MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Trip Hints

Favorites for summer

Great summer festivals
Here are the best of the fests in the Upper Midwest.
Where to stay on Minnesota's North Shore
Everyone wants a place on the big lake, and here's a guide to the best.
10 great day trips from Madison
See the circus, visit Swiss towns or ride a rail trail: There's fun in every direction.
Planning a Circle Tour of Lake Michigan
For a great summer road trip, follow the shores of this Midwestern Riviera.
Camping in state parks
Pay attention to the window if you want to reserve a prime spot at peak times.
How to prevent Lyme disease
The bite of a deer tick can cause major headaches, and more.
10 great day trips from the Twin Cities
Within an hour's drive, you can cruise Lake Minnetonka, stroll on the St. Croix or climb a historic bluff.
Summer on stage
In vacation towns, plays and musicals offer a midsummer's-night diversion.

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FastPlans/Summer in Chicago

bicyclists along Chicago's Lakefront Trail

In summer, everyone wants to be in Chicago, and the price of hotel rooms skyrockets. But the entertainment is free once you get there, and it's easy to eat well for very little.

What to do: There's always something free going on at Millennium Park, Navy Pier and Grant Park, including world-class classical music at the Grant Park Music Festival, July 2-Aug. 21.

Events to catch: June 12-13, Old Town Art Fair.

Where to stay: See Where to stay in Chicago.

Details: For more, see Chicago as you like it and Cheap Chicago.

Past fast plans: Walking around Lake Geneva, Enjoying spring in Door County, Spring in Galena, A John Muir tour in Wisconsin, Baseball in Milwaukee

This weekend

Watch windsurfers and walleyes.

The walleye in Garrison.

Aquafest in Rice Lake, Wis. The festival in this northwest Wisconsin lakes town includes a carnival, art fair, kids' fishing derby, car show, live bands and, on the last day, a 12:30 p.m. parade followed by a water-ski show. June 10–12.

Windsurfing Regatta & Music Festival in Worthington, Minn. This breezy town in southwest Minnesota hosts windsurfing races on Lake Okabena and a free music festival. There will also be children's activities and a beer tent. June 11–13.

Walleye Weekend in Fond du Lac, Wis. In addition to a fishing tournament, this free fest features live music on three stages and strongman, volleyball and cornhole competitions, plus a Familyland with a dog-jumping show and many other activities. June 11–13.

Lower Sioux Wacipi in Morton, Minn. This Lower Sioux Indian Community wacipi, or powwow, includes dancing, drumming, singing and food. Grand Entries are at 7 p.m. Friday, 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Everyone is welcome. June 11–13.


30 great campsites

These spots have what campers want: location, location, location.

The beach on Games Lake.

There's nothing like finding the perfect campsite.

I look for them wherever I go, and when I was at Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, one of the most popular campgrounds in Wisconsin, I found it: Campsite 435.

It's framed but not enclosed by trees, has a lovely view of Crystal Lake and is on the edge of its sand beach. It's near the shower house and not too close to latrines, easy to reach but not heavily trafficked and off a paved bicycle trail to nearby towns.

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Free days in Minnesota and Michigan state parks

On the second weekend of June, everyone is invited for a day of fishing, hiking and trail riding.

Canoeing past Lower Falls.

The second weekend in June is a good time to try something new in Minnesota and Michigan.

On June 12 in 2021, admission to all Minnesota state parks is free.

Check for naturalist-led events. This year, they included guided nature hikes in many parks as well as programs on fossils, falcons and frogs.

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Cheap summer getaways in Wisconsin

No money, no problem: Here are 20 great vacations that are easy on the wallet.

A crowd listens to an outdoor blues concert in Solon Springs

In summer, it’s not as hard as you’d think to take a trip that's a lot of fun but doesn't cost much.

Many of the great travel experiences in Wisconsin can’t be bought, anyway — bicycling along Lake Michigan, camping on sandbars, volunteering in a lighthouse.

If you like music and festivals, you're really in luck — Wisconsin has many fun, family-friendly fests with on-site camping, at unbeatable prices. And its national forests and county parks are full of great campsites.

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Cheap summer getaways in Minnesota

No money, no problem: Here are 20 great vacations that are easy on the wallet.

Skaters and bicyclists use the Munger State Trail.

In summer, it’s not as hard as you’d think to take a fun trip that doesn't cost much.

Many of the great travel experiences in Minnesota can’t be bought, anyway — hiking amid old-growth white pines, paddling through bluff country, listening to loons in the Boundary Waters.

Read story and trip tips