Your Guide to the Heartland States

Heartland States

Written by Alexia Dellner

America’s Heartland States in the Midwest are defined by endless fields, rolling prairies, dry badlands, lush forests, state parks and the muddy Mississippi River.

Famous sights include South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore, Minnesota’s Mall of America and the nation’s largest state fair in Iowa. But it’s the tranquil landscape (barring the tornadoes) and offbeat attractions that make these seven states worth a trip.

Read locals’ tips for the Heartland states on our United Sharing Adventure map


Fans of the film Field of Dreams can visit the original baseball diamond in Dyerville, while the weepy Bridges of Madison County film was set in Winterset. But there’s more to Iowa than movie sets. Grant Wood, the American Gothic artist, also calls Iowa home and Des Moines is host to the nation’s largest state fair. Outdoor enthusiasts will love to fish, hike, hunt and camp here too.


Thanks to Betsy for the beautiful Iowa images.


In The Wizard of Oz, all Dorothy wants to do is to return home to Kansas. With its big skies (prone to tornadoes), endless prairies, and quirky sites, it’s easy to see why. What quirky sites? How about the world’s largest ball of twine, Truckhenge (like Stonehenge but with trucks), and a plaque dedicated to the girl who wrote a letter asking Abraham Lincoln to grow a beard?

Looking for cheap Kansas accommodation? Check out our great hostels and hotels

Beautiful Kansas

Beautiful Kansas

Thanks to Larry for the beautiful Kansas images (seen above and in our hero shot). 


Known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes (actually, it has more), Minnesota is a liberal state with a great outdoor culture. Explore the many state parks and forests, or if you’d rather stay indoors then check out the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, or the Mall of America with more than 522 shops. Locals are famously friendly (known as “Minnesota nice”) with their sing song dialects and Scandinavian heritage.

Looking for cheap Minnesota accommodation? Check out our great hostels and hotels


Thanks to Jamie for the beautiful Minnesota image.


As the starting point of The Lewis and Clark Expedition, Missouri still has an adventurous air about it. From hiking, horseback riding, and canoeing by the Ozarks Mountains, to exploring one of the state’s 5,500 caves and experiencing Mark Twain’s Mississippi River, visitors won’t be bored here. Let the Show Me State show you what it’s got.

Looking for cheap Missouri accommodation? Check out our great hostels and hotels

St Louis, Missouri

Beautiful Missouri

Thanks to Rease for the beautiful Missouri images.


With its flat and fertile lands, it’s no surprise that Nebraska is known as ‘The Cornhusker State.’ Most of the land has been turned into corn and soybean farms, but a few rolling prairies remain. Nebraska’s largest city, Omaha, sits along the banks of the Missouri River and has a thriving theatre and restaurant scene.

Beautiful Nebraska

Beautiful Nebraska

Thanks to Shawna for the beautiful Nebraska images.

North Dakota

The Coen brothers’ Oscar winning film Fargo may have put North Dakota on the map, but sadly not many travellers come to ‘The Rough Rider State.’ Although it lacks any major tourist attractions, North Dakota’s beauty is in vast fields and copious farmland. Roving bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the barren North Dakota Badlands are worth the trip alone.

Badlands, North Dakota

Bison in North Dakota

Thanks to Sherry for the beautiful North Dakota images.

South Dakota

South Dakota likes things big – from the impressive Mount Rushmore Memorial of four US presidents, to the world’s largest work in progress mountain sculpture, Crazy Horse, honouring the Native American war hero. Other sights worth visiting include Corn Palace (a corn themed concert, sport and exhibit facility) and De Smet, childhood home of Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Thanks to Chad for the beautiful South Dakota image.

Read the rest of our United Sharing Adventure series: 


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