Niche travel is in for 2016! For many years, but especially since the success of the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, travelers are flocking to their favorite destinations to hike, climb and bike trails across the U.S. With the passing of the days of the railroad and canal systems in the Midwest, hundreds of miles of rails have been paved over or recreated for use by the public.
Because the railroads and waterways connected and intersected, a lot of the bike paths connect and intersect, making it possible to bike across huge sections of the the Midwestern states without having to leave the trails. The best of these trails can make a great weekend or day trip, with restaurants and shops along the way to make sure everyone in the family can enjoy themselves. If the family enjoys biking, plan a day trip to any one of these Midwest biking destinations, which are known for the places they pass, unique scenery or because they give bikers an exciting ride.
Ride Past History
The Cowboy Trail of Nebraska is part raised, paved and gravel, and takes your family past ranches, historical site and through sleepy cities. Named the Cowboy Trail, it follows an old rail route and uses old rail bridges spanning small creeks and rivers and then the Niobrara River. If the family likes taking a step back in time, checking out things as they go, this is the ride for you, with several places to start and stop from Chadron to Norfolk.
For a Leisurely Ride
If you are planning a bike ride for young riders, or a mixed age family with newer riders, old and young, the Little Traverse Wheelway is the perfect ride. Winding along the Lake Michigan shoreline, there are surprisingly few dips and inclines and the best view for miles around. Pack a picnic and stop along the trail to enjoy lunch at the lake before heading back. Start the day out at Petoskey State Park and bike south from there, enjoying the sandy beaches at the end of a long day on the bike.
For uniques views, drive out to the George S. Mickelson trail in South Dakota where you can pass through the Black Hills and all their splendor. Ride through old mining tunnels and cross 100 trestles on 100 miles of trail. This is really a ride that should be done in sections because looking out at everything as you go will slow you down quite a bit.
For Urban Visits
If you travel to the city of Chicago and want to spend a family day on the seat of a bike, Chicago’s Lake Michigan Lakefront Trail is the best of both worlds. With the city to one side of you and nothing but water, sand and sails on the other. The lakefront trail continues on for 18 miles, where you will pass the heart of the city, cross the Chicago River, meander past Lincoln Park and ride by some of the best lakeside protected land on the south side. If you find yourself in the city without a bike, there are several public bike rental options available to you.
Quaint Nature Rides
The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail winds and curves its way through the protected region in the heart of Indiana. You’ll pass farms, Amish Country, nature parks, and several public parks where the whole family can stop and start for breaks along the path. Not all 25 miles are paved, but with the right bikes you can start and stop anywhere from Shipshewana to Goshen.
With so much to see and do in the Midwest, families can visit some of the Midwest’s most iconic and popular tourist attractions while biking through the spectacular scenic routes across the U.S.
Have you visited the Midwest? Would your family enjoy biking throughout the Midwest?