A Summer Guide to the Best RV Road Trip Routes in the Midwest

Your ultimate guide for planning an unforgettable summer RV road trip in the Midwest, including tips, must-see attractions, and RV storage solutions! A camper van driving on a road through hills and trees at dusk.

The Midwest is more than just a flyover region. From cities to national parks, lakes to badlands, amusement parks to legendary restaurants, a road trip through the Midwest has it all—with a touch of hospitality. We’ve compiled some essential tips and insider knowledge on hidden gems in the Midwest you’ll have to hit on your next RV adventure, giving you a well-rounded trip featuring cities, camping, cuisine, and everything in between.

The Ultimate Midwest Road Trip

Stop 1: Sandusky, OH

The best RV trip in the U.S. has an exciting start. On the shores of Lake Erie in Sandusky, OH, is an RV campground just steps from the roller coaster capital of America—Cedar Point. Thrill seekers can spend their day zooming through globally renowned loop-de-loops, while those seeking relaxation can lay out by Cedar Point Beach. You can conveniently park your RV at Lighthouse Point, and if you want to explore more of Ohio, Cleveland is only an hour away.

Stop 2: Chicago, IL

A group of men playing beach volleyball on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago.

Our adventure takes a clockwise loop around the Midwest, and our next stop moves along the Michigan border to the Windy City. Spend your day visiting world-class museums, including the Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago, catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, and enjoy fantastic restaurants, from deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s to infamous “snarky service” at Ed Debevic’s.

If you’re worried about where to park your motor home in the Midwest’s largest city, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many parks and campgrounds are there. Here are a few great options. 

  • Indiana Dunes State Park Campground. To enjoy Lake Michigan outside of downtown, Indiana Dunes National Park lies just 45 minutes outside the city and boasts many outdoor activities, from dunes to hiking trails. This campground fills up fast, so reserve your spot early.
  • McCormick Place. Hoping to sleep in the city? McCormick Place offers 24-hour RV parking with a view of Lake Michigan just outside of the Museum Campus, and the public transport in Chicago will help you avoid driving downtown.

Stop 3: Minneapolis, MN

A waterfall, Minnehaha Falls, surrounded by rocks and green foliage during the day in Minneapolis, MN.

It’s time to head northwest through Wisconsin to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota may be known for blistering winters, but the summer can bring about some fantastic vacations. Discover waterfalls at Minnehaha Park, shop after visiting an aquarium and amusement park at Mall of America, and bike along the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. There are several campgrounds in the area for you to choose from, and here are our favorites.

Stop 4: Black Hills National Forest, SD

Badlands National Park in South Dakota at sunset.

South Dakota is appropriately nicknamed the Mount Rushmore State, but the natural beauty of the Black Hills National Forest goes beyond the four presidents. After a picturesque drive from Minneapolis, check out the striking rock formations in the Badlands, see a massive sculpture-in-progress at Crazy Horse Memorial, and drive through the wilds of Bear Country USA. With so much nature to be found, your hardest decision will be choosing where to camp. Here are some suggestions:

  • Custer’s Gulch RV Park and Campground. The place where General Custer set up camp 150 years ago, this campsite near Custer State Park is centrally located for convenient access to all the Black Hills have to offer.
  • Cedar Pass Campground. For camping in Badlands National Park, the Cedar Pass Campground puts you in a great spot for daytime exploring and nighttime stargazing.
  • Kemp’s Kamp. Looking to stay near Mount Rushmore? This rustic campground in Keystone, SD, is just a five-minute drive in the heart of Battle Creek Canyon. This great site has RV hookups and quick access to nearby attractions and amenities.

Stop 5: Lake of the Ozarks, MO

A bird’s-eye view of Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks on a sunny day.

The stretch from the Black Hills to the Ozarks is long but has plenty to enjoy. As you pass through Nebraska, take a pit stop at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, voted number one nationwide and only 15 minutes from the Lake Manawa Campground. On the way to Missouri, grab some world-famous barbecue at Joe’s Kansas City, where the Z-Man Sandwich is unparalleled. 

The Lake of the Ozarks has something for everyone. Whether you want to explore the caverns of Bridal Cave, refine your palette at the Ozark Distillery and Brewery, or zip line through the trees on the Osage-8 Canopy Tour, you can end your day at a popular lakeside restaurant like H. Toad’s or Captain Ron’s, or just relax by the water. The Ozarks are a perfect spot for some quintessential RV camping in the Midwest, and here are some of our choice campsites in the area.

  • Osage Beach RV Park. Spending the night in centrally located Osage Beach is an excellent option if you’d prefer to stay closer to shopping and restaurants after several days of wilderness.
  • Lake of the Ozarks State Park. This campsite offers a secluded spot on the water and various outdoor recreation options, including swimming, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and more.

Stop 6: St. Louis, MO

The Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis at sunset.

As one final stop before heading back on the road leading to Ohio, St. Louis is just as iconic as its Gateway Arch. Explore an enormous architectural playground at the City Museum, meet the Clydesdales on the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour, and enjoy toasted ravioli at Anthonino’s Taverna. For easy RV camping, see the following spots.

  • Bab’s RV Park. If you plan to spend more time in the city than in nature, find this convenient RV lot off Highway 141, about 20 minutes outside St. Louis.
  • Pin Oak Creek RV Park. Are resorts more your speed? This campground offers many activities, from mini golf to a swimming pool.

Store Your RV at the End of Your Adventure at Storage of America

Now that you’ve got many trip recommendations, you might need some RV storage ideas for where to park at the end of your journey. Storage of America has secure, convenient vehicle and RV storage solutions across the Midwest. From indoor parking to covered spaces, we’ll help you end your adventure somewhere affordable and dependable that isn’t your driveway.

Contact us today to find your ideal RV and boat storage, and find us in a city near you!

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