Imagine the perfect trip without worry about flights or restrictions at your destination. You can have that perfect trip when you choose to stay closer to home. The Midwest has a delightful variety of options for a day (or longer) trip that is easy to plan, even on an impulse!
We’ve assembled a variety of short trips you can take in a day or more, offering fun, unique experiences and some unexpected alternatives. And re- member that the best travel often includes the journey itself. Ready for a great getaway? Let’s go!
Head West – to Ft.Wayne
Visitors’ Center – 927 S. Harrison St., Fort Wayne, Indiana
Estimated driving time: 1 ¾ hr.
The second-largest city in Indiana, Ft. Wayne is easy to get around and offers some surprisingly interesting activities for spending the day on the road. Explore urban Ft. Wayne’s outdoor environment on 120 miles of trails including Old Fort, Headwaters Park and Promenade Park, as well as eight miles of water trails. Visit The Landing, originally the dock for canal boats to unload their products, today the city’s oldest neighborhood is a block-long dining and shopping experience. And look for Ft. Wayne’s many murals all around town, and even on your way back home.
Lake Erie Touring
West Welcome Center
770 SE Catawba Rd., Port Clinton,
Estimated driving time: 1 hr. to Sandusky
If you like the water and a variety of options, Lake Erie is for you!
The Lake Erie Shores & Islands organization is focused on the western end of the Lake and has created a series of unique trail trips for a day or more. Among the many trails they’re offering,
look at this variety:
Lake Erie Lighthouse Trail – Twenty lighthouses line Lake Erie’s Ohio shoreline, some that date back to the early 18th century. Between San- dusky and Toledo, take a driving tour of the lighthouses on the mainland (with restaurant and village stops in between). Or add an island stop for a day – or more – for immersion in historic lighthouses. Some of our favorites in this region include the Cedar Point Lighthouse, Marblehead Lighthouse, South Bass Island Lighthouse (with a convenient stop at the Perry Victory Memorial), Port Clinton Lighthouse.
Self- guided tours of landmarks, buildings and communities offer an interesting day, all at your own pace.
Sample some of the area’s nearly two dozen wineries and breweries, although it may take more than an afternoon to get to them all!
Pick the trail experience you prefer shopping, fishing, birding, outdoor activities or dining and put together a custom trail for the day or longer.
Ohio’s Coolest Small Town Yellow Springs
101 Dayton St., Yellow Springs Ohio 45387, 937.767.2686
Estimated driving time: 2 ½ hr.
Yellow Springs was established in 1825 with the goal of creating a utopian community. And Yellow Springs has created an artsy, open-minded, free-spirited vibe. Today you can find colorful buildings, interesting local shops and locals always willing to welcome you. Make time to spend in the many shops, galleries and food stops along the village’s main street, Xenia Avenue. Get local brews from Yellow Springs Brewery, or local wines from Brandeberry Winery. Visit the Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, the Glen Helen Nature Preserve or the John Bryan State Park, which are all nearby. And be sure to spend time on the beautiful campus of Antioch College. If you’re so infatuated that you can’t do it all in one day, the Arthur Morgan House B&B, Jailhouse Suites and Mills Park Hotel, among others, can put you up for the night.
Shinola Hotel & Downtown Detroit
1400 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 313.356.1401
Fees: hotel, restaurants, shopping
Estimated driving time: 1 hr.
Part of the rich history of downtown Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, the Shinola Hotel also celebrates the new luxury watch and accessory company of the same name. The hotel marries two restored buildings with three new buildings that are modeled after Detroit’s historic architecture. Rooms feature touches of the previous buildings’ style, and amenities you’ll find in the most luxurious hotels around the world. Try the hotel’s six specialty restaurants and lounges, or the many restaurants along Woodward and in the Campus Martius area. And you can always catch the Tigers at nearby Comerica Park or the latest exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Downtown Frogs Driving around Downtown Toledo
Frogs invaded downtown Toledo in 2001, the result of an Arts Commission exhibit and sale that decorated more than 100 fiberglass amphibians. The frogs, representing all things Toledo, were sponsored by local businesses and most were purchased afterwards to be displayed in public and private spots. There are about a dozen currently around downtown Toledo today (inside and outside). Spend one or several afternoons around downtown to find and document (photograph) them all. A couple of hints: one lives at a famous seafood restaurant at the Docks, and another protects a downtown fi re station. There’s even a Facebook page where you can post your photos. Go online HERE
to see a map for the Downtown Toledo frogs.
