From kicking up your heels up in the great states of Alabama and Tennessee to exploring a bevy of historical locations on your way through the Midwest, your Birmingham to Manistique road trip offers nothing but a great time. Visits to a few national and state parks are perfect for experiencing the outdoors at some of the most beautiful destinations in America such as Great Smoky Mountains, Mammoth Cave, and Indiana Sand Dunes national parks. Points of interest along your route take you on boat tours underground at the Lost River Cave and strolling down a serene path lined with handmade mini-replicas of some of the world's most famous shrines and buildings at the Ave Maria Grotto.
Consider adding a few unique national parks to your Birmingham to Manistique RV road trip.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a little over three hours' drive from Nashville and is a perfect addition to your Birmingham to Manistique road trip itinerary. At this iconic park, you'll have over 500,000 acres of Appalachian wilderness to explore. Some of the top attractions to experience are hiking to the tallest peak in the park at Clingmans Dome, taking scenic drives on the Newfound Gap Road and Roaring Forks Motor Trail, and learning about the park's history at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Be sure to venture over to Rainbow Falls, Cades Cove, and the Sinks to snap a few beautiful photos of the lush Southern land. The evening is a great time to get cozy and enjoy the naturally dark skies while watching synchronous fireflies illuminate the air.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the longest cave system in the world with over 400 miles of mapped trails and is only one hour and 20 minutes north of Nashville. At this one-of-a-kind park, you can experience the caves on several guided tours that last from one hour up to six hours. One of the most comprehensive and challenging tours is the Wild Cave Tour where you'll delve the farthest you can go into the caves. If you're looking for something more relaxing, go on the easily accessible Frozen Niagara Tour. Lush outdoor areas offer plenty of opportunities for backcountry hiking, camping, kayaking, and touring the park on horseback.
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park
You'll find Indiana Sand Dunes National Park two hours and 15 minutes west of Fort Wayne off Route 12. Here, you'll have over 15,000 acres of pristine land and sand dunes to explore with over 70 miles of trails to trek. You can attempt the 3 Dune Challenge to grab the title Dune Conqueror and enjoy spectacular scenic vistas of the park from the last dune's peak. Viewing a beautiful sunrise or sunset from the relaxing shores of Lake Michigan is a great way to start or end a day of adventure. Check out some historical sights at the Old Lighthouse Museum, the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, and Barker Mansion.
Add a couple of pretty state parks to your Birmingham to Manistique road trip itinerary to get the most out of your adventure.
Rickwood Caverns State Park
At Rickwood Caverns State Park near Warrior, Alabama, you can go back 260 million years in time on a guided tour through a massive prehistoric cave 175 feet below the Earth's surface, in addition to trekking the park's most popular hiking path, the Fossil Mountain Hiking Trail. Mining for gemstones, picnicking, camping, and swimming in the on-site Olympic-size pool that's fed by the cavern's waters are more exciting ways to enjoy your time here.
Brown County State Park
Brown County State Park, near Nashville, Indiana, is a fantastic place to spend a couple of days horseback riding, hiking moderate to advanced trails, camping, and fishing on Lake Ogle and Lake Strahl. Be sure to check out the Nature Center's interactive displays, snake exhibit, and bird-watching room. Yellowwood State Forest's proximity to this park allows you to enjoy the natural settings of both of these locations.
Sleepy Hollow State Park
Sleepy Hollow State Park is just 20 minutes north of Lansing and features 181 campsites, swimming in Lake Ovid, 13 miles of trails, and self-guided backcountry excursions. Fishing on the 410-acre lake is available year-round, and hunting is offered seasonally.
Ave Maria Grotto
The Ave Maria Grotto in Alabama was built by Benedictine monk Brother Joseph Zoetl at the site of the former St. Bernard Abbey on 4 sprawling acres of wooded land. The crown jewels of the park are the 125 miniature replicas of historic shrines and buildings from around the world that surround each side of the grotto. While you're here, you can snap some unforgettable photos and marvel at the incredible detail of Brother Joseph's handiwork. The Abbey Cemetery and Grotto Gift Shop are available as well.
Lost River Cave
Visit the Lost River Cave on your way through Bowling Green to experience Kentucky's only Underground Cave Boat Tour. Your guided tour starts along the banks of the river with historical recitations about local Native American culture, Civil War stories, and the infamous Jesse James. Topside, you can zip line over the largest blue hole in the valley on The Flying Squirrel Zipline with three exciting adventures to choose from.
Michigan State Capitol
A tour of the Michigan State Capitol is a must on your road trip from Birmingham to Manistique. Located in Lansing, this historic building was one of the first state capitols to be topped with a cast-iron dome and features a 976-piece glass floor in the rotunda that's a truly spectacular sight. You'll also see a variety of historic art pieces while gazing in wonder at the architecture and gold-leaf and platinum stars on the dome's ceiling.
In Nashville, you'll want to head straight down to the "Honky Tonk Highway" on Lower Broadway for a hootin' good time at a few of the best bars in the city that feature live music events minus the cover charge. Visit the Grand Ole Opry, another famous hot spot that offers several guided tours of the music hall and free entry to the gift shop and the main foyer. Complete your time in this city by checking out the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Johnny Cash Museum, and the National Museum of African American Music for some historical insight into the celebrated genres of jazz and gospel.
Louisville isn't just the largest city in Kentucky; it also hosts the world-famous Kentucky Derby held annually at the Churchill Downs horse racing track. With more to learn about the monumental history of this iconic legacy, check out the Kentucky Derby Museum. More fun places to explore here are the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, the Muhammad Ali Center, the Louisville Palace, and the Louisville Mega Cavern and Frankfort Avenue.
Singing Hills RV Park & Campground features free catch-and-release fishing in their private pond with rustic bamboo pole loaners, a book exchange, and free Wi-Fi with a dump station conveniently located on the property.
Indianapolis is fantastic for so many reasons. Just some of these are the city's plethora of spooky locations, fantastic museums, and tasty libation stations. You can get started underground on the City Market Catacomb Tour and keep the scary times going at the Crown Hill Cemetery for Civil War ghost sightings and the Hannah House, one of the most haunted buildings in the U.S. For history about this city's famous Speedway, visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. You can sip some of the finest cocktails in the city at La Revolucion Cafe & Bar and then stroll along the Central Canal.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Birmingham to Manistique, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Birmingham or Manistique.