampen

    Gibson City “Visit the twin screen Harvest Moon Drive In. It's been around for more than 60 years. They play current movies, have the occasional retro night and some of the best movie food anywhere. Quite the family experience.” – Andy Page Lee

    Discover Oregon, Illinois
    Galena/Joe Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Gibson City

  • Charlevoix, Michigan.

    More small towns

    Click below for a complete list of the Midwest small towns that our Facebook fans and readers told us they love.

    Readers' Favorite Small Towns in the Midwest

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