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Letter from the editor: Here's a Midwest travel guide to help plan a post-pandemic epic vacation

Letter from the editor: Here's a Midwest travel guide to help plan a post-pandemic epic vacation

Take a look at one of Nebraska's most popular tourist destinations.

We are sooooo ready to get out and about as the United States begins to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

Vacationing was tricky last year. While the outdoors felt like the safest option, many visitor centers were closed and some attractions had limited access because of COVID-19. Hotels and restaurants, doing their best to ensure safety from the virus and often operating at limited capacity and with skeleton staffs, could be a little awkward.

For the most part, that’s moving into the rear-view mirror and we can hit the road again.

So today, from a collaboration among Lee Enterprises Midwest news sites, we are publishing a regional travel guide.

Editors chose 10 sites, stretching from Indiana Dunes National Park, one of the nation’s newest national parks, to Scotts Bluff National Monument, one of the continent’s oldest landmarks.

In print, we are highlighting Mahoney State Park, just 30 miles from downtown Omaha. A modern park offering myriad activities, from traditional pastimes like fishing to wild adventures like the Go Ape treetops rope and zip line course, Mahoney opened 30 years ago on Memorial Day weekend.

We also are showcasing in the paper the Lewis and Clark Trail as it passes through the region, and the movie-created Field of Dreams in northeastern Iowa.

At Omaha.com, you can find an interactive map and videos from each of the 10 featured sites across the Midwest, along with beautiful photo galleries.

Besides material from Mahoney, Field of Dreams, Lewis and Clark Trail, Indiana Dunes and Scotts Bluff, you’ll find info on:

Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, which includes Garden of the Gods and Giant City State Parks, among Illinois’ most-photographed locations.

Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois, with great trails, camping and scenic river views.

The Clear Lake, Iowa, area with multiple state parks nearby and, of course, the Surf Ballroom, where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. Richardson played their last concert before dying when the plane taking them to their next show crashed in a frozen cornfield.

Devil’s Lake near Madison, Wisconsin, a beloved state park near the Wisconsin Dells, a popular family fun spot.

The Lake Geneva Shore Trail in southeastern Wisconsin, a 26-mile path that weaves in and out of wooded areas along the lake.

Our presentation on the featured locations also includes side trips to dining, shopping and historical areas, and a couple of casinos — something for everyone.

We often overlook the treasures and fun close to home. Europe can wait — here’s hoping you can get out and enjoy the Heartland.


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“My wife and I have taken frequent road trips in order to ensure our sanity during this tumultuous time,” said actor Gregg Daniel (“True Blood,” “Insecure,” “For Life”). “In all our trips, we wore masks and maintained social distancing. There are several places heading due north we love visiting, especially the coastal communities – Ventura, Ojai, Summerland, Montecito and Santa Barbara. I find it remarkable that not more than 90 miles from Los Angeles (where we reside), you can find yourself in an entirely different atmosphere.” Daniel is one of the stars of “7th and Union,” the boxing film that recently premiered at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. Fans may stay in touch with the actor on Twitter (https://twitter.com/RealGreggDaniel), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ActorGreggDaniel) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/officialgreggdaniel/).

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