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Midwest Road Trips: Summer Road Trip Series

The scenic Iowa countryside. The Midwest is home to some of the prettiest parts of the United States. If you're planning a road trip through the Midwest, here are some places to visit.

Summer is here, the kids are out of school, and it’s the perfect time for Midwest road trips. This area of the country is filled with beautiful scenery, quaint towns and activities for everyone from the kids to their parents to couples just looking to get away from it all. Get your car ready for these great Midwest road trips and plan your adventure before summer slips away.

Tunnel of Trees, MichiganMichigan Tunnel of Trees

What comes to mind when you think of Michigan might be The Motor City, but there’s far more to this beautiful state than Detroit alone. Travel north and there are picturesque waterfront drives and stunning small towns to explore as a part of your Midwest road trip.

The 20-mile drive along M-119 starts in Petoskey and finishes up in Cross Village. You’ll catch glimpses of the lake through the trees along this narrow twisting road as the sun filters through a canopy of branches. Take time to explore the quaint waterfront cities at either end of the route, or just keep driving to enjoy even more of Michigan’s natural beauty.

The Lincoln Highway, Indiana

The first named auto road to cross the country from coast-to-coast, the Lincoln Highway is more of a scenic byway than a highway. Over the years its route changed as our highway system evolved, but portions of the original road still exist as U.S. Route 30.

You can take it all the way across the country if you’re ambitious, or simply explore a section like the one across Indiana. The meandering route takes you through small-town America with main streets, restaurants and shops to explore and remind you of the early days of highway travel.

Door County Coastal Byway, Wisconsin

This 300-mile scenic route provides great views of Lake Michigan and Green Bay. It includes five state parks, 11 historic lighthouses and plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Pack your bags and your picnic basket for this one and plan to get out and explore nature.

When it’s time to come back to civilization, there are shops and galleries to visit, along with wineries where you can sample local offerings. Those who love the arts will find a variety of festivals and performances, many of which are outside where you can enjoy the summer weather.

Route 66, Illinois

You can still get your kicks on Route 66 in Illinois. This famous road starts in Chicago at the famous Buckingham Fountain and stretches 300 miles through the southwest part of the state. If you’re looking for a slice of roadside quirkiness, then you’ll find it on this drive.

Colorful murals adorn the sides of brick buildings along with roadside attractions you won’t find anywhere else. There’s Gemini Giant — a statue of a man in a space helmet with a rocket ship — as well as a giant statue of Paul Bunyan and the world’s largest ketchup bottle.

There’s nothing quite like a summer road trip, but before you head out, make sure you’re prepped for the trip. You should have a safety kit in your car, just in case, and all your car’s maintenance should be up to date including the basics like tires, air filters, windshield wipers, and washer fluid.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to prepare your car for a road trip, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Image courtesy of Flickr.


Nicole Wakelin View All

Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.

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