Flyover country road trip: Fun in flyover country

I’m very excited to share that long-time Pit Stops for Kids contributor Kathleen Basi, a proud lifelong resident of “flyover country,” released a road-trip-themed novel this spring, and agreed to share a few places she uncovered in her research. If you’re on a flyover country road trip with kids this summer, check out one or two of these fun stops along the way!


1. Silver Beach Carousel

Where: St. Joseph, Michigan
What: A must-stop if you’re trekking northward with little ones (or not-so-little ones)! Our family discovered this by accident when we got off the highway to let the kids see the Great Lakes for the first time. We were looking for a beach, and we got that–but we also got a carousel and the best spray park we’ve ever seen. In fact, with the additional attractions here, this could turn into much more than a stop along the way!

 2. “Castle Park”

Where: Carbondale, Illinois
What: If you have young (or even not-so-young) children, plan several hours to let them enjoy this amazing, Dungeons & Dragons-themed park. A dragon big enough to climb on, a castle with thrones, dungeons and secret passages, and countless surprises hidden in the trees and shrubs.

3. Cahokia Mounds (featured in A Song For The Road)

Where: Collinsville, Illinois (just outside St. Louis)
What: an active archaeological site and 2000+-acre preserve featuring a collection of Native American mounds, including Monks Mound, with a base roughly the same size as the base of the Great Pyramid at Giza. There’s also a top-notch interpretive center.

4. Future birthplace of James T. Kirk


Where: Riverside, Iowa
What: Features a statue of the intrepid captain in the park, a model of the Starship Enterprise, and a store-museum.

5. Corn Palace

Where: Mitchell, South Dakota
What: a multipurpose arena with domed towers, decorated on the outside by murals made of corn, other grains, and grasses grown in South Dakota. It is redesigned every year, and if you come at the right time you could even see the new mural under construction.

Flyover country road trip: Nine stops you won't want to miss along the road.

6. Gunfighter Wax Museum

Where: Dodge City, KS
What: Housed inside the Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame, the name says it all. See life-sized figures of Wyatt Earp, Sitting Bull, Calamity Jane, and more.

7. Taos Pueblo

Where: Taos, New Mexico
What: This UNESCO World Heritage site consists of mud-and-straw adobes that have been occupied by Native Americans for almost a thousand years. Get a glimpse of what life was like when the Spanish first encountered them in the 16th century.

8. UFO Watchtower (featured in A Song For The Road)

Online: Hooper, Co.
What: a viewing platform, gift shop, and campground in the San Luis Valley, one of the premier UFO-sighting regions. Visitors can stay up all night and watch for mysterious lights in the sky. There’s also a “healing garden” which reportedly has otherworldly connections.

9. Craters of the Moon

Where: Central Idaho
What: a national monument centered around a volcanic debris field in Idaho’s Snake River Plain. There are paved trails and a scenic drive which allow you to see lava tubes, rifts, cones, and many other volcanic features.