The Midwest has beautiful landscapes, innovative restaurants, craft breweries, and vibrant towns. What it doesn’t have, however, is much of a marketing budget — and that means many folks don’t actually know how much the region has to offer. When California has a tourism budget that’s 25 times the size that of Iowa, you can see how the coasts manage to suck up all the attention. But never mind all that. In lieu of billboards, glossy magazine spreads, and Insta-influencers, let’s get down to it. Here are some of the coolest towns in the Midwest, brought to you by someone on the inside.
1. Munising, Michigan
Sitting on the southern shore of Lake Superior, Munising lays claim to landscapes you might think were straight out of the Mediterranean. Its eastern stretches fade into Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a place that contains entirely separate worlds of beauty each season, from jagged ice caves to soft, sandy shores and aquamarine waves. Head west and the scenery isn’t any less stunning.
Quests to find lighthouses, waterfalls, and shipwrecks will fill your itinerary. You’ll bike, hike, and snowshoe on the trails and back roads of Hiawatha National Forest.