The Midwest US is often unfairly labeled “flyover country” but those who fly over middle America don't know what they're missing.

From the Great Lakes, the rugged Badlands, some fairly bizarre Americana roadside attractions (think: a giant Paul Bunyon statue holding a hot dog along the historic route 66), and yes some cornfields too. Here are three long distance road trips that showcase the true beauty of the Midwest.

Summer is the most popular time to road trip the Midwest, with hot (sometimes muggy) July and August days ideal for taking a dip in any of the Great Lakes, although you'll have to contend with crowds at some of the major national parks and monuments. The shoulder seasons in late spring or early fall bring milder weather and smaller crowds. If you time it right, fall foliage in the Midwest can be astounding. The peak colour period alters by latitude, and is affected by that year's rainfall and the previous winter, so plan accordingly.

Be aware that weather in the Midwest can be unpredictable. In South Dakota and northern Michigan and Wisconsin it has been known to snow as late as May and as early as October. Most people will want to avoid a winter road trip, due to potentially unsafe driving conditions and some park closures.

About the author

The Best Midwest National Park Road Trips

Sarah Bence

Sarah Bence is a travel journalist based in her home state of Michigan, after living in the UK for three and a half years. She writes for Lonely Planet, Fodor's, Roadtrippers Magazine, Business Insider, and more.

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