Our Favorite Lakes: Midwest Region

Our Favorite Lakes: Midwest Region

Part 3 of our 4-part series talks about our favorite lakes in the midwest region.

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Check out all 4 parts of our series on our favorite lakes: Part 1: West Coast Lakes, Part 2: Mountain Lakes, Part 3: Midwest Lakes, Part 4: Eastern US.

In our most recent post in our series on lakes, we introduced you to some beautiful destinations to add to your bucket list in the Mountain Region. In today’s post, we will be exploring Midwest Region lakes.

Why Visit Midwest Region Lakes?

When many people think of the Midwest, they immediately picture endless fields stretching to the horizon. But the Midwest is also a land of lakes. The Great Lakes are located in this part of the country for starters. In addition, there are many smaller lakes that are not as well known that have a lot to offer.

In fact, there is something for everyone. Whether you want to camp and fish at a small, secluded lake off-the-beaten-track or you are looking for a more popular lake where you can find a lot of amenities and activities for the whole family, Midwest lakes will delight you. Now, let’s check out three top recommended destinations.

1. Higgins Lake, MI

If you’re from Michigan, you know what an amazing state it is for outdoor activities. If you’re not from Michigan, well, you’ve probably heard incredible things from anyone you happen to know who has ever lived there.

For that reason, it is tough to choose just one lake to feature in Michigan, but we are going to go with Higgins Lake in Roscommon County.

Why You’ll Love It

The clear blue waters of Higgins Lake are spectacularly beautiful, making for a scenic experience.

There is a ton to do while you are at Lake Higgins. You can fish for trout, smelt, perch and pike, swim, boat, golf, or explore South Higgins Lake State Park or North Higgins Lake State Park. There are also a lot of family-friendly activities in the area such as go karts, disc golf, and even the Roscommon Zoo. You may camp at either of the state parks.

2. Door County, WI

Want to experience Lake Michigan at its finest? We recommend visiting Door County, Wisconsin, a peninsula that extends out into the water near Green Bay.

There are six state parks in Door County: Newport State Park, Peninsula State Park, Whitefish Dunes State Park, Potawatomi State Park, Grand Traverse Island State Park and Rock Island State Park. You also can visit a variety of fishery areas, state wildlife areas, and state natural areas. You’ll find yourself with 54 public beaches to choose from when you set up your canopy tent to enjoy a day next to the water.

Why You’ll Love It

Door County has been referred to as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest.” While you are there, it will be easy for you to understand why. Along with the state parks and other protected areas to explore, there are charming towns to discover plus ten different picturesque lighthouses to visit. You could return to Door County year after year without running out of things to do, and on every visit, you will feel you have truly escaped from the mundane.

3. Sylvan Lake, SD

One of the most beautiful Midwestern lakes can be found in Custer State Park in South Dakota. You can camp at Sylvan Lake, but as RVs and fifth wheels are not permitted, it is ideal for those who like pitching a tent (and not being interrupted by large vehicles pulling in and out).

While you will be surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery, you will also be close to a general store and other amenities.

Why You’ll Love It

With its distinctive boulders, Sylvan Lake has an astonishing beauty all its own. You could be perfectly content just to lounge around on the shore, paddle in a boat, or cast your fishing line.

But you will also be conveniently close to The Needles and Black Elk Peak, and you can use the lake as a staging ground for exploring the entire Black Hills area. There is truly no other place like it.

Tips for Visiting Midwest Region Lakes

Now that we’ve shared some of our favorite Midwest Region lakes with you, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your trip.

  • Find out if you need to make a reservation. Some campgrounds at Midwestern lakes may require bookings to be made in advance, especially if they are at popular destinations. The sooner you reserve your spot, the better.
  • Have a backup plan. If you are not able to make a reservation in time or if you do not arrive sufficiently early at a first-come, first-served campground, make sure you have another plan for where you can spend the night. Thankfully, most campgrounds in the Midwest are not too far away from alternative accommodations and amenities.
  • Pack a pop-up canopy tent. Whether you are spending the night at a lakeside or not, a pop-up canopy tent can shelter you and your equipment from the elements and make your day more enjoyable.
  • Find out what you can rent on-site vs. what you need to bring yourself. For example, if you plan to canoe or kayak, are there rentals available where you are going? Or do you need to bring your own boat?
  • The Midwest is notorious for unpredictable—and sometimes violent—weather. Always check the forecast to make sure you are packing what you need, dressing suitably for the conditions, and staying safe. Note: Rapid City leads the pack for unpredictable Midwest weather, so keep that in mind especially if you visit Sylvan Lake or other parts of the Black Hills.
  • Be prepared for bugs. The Midwest as a region has a lot of insects, especially mosquitoes. So, make sure you pack your bug spray for your visit. And if you are going to be camping at a lake, you might even want to think about bringing mosquito netting with you.

Have Fun Visiting These Midwest Region Lakes

We hope you enjoyed our selection of Midwest Region lakes, and have a chance to pay them a visit. Read on to Our Favorite Lakes, Part 4: East Coast.

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