As the busyness of the holidays begins to wind down, we find ourselves bracing for a long winter ahead. With colder temps and shorter daylight around this time of year, it’s understandable how some find it challenging to beat the winter blues (yes, it’s a real thing). Instead of approaching the rest of the winter season with bitter feelings, consider embracing the majestic qualities that can be found in the simple things.
While the rush of the holiday festivities are soon behind us, we’ve pulled together a sampling of Midwest vacation spots for you and your family to consider for a quick (hello shorter travel times) and likely more affordable winter getaway.
Midwest destinations for an upcoming getaway
There are plenty of places scattered throughout the Midwest that make for affordable vacation spots. For travelers who enjoy rest and relaxation to those who prefer outdoor adventure and endless activities, here’s a quick list of a few great options for an upcoming Midwest winter getaway.
While the beauty of Chicago’s city skyline can be picturesque any time of year, consider a weekend away within Chicago’s Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue. Enjoy endless shopping and delicious dinner underneath the city skyline. Hotel accommodations can be found right on Michigan Avenue or in neighboring areas of the city, too. Try ice skating at Millennium Park where beginners can request free lessons on most weekends. After ice skating, hop over to the world’s largest Starbuck’s (all 35,000 square feet of it) for a drink to warm you up. Trying to escape the outdoors? Consider tickets to a show at one of Chicago’s historic theaters or visit the Shedd Aquarium near downtown Chicago.
With plenty of options for travelers both young and old, Chicago provides a great getaway option in the heart of the Midwest.
Door County, Wisconsin
Noted as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County has the ability to capture your heart at first visit as even the most frigid winter days can cast a magical spell on this region creating a picturesque destination.
Enjoy countless local cafes, wineries, art galleries and small boutique shops during a getaway to Door County, located just northeast of Green Bay. Bundle up for hikes through many parks and trails or enjoy a sleigh ride, too.
Traverse City, Michigan
Tap into your adventurous side for a weekend getaway in Traverse City, Michigan. Located near the northern part of lower Michigan, travel to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and try out the Dune Climb – a unique experience challenging all visitors to make the hike to the top with rewarding views of Lake Michigan.
Travelers can enjoy a variety of craft beverages throughout Traverse City, or enjoy the many outdoor recreational activities that this Michigan region has to offer. Cross country skiing, snowshoeing and even fat tire biking provide options to embrace, not fear, the outdoors in winter.
The Upper Michigan peninsula offers countless outdoor adventures and pristine views near the Lake Superior or Lake Michigan coastlines. Winter adventurers can partake in many winter activities from dog sledding and snowmobiling to downhill skiing, snowboarding or tubing.
The Porcupine Mountains, also known as The Porkies, are home to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, covering nearly 60,000 acres making it Michigan’s largest state park. The Porkies has an annual snowfall of 200” per season, making it a great Midwest destination for travelers seeking to hit the slopes.
Eagle River, Wisconsin
Venture to Eagle River, Wisconsin, aka, the snowmobile capital of the world, for more than 500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and home to the World Snowmobile Headquarters. As snow covers the region near Eagle River, snowmobilers from all around travel to this little gem in northern Wisconsin for some of the best trail riding. Not a snowmobiler? No problem! Visit their quaint downtown, enjoy cozy cottage lodging and find relaxation in the Northwoods.
And don’t miss out! The annual World Championship Snowmobile Derby takes place on the third Sunday in January where attendees can experience what is noted as the most prestigious and largest snowmobile competition in the world.
Located near the very northern tip of Wisconsin is a tiny town called Bayfield. Home to the gorgeous Apostle Islands (about 20 miles west of Bayfield), the winter season and chilly temperatures transform the landscape to something incredible. As Lake Superior freezes, the Apostle Islands Sea Caves become home to ice caves that can be explored by foot, which otherwise would only be accessible via water in the summer months.
Bayfield provides visitors with a quaint setting on the coast of Lake Superior. Enjoy bed and breakfast lodging, restaurants and small shops nestled throughout the town.
Mall of America (Bloomington, Minnesota)
If escaping the winter cold is what your vacation needs, consider making a weekend getaway to the Mall of America near Minneapolis. As the largest shopping mall in the United States, the Mall of America (MOA) provides its millions of annual visitors with endless shopping options, as well as an indoor theme park—talk about options for the entire family. MOA offers a variety of events (more than 400 each year) including concerts and fashion shows. Check out their list of upcoming events to see which events are happening during your upcoming getaway.
Chilly temperatures aside, there’s something to be said about the variety of unique activities and adventures that become available during the winter season throughout the Midwest. With a variety of outdoor recreational activities ranging from hiking to ice skating to downhill skiing, snowmobiling and more, or options to delight in local charm, consider chasing the winter blues away with a quick winter getaway by embracing the beauty that winter has to offer, enjoy shorter travel times and partake in a winter travel option that likely won’t break the bank either.
Check out our blog for additional travel tips.