Trip Stack Trend: Charming small Midwest towns make great summer destinations

Bloomington, Indiana. Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

With many eager to use those unused vacation days and ready to travel again, travelers are turning towards trip stacking: booking several trips and experiences over a set of vacation days. And one of the best ways to do this? With a classic American road trip, of course.

Photo courtesy of Visit Indiana.

With major cities such as Indianapolis and Chicago topping the lists of places to visit in the Midwest, there are several other stop-worthy, under-the-radar cities and destinations that pack a full punch of culture, arts, outdoor experiences, and culinary offerings. Among them, Bloomington, Indiana (3.5 hours from Chicago & 1 hour from Indianapolis) and and Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI (1.5 hours from Chicago & 45 minutes from Milwaukee).

Photo courtesy Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

While the city of Bloomington and a stop at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI are perfect side trips on any Midwest trip, they also warrant their own getaway. But for those trip stacking and making stops, here are a few of the many reasons to add these destinations to your Midwest road trip itinerary:

WHY BLOOMINGTON?

That Lake Life. 

Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

For those looking for a lake vacation, Bloomington is home to the 10,750-acre Monroe Lake, Indiana’s largest land-bound body of water. Monroe Lake offers visitors everything from boating, beaching, biking, fishing, hiking, campgrounds, and more. It’s one of the Midwest’s best kept secrets for lake getaways.

Bloomington is a foodie-destination worth getting in the car for. This small Midwest city has a global dining scene and is home to over 350+ restaurants. Check out Bloomington’s most iconic restaurants here.

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And during the summer, one of the best ways to experience Bloomington’s eclectic atmosphere is dining al fresco on the patio of a local restaurant. With over 100 eateries offering outdoor dining during the warmer months, there are an abundance of choices.

Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

Some of the Midwest’s best art & cultural attractions can be found in Bloomington. From renowned museums, A-list comedy clubs, to historic artwork and artifacts, Bloomington is rich in culture. Check out some of the top attractions here.

For fireworks: Bloomington is one of the best Midwest spots for fireworks and Fourth of July festivities. The city offers several free, public firework displays.

Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington

Bloomington has a nightlife scene. The bars and restaurants stay open later in Bloomington than most Midwest cities! Check out underground vibes such as The Root Cellar Lounge, one of Bloomington’s best hidden gems, located in the basement of FARMbloomington. 

FARMbloomington

Under the radar wine destination

In addition to being a cool foodie town it’s great for winos as well. It’s home to the award-winning Oliver Winery, Indiana’s largest and oldest winery, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. 

Bloomington is also home to five breweries, all of which are located in the downtown area. Grab a beer at Function Brewing, The Tap, Switchyard Brewing, Upland Brewpub, or Bloomington Brewing Company (BBC) — for your own beer tasting experience, The Tap, Function, and BBC are all located within a five-block stretch of one-another.

WHY GRAND GENEVA?

Get Outside

Situated on 1,300 acres in the woodlands of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Grand Geneva is an award-winning AAA Four-Diamond resort located 90 minutes from Chicago and 50 minutes from Milwaukee. The hotel has been welcoming guests for more than 25 years, offering some of the finest facilities, accommodations, and dining experiences in the Midwest. The iconic resort has always offered dynamic recreation for guests looking for an escape (or the perfect pit stop), including outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and scooter excursions — in addition to the resort’s two championship 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, and indoor and outdoor pools. Guests also enjoy the resort’s acclaimed restaurants, award-winning Well Spa + Salon, and expansive fitness center.

For fireworks.

 Every Sunday through Labor Day weekend, resort guests enjoy a dazzling Sunday fireworks display. But for those looking to celebrate July 4, Grand Geneva also offers one of the grandest fireworks shows. Guests who stay in a Lake View room can enjoy the fireworks show from their private balcony or patio, while all resort guests can view the show from the resort’s hillside.

Get golfing

This Lake Geneva golf destination is especially known for its two championship golf courses. At over 7,000 yards featuring massive sand traps and prominent water features, the magnificent Brute course is one of the most challenging layouts in the Midwest is considered one of Wisconsin’s best golf courses. 

The Highlands is a Scottish-inspired, links-style course, complete with a beautiful landscape of scenic hills, wide open fairways, trickling creeks and lush foliage. This Lake Geneva golf course was originally designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus and transformed in 1996 by Bob Cupp. Need to brush up on skills? The resort launched new weekly clinics this year.

Privacy with the perks of a hotel.

For guests seeking a more private getaway, The Villas at Grand Geneva offer luxury vacation rentals with spacious living areas, separate bedrooms, and kitchens. Guests have access to additional resort amenities, including a pool and an outdoor fire pit area reserved for the exclusive use of Villa guests.

A culinary hotspot

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is home to several award-winning restaurants and cafes. Guests enjoy several different dining experiences including Wisconsin steak dinners, seafood boils, over the top brunches, and more. 

And there’s a waterpark

Nestled within the sprawling resort campus, is Grand Geneva’s sister-property, Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark – an all-suite family resort featuring one of the Midwest’s top waterparks. 

While in Lake Geneva

Grand Geneva’s concierge can help arrange some of the city’s best experiences such as Lake Geneva Cruise Line, Lake Geneva Balloon CompanyLake Geneva Ziplines & Adventures and more. The resort also offers discounts for guests on select local attractions.

Visit Lake Geneva