With an Atlanta to Chicago RV road trip, you'll travel past an array of bucket-list destinations in the South and Midwest. Once you head north, your route will take you through Tennessee's capital of Nashville. Not only is it the heart of the state, but it's also the country music capital of the world. You can stop by one of the downtown bars to hear the local music. Finally, when you reach Chicago, you'll want to visit some world-class museums, such as the Field Museum or Shedd Aquarium. If you don't want to miss any of the fun, carefully plan out your road trip itinerary from Atlanta to Chicago.
National parks offer a fun way to experience some of our nation's most legendary outdoor attractions. RVshare has a full national parks guide that can help you find a spot to visit on your vacation.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the United States, which may be why it has entrances in North Carolina and Tennessee. With over 500,000 acres of land, this park offers many recreational activities for your entire family to enjoy, including camping, hiking, and biking. Many people head to this park to see the native wildlife, including white-tailed deer, groundhogs, chipmunks, and squirrels. Keep in mind that certain areas of the Great Smoky Mountains region have a large population of bears. It is estimated that there are two bears per square mile in the park. If you would rather explore by vehicle, there are plenty of roadways that travel throughout this national park.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park in central Kentucky is considered the home to the world’s longest known cave system. There are more than 400 miles of caverns, and many of the caves are open to the public. However, you cannot explore by yourself. Visitors can sign up for a guided tour that will go through all the caverns, including Gothic Avenue and its ceiling covered in 19th-century signatures. For those who want to stay above the ground, check out the trails on foot or horseback.
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park is one of the newest national parks. In 2019, the park was reassigned from a National Lakeshore. The Indiana Sand Dunes are an hour's drive from Chicago, so it's a popular spot for many visitors from the city. The park covers over 15 miles of lakefront on Lake Michigan. However, there are more than 20 square miles of prairies, forests, wetlands, and rivers included in the park as well. At this location, you will want to participate in some recreational activities, such as fishing, hiking, biking, or horseback riding. The forest trails are a great place to see the native tree species.
Don't forget about state-run areas as you plan excursions for your Atlanta to Chicago RV road trip. If you are looking for options on your route, RVshare has an informative state park guide.
Tallulah Gorge State Park
This state park in Georgia is home to one of the most famous gorges in the Deep South. For those who want to explore the floor of the gorge, Tallulah Gorge State Park requires a permit to hike to the bottom. If you would rather stay on the trails, you can get a spectacular view of the floor from one of the overlooks. Another well-known spot is the suspension bridge, and it provides a birds-eye look at the park's rivers and waterfalls. Hiking is a fun activity in the park, and one of the trails is the former track of a railroad line.
Black Rock Mountain State Park
Black Rock Mountain State Park boasts some of the highest elevations in Georgia. At this park, you will get some great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the surrounding landscape of waterfalls, wildflowers, and forested areas. The state park is the perfect place to pull off from the road and grab a camera to snap a memorable picture. For those wanting to get out of the vehicle, Black Rock is an excellent spot to fish in the lakes or find a place to overnight camp.
Big Bone Lick State Park
At one time, bison were a common sight in the state of Kentucky. These animals provided food, clothing, and shelter to the Native American tribes and settlers. Due to overhunting, the bison became almost extinct. However, you can still get a glimpse of these magnificent animals at Big Bone Lick State Park in Boone County, Kentucky. Throughout the year, you will see bison herds roaming around the park. Along with the bison, the park is home to some prehistoric history. Mammoths were drawn to the huge salt lick near the sulfur springs. For that reason, diggers have found their bones in the park.
Turkey Run State Park
Turkey Run State Park is a unique place in Indiana with its forest of old-growth trees and deep sandstone canyons. The hiking trails will take you past a variety of natural elements, including ferns, mosses, and walnut trees. For those nature lovers, you might get a chance to see deer, woodpeckers, beavers, or turkey vultures. Along Sugar Creek, you can take a canoe to explore the deep gorge valleys.
The World of Coca-Cola
You'll enjoy a stop at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta even if you have a passing interest in this soda maker. In 2007, this museum opened to the public, and it is an excellent place to learn about the history of the soft drink. At the end of the tour, you will have a chance to taste different flavors of the beverage.
Grand Ole Opry
Nashville is home to several legendary music locations, including the Grand Ole Opry. This building has been broadcasting the longest-running radio program in the country. While in town, you can catch a show in person or buy a ticket for a building tour. Many music legends have performed at the Grand Ole Opry.
This 3,300-foot-long pier is located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. It encompasses over 50 acres of restaurants, shops, parks, and attractions. As one of the top tourist locations in the Midwest, it draws almost 2 million visitors each year. While you are there, you'll want to take a ride on the Centennial Wheel. This attraction is an iconic part of the skyline and cultural history of Chicago.
Your Atlanta to Chicago road trip will take you through some major cities that you won't want to miss. Many of these places are home to excellent campgrounds with dump stations to help keep your rig clean during the long journey.
The capital of Tennessee is famous for its connection to country music. Along with the Grand Ole Opry, you'll want to check out other country music locations, including the Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Johnny Cash Museum. While you are there, you should stop by a local honky-tonk to hear some great music. In the area surrounding Nashville, there are several campgrounds to spend the night or a few days. Two Rivers Campground offers a dump station that's free for guests and very affordable for visitors.
Indianapolis is another state capital that you can visit on your road trip from Atlanta to Chicago. Aside from being famous for the Indy 500, this city is home to many exciting attractions. You can learn about history at the Indiana Statehouse. Indianapolis also has the world's largest children's museum and the nation's largest privately funded zoo. If you're looking for dump stations, there are several Flying J Travel Plazas in the area that offer this service.
Joliet is the fourth-largest city in Illinois, and it is a major hub for fans of Route 66. Racing fans also come to the city to enjoy exciting motorsports at the Route 66 Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway. If you are looking for a little culture, the historic Rialto Square Theatre offers performances throughout the year. For those who want to make one more stop before heading into Chicago, there are several campgrounds in the Joliet area.