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Top 10 Best State Parks in the Midwest

The Midwest isn’t the most attractive region to some people, but they’re entirely wrong. The Midwest has some of the most beautiful and breathtaking state parks in the entire country. Visiting state parks is a great way to spend time with your family, enjoy the weather, and create moments you’ll remember for a lifetime. Here are the top 10 best state parks in the Midwest.

  1. Porcupine Mountains State Park, Michigan
    Fifteen miles west of Ontonagon, the 60,000-acre Porcupine Mountains State Park invites visitors from all over. The towering trees, serene lakes, and miles of rapid rivers make this beloved park an amazing trip for everyone. Affectionately called “The Porkies,” this park has plenty for you to do. You can fish, ski, canoe or kayak, visit Ontonagon Lighthouse, or just gaze at the beautiful waterfalls. 
  2. Turkey Run State Park, Indiana
    Located in Marshall, Indiana, Turkey Run State Park can be an adventure for anyone of any age. There are incredible hiking trails, campsites, canoeing, and even horseback riding. There’s something for everyone. It also has several historical sites such as Lusk Home, which was an early pioneer home and grist mill. 
  3. Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
    Hocking Hills State Park is a non-contiguous state park, meaning it’s dispersed among the Hocking State Forest. With that being said, this park has some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever see in your life. From Old Man’s Cave to the breathtaking waterfalls, you’ll never feel more at peace. It’s also full of history, and you can see evidence of ancient Native Americans from over 7,000 years ago. 
  4. Interstate State Park, Minnesota
    This park doesn’t have the most beautiful name, but don’t let it fool you. The park is perfect for hiking, and there are plenty of secluded campsites for everyone. There’s even a railroad trail and a river trail for viewing the history of the state park. The hikes are short enough for children, and there’s a good chance they’ll spot some of the natural wildlife in the area. Not only is there canoeing and fishing, but you can also visit the old lava flows and glacial potholes that make the park a spectacular stop. 
  5. Starved Rock State Park, Illinois
    Voted one of the top nine tourist attractions in Illinois by Planet Ware, Starved Rock State Park is one of the best stops for you and your family. The hiking trails give you plenty of chances to see the various waterfalls that speckle the park. Plus, you can take a guided tour to get the most out of your trip. You can fish, boat, picnic, ride horseback, and camp right in the park. You may even spot an eagle during certain times of the year.  
  6. Blue Mounds State Park, Minnesota
    If you’ve ever wanted to see bison, Blue Mounds State Park allows these animals to roam in their natural habitat. Other animals that roam freely include coyotes and deer, as well as several different western species of birds. Many people enjoy the large campsites where you can spend the night, and they have electric hook-ups for convenience. You can also choose to stay the day and enjoy the hiking and rock climbing. 
  7. Maquoketa Caves State Park, Iowa
    No park leaves you speechless like Maquoketa Caves. Located in Maquoketa, Iowa, this state park has natural cliffs and caves that are easy to get to and fun to experience. The park also has a collection of pottery, tools, and projectile points found from the Native Americans who once thrived in the area. With all of the trails and scenery, you’ll have a hard time spending just one day at Maquoketa Caves State Park. 
  8. Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri
    Ha Ha Tonka State Park, located in Camdenton, stands out because of the unique structure it contains—a castle built by Robert Snyder, Jr., in 1906. The building was used as a hotel from the 1920s to 1942 when a fire destroyed the building. The skeleton of the structure still stands and brings visitors from all over the United States. Other park attractions include hiking, backpacking, fishing, boating, and swimming. 
  9. Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, North Dakota
    Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest presidents the United States ever had, and his name is recognized by most children. The state park, Fort Abraham Lincoln, is rich in military and Native American history. The reconstructed building was used as an infantry and cavalry post during the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. One of the most enjoyable features of the park is the horseback riding. 
  10. Fort Robinson State Park, Nebraska
    Fort Robinson State Park has plenty for everyone to enjoy. It has history, wildlife, and lots of beautiful sites. The fort was used as an outpost against Native American tribes and existed during the time of the famed Sioux Chief, Crazy Horse. Today, bison roam and graze freely. At the park, you can enjoy fishing, hiking, hunting, swimming, horseback riding, and much more. 
Last Updated: March 16, 2016