If driving from the Great Lakes to the Deep South is your idea of a great time, then a Chicago to Montgomery road trip may be ideal for you. Your route will take you within a few minutes of some fantastic national parks; others can be reached with a bit of extra driving. Plenty of lovely state parks and interesting tourist attractions are also on your way, so you’ll have a good amount of options when putting together that road trip itinerary from Chicago to Montgomery.
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park
Since Indiana Sand Dunes National Park is only 10 minutes east of Gary, Indiana, you should explore this fascinating national park on your road trip from Chicago to Montgomery. The sand dunes are a big attraction here, but the 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline are also popular with visitors. When you’re not enjoying Lake Michigan and its dunes, you can explore 20 miles of adjacent countryside full of wetlands, forests, prairies, and more. You’ll be able to hike, bike, or ride on 14 trail systems that add up to 50 miles of trails.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
If you’re willing to travel a little less than five hours east of Gary, you’ll be able to explore the gorgeous Cuyahoga Valley National Park. You’ll be in good company as more than 2 million people visit this popular park annually. Who can blame them since this park is home to 100 waterfalls and 100 miles of rivers? You won’t have any problem finding great places to kayak, canoe, and fish here. If you’d rather explore this park on foot, bike, or horseback, there are 125 miles of trails from which to choose.
Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park is in the heart of St. Louis, so it’s well worth driving three hours and 40 minutes west of Indianapolis in order to see. Be sure to go all the way to the top of the Gateway Arch’s 630 feet so that you can get premium views of St. Louis and the Mississippi River. The park is also home to some historic buildings and museums; if you visit at the right time, you might be able to take a cruise on the Mississippi.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is only five minutes from Cave City, Kentucky, so it’s easy to reach on your road trip from Chicago to Montgomery. The park is home to the world’s longest cave system, meaning you’ll have plenty of rock formations and features to explore. Aboveground, you’ll be able to fish and boat on the Green and Nolin Rivers. There are multiple trails available in this park that allow you to explore some of the Kentucky countryside by hiking, biking, or horseback riding.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
You can find America’s most frequently visited national park by traveling three hours and 15 minutes east of Nashville, Tennessee. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is more than 500,000 acres large, so there’s a great deal to explore. More than 800 miles of trails take you through this mountain retreat; be sure to look them up in advance to see which ones you'd like to hike, bike, or ride. Fishing is another favorite pastime here thanks to the bevy of rivers and lakes in the park.
Prophetstown State Park
Prophetstown State Park is only five minutes off your route as it goes through West Lafayette, Indiana. At this park, you can learn about the history of the area and its inhabitants thanks to the replica buildings on the premises. You’ll be able to tour a replica Shawnee Council House, lodgepole buildings, and a farm circa the 1820s. You might also catch a reenactment of prairie farming conditions put on by the historical group Farm at Prophetstown.
Brown County State Park
You can easily reach the entrance of Brown County State Park by driving 15 minutes west of Columbus, Indiana. This park covers nearly 15,000 acres, so there’s plenty of room for exploring its gullies, ridges, and slopes. There are multiple hiking and biking trails in the park, and the 70 miles of equestrian trails are popular with horseback riders. Nearby Lake Monroe is perfect for swimming and fishing; you can also take a dip in the Water Park Pool.
Green River Lake State Park
If you like water sports, hiking, and history, then you should travel 45 minutes southeast of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, to Green River Lake State Park. Green River Lake is an excellent place to go boating, swimming, tubing, fishing, and water skiing. If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, you can hike, bike, or ride on 28 miles of all-purpose trails. This area was important during the Civil War, so you’ll also get to learn more about its history.
Henry Horton State Park
Roughly an hour south of Nashville and 15 minutes west of Columbia, Tennessee, is beautiful Henry Horton State Park. There are plenty of manmade structures to appreciate here, including the remnants of a mill and bridge. You can also play golf and disc golf on the high-quality courses in the park. The Duck River provides a great venue for swimming and fishing, or go for a splash in the park’s Olympic-sized pool. A trap and skeet range is set up for different types of shooting practice.
Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain State Park is south of Birmingham and 10 minutes east of Pelham, Alabama. This 9,940-acre park is home to several sizable, well-stocked lakes that are ideal for fishing, boating, and swimming. Regardless of your fitness level, you’ll be able to find somewhere lovely to walk on the 25 miles of trails in the park. Other amenities here include a championship-level golf course, an archery park, and a BMX track.
Eagle Creek Park
Before you pass through the heart of Indianapolis, you should travel three minutes from your route and relax at Eagle Creek Park. This park is more than 5,000 acres large and is home to multiple attractions and recreational areas. You can take a dip in the swimming area, walk your canine at the dog park, or get a bite to eat at the cafe.
The Kentucky Derby Museum
Churchill Downs is only about five minutes from your route as it passes through Louisville, Kentucky, so you should definitely visit the Kentucky Derby Museum on your road trip from Chicago to Montgomery. The museum at this iconic racetrack provides the opportunity to watch a film about the Kentucky Derby, tour the interactive museum, and walk around Churchill Downs itself.
Lost River Cave
If you want to add another cave besides Mammoth Cave to your road trip itinerary from Chicago to Montgomery, then you should drive five minutes west of your route to Lost River Cave. On one of this park’s fabulous cave boat tours, you’ll get to view these caves while learning about the Native Americans, Civil War soldiers, and outlaws who used them over the years.
The Nashville Zoo
The Nashville Zoo is a little less than 10 minutes from Interstate 65, so you should drop by on your Chicago to Montgomery RV road trip. Over 350 species are represented here; you’ll have the opportunity to see upwards of 3,000 different animals. You can take the Wilderness Express Train around the park and take a ride on the Wild Animal Carousel.
The Birmingham Museum of Art
You can easily find the Birmingham Museum of Art by going five minutes off of your route in Birmingham, Alabama. This museum contains more than 27,000 works of art from a wide variety of time periods and cultures. Don’t forget to take a tour of the 30,000-foot outdoor sculpture garden.
Whether you want to catch a Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium or take a stroll along the Central Canal, you’ll be able to find plenty to do in Indianapolis. Many excellent dump stations and campgrounds are nearby.
Bowling Green, Kentucky
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Chicago to Montgomery, 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 Montgomery.