Summer vacation is in full swing, and the kids are begging to go on a trip. The idea sounds great to you, but you want to keep it simple, cheap and entertaining. There are some really fantastic attractions in the Midwest that the entire family can get behind.

Chicago

When you think of the Midwest, chances are you’re thinking of Chicago and a few other choice cities. Chicago attractions include several art museums (perfect for your budding artists or getting a little culture), the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (for science and tech minds), and tons of boutiques off Michigan Avenue for shopping. Shedd Aquarium is also one of the great Chicago attractions. It’s an impressive underwater zoo for your little “animals” to explore.

Indianapolis

For the racing aficionados in your group – or if your kids just like cars – Indianapolis, Indiana is the home of the Indy 500 and a great place to stop for a tour. The Indy 500 is the largest single-day sporting event in the world. Other events are hosted on the track so be sure to check the schedule ahead of time and purchase tickets for anything you might like to see while you are there. Just around the corner is the largest children’s museum in the world. Here, the kids can run wild while exploring, learning and discovering from a variety of hands on exhibits. If you already have a deluxe membership with the Children’s Museum closest to your home, admission is free; otherwise prices vary depending on age. Lastly, don’t miss out on the Indianapolis Museum of Art; many famous works hang in this gallery, and it shouldn’t be missed (especially since admission to this one is free).

Cincinnati

To see more of the wild, check out the Cincinnati Zoo. This zoo also features discounts and special attraction dates, so check their website when planning your trip. If it gets a little hot and you need to cool off while in Cincinnati, you can always visit the Midwest’s largest water and theme park, King’s Island. Both the admission and the rides/attractions rival Six Flags/Great America located outside of Chicago. King’s Island is a better deal all around, but if you’ve never been to either, feel free to check out both. Many additional attractions for visitors are listed on the tourist site for Cincinnati itself.

All three of these cities are also very sports-centric. The arenas are open for business even when the teams aren’t playing. You can take tours and get to know more about the Colts, Bears, Bengals, White Sox, Cubs, Reds, Bulls or Pacers.

This is just a small sampling of great towns in the Midwest. Good research will help you decide what you want to see and do – and a road trip is always a fun way to go.