Favorites for Summer

Swimming holes of Duluth
In this Lake Superior town, rivers are the place to cool off.

Summer in Madison
In warm months, head for the brewpubs, bicycle trails and lakes of this exuberant college town.

10 great places to take teens
Sure, they'd rather be with their friends. But you're the one with the wallet.

30 great campsites
These spots have what campers want: location, location, location.

Powwow primer
Yes, you're invited. Here's what to expect and why you should go.

Sightseeing by bicycle
Join a rolling tour, and you'll see the best of the Upper Midwest.

Best of summer
The season is short, so have as much fun as you can.

Cheat the heat

When summer in the Upper Midwest becomes a sauna, it's time to chill out.

When heat wraps itself around your shoulders like an electric blanket with static cling, there's only one thing to do: Look for cold water.

You'll find it tubing on a spring-fed river, such as the South Branch of the Root River, which takes a short cut through Mystery Caverns and heads toward Lanesboro chilled to 48 degrees.

On Minnesota's North Shore, plop yourself into one of the Baptism River's potholes and let the cool waters swirl around you. Or go whitewater rafting — a fast cool-down is guaranteed.

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Lodgings in Minnesota state parks

If you don't have a cabin of your own, Minnesota has one you can borrow.

If you don't have a cabin of your own, Minnesota has one you can borrow.

Some really are cabins, but others are houses, complete with two-car garages, like the one at Bear Head Lake State Park, previously occupied by the park manager.

Some were private houses that have been renovated, like the Illgen Falls Cabin in Tettegouche State Park.

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A feast of festivals

Here's an eater's guide to small-town fests, from strawberries to sauerkraut and kolacky to sweet corn.

As soon as rhubarb leaves unfurl and morels pop out of the ground, towns across the region begin their salutes to the local specialty.

It starts with Norwegian lefse on Syttende Mai and continues to Finnish pasties, German pretzels, Czech kolacky, Danish pancakes and American pie.

There will be music and parades and all kinds of goofy contests — rhubarb-stalk throwing in Lanesboro, a rutabaga shot put in Calumet — but mostly, there will be a lot to eat.

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Circling Lake Michigan

On a drive around this inland sea, you'll find vineyards, lighthouses, a famous island and fabulous beaches.

If Lake Superior is the drama queen of the Great Lakes, then Lake Michigan is president of the pep club.

It's beautiful, popular and a lot easier to get along with than its tempestuous sister. Its shores are lined with sand, not jagged cliffs, and its beaches attract festive crowds every summer.

It's the only Great Lake you can circle without a passport, and if you don't want to drive around the whole thing, you can take a short cut on a car ferry.

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10 great getaways from Chicago

Get out of town to lounge on beaches, gawk at river canyons and go on brewery tours.

There's an endless number of fun things to do in Chicago, which is why tourists flock to it from around the world. To paraphrase the English wit Samuel Johnson, "When a man is tired of Chicago, he is tired of life."

And yet, everyone needs to get out of town once in a while.

The traditional playground of Wisconsin lies to the north, and the beaches of  Michigan to the east. To the west, aim for destinations on rivers: the Fox, the Illinois, the Rock.

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The Minnesota resort of your dreams

There's no better vacation than the classic week up north.

In Minnesota, it's devilishly hard to find the lake resort that's right for you.

Everyone wants the "best" resort. But asking the state tourism folks to tell you which one is best is like asking a baker to pick out his best pastry: They're all, of course, the best.

You can't ask your friends. They can tell you only which resort they go to, and that one may be too luxurious/too rustic or not kid-friendly/too family-oriented for you.

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