The summer vacation season is here, so it’s time to plan a memorable getaway. Look no further than the heartland of the United States, where small towns in the central region offer a surprising array of attractions and experiences. These hidden Midwest gems boast vibrant living history, picturesque colonies, and breathtaking lakes.
Amana Colonies, Iowa
Comprising seven villages, the Amana Colonies in the Midwest showcase the German tradition of hospitality and a unique vision of collective living. Explore the Amana Heritage Society and witness the craftsmanship of the Amanians with demonstrations and handmade goods. Nature lovers can explore the Kolonieweg trail and embrace the beauty of the surrounding prairie.
This affordable small town in the Midwest offers a wealth of cultural and outdoor activities. Visit the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, hike or bike along the Constitution Trail, explore the Prairie Aviation Museum, and enjoy the Miller Park Zoo.
Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood is now a National Historic Landmark in the Midwest, complete with reenactments to enjoy. Follow in the footsteps of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok by visiting attractions like Broken Boot Gold Mine, Days of ’76 Museum, and the haunted Bullock Hotel.
This charming Midwest small town exudes historic charm, with its Main Street resembling a picture-perfect film set. History enthusiasts flock to Galena to explore the Ulysses S. Grant State Historic Sites and the Vinegar Hill Historic Lead Mine & Museum. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy Galena Grant Park and Horseshoe Mound Preserve.
Immerse yourself in the spirit of Mark Twain in the Midwest town of Hannibal, where he spent his formative years. Experience the essence of Twain and visit the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, explore Mark Twain Cave, and take a narrated cruise on the Mark Twain Riverboat.
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island is a perfect choice for a leisurely escape to a car-free island in the Midwest. This idyllic destination offers bicycles and horse-drawn carriages as the primary modes of transportation. Alongside exploring stunning natural surroundings and top attractions like Arch Rock and Fort Mackinac, visitors can enjoy activities like hiking, sailing, and golfing.
Traverse City, Michigan
Known as the Cherry Capital of the World, Traverse City in the Midwest captivates visitors with its festivals and beautiful lakefront beaches. Stroll through the downtown area with its Victorian storefronts, explore the picturesque Grand Traverse Bay, indulge in local culinary delights, and participate in events such as the Traverse City Film Festival.
With the world at a standstill, there’s no doubt about the fact that recreational activities across the globe have also come to an end. Golfers are staying away from their favorite green, bowling fanatics can’t go to the bowling alley, and scuba divers are encouraged to stay out of the water. However, that doesn’t mean that scuba diving instructors are sitting at home doing nothing.
Closing Up Shop
Scuba diving is a hugely popular recreational activity in Australia, and countless people travel to this country every single year to see what the natural coral reefs and crystal clear waters have to offer. Because of this, there are many scuba diving facilities that have had to close up shop amidst the ongoing pandemic. While it’s easy to social distance when you’re under the surface of the water, they have been closed as a precaution – leaving the instructors in the lurch.
Time On Their Hands
Passions of Paradise is an Australian scuba diving tourism company in Cairns, Australia, that has found themselves with more time on their hands. Because they are not taking anyone out into the water, they knew that they couldn’t sit back and twiddle their thumbs until they were able to open their doors again. So, they decided to spend their free time planting coral in the Great Barrier Reef.
Diving Under The Surface
The company has noted that four of their diving instructors, alongside a marine biologist, have opted to use the opportunity to dive under the surface of the Hastings Reef and plant over 1,000 pieces of coral. Over the years, the Great Barrier Reef has suffered immensely due to rising sea temperatures, and much of the coral has disappeared. By planting more coral back onto the reefs, they hope that it can rebuild itself.
Stories like this make us feel proud to be human. Kudos to these scuba divers!