Roadtrip with RVshare Des Moines to New York

Going to New York City can be great fun. You can take in a show at Madison Square Garden, visit Times Square, or go to a ballgame with some friends. If you're near Des Moines and have been considering a trip to New York City then you may want to follow this road trip itinerary because it'll make the journey that much more exciting. There are some fantastic points of interest to stop and explore along the way.

Des Moines to New York City Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: 16.75 hours
  • Mileage: 1,017 miles
  • Fun Fact: New York City was the first capital of the United States.

Nearby National Parks

Indiana Dunes National Park  

You can enjoy various activities at Indiana Dunes National Park on the southern shores of Lake Michigan near Porter, Indiana. Take the Three Dune Challenge, and hike across Mt. Holden, Mt. Jackson, and Mt. Tom, covering 15 miles. Then, enjoy playing on the beaches. 

Cuyahoga National Park  

If you love beautiful scenery, then make sure to stop at Cuyahoga National Park near Brecksville, Ohio, on your Des Moines to New York City RV road trip. Explore the woodlands and wetlands by hiking on some of the 125 miles of trails. Follow the 1.5-mile Brandywine Trail to see Brandywine Waterfall. The Kendell Ledges is an ideal spot to rest and to enjoy this park's scenery. Visit the museum to learn about the Ohio and Erie Canal before hiking or biking along its route. Grab a seat on the historic Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to see even more of this park. The Cuyahoga River is an excellent spot to go fishing or to launch a canoe for paddling fun. 

Nearby State Parks

Maquoketa Caves State Park  

While many people stop at Maquoketa Caves State Park near Maquoketa, Iowa, most visit the main caves and leave. This park is a fantastic location to get off the beaten path if you want to see incredible scenery. Start by finding the three gazebos and enjoy time at each one of them for unique views of the Raccoon Valley. Then, follow the Hike Valley Trail to its western end to explore caves that most visitors miss seeing at this park. Finally, hike along the Outer Loop Trail to reach the Interpretative Center to learn more about this park's unique geology. 

Pokagon State Park  

While many people think of Pokagon State Park near Angola, Indiana, as a terrific place to visit because of its toboggan run where riders can reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour, there are plenty of things to do in this park when it is not snowing. The two lakes at this park are terrific places to go fishing for largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegills, sunfish, and crappies. Spend a lazy afternoon at the swim beach, or launch a boat and go waterskiing on Lake James. Take a break from your outdoor activities, and visit the Nature Center. Enjoy 12 miles of hiking trails at this park with many of them connecting to trails in the adjacent Potawatomi Nature Preserve. 

Lackawanna State Park  

Wander through the forests, across fields, and around the lake at Lackawanna State Park near Scranton, Pennsylvania. The zero-entrance pool is a great place to exercise, and your children will love the splash pad and ground spray. The 198-acre Lackawanna Lake is a terrific place to go fishing. It is easy to launch your boat from the three ramps or to rent a canoe or rowboat near the swimming pool. This park's unique locations mean that anglers can catch cool and warm weather fish. There are over 15 miles of mixed-use trails with many stopping here to go mountain biking. Over 900 acres of this park are seasonally open for hunting, including deer, turkey, and rabbits. 

Ringwood State Park  

During your Des Moines to New York City road trip, do not miss the opportunity to visit Ringwood State Park near Ringwood, New Jersey. This park contains New Jersey Botanical Garden at Skylands. There are six gardens at this botanical facility, including a lilac, peonies, and azaleas. Take a stroll down crab apple and magnolia lanes to see the gorgeous trees located there. In all, the gardens cover more than 100 acres. You will also want to stroll by Skylands and Ringwood manors constructed in the late 18th century. There are several other historic buildings on the property, including a pump house. This state park is also home to the Shepherd Lake Recreation Area, where you can go swimming, boating, and fishing on Shepherd Lake. This area also has miles of trails open for hiking and mountain biking.

Along the Way

Art Institute of Chicago  

Since 1879, tourists have been coming to the Art Institute of Chicago, which contains 11 galleries and host temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Notable works include Wood's “American Gothic,” Rembrandt's “Old Man With a Gold Chain,” Monet's “Arrival of the Normandy Train” and “Gare Saint-Lazare,” and van Gogh's “Self Portrait.”

Basilica of the Sacred Heart  

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is on the campus of Notre Dame University in Notre Dame, Indiana. See over 44 stained glass windows and large wall murals by Luigi Gregori. Take time to tour the museum, which holds many unique Notre Dame University pieces. The building contains the oldest carillon in North America. 

Wildwood Preserve Metropark  

Stop in Toledo, Ohio, to visit the Wildwood Preserve Metropark on your road trip from Des Moines to New York City. Take a self-guided tour of the Georgian-style manor house constructed in 1938. The Ottawa River cuts across this park, and you will want to follow paths at this park to see the unique Oak Openings region. The trails are a terrific place to see summertime wildflowers. 

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens  

One stop that you will want to be sure to include in your road trip itinerary from Des Moines to New York City is Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. Go on a tour of the 65-room Stan Hywet Hall. It was constructed in the Tudor-revival style in 1912 for the man who started Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. You will also want to see the Lodge House, where Alcoholics Anonymous was founded. This 70-acre estate contains many formal gardens that are perfect for a leisurely stroll. 

Statue of Liberty  

You will want to take the ferry from Liberty State Park to see the Statue of Liberty. After the ferry gets to the statue, then walk along the wooden platform. Tour the Statue of Liberty Museum, and walk around the grounds, where you will see many informative signs about the statue. Then, if the statue is open and if you have purchased a ticket, you can climb the 354 steps to her pedestal. A very limited number of tickets to climb to the crown are available daily.

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Joliet, Illinois  

Joliet is about 30 miles southwest of Chicago, and you can find a lot of things to do there, including visiting its two racing tracks or using it as a home base to explore Chicago. There are many scenic Joliet campgrounds to enjoy, like Lehman's Lakeside RV Resort, Illini State Park, and Camp Bullfrog Lake. It is easy to find Joliet RV dump stations. Try using the ones at Hollywood Casino, Vacationland, and Martin Campground. 

South Bend, Indiana  

South Bend's proximity to Lake Michigan makes it a great place to go camping. South Bend campgrounds near the lake include Cassidy Motel & RV Park, Shipshewana Trading Place RV Park and Twin Mills RV Resort. South Bend RV dump stations, like those at Elkhart Campground, Spencer Park, and Gallahan Travel Plaza, are great places to dump your waste before continuing to the east. 

Cleveland, Ohio  

You will find plenty of opportunities to play on and near Lake Eerie when you stop in Cleveland. The second-largest performing arts center in the country is here, and you may want to take in a ballgame. Cleveland campgrounds include Wa-Hoo Campground and Bar, where special events often occur; Willow Lake Campground with its wide variety of children's programming; and Woodson Lake Campground, which is a terrific place to go fishing. Cleveland RV dump stations can be found at American Wilderness Campground, Great Lakes Service Plazas, and Access Outdoor Storage. 

Find Adventure from Des Moines to New York

Rent an RV

When you follow this road trip itinerary from Des Moines to New York City, 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 Des Moines or New York City.

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