USA: Midwest

The Midwest of the United States is characterised by vast prairies, numerous lakes and intensive agriculture. The following blog article reveals more information about the USA's "breadbasket"

Ann-Kathrin
Ann-Kathrin
Travel Guide
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The Midwest includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, depending on the division. The landscapes of this region are mostly flat and characterized by many lakes as well as prairies. Since the soils are very fertile, the Midwest is characterized above all by intensive agriculture – it is not for nothing that the region is also called the nation's "breadbasket"

Depending on which company you work in, you will live in Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota or Minnesota and not only enjoy the natural landscapes of the region, but also visit metropolises such as Chicago, Minneapolis or Milwaukee.

Profile

Name
Midwestern United States ("Midwest")

Location
(northern) center of the USA

Size
approx. 2,128,450 km²

States
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin (depending on division)

Best travel time
May to early October

Highlights
National Parks like Isle Royale National Park (Michigan), Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota) or Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota) as well as the pulsating Chicago

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Visiting the Midwest

Location, geography and climate

The Greater Midwestern Region of the United States includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The region is bordered to the east by the Appalachian Mountains and to the west by the Rocky Mountains. In general, the landscape surface is very flat. Nevertheless, there are smaller geographical surveys.

Due to the central location of these states, the surface is not exposed to plate tectonic activities. There is no volcanic activity here either. The foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains add a little variety to the otherwise rather low to flat landscape. Further topographical features can be found around the Great Lakes and the Ozark Mountains in the south of Missouri or the Driftless Area in the west of the region. The relief of the Driftless Area is characterised by the deeper eroded river valleys. Here you can find height differences from 184 - 524 m. The Ozark Mountains, on the other hand, are the remains of a former high plateau that has been severely eroded over the years and finally broken down.

The Midwest has a very changeable climate. Here the temperatures vary from below 0°C to hot summers with over 30°C. The precipitation in this region is relatively high and frequent. Especially in the time between spring and autumn it rains a lot. The precipitation decreases from east to west. Thunderstorms go hand in hand with the climate. In Tornado Alley, tornados are not uncommon. In Iowa, for example, around 48 tornadoes are produced each year.

Flora and fauna

Due to the differences in rainfall rates the vegetation zones in the Midwest are quite diverse. In the East there are mainly high grass plains, in the center different types of grasslands and in the West low grass plains. The thick Hardwood forests were cut completely in the late 19th century, which is why nowadays the Midwest mainly consists of urbanized and agricultural areas.

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The fauna is perfectly adapted to the endless grasslands of the Midwest, that is why there are mainly grazing animals like bison. Besides that, you can find rabbits, foxes, antelopes, marmots or armadillos. If you are keen-eyed you can even find snakes and lizards in the grasslands.

Highlights

A frequently visited place in the Midwest is the city of Chicago. Here you can walk from one musical to the next and are guaranteed to have enough to explore, even if it might often be a little colder in Windy City.
Those who finally want to get out into nature have some impressive national parks to choose from – for example, Isle Royale National Park in Michigan or Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. Both parks let you feel the wild north. In Isle Royale National Park you might even see a wolf or an elk.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is named after President Roosevelt. Here you will find impressive rock formations like the Hoodoo Rock Formation. A special feature of the park are wildlife tours, where you can observe the native animals such as bisons, coyotes, cougars, wild horses and many more.

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