Exploring the Heartland Adventure

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My Heartland Adventure mixes a quiet resort getaways with a couple awesome Midwest cities. This adventure starts off in my hometown, Columbus, Ohio! There are so many amazing areas of the city. The Short North area is worth the trip alone. Here, you’ll walk down High Street and explore art galleries, restaurants and boutique shops. I’ve been to a lot of popular destinations around the country and this stretch is better than anything I’ve seen. Other areas include one of the best zoos in the country, one of the best science centers, a couple stunning theatres, a beautiful conservatory and countless other activities. From here you’ll travel south into Kentucky and visit Louisville. Home of the Kentucky Derby, Louisville sits along the banks of the Ohio River. You’ll be able to tour the Louisville Slugger Museum and factory or enjoy a bourbon tasting. From here, you’ll head North into Indiana, to the West Baden Springs Resort. This spectacular domed hotel is one of a kind. It’s a resort area that includes world-class golf, a spa, pools, several restaurants and enough activities to entertain your family.

This is not a plan that I am selling, but a post to inspire you to explore different vacation options. With that being said, you can take this idea and adjust it to fit your needs, maybe by cutting nights or even destinations. I list the pricing after tax (except on some transport), and the prices are for July, during the peak travel time. The trip is calculated for a family of four, but I do list what a couple should expect at the bottom. So let's get started. Below are a couple maps of the trip and total cost:


Pricing Breakdown


When looking at the transportation costs of this plan, you'll be arriving in Columbus and departing from Indianapolis. I've set a budget for airfare, $300 per person, for a total of $1,200. As usual, if you have points accumulated, that would be a great way to reduce the cost of this trip.

As you can see above, the cost of the car rental is about $440. The rate, I think, is extremely reasonable. You would rent the car arriving at Columbus and then keeping for the duration of the trip.


Hotel Summary: This adventure features destination hotels, which is one hotel per location. Below is a brief overview of each:


AC Hotel by Marriott
I love Bridge Park! It's a newly developed area in Dublin, Ohio, where the PGA Memorial Golf Tournament is played each year. So this location is in the suburbs as opposed to the downtown area, but don't let that fool you, it's a great place for a meal and wondering. There's a new pedestrian bridge that connects "old" Dublin to Bridge park, and it's fantastic. My kids say it's like going on vacation. The Columbus Zoo is nearby, as are a few great golf courses. The hotel has an exceptional rooftop for drinks and small bites. Stay here to soak up the views of river from this prime location.

Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph
Staying here, you'll be right in the middle of the action. The Joseph is located in one of the best parts of the City, the Short North. This stretch offers art galleries, amazing restaurants and a great nightlife. The hotel is a great option for all.

Hotel Leveque
This hotel is one of my favorites. It's a perfect location to reach a lot of the sites in the downtown area. COSI and the Veteran's Memorial are right across the river, the Arena District is a short walk (less than 5 minutes) along the waterfront, the Palace Theatre is right next door and the Capitol building is a block away. Great views.



The Galt House
The Galt House, a Wyndham Hotel, is a huge hotel along the Louisville’s waterfront. Take in views of the Ohio River while from one of the 1,310 rooms. The Galt House is the largest hotel in Kentucky, and one of the oldest (dating back to the 1800s.)

Omni Louisville
Omni is one of my favorite hotel brands, period. The Omni Louisville Hotel has a more contemporary design that really stands out. It’s centrally located in the middle of the downtown area.

The Brown Hotel
The Brown Hotel is a historic hotel offering an upscale experience. From the moment you walk into the hotel, and see the grand hall, you’ll be transported to a another time.


West Baden Springs Hotel
The West Baden is a gem. The hotel is a gigantic dome nestled into a wooded area. There are rooms that surround the interior of the dome, and some have balconies that open into the domed area. There are also rooms surrounding the exterior of the building offering views of the forest. The hotel is connected to its sister property, the French Lick Hotel, via tram. There's a wide range of activities including world class golfing, pools, carriage rides and spa treatments. There are several restaurants within the two properties.

Itinerary and Activities

Above is an idea of what a possible itinerary would look like for this trip. Everything listed above is included in the price and covers all the activities that I have planned for the trip for four family members. So, again, if you see activities that don’t interest you, you could save money by skipping.

Food Budget

The food budget is a base-line amount for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you tend to eat at higher end locations, you will obviously be above this number. If you plan to buy breakfast and lunch supplies at grocery stores, you could save some money here.


For couples, I've adjusted the amount spent on the flight, the activities, the food and the room rate. If you were to go, the prices would be similar to the chart below.

Thanks for stopping by and reading through my latest travel plan! If there's a region, or a trip, that you would want me to feature, just let me know!



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