12 states officially claim the Midwest as home. Although we may not have towering mountains or vast oceans, we are spoiled with lush forests, freshwater and unpopulated blissful hikes.

So set the remotes down and challenge yourself to try something new, celebrate the outdoors and rediscover the kick-ass places we love. Life is too short to let the days fade away.

In this post, I present you with 5 adventurous activities for every state belonging to the Midwest. Let's do this!


I have to start with my home state. If you’ve read my Michigan Bucket List, you know there are countless adventures here.  Below are 5 things NOT found on the MBL.

  1. Try the Muskegon Luge
  2. Summit Sugarloaf Mountain
  3. Kayak the Les Cheneaux Islands
  4. Sleep under the stars near Tawas
  5. Find your own Petoskey stone


  1. Explore the world’s largest Geode near Put-in-Bay
  2. Hike the Cuyahoga Valley
  3. Ride the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point (WITHOUT closing your eyes)
  4. Try the Ozone zip line canopy tour
  5. Sleep in the medieval themed Ravenwood Castle




  1. Pedal the entire Chicago bike trail
  2. Kayak on Lake Michigan
  3. Free climb at Jackson Falls
  4. Enjoy the view on top of Castle Rock State Park
  5. Visit the Anderson Japanese Gardens


  1. Camp at Indiana Dunes State Park
  2. Swim at Cataract Falls
  3. Play with wolves at the Wolf Creek Habitat
  4. Go bouldering at Clifty Falls State Park
  5. Mountain bike at Brown County State Park


  1. Explore the Apostle Islands
  2. See the fall colors at High Cliffs State Park
  3. Take a riverboat tour at the Wisconsin Dells
  4. Catch a sunrise over Lake Michigan
  5. Sleep in an airplane at the Don Q Inn





  1. Stay in a treehouse at the Missouri Treehouse Cabins
  2. Explore and play in the St. Louis City Museum
  3. Take on the Amigo Burrito Challenge
  4. Try the world-famous Kansas City BBQ
  5. Ride the train and learn something new at the historic Silver Dollar City and caverns.

South Dakota

  1. Sleep in a bed of wildflowers at the Connata Basin in Badlands National Park
  2. Lodge in a teepee at Allen Ranch
  3. Climb Harney’s Peak
  4. Plunge into the darkness at Wind Cave National Park
  5. Hammock next to Spearfish falls

North Dakota

  1. Go cross-country skiing
  2. Hike through the Sentinel Butte Nature Preserve
  3. Go camping in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  4. Climb to the top of Crows Flies
  5. Catch a sunset from Killdeer Mountain





  1. Stay in a houseboat on Rainy Lake
  2. Experience the wilderness at Voyageurs National Park
  3. Hike the cliffs of Fowl Lake
  4. Go on a dog-sled ride
  5. See the Quartzite Cliffs in Blue Mounds State Park


  1. See petroglyphs at Indian Cave State Park
  2. Walk the Heartland of America Park in Omaha and view the 300-foot tall water jet
  3. Drive out to the towering Chimney Rock National Historic Site
  4. Take a tour of the lagerstatten at Ashfall Fossil Beds
  5. Go windsurfing on Lake Mcconaughy


  1. Take a hot air balloon ride with Z-Balloon Adventures
  2. Kayak the Rapids at White Water Riverfront Park
  3. Spend the night in the Jungle Room at Designer Inn and Suites
  4. Relax along the Mississippi River in Dubuque
  5. Spend the night in the Villisca Axe Murder House


  1. Go on a tornado chasing tour
  2. Attend the Jazz in the Woods festival
  3. Go skydiving with Kansas City Skydive
  4. Bike across the state
  5. Take a photo at the famous sunflower fields


Happy travels!

If you have any Midwest recommendations, I want to hear them! Let's have a chat in the comments.


  1. UnrestingSea on June 24, 2015 at 7:52 PM

    Another inspiring post, Shalee! Hope you get to go on ALL the adventures you listed. 🙂

    • Shalee on July 21, 2015 at 9:14 AM

      Thanks, Amanda! We need to complete some of them together! I’m thinking a blogger road trip? 😉

  2. Pippa on June 25, 2015 at 4:10 PM

    This is so cool! I love that you’ve focused on places other than San Francisco/Los Angeles & New York which is all the rest of the world hears about. South Dakota and Iowa sound like so much fun! And I just love saying those names – they just sound SO American :).

    • Shalee on July 21, 2015 at 9:16 AM

      I never realized how American they sound until you said that! Glad you liked the post, thank you!!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.