Too often, the Midwest is seen as flyover country, a huge swath of land that just has to be traversed to get from the East Coast to the mountains or the West Coast. The Midwest offers so many unique places to adventure, though. If you overlook it, you’re skipping out on some of the best the U.S. has to offer.
While there are plenty of great state parks to visit in the Midwest, I’d suggest checking out some of the cities. Chicago pulls in most travelers, but there are so many wonderful urban areas not quite as large or influential as the Second City that you can visit with your RV. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling in a motorhome or towable.
When you’ve tackled some of the good Midwestern camping spots and are ready for a night out on the town, or are passing through the Midwest on your way to a West Coast National Park, think about stopping in one of the following cities. I promise you won’t regret it.
1. Cleveland, Ohio
When you think Cleveland, Ohio, you probably think either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. Both are a great reason to stop in the city, but there’s so much more here than those two things.
The Little Italy neighborhood is a fantastic place to grab some food and stroll the art walk. There’s also Great Lakes Brewing Co. which is located right in the city and one of the best Midwestern breweries around. If you want to go to a fantastic museum after your beer stop, head to the Cleveland Museum of Art. It’s free for general admission and known internationally for its Egyptian and Asian art collection, though the museum certainly doesn’t limit itself to that collection alone.
Campgrounds aren’t plentiful inside the city, but there are many within a short drive. Some that have high ratings include the Streetsboro / Cleveland SE KOA and the Roundup Lake Campground. Both are about the same distance from downtown Cleveland and offer a nice place to relax after a busy day.
2. Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana is known as the crossroads of America because so many people and so much freight pass through the state. At the epicenter of the state is Indianapolis. While the city is often passed over by many travelers, it’s a great place to stop for a long weekend. Indy offers a vibrant downtown area with plenty of dining at all price points, a thriving local art scene, and quality sports teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Pacers.
If you’re looking for something a little more exciting, time your trip when there’s a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The world-famous Indy 500 is just one of the events hosted at the track. Indy is also home to numerous museums, including the Indianapolis Children’s Musem, which is the largest in the world.
If you come into Indy with your RV for a race, you can camp near the Motor Speedway. If you’re coming in for a non-race-related reason, then consider hitting up one of the campgrounds around the city. There’s the Raceview Family Campground out by Lucas Oil Raceway (another great racetrack near the city), or you can hit up Jameson Camp on the west side or the Indianapolis KOA Holiday just outside the city on the east side.
3. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a fantastic place to hit up for a long weekend. It’s right on Lake Michigan and offers tons of rich heritage, good food, and plenty of interesting sites and places to see.
You should hit up the Harley-Davidson Museum as your first stop. Even if you’re not a motorcycle person, this museum is worth it for its historical significance and interesting displays. Then you can stop at the Milwaukee Art Museum or the Milwaukee Public Museum for some additional exhibits. When you get hungry, visit the Milwaukee Public Market and then check out any number of the breweries in town.
Camping near Milwaukee is easy. You can camp at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds or hit up any of the other campgrounds around the city. The Cliffside Park Campground is one option if you don’t mind staying a ways south of the city.
These are just three of the great Midwestern cities out there. There’s plenty more, so keep your eyes peeled for a good city to stop in for a day or two during your travels.
What overlooked Midwestern city do you encourage people to visit? Leave a comment below!