The route on this Chicago to Hershey road trip will pass through the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The first half of your journey will be along the southern shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, and you'll pass through some of the most important areas of early American history. This region encompasses Revolutionary War sites, early Native American settlements, important waterways, industrial centers, and many beautiful natural preserves.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the most biologically diverse national parks in the U.S. and is ranked as fourth in these terms in the national park system. The ecosystems inside Indiana Dunes National Park are comprised of 1,130 species of plants, 46 species of mammals, 23 species of reptiles, 18 species of amphibians, 71 species of fish, 352 species of birds, 60 species of butterflies, and many other kinds of wildlife. Indiana Dunes National Park is the 61st park in the National Park System and was designated as such in 2019. Prior to this, the park was a National Lakeshore. Besides the incredible variation visitors can experience while inside the park, there are also the towering sand dunes for which the park is named. The park is 1,500 acres and contains 15 miles of the shorelines of Lake Michigan where you can participate in water-based activities on this Great Lake. There are more than 50 miles of hiking trails, and each season has its own types of activities. Adding this fun national park to your Chicago to Hershey road trip itinerary is worth the time.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the home of the Cuyahoga River, which is a prime example of a highly successful reclamation of a formerly polluted watershed. The Cuyahoga River was an important part of the history of the Ohio Valley and Lake Erie regions, but it had become severely polluted over the years. Today, the Cuyahoga River provides both a healthy habitat for wildlife and plants and a lot of recreational fun for visitors. While in the park, you can walk along the original towpath of the Ohio and Erie Canal and visit sites like the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, the Canal Exploration Center, and Brandywine Falls.
William W. Powers State Recreation Area
There are many state parks to visit on your road trip as well! Wolf Lake is a popular destination for many due to its close location to the city of Chicago. While inside William W. Powers State Recreation Area, you can cast your fishing line for a wide variety of species of fish, such as muskie, walleye, bullhead, carp, crappie, bluegill, northern pike, largemouth bass, and redear sunfish along the six miles of lakeshore that is available for bank fishing. Families can picnic, hike, and fish, but there is no swimming allowed. In season, hunting waterfowl is allowed.
Mary Jane Thurston State Park
Mary Jane Thurston State Park is a great Ohio state park and a fun place to visit for recreational activities and to learn a bit about the history of the Maumee River of Ohio. This park contains some of the few remaining trees and habitats from the original Black Swamp area of the Maumee River; most of the swamp was drained and the trees were cut down during the 1800s to clear the land for farming. The remains of the Miami and Erie Canal are near the park and are worthy of a visit. Visitors to the park can fish for channel catfish, pike, smallmouth bass, white bass, walleye, bullhead, sheepshead, and crappie. You can hunt for game and for waterfowl in season.
Raccoon Creek State Park
Raccoon Creek State Park is one of the largest state parks in Pennsylvania and covers 7,572 acres, including the 100-acre Raccoon Lake. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many of the still-existing facilities, some of which are now on the National Register of Historic Places. You can fish for catfish, yellow perch, bluegill, muskellunge, crappie, walleye, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass. The Wildflower Reserve is a 314-acre preserve that contains a diverse assortment of native wildflowers, and there are 700 species of plants inside the park. As you hike on the trails, you will pass through landscapes of oak and hickory trees, pines, meadows, and flood plains. Visitors will appreciate the 500 picnic tables that are located in five picnic areas and the two pavilions that can be reserved. Hunting for game is allowed in season for many species, but hunting for groundhogs is not allowed at any time.
Navy Pier is a must-see destination to add to your Chicago to Hershey RV road trip and is very easy to visit at the beginning of your journey. Navy Pier extends more than 3,000 feet into Lake Michigan and has been serving Chicago and the surrounding areas for more than 100 years in both private and public capacities. Today, this popular Chicago icon is home to a multitude of restaurants, shops, gardens, and other types of entertainment venues. The Centennial Wheel Ferris wheel is the biggest draw and soars 200 feet into the air for a spectacular view of the city and Lake Michigan below.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a 183-acre zoo located in Cleveland, OH. The zoo is one of the oldest in the U.S. and is divided into several main areas that include The Primate, African Savanna, The Rainforest, Northern Wilderness Trek, Cat & Aquatics Building, Waterfowl Lake, Australian Adventure, and Asian Highlands. Some of the notable exhibits are the Western Lowland Gorilla and groups of fishing cats. The zoo has the largest population of primates in North America, and there is also a botanical garden.
The city of Philadelphia is the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and is also home to many other historical events and objects. The Declaration was signed at Independence Hall in 1776, and the U.S. Constitution was framed there 11 years later. Today, visitors to Philadelphia can tour Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, which has a storied history behind it from Revolutionary times, as well as Congress Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, Carpenters Hall, and more at the Independence National Historical Park.
Toledo is a large city located on the Maumee River and Maumee Bay region of Lake Erie in Ohio. It is Ohio's 4th-largest city and contains many entertainment venues, such as museums, parks, a symphony, and sport centers. An interesting site to visit while here is the Glass Pavilion, which houses many collections of glassworks and art that are indicative of the city's glasswork manufacturing history. The Toledo East/Stony Ridge KOA Journey park is conveniently located inside the city and offers a quiet respite from the hubbub of the surrounding city. You can also find various dump stations for your use while in the area.
Cleveland is located on the southeastern shores of Lake Erie in Ohio. This city is home to many interesting attractions, such as "Ralphie's House," which was used in the movie "A Christmas Story;" the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum; a children's museum; a theme park; a botanical garden; and Lake Erie, of course. You can stay at Willow Lake Park when you want to take a break from the road, and your family will love the fun games and other amenities at this convenient location. The city of Cleveland is about midway on your Chicago to Hershey road trip, and you may want to visit one of the nearby dump stations.
The city of Pittsburgh is located in western Pennsylvania and lies at the intersection of the Allegheny, Ohio, and Monongahela rivers. Pittsburgh has a storied history as a major hub of industrial activity and commerce in the 1800s, and it contains many fine examples of Gilded Age architecture from that era. Besides visiting historical sites, you can tour the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Andy Warhol House, and the Heinz Field football stadium. Smith Grove is an RV park that is nicely located in a wooded area close to Moraine State Park, and there are lots of weekend activities and events for the kids. At this part of your road trip, you may want to utilize a dump station before arriving at your final destination on your road trip from Chicago to Hershey.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Chicago to Hershey, 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 Hershey.