New places, familiar haunts highlight our 2016 travel plans

Pacific coast marina

Trips to Indiana, Wisconsin and return visits to Seattle, South Dakota and North Dakota highlight our 2016 travel plans.

Clear Lake, Iowa

Our travel schedule kicks off with a February visit to Clear Lake, Iowa, Feb. 20th. We are going to check out the annual Colors of the Wind kite festival. Participants fly giant kites on the frozen lake. It’s a popular event in North Iowa.

Photo courtesy of Visit Clear Lake – Color the Wind Festival

Central Nebraska – Cranes and Prairie Chickens

While we will still check out the Sandhill cranes in central Nebraska in March, we’re planning a weekend trip to Burwell and the Prairie Chicken festival the weekend of April 10-11. We’ve heard a lot about how much fun the festival is, which includes tours to prairie chicken areas.

Prairie Chickens in Nebraska
Greater Prairie Chickens at Calamus Outfitters, April 2009. Male prairie chickens battle for prime real estate on the lek.


Later in April, we are traveling to Seattle to visit our youngest daughter for a week. Lisa is looking forward to checking out the Chihuly garden and the Great Wheel, as well as revisiting attractions we were at in 2010.

Great wheel in Seattle
View of Seattle skyline from the Great Wheel

The itinerary includes a weekend visit to the coastal region of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon. Possible locations to visit include stops along the Long Beach and Seaview in Washington, as well as Astoria and Seaside, Oregon. The area offers great views of the Pacific Ocean, beaches, lighthouses and a little Lewis and Clark history. Our daughter, Mallory, will join us for the weekend excursion.

Edge of the Continent along the Pacific coast

May will be a busy month for The Walking Tourists.

Kenosha, WI

The first weekend of May takes us to Kenosha, Wisconsin. The city, located between Chicago and Milwaukee, is located along Lake Michigan. It offers us a chance to take in history and culture at several museums, including a dinosaur museum and a Civil War museum. The Jelly Belly visitor center is not far from Kenosha.

Travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin
Kids playing on Simmons Island Beach in Kenosha, along Lake Michigan

Minneapolis, MN

Memorial Day weekend will find us in the Twin Cities for the second time in less than a year. We are attending a travel conference – TBEX – which is hosted by the Mall of America, among other local entities. We plan to take in some more attractions during our trip.

Mall of America
Mall of America view

DeSmet, SD

June will find us staying closer to home. A weekend road trip along Interstate 29 in South Dakota is on the agenda. Our plan is to spend the night in a covered wagon while visiting DeSmet, a one-time home of Laura Ingalls Wilder (of “Little House on the Prairie” fame). In addition, we plan a stop in Watertown to check out the Terry Reidling art gallery, as well as a stop at the Porter sculpture park, outside of Sioux Falls.

Sleeping in a Covered Wagon in DeSmet, SD
Sleeping under the stars

Council Bluffs, IA

Checking out the home of black squirrels, crazy public art and a squirrelly jail will be among the highlights of a weekend jaunt across the Missouri River to our neighbor Council Bluffs.

Council Bluffs is known for its squirrels. Statues surround the water fountain at Bayliss Park.

We’ll stay around Council Bluffs and participate in the second annual O Comic Con. We had a blast covering the three-day event last year. Cosplay costumes, celebrity-led panels and a costume contest were lots of fun last year. We’re looking forward to it again.

O Comic Con
This girl looked just like Maleficent

Pulaski County, MO

The end of July takes us to Ozark country in southern Missouri. We are taking a road trip for nature, food and history in Pulaski County. We are visiting the weekend of the Civil War re-enactment, so I’m looking forward to what that brings. In looking at the area, nature trails and parks will provide us some beautiful scenery.

Pulaski County, MO
Overlook at Devils Elbow in Pulaski County

North Dakota

We plan an August 3-day trip to visit the International Peace Garden in northern North Dakota and the Scandinavian village near Minot. Perhaps, on the way home, we can catch a movie at the downtown Fargo Theater.

Fargo, ND
Movie time

Hendricks County

September takes us to Hendricks County, home of Mayberry Days. Danville is about an hour west of Indianapolis. We are excited to check out its Foodways, including a Farmers Market; race car history, nature and some cultural attractions.

Hendricks County, IN
Hendricks County, Indiana, offers a variety of attractions

Rapid City, SD

Rapid City in the Fall sounds beautiful. We are scheduling an early fall trip in hopes to see some great color. We are excited to check out more Rapid City attractions, as well as checking out more of the downtown area.

Rapid City, SD
The Fire House restaurant and brewery tops our dining plans on a return trip to Rapid City

Decorah, IA

Another autumn trip we’re planning is a weekend getaway to Decorah, Iowa. Lisa fell in love with the area last September, and has wanted us to go back together.

Looking forward to checking out this waterfall and other nature attractions during a trip to Decorah, Iowa

The October trips wrap up our planned excursions. However, November and December look like prime time to do some traveling, and take in some holiday attractions.

I am looking forward to the challenge of finding holiday attractions to top the ones we saw in 2015, including this gingerbread adaption of Chapter IV of Star Wars – the original movie. I saw this at the Seattle Sheraton.

We have some additional weekend trips planned in our area, as well as finalizing some additional visits. 2016 promises to be an interesting year for our travels. We’re looking forward to sharing the sites with you. And, we’re looking forward to reading and learning about your adventures this year. Does anyone have travel plans?