When many people think of the American Midwest, they think first of the region’s great cities. While Chicago, St. Louis, and Milwaukee are worthy of a visit, there’s so much more to see in the Midwest. Ready to explore? Here are 5 places in the American Midwest that simply can’t be missed:

Black Hills, South Dakota

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The Black Hills region of South Dakota is filled with natural and man-made wonders. Perhaps its most famous offering is Mount Rushmore, which draws over 3 million visitors per year.

There’s plenty more to enjoy in this gorgeous region, however. The Cathedral Spires in Custer State Park, the alien landscape of the Badlands, and Devil’s Tower National Monument are just a few of the many landmarks to marvel at while visiting this fascinating region.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

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If you’re looking to really get away from modern-day life, Mackinac Island in Michigan is the perfect escape.

What you’ll notice first is what the island doesn’t have — automobiles. That certainly slows down the pace of life. Amazon even delivers via horse-driven carriages.

This slow pace is perfect for exploring the quaint island, which is known for its charming homes, world-famous fudge, and beautiful nature.

You’ll enjoy stunning sunrises and sunsets, friendly locals, and plenty of old-world charm on unforgettable Mackinac Island.

New Glarus, Wisconsin

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Looking for a taste of the Swiss Alps right in the cozy Midwest? Look no further than New Glarus, Wisconsin, also known as “America’s Little Switzerland."

For a small town, it’s packed with plenty of activity. For beer lovers, the New Glarus Brewing is destination-worthy, and its Spotted Cow beer has a cult following. For history buffs, there’s plenty of unique Swiss history and culture at venues such as the Chalet of the Golden Fleece Museum or the Swiss Center of North America.

One event that really can’t be missed? The famed Wilhelm Tell Festival, where locals and travelers alike descend on the town for a weekend of performance, art, craft fairs, costumes, and more.  

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

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Looking for a taste of the great outdoors in the middle of the country? Look no further than Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. This is one of the biggest waterfront destinations in the Midwest, with plenty of recreational fun for the entire family.

Fishing, swimming, and boating rank high on many a visitor’s to-do list thanks to more than 80 miles of waterfront in the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. But for those who prefer to stay on dry land, there’s still plenty to do, such as exploring the underground Ozark Caverns or the area’s beautiful hiking trails.

Waterfront hotels, great restaurants, and entertainment offerings make it a well-rounded destination where you can balance outdoor activity with fun nights out.

Pella, Iowa

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This Dutch town makes for a delightful getaway where you can enjoy a rural community with plenty of cultural offerings.

Visitors from all over flock to Pella in the spring for the town’s famed Tulip Festival, and Christmastime brings the area’s popular home tours, when visitors can get a look inside of some of the area’s charming architecture.

When you visit, don’t miss the area’s favorite regional sweet, the “Dutch letter," which is a flaky pastry shaped like a letter of the alphabet (though in Pella, they’re typically shaped like the letter “S”).

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