7 Fun Midwest Stops Off Interstate 70

The world's largest rocking chair, a stellar state park and a charming 1800s town are among the rewards for travelers who venture off I-70.

A major east-west artery, Interstate 70 stretches for 2,150 miles from Utah to Maryland, passing through the Midwest states of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. It connects many major Midwest cities, including Topeka, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Louis; Indianapolis; and Columbus, Ohio. Each of those could be a multi-day stop, but if you're looking for something a little different, here are seven places to pull off the interstate and enjoy an hour or an afternoon.

wilson state park
Doug Stremel


Wilson State Park, Sylvan Grove—Exit 206

Hikers find heaven among red sandstone formations with 40-foot drop-offs. Mountain bikers dig the 25-mile Switchgrass Trail, aka the Roller Coaster. And boaters cruise what's been called the clearest lake in Kansas. Wilson State Park is great for camping and wildlife viewing too.

John Brown's Underground, Lawrence—Exit 204

Sip topflight cocktails in a basement setting at this spot known for creatively designed menus and expert mixologists. Order a seasonal drink or stick with one of their classics, like Let Me Be Clear, a clarified Jungle Bird made with Haitian-distilled rum. (If craft cocktails aren't your thing, stretch your legs at Clinton Lake or spend some time at the KU Natural History Museum—just a couple of our favorite things to do in Lawrence.)


Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream Shop, Columbia—Exit 126

Named for a dog, the shop breeds quirky flavors in-house. Hot Tropic spices up pineapple, mango, and lime with cayenne and Tajín. Pride Cake flaunts rainbow sprinkles. And Honey Berry Brie Charcuterie blends sweet with salty (crushed crackers and cheese, no meat).

Main Street Exploring, St. Charles—Exit 229B

The brick streets and photogenic buildings in this charming town date to the 1800s—when St. Charles was the place where Missouri came into statehood, and Lewis and Clark launched their journey. (Cool sites commemorate both.) After taking in the history, browse shops and grab lunch at the Bike Stop Cafe. And if you happen to be driving through the town in December, you're in for a real holiday treat.

worlds largest rocking chair Casey Illinois
Bob Stefko


World's Largest Attractions, Casey—Exit 129

Big things come in small packages—and towns. Tiny Casey boasts several Guinness World Records-certified world's largest items, including a 32-foot-tall mailbox, 56-foot-tall rocking chair and 30-foot-tall golf tee. You can thank resident and philanthropist Jim Bolin for filling Casey with so many supersized photo ops.


Indianapolis City Market, Indianapolis—Exit 111

The public market has been in its current location since 1866, with more than 20 merchants beckoning you to shop, dine, have a beer or just hang out. The Original Farmers' Market is held here on Wednesdays (May–October). Book a guided tour of the site's catacombs.

carillon brewing company
Ryan Donnell


Carillon Historical Park, Dayton—I-75 Exit 50B

Though Deeds Carillon rings at this open-air museum, you also hear echoes of history in the original Wright Flyer III built by Dayton's aviating brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright. More music to your ears: 1850s-style Carillon Brewing Company, the first production brewery inside a U.S. museum.

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