Even though stay-in-place orders are loosening throughout the country, you may still be hesitant to go where crowds tend to gather. Thankfully, the Midwest is full of secluded spots that are perfect for a private getaway. If your travel plans have recently changed, there are other options that you should consider. Here are 10 amazingly secluded places in the Midwest that you can fly to – let’s get started! Remember to follow state and local health laws in terms of social distancing and personal protective equipment. Find more information about the effects of COVID-19 in Minnesota here: https://mn.gov/covid19/
1) Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Nearest Airport: Mackinac County Airport (83D)
If you love the outdoors, then the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a great choice. Known affectionately as the U.P., and the local community as “Yoopers”, this secluded destination is a four-season recreational playground along the shores of north-east Lake Superior. Hike or bike along the 47-mile historic Iron Ore Heritage Trail, view one of 77 waterfalls throughout Marquette County (the most in the state), or Trek up Sugarloaf Mountain in the fall to view some of the best leaf-peeping in the Midwest. In the winter, take-in an Iditarod-qualifier sled dog race, go skiing on Marquette Mountain, or rent a snowmobile and explore countless acres of wilderness.
2) North Shore, MN
Nearest Airport: Sky Harbor Airport (DYT)
On the opposite side of Lake Superior, along the western edge of the giant freshwater lake, the North Shore is a fantastic place to escape crowds of people. From northern Duluth up to the border of Canada, the 150-mile Highway 61 leads visitors along a path filled with breathtaking views of the lake, scenic waterfalls, secluded beaches, imposing cliffs and extensive pine forests.
3) Big Spirit Lake, IA
Nearest Airport: Spirit Lake Municipal Area (0F3)
This natural body of water occupies almost 5,700 acres, giving you plenty of space to spread out. Located in northwest Iowa along the border of Minnesota, Big Spirit and surrounding lakes are known colloquially as the “Iowa Great Lakes”. This destination is particularly popular among avid fishermen, known as a hotspot for walleye, perch, bullhead, bass, pike and muskie. In fact, the largest freshwater drum and muskie ever caught in the state were fished from this lake.
4) Lead, SD
Nearest Airport: Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP)
This old gold-mining town offers visitors plenty of secluded activities, with close proximity to Terry Peak Ski and Recreation Area, Deer Mountain and George S. Mickelson Trail. Explore the Black Hills on your own along hundreds of miles of trails, or take a drive through historic Deadwood, where you can see homes and buildings in traditional Old Western style.
5) Bayfield, WI
Nearest Airport: Major Gilbert Field Airport (4R5)
Known as the main entry point to Madeline Island and the rest of the Apostle Islands, Bayfield is home to a number of isolated accommodations and getaway spots. While Bayfield itself may be overwhelming in the summer, you can always stay on the outskirts of town in a private cabin or townhome, or at the many nearby campsites and state/national forests. Or, visit in the off-season and enjoy much fewer tourists. Pilots can even fly into Madeline Island, giving you direct access to the many Apostle Islands. Visitors can kayak or ferry to these islands and set up a primitive, private campsite in Lake Superior.
6) Red Wing, MN
Nearest Airport: Red Wing Regional Airport (RGK)
Red Wing is known for its breathtaking bluffs, valleys and natural wildlife (not to mention their famous Red Wing Boots). Hiking enthusiasts will love the 340-foot Barn Bluff that offers picturesque views of the Mississippi River below. Other fun, social-distance friendly things to do include a private tour of the nearby Falconer Wine Vineyards or a trip to the local train depot to learn more about the history of Red Wing in an outdoor setting.
7) Brown County, IN
Nearest Airport: Brown County Airport (GEO)
Brown County is home to some of the most popular destinations in the south, including Nashville, however there are quite a few secluded spots off-the-beaten-path that you can set your coordinates to. Take a look at natural attractions like the 16,000-acre Brown County State Park and the Hoosier and Yellowwood State Forests, which supply recreation opportunities like hiking, wildlife watching and overnight camping.
8) Medora, ND
Nearest Airport: Dickinson-Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport (DIK)
Along the edge of scenic Badlands in western North Dakota, this famous town once hosted a young Theodore Roosevelt-led buffalo hunt in the late 1800s, and was where the famous president purchased not one, but two cattle ranches. But that’s not the only reason visitors are drawn to this expansive region of wilderness. a 70,000-acre national park, named after Teddy, occupies a large portion of the state and offers wildlife viewing—where you could see everything from salamanders to elk, hundreds of bird species and bison—outdoor recreation, and secluded accommodations.
9) Herod, IL
Nearest Airport: Dixon Municipal Airport (C73)
Herod, Illinois is home to the Shawnee National Forest, a destination that’s full of remote, off-the-grid destinations. As one of the most scenic areas in the entire state, its rock formations allow for breathtaking views across the expansive Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys. With plenty of crowd-free space within the forest grounds, it’s the ideal place to enjoy hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and other isolation-friendly activities.
10) Beltrami, MN
Nearest Airport: Bemidji Regional Airport (BJI)
Spread across three counties, the Beltrami Island State Forest is known as the second-largest state forest in Minnesota. With over 320,000 acres to explore, access to the headwaters of four major rivers, extensive coniferous forests and plenty of trails, visitors can enjoy nature in peace and quiet. Enjoy 25 miles of hiking trailers, 27 miles of equestrian trails, 238 miles of ATV trails and 138 miles of snowmobiling trails. Other spectacular state parks nearby that are worth checking out as well, include Zippel and Hayes Lake.
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