If this spring’s Stay-a-Home order has you feeling a major case of wanderlust, you’re not alone! Summer break was made for road trips, and we’ve put together an ambitious list of must-visit places for kids and families.
Here are 10 Epic Summer Road Trips from Cincinnati:
Humble Sandusky, OH, is home the Roller Coaster Capital of the World: Cedar Point! Start with the smaller, tamer coasters and work your way up the Top Thrill Dragster — a steel coaster that reaches speeds of 120 mph as it shoots you straight up, then crawls over the top to wind straight back down, all in 17 seconds. Sandusky, OH. cedarpoint.com
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is a museum devoted to the art of the picture book and especially the children’s book. This museum is a must the young and young at heart. The museum features rotating galleries that focus on different authors, illustrators and themes. There are tons of interactive activities and lots to do and see — you’ll need more than a day! This museum’s store might be the coolest ever. Amherst, MA. carlemuseum.org
The stunning sand dunes that line the southern tip of Lake Michigan were designated the USA’s 61st national park in February 2019. Indiana Dunes boasts 15 miles of stunning beaches and huge dunes to climb. The sand dunes and beautiful blue water look like something you’d see on the east coast – not in the middle of the Midwest. When you’re done playing on the beach, swimming, and going horseback riding, there are lots of craft breweries and local restaurants nearby. Porter, IN. nps.gov/indu/index.htm
Missouri’s most popular lake destination features more than 1,100 miles of shoreline – more than the coast of California. The Lake of the Ozarks offers access to public beaches; great fishing; and plenty of room for fun and recreation on the water. This beautiful lake (with more than 50 marinas) features a collection of golf courses, horseback trails, boat tours through caverns and tours of mansions (both current and historic) that will keep you busy for as long as you want to stay. Lake Ozark, MO. visitmo.com/things-to-do/the-lake-of-the-ozarks
This no-cars-allowed island between Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas is the epitome of Pure Michigan. Mackinac Island National Park is 70 acres of forests, incredible rock formations, wildlife, and beautiful water features, as well as historical and cultural landmarks. Mackinac Island, MI. mackinacisland.org
Mammoth Cave National Park preserves not only the longest known cave system on earth (400+ miles), but also 53,000 acres of beautiful forest. With nearly a dozen miles of cave trail below ground, there are also nearly 70 miles of surface trail, 13 backcountry campsites, three campgrounds, and over 20 miles of navigable river for visitors to explore and enjoy. It really is two worlds in one. Mammoth Cave, KY. nps.gov/maca/index.htm
Navy Pier has everything you could ever wish for — and more. For starters, Navy Pier is home to the epic Chicago Children’s Museum. It offers families with infants and children a place to create and explore through exhibits and activities that teach literacy, science, math, health and the performing and visual arts. Kids can also play in Navy Pier’s interactive Polk Bros Park. In the summer, the park’s signature fountain is the place to find kids frolicking through its 150 programmable jets that mimic the natural movements of waves. In addition to an iconic ferris wheel, Pier Park offers other rides and attractions for guests of all ages, including climbing walls, a vintage Carousel and a swing that will gives you the sensation of flying. A summer must. Chicago, IL. navypier.org.
Shake off your preconceptions and your old expectations and get in tune with the nation’s first truly upscale indoor/outdoor resort water attraction. SoundWaves at Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville is an unexpected aquatic attraction for hotel guests that unites extraordinary environments, exclusive upscale amenities and relaxing water features with energetic rides, immersive music and an extraordinary oasis for people of all ages to enjoy. Nashville, TN. soundwavesgo.com.
With a name like “The Magic House,” you know you’re in for a treat. St. Louis Children’s Museum will engage all children with hands-on learning experiences that spark imagination, pique curiosity, enhance creativity and develop problem-solving skills within a place of beauty, wonder, joy and magic. St. Louis, MD. magichouse.org