Tim McDonough

Tim McDonough

Don’t look now, but summer is more than half over.

Yes, the Autumn Equinox doesn’t officially begin until Sept. 23, but for all you parents out there with school-aged kids, school is right around the corner.

With many school districts in the area starting classes the third week of August, there are two questions that need to be asked:

1. Have you taken that family summer vacation yet?

2. If not, why haven’t you taken that family summer vacation yet?

For those of you who want to get away before summer is over and don’t know where to go, Midwest Living magazine has complied a list of places that can fill the bill. In an effort to save time, here are a few, and their description from midwestliving.com.

• MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. — “If you’re going to wile away the summer on a front porch, why not go to the biggest one of them all, at Mackinac Island’s iconic Grand Hotel. (Even if you don’t want to pay for a room, at least walk by for a peek at this white-columned landmark). Most visitors come to this no-cars-allowed island for leisurely carriage rides and fudge-munching, but if you leave the downtown area, you’ll find yourself in one of Michigan’s prettiest state parks, where a 70-mile trail network winds through woods and limestone outcroppings.”

• CHICAGO — “On the western shore of Lake Michigan, the Midwest’s biggest city blends outdoor recreation and cosmopolitan luxuries. Millions visit each year to shop the Magnificent Mile, explore Millennium Park and cheer on one of the pro sports home teams. Jazz clubs and theaters keep the party going into the night. You can view the city’s bustle from the Ledge, a clear-glass case jutting out from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. From here, plot out your game plan for conquering the city, which could include a full day of exploring world-class museums like The Field Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. And don’t forget about the city’s legendary eats, from cheesy deep-dish pizza to refined white-tablecloth fare.”

• HOCKING HILLS, Ohio — “We have one answer for anyone who says the midwest is flat: Hocking Hills. Here, just 55 miles southeast of Columbus, cornfields give way to Appalachia. Hocking Hills State Park encompasses some of the best scenery, including Ash Cave, a rock shelf that soars 90 feet above the trail. Other adventures include a zip-line canopy tour, the 17-mile bikeway between Nelsonville and Athens and tube floats on the Hocking River.”

• INDIANAPOLIS — “Sports are a big deal in the capital city – consider the Indy 500, the Colts and the NCAA Hall of Champions, to name a few. But pride extends to cultural destinations, too. View permanent European, Asian, contemporary and African collections on 152 sculpture-dotted acres at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The ethnically diverse Broad Ripple Village has an array of cafes, art galleries, shops and brewpubs in cottages and pastel storefronts. We especially love Public Greens (Indy’s first non-profit restaurant) and The Cake Bake Shop (a Parisian bakery serving macarons and cupcakes). Walk off meals at White River State Park, with paths leading past the Indianapolis Zoo, Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians.”

With places like Cedar Point, Lake Erie, Kings Island, and a lengthy list of other lakes in northeast Indiana and southern Michigan to visit, there’s still plenty of time to make lasting memories with loved ones and friends.

Just a few more suggestions:

1. Don’t wait to take that trip, it will be too late before you know it.

2. Enjoy the rest of the summer while it lasts!

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