Spending Spring Break in the Midwest doesn’t have to be a drag. We’ve compiled this super fun list of nearby places to travel so you can keep the whole family happy without all that sand and expense!
Go Somewhere Local
Indianapolis Zoo – Indianapolis, IN
The Indianapolis Zoo puts a wild twist on learning with two- and three-day camps. It’s an excellent opportunity for kids aged 6-14 to get an in-depth zoo experience. Campers can explore the zoo and participate in games, crafts, tours, presentations, animal visits and more!
Photo by Nick Blomeke
Space is limited for this year’s spring camps, however, the zoo also offers three-day or five-day summer camps for children ages 5-14.
Learn More: https://www.indianapoliszoo.com/learn-explore/zoo-camps/
Squire Boone Cavern – Mauckport, IN
You may remember Daniel Boone from history class. Daniel and his brother Squire Boone were the first to discover the caverns in southern Indiana in 1790. Squire eventually settled on the land with his wife, four sons, and their families.
The caverns are considered “living” because there are actually rushing rivers and waterfalls that flow through them. The cavern tour provides a ⅓ mile walk through the wonderful underground ecosystem that features both stalactites and stalagmites, as well as flowstone and fossils.
Learn More: https://squireboonecaverns.com/
You can also check out Marengo Cave and Indiana Caverns right here in Indiana!
DeBrand’s Chocolate Tour – Fort Wayne, IN
Sweeten up your spring break with a chocolate tour at DeBrand Fine Chocolates. You’ll watch a fun video about the history of DeBrand and then you will see their chocolatiers in action. A tour of their kitchen wouldn’t be complete without some samples of their gourmet chocolates after!
Tours are held at their Auburn Road location (10105 Auburn Park Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46825). Each tour lasts around 30-45 minutes and only costs $5 a person.
Learn More: https://www.debrand.com/aboutus/tours/
Visit A National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park – Porter, IN
That’s right, Indiana finally has a national park! The Indiana Dunes became the nation’s 60th National Park this year.
Photo from @IndianaDunesNPS Twitter
The lakeshore spans 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan. If it’s not quite beach weather yet, you can still enjoy the park’s 15,000 acres and more than 50 miles of trails over sand dunes, wetlands, prairies, and forests.
Learn More: https://www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm
Gateway Arch National Park – St Louis, MO
The Gateway Arch pays homage to St Louis’ role in the expansions westward. The park acts as a memorial to Thomas Jefferson who opened the west to the pioneers.
Photo by National Park Service
You can’t visit without taking a unique tram ride to the top of the 630-foot arch. From the top, you will have beautiful panoramic views of St. Louis. You can also explore the new interactive museum below the arch that goes more in-depth about St. Louis’ history and the westward expansion.
Learn More: https://www.nps.gov/jeff/index.htm
Mammoth Cave National Park – Mammoth Cave, KY
With more than four hundred miles explored, Mammoth Cave is the world’s longest known cave system. “Mammoth” refers to the size of the cave’s chambers and passageways, not the prehistoric, elephant-like mammals. Explore underground with a wide variety of tours offered several times a day. You can view the tour schedule here.
Photo by National Park Service
If caves aren’t your style, the park extends more than 70 miles of surface trails for hiking and horseback riding.
Learn More: https://www.nps.gov/maca/index.htm
Cuyahoga Valley National Park – Peninsula, OH
The meandering Cuyahoga River is surrounded by deep forests and rolling hills just south of Cleveland, Ohio. The park’s most popular attraction is the 65-foot high Brandywine Falls, Ohio’s second highest waterfall. There’s plenty to be explored with more than 125 miles of hiking trails.
Photo by Tom Jones
Do you have a train lover in the family? All aboard the National Park Scenic Excursion! This train ride is a two-and-a-half-hour round trip through the park. The railroad offers a way for guests to sit back and relax while spotting eagles, deer, and otters in their natural habitat.
Learn More: https://www.nps.gov/cuva/index.htm
Explore Another Capital
Only a hop, skip, and jump away, the music city is a great spring break destination. Don’t forget, the more south you travel, the warmer it’ll be! You may even get to spend some time outdoors without a jacket. Here are our top 3 family-friendly picks for Nashville:
- The Adventure Science Center has live science demonstrations and even a walk-through weightless simulator! It’s great for children of all ages including adult-children.
Photo by Adventure Science Center
- If you’re blessed with enjoyable weather head to the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens. The 55-acre estate has more than 150,000 tulips blooming during the spring.
- You can’t visit Nashville without a little music. The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum is the only museum in the world that honors the musicians who played the greatest hits of all time.
Only a few hours from the Indiana/Ohio state line, Columbus is bustling with spring break fun! Here are our top three family-friendly ideas:
- With more than 300 interactive exhibits, the Center of Science and Industry can provide hours of non-stop fun!
- If you want to spend some time outdoors, visit the Scioto Audubon Metro Park for a climb on the nation’s largest free climbing wall.
Photo by Wilma Yoder
- The newly-opened LEGOLAND® Discovery Center has ten LEGO® themed zones making it the ultimate indoor playground.
No matter where the road takes you, always remember to drive responsibly. Here are a few tips to keep you safe!
The certified technicians at Jiffy Lube of Indiana are always here to help keep your car in road trip condition. We want to be sure your vehicle has had a thorough inspection that includes checking your oil and other fluids, serpentine belts, wiper blades, filtration system, exterior lights, tire pressure, and chassis before heading out on a trip. Happy road tripping