Saddle up your Harley and swing that lasso

12 Best Holidays in the MidWest


1 Indian NationBear Print International (tel: 01924 840111) organises tours which examine the rich culture of the Native Americans. Their "Mountains and Plains" trip heads through Nebraska and South Dakota and pays homage to Crazy Horse, the legendary leader of the Oglala Lakotas. The trip costs £1,645 per person, based on two sharing. Transfers from Denver, room-only accommodation and excursions are included, but not international flights. The trip, departing on 17 May, is lead by the acclaimed author Serle Chapman.

1 Indian NationBear Print International (tel: 01924 840111) organises tours which examine the rich culture of the Native Americans. Their "Mountains and Plains" trip heads through Nebraska and South Dakota and pays homage to Crazy Horse, the legendary leader of the Oglala Lakotas. The trip costs £1,645 per person, based on two sharing. Transfers from Denver, room-only accommodation and excursions are included, but not international flights. The trip, departing on 17 May, is lead by the acclaimed author Serle Chapman.

2 Easy riderMove over Dennis Hopper, Hemmingways (tel: 01737 842735) can set you motoring across the Midwest on a 1,340cc Harley Davidson. A tailor-made holiday of 14 days' biking in August will cost around £3,080 for two people, with one riding pillion. Return flights, transfers, a Harley Davidson, a night's b&b in Chicago, and a VIP insurance package are included. Accommodation en route is extra, and the bike can be collected in Chicago and dropped off in Denver.

3 American beautyNew England isn't the only place to experience the splendour of an American fall. Independent Traveller (tel: 01509 618800) can tailor-make trips to Wisconsin and Minnesota, both at their best during autumn. After leaving Chicago, the Mississippi and the ginseng harvests are two of the highlights of a 14-day trip in late September. This trip costs around £1,909 per person. Based on two sharing, it includes flights to Chicago, car-hire and room-only accommodation.

4 Minneapolis mallDisillusioned with high prices in "rip-off" Britain? The USA is now a real alternative for a serious shopping spree. And where better than Minneapolis, home to the "Mall of America", the country's largest shopping/entertainment complex? Fly Drive USA (tel: 01424 224400) has bargain breaks on Northwest Airlines for shopaholics. A two-night break before 14 May costs just £319 per person based on two sharing. This includes flights and room-only accommodation. Extra nights cost £30 per person.

5 Musical MissouriGetaway (tel: 020-8313 0550) has the perfect break for lovers of schmaltzy American music and entertainment. Their 10-day "Expanding Frontiers" self-drive unit allows you to explore the countryside between Kansas and St Louis in Missouri, and take in shows by noted crooners such as Andy Williams. The package costs £476 per person based on two sharing, and includes room-only accommodation and entrance to selected shows. Getaway can organise flights and car-hire.

6 South DakotaSouth Dakota has an abundance of natural attractions. The Black Hills are home to Mount Rushmore's carved presidential heads and the Badlands National Park provided the backdrop for Kevin Costner's film Dances with Wolves. North American Highways (tel: 01902 851138) can arrange a 13-day self-guided tour of South Dakota and the Bighorn mountains. Based on a June departure, and on two sharing, the trip costs £1,338 per person. This includes return midweek flights, car hire, and largely room-only accommodation, but with some breakfasts.

7 Indy Grand PrixThe thrills, spills, and hangers-on of the Formula One motor-racing circus descend upon the USA for the first time in eight years. Indianapolis is better known for the Indy 500 race, but this year the famous oval track of the Indianapolis Speedway will be transformed to accommodate the needs of Grand Prix racing. BAC Sport (tel: 020-7456 7100) has a four-night package to the US Grand Prix, which takes place on 24 September. It costs £1,189 per person based on two sharing. Flights, transfers, room-only accommodation, and ticket arrangements are all included.

8 Motor homesPack the kids in the back, get out the maps, and join millions of Americans indulging in a national pastime - the motor-home vacation. Cruise America (tel: 08705 143607) has a range of motor homes that can be collected and deposited all over the USA. A 25ft-long motor home suitable for a family of four, collected in Chicago, and driven for two weeks across the Midwest to Denver, would start at around £1,120, depending on availability and time of travel. The price includes a transfer to the motor-home collection point, but flights are extra.

9 Cattle ranchingThe Fortune ranch runs 600 head of Angus crossbreed cattle, spread over 10,000 acres in the South Dakotan Badlands. In The Saddle (tel: 01256 851665) offers the chance for budding cowfolk to do plenty of trail-riding and be a part of the cattle ranch for a week. Lassos and six-shooters might not be part of the deal, but there will be the chance to participate in the cattle drives in June or September. A week costs £565 per person, without single supplements. Transfers from Rapid City to the ranch, full-board accommodation and a horse to ride are all included. Flights are extra.

10 Kids campsEvery year, summer camps are responsible for entertaining nearly seven million American children. If that hasn't put you off, and you're a student between 18-30, then Camp Counselors USA (tel: 020-8332 2952) is looking to place staff from June onwards. The work is varied, and there are many different types of camp in the Midwest, such as the Widego Girl Guide Camp in Wisconsin. Staff are expected to stay for nine weeks, after which they have up to eight weeks to travel the USA before flying home. The fee of £215 per person includes return flights, transfers to the camp, full-board accommodation, visa and training. Participants must make their own way back to New York for their flight home.

11 ArchitectureThe modernist architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959) came from Wisconsin and profoundly influenced the architecture of the Midwest. Martin Randall Travel (tel: 020-8742 3355) runs a tour centred on Chicago to examine the philosophy behind his work, and view his designs, ranging from prairie-style mansions to office buildings. A special trip will be undertaken to Wright's former residence at Taliesin East, Wisconsin. This 12-day tour leaves on 13 May and costs £2,980 per person. Based on two sharing, it includes flights, transfers, b&b accommodation with selected evening meals and all excursions.

12 American heartlandUSA Tailor Made Holidays (tel: 01732 367711) tailor-makes self-drive holidays to the forgotten corners of America to experience true Midwestern hospitality. Setting out from Missouri, it can arrange a 14-day itinerary that takes in Dodge City in Kansas, Omaha in Nebraska and Sioux City in Iowa. Travelling between June and September, this trip costs £640 per person based on two sharing. It includes car-hire and room-only accommodation. Flights to St Louis cost extra. Cellet Travel Services (tel: 01564 794999) offers a free information pack on America's heartland.

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