Avoid Brood X with cicada-free Midwest vacation spots

Jean Chen Smith, Special to Cincinnati Enquirer
Published 10:07 p.m. ET April 28, 2021


St. Louis, Missouri, is one option for cicada avoidance. (Photo: omersukrugoksu / iStock via Getty Images)

Beginning in May, a dozen or so states will mostly be affected by swarms of cicadas, which emerge from underground every 17 years. The swarms will be buzzing from New York to Illinois and south into northern Georgia, including hot spots in Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

According to researchers, this particular group of cicadas, known as Brood X (as in the Roman numeral) is among the most geographically impactful of all the 17-year cicadas. If this news has you feeling like doomsday is approaching, here are five destinations that aren’t on the Brood X cicada map for expected creepy crawlies. And they are all within about a 5-hour drive from Cincinnati. It’s fight or flight time. RUN!

More: When will the cicadas emerge in 2021? How long will they be around after they come out? When will they be back?


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Cedar Point Amusement Park (3 hours 43 minutes)

Cedar Point, a massive 364-acre amusement park situated on a Lake Erie peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio, originally opened in 1870. The park houses an impressive 71 rides, including 17 roller coasters, including the newest and most popular, known as the Steel Vengeance, which debuted in 2018.

The park is also home to Cedar Point Shores Waterpark, which is scheduled to open on May 29. The 18-acre waterpark with plunging slides and shallow-depth kiddie areas is a fun destination for all. Because the majority of activities are outdoors, it is easy to practice social distancing and follow precautions. Due to its extensive history, the park also has several buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Guests who stay at a Cedar Point hotel property can enjoy savings on regular one-day Cedar Point admission tickets. They also enjoy early entry, the opportunity (with paid admission) to enjoy select rides one hour before the park opens to the general public; cedarpoint.com.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, skyline. (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (4 hours 20 minutes)

Head over to Pittsburgh, also known as “the Steel City,” for its more than 300 steel-related businesses, and as the “City of Bridges,” for its massive quantity of bridges (over 400!). Enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and paddling along the river. 

Hiking enthusiasts should be sure not to miss the Great Allegheny Passage, which stretches 150-miles long, starting at Pittsburgh’s Point State Park and eventually linking up with the C&O Canal Towpath in Maryland. The Montour Trail offers bikers and pedestrians alike 60 miles of scenic adventure from Coraopolis, on the Ohio River, to Clairton, on the Monongahela River. 

The city is best known for its pierogies, so be sure to stop by Pittsburgh Pierogi Truck for delicious handmade dumplings at reasonable prices; visitpittsburgh.com.

Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania. (Photo: nemacolin.com)

Farmington, Pennsylvania (4 hours 48 minutes)

About an hour and a half away from Pittsburgh is Farmington, best known for its luxury resort, Nemacolin, which offers a large Pete Dye-designed golf course along with wellness experiences at the Woodland Spa and Salon. 

The resort has a diverse portfolio of accommodations for all travelers: couples, families, pet-friendly rooms and bigger spaces to hold family reunions. With so many activities such as paintball, bike riding, art classes, obstacle courses and a 27-table casino, there’s something for every member of your family; visitpa.com/region/laurel-highlands/farmington.

St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo: Sean Dougherty, USA TODAY )

St. Louis, Missouri (5 hours 10 minutes)

St. Louis, the epicenter of Midwestern Americana, is a vibrant city that has much to offer by way of food, beer, sports and music. Iconic symbols of the city include Busch Stadium baseball park, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Gateway Arch, which is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s part in expansion into the West. Don’t miss taking the tram ride at Gateway Arch, which is a pod that holds up to five passengers, to enjoy stunning views.

Be sure to visit Forest Park, opened in 1876, which covers 1,326 acres and has hosted several significant events, including the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904) and the 1904 Summer Olympics. Within the park, families with kids will enjoy a visit to the Saint Louis Zoo.

You can stay at the Ritz-Carlton, conveniently located in the heart of the business and shopping enclave of Clayton, just minutes from downtown and in close proximity to the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The hotel has the Ritz Kids program, which offers dining and other family-friendly hotel amenities along with a state-of-the-art fitness and massage center for adults and health-minded travelers; explorestlouis.com.

GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum), in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo: Steve Holl, Hedrich Blessing)

Grand Rapids, Michigan (5 hours 20 minutes)

The second-largest city in Michigan, Grand Rapids sits along the Grand River and is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest. Best known as the “River City” and more recently, “Beer City,” it offers museums and historic sites for those seeking culture. 

Visit the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives, which hopes to retell the rich stories of historic African Americans living in Grand Rapids. Stop by the Grand Rapids Art Museum, situated in an impressive modern building, where collections range from Renaissance to modern art, with a special focus on 19th and 20th century European and American art. For vacation-goers seeking outdoor recreation, you won’t be disappointed. The area contains an abundance of parks and beaches that both adults and kids will enjoy; experiencegr.com.

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