Midwest Food Trails Worth the Trip

Plan a yummy road trip with these food trails featuring chocolate, donuts and more.

There has never been a better time to be a foodie. Food trails and self-guided toures are all the rage, and there are plenty of them in the Midwest. (An added bonus: you won’t have to hear the dreaded phrase, “I’m hungry.”)

Round up your hungry kiddos, get in the car and get ready to eat, eat and eat some more!

Butler County Doughnut Trail

  • Where: Butler County, Ohio
  • Stops: 13

Who isn’t a fan of doughnuts? At the first doughnut-centric trail, visitors can collect stamps on an official donut lover’s passport by visiting each location. Collect all 13 stamps and redeem them for a free t-shirt!

Must-stop: Holtman’s Donut Shop

Offering a variety of unique flavors like Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms and Toasted S’mores, Holtman’s Donuts are Instagram-worthy. This Cincinnati shop  is winning for its spacious seating area for savoring your donuts, and the open-air bakery allows customers to watch the sweet treats being made.

Buckeye Candy Trail

Photo Credit: Cheryl Eugenio

  • Where: Ohio from Cleveland to Cincinnati
  • Stops: 39

Celebrate Ohio’s sweet love of the buckeyes, a peanut butter and chocolate candy. On the trail you’ll find traditional buckeyes as well as variations (coconut or cookie dough buckeyes, anyone?).

Must-stops: Sweet Tooth Cottage and Wittich’s Candy Shop

In Delaware County, stop by Sweet Tooth Cottage in Powell. This family-owned bakery makes everything from scratch and its buckeyes are some of the best. At Wittich’s Candy Shop, one of the oldest candy shops around, indulge in a Buckeye Blast Sundae — ice cream topped with chocolate and peanut butter sauce, and, of course, a Wittich buckeye.

Blackhawk Chocolate Trail

Photo Credit: Hazel’s Cafe/Blackhawk Waterways Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • Where: Northwest Illinois
  • Stops: 22

From candy stores and gift shops to cafes and bakeries, the trail offers a wide variety to keep both adults and kids smiling.

Must-stop: Hazel’s Café in Oregon 

Hazel’s offers more than 70 kinds of chocolatey goodness from meltaways to its Gourmet Bridge Mix. Coffee lover as well? Indulge in the Coffee House Sundae, a vanilla bean ice cream, shot of espresso, chocolate espresso beans, caramel and chocolate.

Soda-licious Trail

  • Where: Indiana
  • Stops: 16

As part of Indiana Foodways Alliance, you can slurp your favorite sodas at these spots where they make or distribute hand-crafted sodas.

Must-stops: Triple XXX Family Restaurant and Igloo Frozen Custard 

This restaurant in West Lafayette is home to the state’s oldest drive-in (don’t miss its Duane Purvis Burger, a 1/4 lb. burger slathered with peanut butter!) and its popular Triple XXX Root Beer. Crafted from pure cane sugar, the root beer stays true to its roots by using the original recipe.

While in the area, plan a stop at Igloo Frozen Custard known not only for its custard, but also for its fruit drinks and flavored sodas with all the simple syrups made in-house.

The Hoosier Pie Trail

  • Where: Indiana
  • Stops: 32

Another foodie favorite on the IFA culinary trail is pies! Whether you prefer traditional pies like apple or berry or unique desserts like chess pie or the unofficial Hoosier-state sugar cream pie, you’ll find all sorts of pies to satisfy your appetite.

Must-stops: Blue Gate Restaurant

Blue Gate Restaurant in Shipshewana serves pies all handmade by Amish bakers. Try its Amish pie and red raspberry cream.

Twin Cities Ice Cream Trail

Photo credit: Twin Cities Ice Cream

  • Where: Through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul
  • Stops: 5
  • Note: Izzy’s Ice Cream is permanently closed, but is still listed on the Twin Cities Ice Cream Trail website.

At only 19.5 miles, consider this the easiest (and one of the yummiest) food trails to conquer. These unique, innovative ice cream shops are worth a visit with each stop offering their own creative and cool twist.

Must-stop: Sebastian Joe’s 

Although there are multiple Sebastian Joe’s locations in Minneapolis, this foodie trail includes the Lowry Hills ice cream shop. Choose from one of seven signature flavors, or get creative with a loaded ice cream sandwich, decadent dipped waffle cones, an affogato, boozy ice cream flavors and more.

The Pasty Trail

  • Where: Upper Michigan
  • Stops: 27

Most families trek to the UP for its spectacular scenery, including waterfalls and stunning hiking trails. But, once you’ve worked up an appetite on a family hike, pasties are the quintessential Upper Michigan delicacy to satisfy your hunger. Wrapped in a flaky, delicious pastry shell, pasties are handheld meat pies that usually contain beef and vegetables.

Sample a variety of pasties at food festivals, local restaurants and more as you traverse Michigan, taking in stunning sights and passing through popular tourist destinations on the way.

Must-stop: Lehto’s Pasties

Serving fresh, warm pasties since 1947, Lehto’s Pasties in St. Ignace was ranked one of the best pasty stops by The Pasty Guy. Using a family recipe, the menu offers simple beef, chicken and veggie pasties that are flaky and loaded with hearty potatoes and yummy fillings.

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Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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