usa travel

Hopping in The Middle: 5 Locations in The Central US That Make Great Vacation Points

Coastal cities and beaches are all well and good, but if you’re feeling a little bored with the usual suspects, go further inland. The terrain and level of development vary greatly across the states, and you might be surprised by the wide range of experiences available. Here are five destinations in the US that aren’t anywhere near the great oceans, but have plenty to see just the same.

  1. Omaha, Nebraska 

Did you know that Omaha, Nebraska has an indoor desert? It’s true – the Desert Dome at the Omaha Zoo is 84,000 square feet of dry, arid environment, in which lizards, snakes, cacti, and other desert flora and fauna thrive.

Go ziplining at Mt. Crescent, or visit the CoCo Key Water Resort for a splashdown. But perhaps the most unexpected and adventurous activity to get into in Omaha is the caving. Places such as Indian Cave State Park and the Cave at Ash Hollow offer them, but you can also stick to the zoo – there are underground caves to explore there as well. 

  1. Little Rock, Arkansas 

Gone with the Wind fans might love to visit the very same grist mill that was seen in the film, which is located in Little Rock’s Pugh Memorial Park. Community gardens, historic districts, parks, and markets dominate in this Arkansas city, though if it’s entertainment you seek, you’ve come to the right place.

Enjoy the live performances at South on Main, or take the short trip from Courtyard Little Rock North to the Verizon Arena for concert and sporting events. 

  1. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri 

Don’t speed through Missouri – plan a stop in Lake of the Ozarks. It may not be the ocean, but it does feature more than a thousand miles of shoreline perfect for boating, jet skiing, picnicking, and more. Recreation areas are everywhere you look, so it’s the perfect place for outdoor family fun.

Mom and Dad, however, might appreciate a night out at one of the city’s gourmet restaurants, or to spend a few early morning hours hitting the links at one of the area’s great golf courses. 

  1. The Great Lakes of Iowa 

Biking, boating, and even ice fishing can be enjoyed at the Great lakes of Iowa. Amusement parks, antique malls, breweries, and plenty of nostalgia make Iowa an unexpected little gem.

For example, the vintage charm of Arnolds Park features a wooden rollercoaster from the 1920s, and you can even book a short cruise about Lake Okoboji, the largest of these glacial lakes.  

  1. South Dakota. 

You may almost never think of South Dakota, but once you visit, you’ll hold it deep in your heart. The stunning views at Badlands National Park alone are enough to make you want to extend your stay.

Visit Deadwood in the Black Hills and see where the Wild West really began as you spend a night on the town in one of the region’s many casinos. From Custer State Park, to the Crazy Horse Memorial, to yes, the Mount Rushmore Memorial, it’s a prime place to take plenty of pics.

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