Midwest: A Traveler's Guide to the Midwest · The Gypsy Nurse

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By RTG Medical

June 6, 2023



A Traveler’s Guide to the Midwest

RTG Medical provided this article.

Healthcare traveler jobs offer the opportunity to work anywhere in the country, but the Midwest holds a distinctive appeal for many. With a plethora of rivers, lakes, and unforgettable “hole-in-the-wall” restaurants, the Midwest is a region that has something for everyone. Each state offers its own unique sights and experiences that are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Nursing Licensure Compact in the Midwestern States

The Midwest is comprised of 12 states, namely Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Currently, only nine of these states are part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows nurses to have a single nursing license that allows them to practice in other states that are part of the agreement. Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota are not yet part of the NLC, but nurses in these states can still apply for a license in other NLC states.



Indiana’s basketball history is a must-see if you’re a sports fan. But this midwestern state offers so much more, such as outdoor attractions, family-friendly destinations like the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and state parks, including Turkey Run and Prophetstown. Indiana also has a range of fascinating museums, like the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and Indiana State Museum. For history buffs, the historic town of New Harmony, founded in 1814 as a utopian community, is a must-visit. Indiana truly has something for everyone, so why not plan your next travel assignment in the Hoosier State and experience all it has to offer?


While Chicago is a must-see destination in Illinois, there are numerous other cities worth exploring throughout the state. Here are a few suggestions to consider on your next visit:

  • Springfield: As the state capital, Springfield is home to numerous historic sites and museums related to Abraham Lincoln, including the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and his former home.
  • Galena: This charming town in northwest Illinois is known for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture and quaint downtown area. It’s a great place to shop for antiques and artisanal goods.
  • Champaign-Urbana: This college town is home to the University of Illinois and boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, including the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. It’s also a great place to sample some of the state’s famous sweet corn.

Wherever you choose to go in Illinois, there is an abundance of activities to enjoy, from outdoor recreation to cultural experiences.


Iowa, located in the heart of the Midwest, is a state with a rich cultural heritage and a thriving agricultural industry. The vast open spaces, adorned with fields of corn, are complemented by friendly Midwestern cities that offer a refreshing change of pace. There is so much to explore in Iowa, from river museums and famous movie locations to historic German colonies and extensive cave systems. Some of the state’s most popular attractions include the Iowa State Capitol, the Amana Colonies, the Field of Dreams movie site, and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum.


While Kansas may be recognized for the classic American movie, The Wizard of Oz, there’s so much more to this state than what meets the eye. As the 15th largest state in the US, Kansas is known for its vast agricultural heritage, including endless fields of wheat and corn and the beautiful tallgrass prairies.

But Kansas also takes pride in its rich Native American history, with places like the Mid-America All-Indian Center and the Keeper of the Plains in Wichita showcasing its cultural heritage. For those who appreciate the Wild West, Kansas will not disappoint, with historical areas like Boot Hill and Fort Larned that have remained relatively unchanged since the 1800s. Art and music enthusiasts will have plenty to explore in Kansas, while speed and adventure lovers can experience the thrill of a race at the Kansas Speedway or get inspired at the Evel Knievel Museum. Come and explore Kansas – there’s something for everyone!



Michigan is a state that boasts a diverse range of attractions due to its varied landscape, rich history, and the legendary city of Detroit. It’s no wonder that it’s a popular tourist destination. Here’s a list of what to expect:

  • Nature enthusiasts will be delighted with the endless opportunities to explore natural wonders along the Great Lakes shores. From freshwater dunes to coastal habitats, there’s something for everyone.
  • Historical sites, such as living history museums, are a must-see, with popular destinations including Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island and Greenfield Village, part of the Henry Ford historic sites.
  • Detroit is a bustling city that has embraced its significant contributions as the Motor City and evolved into a top tourist destination and cultural center. It’s a wonderful place to visit for those seeking a faster pace.

From the city’s bright lights to the natural beauty of the Great Lakes, Michigan has an abundance of things to see and do.


