Going on a Chicago to Fort Myers road trip is a magical experience filled with memory-making adventures. Start by going east to visit Indiana Dunes National Park and west to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park before heading south to explore the spectacular scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the phenomenal beauty of the Everglades National Park. There are plenty of magical experiences to have in state parks along the way, like taking in a concert at White River State Park, going on a canoeing adventure at Stephen C. Foster State Park, listening to music at Stephen Foster Cultural Center State Park, and helping feed the animals at Dudley Farm Historic State Park. Drink up at the World of Coca-Cola, watch the fireworks at Disney World, and hear the lions roar at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Most of this road trip comes straight down Interstates 65 and 75, so the driving is easy, and you can explore exciting cities like Indianapolis, Nashville, and Atlanta.
Indiana Dunes National Park
While you will want to take time to play on the sand dunes at Indiana Dunes National Park, do not miss seeing part of Chicago hidden in plain sight. Four of the buildings in the town of Beverly Shores were initially part of Chicago's World Fair and barged across the lake after the fair's completion in October 1893. Another Beverly Shores building was completely dismantled after the fair and trucked to the area. Additionally, you will want to hike along the beach to capture stunning Chicago cityscape images with your camera.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
If this is your first time visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park, then take the time to see Brandywine Falls and hike along the Ritchie Ledges Trail. Since both of these areas attract huge crowds, consider going early in the day. Watching the sunrise at either location is a special treat. Then, later in the day, if you love jogging or running, head out on the Plateau Trail near Sylvan Pond. This trail runs through wetland habitats, and it is a great place to see flowering dogwoods and wildflowers in the springtime. A secluded place that is an excellent spot to take photos is the Evans Covered Bridge. It is the only remaining covered bridge in Summit County, and it is lovely in the fall when the leaves on the nearby trees turn bright orange and yellow.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the U.S., so it is vital to go in with a plan if you do not want to be trampled by the crowds that often gather there. Part of your plan should be arriving as early in the day as possible. Start your visit by using the Wears Valley entrance, the least busy entrance to the park, and then head straight to Clingman's Dome. Then, take the short hike to walk through the Thomas Divide Tunnel, which was built so that Appalachian through-hikers did not have to climb to the top of Clingman's Dome. This brings you very close to Newfoundland Gap, which is the lowest road in the park. You will also want to see the House of the Fairies on the Voorheis Estate in the Twin Creeks area of the park near the Gatlinburg entrance. You may find many old foundations and signs of other outbuildings in this area, which was once a 38-acre estate. Before you leave, stop at Elkmont, a ghost town containing 19 historic buildings. Get to this area by heading to Caves Cove on US 411 and following the signs to the Elkmont Nature Trail.
Everglades National Park
Impress your friends with the images you capture at the Everglades National Park by visiting the top places to take pictures in the park. After entering the park, head straight to the Long Pine Key Trail near the Long Key Pine Campground as early in the day as possible to capture landscape photography. Then, head to the Anhinga Trail near the Royal Palm Visitor Center and wind your way along its length to get amazing images of alligators and other wildlife in their natural surroundings. As the day draws to a close, head to Sisal Pond and hike along the pond's edge until you get to a great place to shoot. This is particularly a great place to walk and shoot during the evening golden hour.
White River State Park
Do not miss the chance to visit Indianapolis’ White River State Park. While this riverfront park is frequently a great place to hear a concert, it contains many venues that you will want to visit, including Indiana State Museum and Historic Site, Indianapolis Zoo, Eiteljorg Museum, and the NCAA Hall of Champions.
Stephen C. Foster State Park
Drift through the Okefenokee Swamp at Stephen C. Foster State Park near Fargo, Georgia. This park is home to an estimated 12,000 alligators. This is a magical place to go stargazing as there is minimal light pollution.
Stephen Foster Cultural Center State Park
Listen to the player piano play Stephen Foster songs in the welcome center at Stephen Foster Cultural Center State Park. Then, wander around the grounds to see various craftspeople creating folk art. This park is a magical place to go on a kayaking adventure on the Suwanee River.
Dudley Farm Historic State Park
Stop and do your share of the work at Dudley Farm Historic State Park. It is magical how everything gets done quickly when everyone helps with the hoeing, planting, watering, and harvesting. There are plenty of animals to help care for, so be sure to include chore clothes to wear when packing for your Chicago to Fort Myers road trip. After a hard day of helping out, sit on the porch and reflect on the work happening on this 1800s farmstead.
World of Coca-Cola
Get refreshed by visiting Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola. Watch a show in their movie theater. Then, stroll through the Hall of Milestones of Refreshment and see how Coca-Cola is bottled. Guess the scent you are smelling in the Scent Discovery Center before enjoying Coke from around the world in the tasting lab.
Disney World Magic Kingdom Park
Every person can easily find rides that thrill them at Disney World. If you have little ones along, then explore It's a Small World and Tomorrowland. Older kids will delight in the thrill rides at Frontierland. Even if you chose to leave the kids at home during your Chicago to Fort Myers RV road trip, you'll want to shop on Main Street. Increase the magic by enjoying special character appearances and unique dining experiences.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Reach the summit of Mt. Everest, go on a Kilimanjaro safari, and trek through a Maharajah jungle at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. There are lions, tigers, and elephants to see. Making this an even better place to stop on your road trip from Chicago to Fort Myers is the fact that you can expect to see your favorite Disney characters interacting with wildlife during the animal shows.
In addition to visiting White River State Park, you can enjoy many other activities in Indianapolis, including watching the Indianapolis Colts play. Consider staying in an Indianapolis campground on your road trip from Chicago to Fort Myers. There are many great choices, including Red Caboose Campground with its spring-fed pond and Lake Haven Retreat with its paddleboats. Indianapolis RV dump stations are available at Louisville North Campground and many Flying J Travel Plazas.
Sing your favorite country tunes or experience the Parthenon without leaving the United States by stopping in Nashville. Nashville campgrounds, like Fall Hollow RV Park and Nashville KOA Resort, offer incredible scenic views. You can find Nashville RV dump stations at Shutes Branch Recreation Area, Edgar Evins State Park, and Anderson Road Campground.
Atlanta is a historic city to visit, and you will want to explore Coca-Cola World. Atlanta campgrounds include Sweetwater Creek RV Reserve and Scenic Mountain RV Park with their beautiful country views. Atlanta RV dump station options include Jones RV Park, Love's Travel Stop, and Pilot Flying J Travel Center.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Chicago to Fort Myers, 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 Chicago or Fort Myers.
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