Travel the World from Home
www.untours.com / www.culinarybackstreets.com
Estimated driving time: None necessary!
Take a cooking class in Tuscany, an art class in France, or a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Mexico City. Untours offer independent vacationing with the planning, service and on-site support of a tour. View a series of online tours and events that continue into the summer, including a Cooking Class from Tuscany and Van Gogh presentation and art class from Aixen-Provence, France. Culinary Backstreets offers an authentic look into the world’s culinary capitals through daily online dispatches from more than a dozen cities around the world.
A Summer of Sports
Official Site of Minor League Baseball
Estimated driving time: 10 ½ hr. to Omaha;
9 ½ hr. to St. Paul
Minor League Baseball has returned in 2021, restructured for this sea- son. The Triple-A East division, the Toledo Mud Hens are members, is now the largest in the Minors, includes 20 teams in 14 states. The new Midwest Division of the Triple-A East includes many teams you’ll recognize, along with some new league members. Take a weekend to explore the team’s city and sports history, and maybe get tickets for when the Hens are in town!
Huntington Park (opened in 2009),
330 Huntington Park Lane, Columbus
Victory Field (opened in 1996),
501 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis
Principal Park (opened in 1992),
1 Line Dr., Des Moines
Louisville Slugger Field (opened in 2000), 401 E., Main,St.,,Louisville
Omaha Storm Chasers
Werner Park (opened in 2011), 12356 Ballpark Way, Papillion, Nebraska
CHS Field (opened in 2015),
360 N. Broadway St., St. Paul
Toledo Mud Hens
Fifth Third Field (opened in 2002),
406 Washington St., Toledo
The Lume and Indianapolis
4000 N. Michigan Rd., Indianapolis
Exhibit & museum entry fees
Estimated driving time: 3 ½ hr.
The immersive art exhibit, famous in Paris and London, has come to the U.S. in Indianapolis. The Lume Indianapolis is an immersive digital art gallery on the Newfields campus adjacent to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The 30,000 sq. ft. space features about 150 high-definition projectors that will beam images of famous artwork over the floors, walls and ceilings of the space. The first exhibit, which is scheduled to begin in June, is dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh, featuring 3,000 moving images of his paintings, choreographed to classical music and other accompaniments. Spend some time in downtown Indianapolis, where there are myriad activities to engage your senses. Perhaps a cultural walking trail through downtown (follow markers or use a smartphone self-guided tour) would engage you. Or walk or rent a pedal boat to get a unique view of the city from the Central Canal.
12715 East Chicago Road, Somerset Center, MI 517-688-9223
Estimated driving time: 70 minutes
This 42 acre historic estate contains 17 beautiful cement bridges, other structures such as three tennis courts, fenced ball diamond, picnic area. The park is truly a sight to see and includes a winding river and two ponds.
Biggest Railroad Ever
7379 Squire Court, West Chester
Fees for entry and the funhouse
Estimated driving time: 3 hr.
For model railroaders and those who love everything about trains, check out Entertrainment Junction, an 80,000 sq. ft. indoor entertainment center that features the world’s largest model train layout. The exhibit demonstrates development of railroads from the 1860s to present time. There is also a rail- roading museum and train expo center, a funhouse, and an interactive play area. Entertrainment Junction is located a half-hour north of Cincinnati and a half-hour east of Hamilton.
22611 State Route 2, Archibold
Historic Sauder’s Village opens May 6, 2021. A visit there brings you in- touch with old time hospitality. Visit historic buildings and watch craftsmen engage in their trades. Eat great food in The Barn Restaurant, spend the night in a campground of Heritage Inn, shop for old-time wares such as pottery, glass, herbs and much more. This is a walk through time to be enjoyed by all ages.