Roadtrip with RVshare Detroit to Chicago

A Detroit to Chicago road trip is filled with amazing sights, such as Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and Starved Rock State Park. You can take your kids to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum for an interactive experience or visit the Indiana Sand Dunes National Park for some of the best climbing activities in the area. You can also go on a guided boat tour at the Navy Pier and explore the rich history of the U.S. Navy. Flight enthusiasts can explore the aviation history of the nation at the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum in Kalamazoo. You can also catch a glimpse of the world's fastest air-breathing aircraft, SR-71B Blackbird, in Kalamazoo.

Detroit to Chicago Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: A road trip from Detroit to Chicago will take 4 hours and 17 minutes by road.
  • Mileage: The distance between Detroit and Chicago is 281 miles.
  • Fun Fact: Chicago is known for its towering skyscrapers, but the majority of people don’t know that spray paint was also invented in Chicago.

Nearby National Parks

If you take a look at RVshare’s guide to national parks, you will find plenty of amazing choices to add to your road trip itinerary from Detroit to Chicago that can enhance your quality time with your family. 

Indiana Sand Dunes National Park

Indiana Sand Dunes National Park is located 47 miles south of Chicago. This area used to be a National Lakeshore and was given the title of a National Park in February 2019. It is the 61st national park and is located along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. There are 15 miles of lakefront and 20 miles of countryside to enjoy at this national park. Visitors can go hiking, biking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, and take part in water-related sports, among other fun activities. This park is also in proximity to Porter, Chesterton, and other Indiana cities. It is home to dunes, prairies, lush green forests, and rivers.

Nearby State Parks

You will find tons of gorgeous state parks on your Detroit to Chicago road trip. You can find all the relevant information about these parks in the state park guide on RVshare.

Sleepy Hollow State Park

Sleepy Hollow State Park is an hour and a half away from Detroit, Michigan. This state park is spread over an area of 2,600 acres and is home to Lake Ovid. This park also offers guided birdwatching and wildlife tours, and you can observe more than 228 different species of birds here. A handful of tourists have also reported seeing bald eagles at Sleepy Hollow. Moreover, this state park is famous for winter sports, such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. You can add this spot to your Detroit to Chicago road trip and enjoy the perfect getaway experience. 

Van Buren State Park

Van Buren State Park is located 24 minutes from Benton Harbor, Michigan, and is spread over an area of 400 acres along Lake Michigan. You can take a walk on the sandy white beaches or go for climbing and hiking activities on the high dunes. This park is named after Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the USA. This state park is also pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friends for a swim in the gorgeous waters of Lake Michigan. If you are interested in hiking, you can enjoy miles of forested trails.

Holland State Park

Holland State Park is located only an hour away from Benton Harbor. This 142-acre park is home to sandy beaches, high dunes, and the “Big Red Lighthouse,” and you can add it to your Detroit to Chicago RV road trip if you're looking for some quality family time. You can also enjoy scenic views of Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa in this state park. This is one of the most visited state parks in Michigan and brings millions of visitors every year. One of the best things about this state park is that it is situated between two different lakes, and visitors can enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, and other water activities in both lakes. The Big Red Lighthouse dates back to 1872 and serves as the perfect place to take memorable pictures with your family. 

Starved Rock State Park

You can find Starved Rock State Park 93 miles south of Chicago during your road trip from Detroit to Chicago. It is also the number-one attraction in the state and is visited by millions of travelers every year. If you are a hiking enthusiast, you can enjoy the 13 miles of trails in this park. Moreover, if you want to experience climbing activities, there are 18 unique canyons in this park, and you can take part in guided climbing tours. There are also fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing opportunities here, or you can relax by the active waterfalls in the park and make a day out of it.

Along the Way

Millennium Park 

If you are looking to enjoy modern-era architecture, towering skyscrapers, and technological advancements during your trip, you should add Millennium Park to your road trip itinerary from Detroit to Chicago. This park is located in The Loop neighborhood of Chicago and offers 24.5 acres of architectural wonders. There are also regular festivals, art exhibitions, and concerts in this park. 

Navy Pier

The 3,300-foot-long Navy Pier on Lake Michigan will be an ideal addition to your road trip itinerary if you're looking to spend make some unique memories with your family. This park offers over 50 acres of fun activities, shops, diners, and attractions for families. There are also guided tour boats to take you around the lake and offer historical insights about the city and the U.S. Navy. There are several rides, including a giant Ferris wheel that overlooks the city and offers a scenic view of the lake.

Belle Isle Park

Belle Isle Park is spread over an area of 982 acres and covers different islands and islets in its territory. It is managed as a state park by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It is also the largest city-owned island park in the nation and offers a multitude of fun activities for kids and adults alike. There is a giant aquarium for the kids, and you can see Canada from this park.

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor is west of Detroit and will be among the first few cities on your Detroit to Chicago RV road trip. You can make a stop in this city and enjoy the local family-friendly attractions, such as the Museum of Natural History and the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. This city is also home to the world-famous Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, known for its research-oriented habitats and botanical gardens. Ann Arbor is also home to the University of Michigan, and it would be well worth your time to take in a football game at The Big House if you're traveling during the college football season.

You can easily take your RV to Detroit Greenfield RV Park and enjoy refueling services, hot showers, a swimming area, and a 90-foot water slide for the kids. This RV park and campground also offers a dumping station for RVers. There are also arcade games for the kids and a mini-golf course for the adults to blow off some steam. Additionally, you can rent out a boat and enjoy the beautiful lake.


Kalamazoo marks the mid-point between Chicago and Detroit. You can take the kids to the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum in Kalamazoo and enjoy historical and rare aircraft. This museum also boasts the world’s fastest aircraft, the SR-71B Blackbird. If you want to find more family-friendly attractions in this city, you can plan a trip to Gilmore Car Museum, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, or Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

Markin Glen County Park is an excellent RV park in Kalamazoo and is also home to a beautiful beech-maple forest. You can refuel the RV in this campground and go shore fishing in the meanwhile. There is a kid-friendly splash pad and swimming beach with a lifeguard. You will also find a dumping station for RVs in this campground. 


This Michigan city is named after former president Andrew Jackson. This city is home to the colorful waterfalls known as “The Cascades.” If you want to experience the Midwest charm along the way, this city is the ideal stop for you.

Find Adventure from Detroit to Chicago

Rent an RV

You can take your time and enjoy the road trip from Detroit to Chicago. There are plenty of amazing sights along the way, and an RV will help you stay comfortable throughout the trip. If you do not have your own RV, you can easily rent one from RVshare. Renting an RV will free up your time, and you can easily enjoy side trips along the way.

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