Minnesota is a state that boasts a diverse range of experiences. You can wander through the Superior National Forest and the North Shore of Lake Superior to explore the wilderness or take in the cultural attractions of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the stunning Munsinger Clemens Gardens in St. Cloud. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy, such as hiking trails, paddling waterways, skiing hills, and shopping at the famous Mall of America. With its abundance of things to do, it’s no surprise that Minnesota is more than just a land of 10,000 lakes.


Nebraska may not be the first place that comes to mind when planning a trip, but this state is a hidden gem. With friendly locals, charming cities, and fascinating natural wonders, it has so much to offer. Check out the state capital, Lincoln, or head to Omaha, the other major population center, for a taste of local culture and visit the award-winning Henry Doorly Zoo. Don’t forget to cheer on the Nebraska Cornhuskers! If you’re feeling adventurous, venture further and explore the unique landscapes of Chimney Rock and the Sandhills. You won’t be disappointed.

North Dakota

North Dakota is a state of contrasts, with its diverse natural beauty ranging from rugged badlands to lush woodlands and water-fed natural features. You can explore its endless landscapes that offer stunning scenery. But that’s not all. North Dakota has a rich history and culture that can be experienced through its museums and historic sites. Visitors are often drawn to outdoor attractions like Theodore Roosevelt National Park or Lake Sakakawea, but there are also plenty of indoor activities to enjoy. Tourist attractions such as the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck and the Plains Art Museum in Fargo offer visitors a chance to discover the state’s culture and art.



Ohio is a state that caters to all kinds of travelers, offering a myriad of experiences that are sure to delight. With some of the region’s premier cultural attractions, shopping districts, and entertainment venues, Ohio’s cities are a must-visit. For instance, delve into the vibrant music scene at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland or explore the rich history of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Ohio’s rural areas offer a glimpse into a simpler way of life, particularly in Amish Country, where visitors can learn about and experience the Amish lifestyle. Ohio’s summer fun towns, such as Sandusky, provide adrenaline-pumping amusement parks and other exciting activities that are perfect for families and thrill-seekers alike. Nature lovers can revel in Ohio’s parks and lakes, which offer numerous opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife-watching. Don’t forget to try ice fishing on the frozen lakes during the winter months!

South Dakota

South Dakota, located in the heart of the country, boasts a wealth of tourist attractions and stunning natural beauty. From the towering badlands to the National Music Museums, there are countless reasons why it should be your next destination.

Nature enthusiasts will be amazed by the breathtaking outdoor scenery that South Dakota has to offer. The Black Hills, situated on the western side of the state, provides an ideal setting for outdoor adventures. These woodlands are not only a sanctuary for wildlife but also have a rich history that spans thousands of years. Underground caves and monumental structures await exploration by visitors.

South Dakota’s landscapes are steeped in history, making sightseeing all the more fascinating. Be sure to visit Deadwood, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Good Earth State Park, each offering a unique glimpse into the region’s past.


Wisconsin boasts a wide range of attractions and landscapes, including the breathtaking Lakes, Michigan, and Superior. Venture north and west to discover hills perfect for hiking and mountain biking, or explore the vast lowlands suitable for dairy farming to the south and east. Don’t miss the chance to visit the beaches during the summer season – it’s a must-do activity! Wisconsin also has numerous cultural activities and events, such as the Oshkosh Airshow and Milwaukee’s popular Summerfest. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or prefer leisure activities, Wisconsin has something for everyone. Enjoy great fishing lakes, boating lakes, and hiking and biking trails ranked among the best in the country.

Healthcare traveler jobs offer work opportunities nationwide, but the Midwest has a special charm. The region is full of rivers, lakes, and unforgettable experiences that will leave a lasting impression. Each state is distinct, providing sights and experiences you’ll cherish forever. Which Midwest state will you travel to for your next assignment?

Our job board is a great place to search for your next travel nurse assignment. We have you covered with our housing page if housing is an issue. You can search for what you are looking for.

If you are a new travel nurse or looking into becoming a travel nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step-by-Step (now offered in a PDF Downloadable version!)

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