Cheap Vacation in Midwest
April 26, 2012 11:31 AM   Subscribe

Have 10 days vacation and would like to take a cheap vacation within 1 day drive of South Bend, IN. (Say 10 hrs on road, one-way.) 2 people and we don't have much money ($1500 but maybe pushing it). Don't have to spend all 10 days away but at least 7. Have any cabin suggestions with nice towns or sights nearby? Hoping to eat out once at a decent non-chain restaurant for my birthday. Feel free to post vacation-planning sites if you have any.
posted by snap_dragon to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Related Previous question, although with some different constraints to yours.
posted by gauche at 11:39 AM on April 26, 2012

Best answer: I really enjoyed Pokagon State Park. I stayed in the conference center but think they have cabins too. The meals they served in the conference center were really pretty good. You can't drink alcohol in the common areas.
posted by BibiRose at 11:40 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Few people know it, but there's a large and thriving Burmese community in Fort Wayne, and at least one really good, inexpensive, totally transportive restaurant with delicious, accessible flavors not usually available in Indiana.

So while this wouldn't be the vacation, it could be the birthday dinner if you time the trip right.
posted by Quisp Lover at 11:50 AM on April 26, 2012

How about Mammoth Cave?
Not only does the park have cabins, and camping areas, there are campgrounds and cabin villages and hotels all over the area, as well as other sights. We spent only 2 days there, and while I got the impression there was lots more to do, I didn't make a note of what, exactly. I suspect it wouldn't fill 9 days of sightseeing unless you reaaaallly like being outside, and every forest and cave doesn't look like every other forest and cave. But there's also attractions that aren't just natural splendor, and I do remember going to a nice variety of restaurants, though none particularly fancy.
Maybe you could do a trip that involves 4-5 days at Mammoth and 4-5 days someplace else?
posted by aimedwander at 12:05 PM on April 26, 2012

Take a look along the lakeshore north of you. The area around Sleeping Bear Dunes is nice, with easy access to restaurants, beach, wine tasting and hiking. Some of the attractions are pricey, but I think you manage some fun on your budget.
posted by jon1270 at 12:21 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 10 hours in any direction covers a lot of ground-- what do you like to do? If it was me, I'd go south to the Smokey Mountains and camp out, swinging by Mammoth Cave on the way. But I like outdoors stuff.
posted by geegollygosh at 12:24 PM on April 26, 2012

Holiday World! If you are travelling after May 5. It is really a lot of fun and I love that they don't nickle and dime you on things parking or concessions.

You can camp nearby, at Lake Rudolph.

There are a few other things to do in Santa Claus, IN.

This trip could easily be combined with the aforementioned Mammoth Cave.

You might also want to spend a day or in Bloomington, IN - there are some good restaurants and cool shops.
posted by cessair at 12:44 PM on April 26, 2012

Start in Chicago, and drive the original path of Route 66 to STL (5 hours). Plenty to see and do, great local eats, and mom and pop motels etc. Super cheap.
posted by timsteil at 1:05 PM on April 26, 2012

Yeah, just to emphasize the point, "10 hours" from South Bend ranges as far east as WASHINGTON DC.

Michigan can be nice for vacations, there's Mackinac Island, or Dearborn (Greenfield Village and pretty much anything in Detroit too), etc. I would imagine finding a cabin would be pretty easy.
posted by jgreco at 1:22 PM on April 26, 2012

Hey, if you pass through Louisville at any point, make sure you eat at either Vietnam Kitchen or Ramsi's, or preferably both. Two truly extraordinary places.
posted by jbickers at 1:41 PM on April 26, 2012

Best answer: The Wisconsin Dells is not nearly as awful as people make it out to be...... Lake Geneva is nice as well.
posted by lstanley at 2:03 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The Hocking Hills in Southeastern Ohio - my boyfriend and I stayed here and ate delicious delicious food here in Athens. Plus the Hocking Hills are only about an hour and a half from Columbus, a cheap foodie-ish town.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:07 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Follow Istanley's tip and go to the Dells or Lake Geneva, WI area, and come to Madison for the BDay dinner. lots of great non-chain options, with everything from most types of ethnic food (although we don't have Burmese...), fine dining, and really great places that are pretty inexpensive.
posted by altcountryman at 7:59 PM on April 26, 2012

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