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Weekend Getaways in the Heartland

12. Thumper Pond

Ottertail, Minnesota
1.5 hours from Fargo, North Dakota

Situated about an hour and a half outside of Fargo, North Dakota, Thumper Pond is a lakeside resort with comfortable suites, a great tavern and grill, a golf course, and more. Many of the suites include whirlpool tubs, and some even come with a fireplace, both of which come in handy after a day on the lake. The resort is also planning to open an indoor water park in 2016. Willy T's Tavern & Grill is on site, too, serving up hand-carved meats on their sandwiches and pizzas over a view of the 18th green.

(image via Thumper Pond)

11. Buffalo Ridge Resort & Business Center

Gary, South Dakota
1.5 hours from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Buffalo Ridge Resort sits a little over an hour and a half north of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Formerly a school for the blind, but beautifully restored as a hotel, Buffalo Ridge has everything from small rooms to a 30-person family suite. There's plenty of hunting and fishing to do, as well as several golf courses nearby. If you don't feel like living the suite life, they also maintain a gorgeous campground.

(image via Buffalo Ridge Resort)

10. Ohiya Casino & Resort

Niobrara, Nebraska
3 hours from Omaha, Nebraska

Ohiya Casino is about a three-hour drive from Omaha, on the Santee Sioux Reservation. The casino features machines and bingo (no card games) and the hotel has a heated swimming pool and hot tub. The resort is also close to the Missouri River and other prime Nebraskan wilderness, so hunters and fishers have a great place to stay.

(image via Ohiya Casino & Resort)

9. The Elms Hotel & Spa

Excelsior Springs, Missouri
45 minutes from Kansas City

The Elms is just about 45 minutes away from Kansas City, and it's a beauty. The original Elms burned down—twice—though the building, as it stands now, has been there for 100 years. There are vineyards and golf in the area, though the draw at the Elms itself is the beauty of the hotel, somehow sleek and grand all at once. The spa, a gorgeously modern reimagining of the traditional Roman bath, is no slouch either.

(image via The Elms Hotel & Spa)

8. Spider Lake Lodge Bed & Breakfast

Hayward, Wisconsin
3 hours from Minneapolis, Minnesota

A little over three hours away from Minneapolis sits Spider Lake Lodge. This bed and breakfast doesn't sit on a resort, but it does sit right on a gorgeous Wisconsin lake. The log cabin stylings of the B&B go right up to a gas stove in each room, and the home-cooked breakfast is something special in itself.

(image via Spider Lake Lodge)

7. King's Pointe Waterpark Resort

Storm Lake, Iowa
2.5 hours from Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska

Just over two hours from Des Moines, Iowa, (and about the same distance from Omaha, Nebraska) King's Pointe is pretty unique. It's an indoor and outdoor waterpark, but it's also a got a full-on hotel with rooms, suites, and four sunrise cottages. The outdoor park has some pretty drastic water slides and overlooks Storm Lake, where you can rent equipment for water sports. The indoor waterpark also has slides, as well as a playground and enormous swimming pool with zero-depth entry for the tentative parkgoer. King's Pointe is perfect for family weekend getaways, college getaways with friends, or even a more whimsical trip for couples.

(image via King's Pointe Waterpark Resort)

6. Innsbrook Resort

Innsbrook, Missouri
1 hour from St. Louis, Missouri

Innsbrook, Missouri, is about an hour west of St. Louis. Surrounded by what it claims are 100 lakes of varying sizes, Innsbrook Resort is great for fishing, canoeing, sailing, and more. You can also rent a bike, volleyball equipment, or "life-size Jenga." An 18-hole golf course winds through the eastern Missouri countryside, and the Clubhouse Bar & Grille is in the midst of it all.

(image via innsbrookresort, CC)

5. Kalahari Resorts

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
2 hours from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kalahari Resorts is a safari-themed family resort two hours or so outside of Milwaukee. There's a lot going on here—indoor and outdoor water parks, an indoor theme park, a spa, golfing, an arcade, rafting, and more. Dining includes a brew pub, a specialty coffee shop and bakery, the obligatory grill, and a pizza kitchen.

(image via lotzman, CC)

4. Illinois Beach Resort

Zion, Illinois
1 hour from Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Illinois Beach Resort is located on Lake Michigan, in a national park halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. You can charter a fishing boat, take in the beach, or do any number of things nearby. "Things nearby" in this case includes two different golf courses, Tempel Farms (one of few U.S. stables that breeds Lippizans), Six Flags Great America, Gurnee Mills Mall, tours of the Jelly Belly factory, and the Great Lakes Naval Museum. Illinois Beach Resort isn't an "all-inclusive" experience, but between the scenery and the local entertainment, it doesn't have to be.

(image via Illinois Beach Resort)

3. French Lick Resort

French Lick, Indiana
2 hours from Indianapolis, Indiana

From the luxurious spas (that's multiple spas with an "s") to the four golf courses to the casino, French Lick has it all. This beautifully-restored vintage resort hotel is a little over two hours south of Indianapolis, near the Hoosier National Forest. The resort also offers less grandiose entertainments from bowling to carriage rides. Whatever it is you want out of a family getaway, odds are that it's here at French Lick.

(image via colirock)

2. Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

Mount Pleasant, Michigan
2.5 hours from Detroit, Michigan

About two and a half hours away from Detroit in Mount Pleasant, you'll find Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. You'll also find Soaring Eagle Waterpark, Ziibiwing Cultural Museum—a museum dedicated to the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan—and a free shuttle service to take you between them. The waterpark boasts a hotel, lazy river, saunas, and an 18-hole golf course. The casino showcases luxury rooms, a spa, and of course, plenty of betting action if you're feeling lucky.

(image via Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort)

1. Sawmill Creek Resort

Huron, Ohio
1 hour from Cleveland, Ohio

An hour down the shore of Lake Erie from Cleveland, Sawmill Creek offers five restaurants, swimming pools inside and out, an 18-hole golf course, and a gorgeous beach and marina. All sorts of water sports and fishing are available on Lake Erie, and the islands are also a big draw. If you'd rather play in the game room and come back to your jacuzzi, however, that's also an option, too. If you care to venture out, you'll find Lagoon Deer Park, Lake Erie Islands Wineries, and Marblehead Lighthouse, among others.

(image via sawmillcreekresort)