When you want a quick getaway trip but don’t want to spend too much time traveling, day trips are the answer! No suitcase, no passport, no hotel – just fun. If you’re in the Midwest, you’re in luck because there are so many destinations that are an easy drive away. Here are the six best Midwest day trips for seniors.
Tips for Day Trips
Even a day trip requires a little preparation:
- Reviewing Your Route: While navigation apps make travel much more straightforward than the days of paper maps, it’s still wise to check your route ahead of time. Identify places to stop for breaks, points of interest, and construction zones.
- Watching the Weather: Weather conditions can vary for locations, even a few hours apart. Check the forecast ahead of time to make sure you’re prepared.
- Packing a Bag: When you’re going to be away from home for the day, be sure to bring all your medications, a snack and water, sunblock, a hat, basic First Aid supplies, a change of clothes (including socks), change of batteries for anything you rely on (like hearing aids), glasses, cell phone charger, medical cards, and emergency contact information.
- Checking for any accessibility needs: Find out whether the location you’re traveling to supports any accessibility concerns you have by checking their website or calling them directly. You want to be able to enjoy your trip when you get there!
Missouri Botanical Gardens
One of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States, the Missouri Botanical Garden, is in the heart of St. Louis City. It opened to the public in 1859 and today is a National Historic Landmark and a center for science and conservation, education, and horticultural display. Top attractions include the Climatron, the Japanese Garden, the Children’s Garden, and the Linnean House. With spots for dining and seasonal events, it is an excellent destination for day trips for seniors. Accessibility devices like manual wheelchairs and motorized scooters are available for rental. The tram is also a fun way to view the entire Garden while seated.
Lincoln Log Cabin
Step back into the 19th century at Lincoln Log Cabin. This 86-acre historic site features a working living history farm and an accurate reproduction of the two-room cabin that Abraham Lincoln’s parents owned. You can visit the Moore Home, where Lincoln bid farewell to his family in 1861 before departing to assume the presidency, as well as the Thomas Lincoln Cemetery. The site also features abundant picnicking areas with electricity-supplied pavilions, grills, restrooms, playground equipment, water fountains, and natural areas and trails for walks, fishing, and birdwatching. If you enjoy history and nature, this is a great option for day trips for seniors!
As Missouri’s oldest permanent European settlement, the Village of Ste. Geneviève provides a glimpse into 1700s Missouri. French Canadian settlers started the community on the west bank of the Mississippi River around 1735, and today, it boasts a National Registered Historic District full of colonial homes and a thriving art community. Here you can tour the region’s oldest verified vertical log building, dating to 1790. Nearby wineries provide a delicious complement to a day trip for seniors!
Amana Colonies in Iowa
Immerse yourself in authentic German ambiance on this day trip for seniors in rural Iowa. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, The Amana Colonies are evocative of another age. With roots in Germany, these seven villages have curated a unique experience with food, wines, beers, handcrafted art, and quaint shop-lined streets. Whether you visit during one of the major festivals – Winterfest, Maifest, Wurst Festival, Oktoberfest, Tannenbaum Forest, and Tannenbaum Forest – or outside of those times, there’s always something to do and see, from art classes to bike trails.
Enjoy the sweeping views and vibrant downtown of the only place in America where two of our nation’s great roadways come together alongside the confluence of America’s three great rivers: Grafton, Illinois and the Great Rivers and Routes regions of Southwest Illinois. Take a relaxing river cruise or soar to the tops of the river bluffs 300 feet high on the Grafton SkyTour. Home to an entire production winery, enjoy a glass of local wine! It’s always a good time to visit, with events held year-round, including the annual Witches on the Water, New Year’s Eve Fireworks, winter Eagle watching, the annual Mushroom Festival, and every Thursday in the summer, enjoy the annual Music in the Park concerts. Waterfront dining, quaint shops, and majestic views make Grafton a great day trip for seniors.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
You’ve heard about the Mayans and the Incas, but how about Cahokia? The largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico can be found in Cahokia, Illinois, just a few miles outside of St. Louis, Missouri. The settlement, occupied primarily in the Mississippian period, included 120 mounds. Today the Cahokia Mounds Historic Site offers a world-class interpretive center with museum galleries and guided or self-guided tours of the largest earthwork in North America. You can even climb the 156 steps to summit the 100-foot Monks Mount or see the ancient sun calendar, Woodhenge. Because this is primarily an outdoor experience, you’ll want to prepare for sun exposure by bringing water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat.
Enjoy Senior-Centered Activities at a Lutheran Senior Service Community
Summer and fall are great times for day trips for seniors, and the Midwest provides ample opportunities. With an abundance of history, nature, fine dining, exciting excursions, and quaint shops, there’s something for everyone! Many Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) Life Plan Communities are close to these spots and enjoy the opportunities available for entertainment and visit these locations regularly. If you’d like to explore the LSS lifestyle and day trips for seniors, contact us today.