When you take a Detroit to Denver road trip, there are going to be a lot of stops to make along the way, so be sure to factor in some extra time to visit the two national parks that you’ll pass or at the nearby state parks. Begin this trip by heading west, then after you spend some time at Indiana Dunes National Park, start looking for signs for I-55 south. You will follow this route until you reach St. Louis, where your route will turn west for the remainder of your trip into Denver.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park was designated as a national park in 2019, but before that it was considered a national lakeshore. This park is unique because it is located less than a mile from Chicago, and even though it is so close to the city, you can enjoy a variety of activities in the park, which include fishing, swimming, water sports, hiking, biking, and more. The park is known for its sandy beaches, but hikers will really love exploring the trails. Indiana Dunes National Park has over 50 miles of trails that are categorized into 14 trail systems. Trails range in difficulty from paved and easy to manage to steep and very challenging.
Gateway Arch National Park
One of the more iconic national parks, Gateway Arch National Park, can be included on this road trip itinerary from Detroit to Denver. The highlight of this park is the arch that stands 630 feet in the air. While you are visiting, you can walk around and explore the area since the park is located in the city of St. Louis. The distance between the arch's legs is 630 feet, so it's quite a distance to explore on foot. You can also take a ride to the top of the arch to see amazing views of the city below. Inside the park, you can also take a tour of the old St. Louis courthouse.
Indiana Dunes State Park
Indiana Dunes State Park is located at the tip of Lake Michigan, and it is a great place to enjoy swimming or fishing in the water. It has a wide variety of birds that can be seen throughout the dunes and the white pine groves, which birdwatchers will love. More than 16 miles of trails are available for you to enjoy hiking or biking. The nature center in the park has planned exploratory programs throughout the summer. There is also a swimming pool that can be enjoyed when the weather is warm.
Clinton State Park
Clinton State Park is located on the Clinton Reservoir, and it is about 1,500 acres in size. Next to the park, there is a 9,200-acre wildlife area, which helps bring unique animals to the area. In the water, you can enjoy fishing and boating. There is an option to rent boats from the park, but there is also a swim beach if you just want to relax on the shore. The park also has a beach volleyball net, an archery range, and two disc-golf courses that you can enjoy. There are also several trails to explore in the park, including a cross-country ski trail that is 5 miles long.
Wilson State Park
Wilson State Park is a great place to stop if you love spending time outdoors. The park stretches 945 acres along the Wilson Reservoir. This creates a great place to fish up bluegill, walleye, catfish, and more. You can also boat in the lake, so if you have a boat with you, this is a great place to visit. There are biking trails to enjoy, like the Switchgrass Bike Trail, and there are also several hiking trails in the park. The Dakota Trail has one of the most beautiful vistas in the park.
Cherry Creek State Park
Cherry Creek State Park is another park with a reservoir, so fishing is a fun activity that can be done all year. In the winter, ice fishing, skiing, and snowshoeing can be enjoyed. In the summer, you can take a boat out on the water and enjoy some waterskiing. There are 35 miles of trails in the park that can be hiked, biked, or ridden on horseback. Make sure to bring your binoculars to catch a glimpse of the rare birds here.
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is a unique experience that the entire family will enjoy. There are exhibits and collections that you can explore and learn about as you tour the museum. There is also a planetarium where you can see photos of the Milky Way and explore other celestial wonders in the sky.
Deep River Waterpark
If you need to cool off during the summer or if you are just looking for some authentic fun to have with your family, stop by Deep River Waterpark. You can enjoy the slides or relax in a pool all day. There are tube rentals available to help you skip the lines.
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
During this Detroit to Denver RV road trip, you will want to stop at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. The landmark highlights the decision that was made in this case by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was a major turning point in the fight for civil rights, and visiting the site can help you learn more about the case and this point in history.
On this road trip from Detroit to Denver, you will want to make a stop in the Windy City. There is a lot of Chicago culture, which means that you can find many interesting places to explore. Take a cruise on Lake Michigan to get a glimpse of the Chicago skyline. You can also climb to the top of the Willis Tower to view the city from above. While you are in the city, some of the highlights include the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Shedd Aquarium.
There are several campgrounds nearby where you can enjoy the city without traveling far. Some options have a relaxing atmosphere, and there are also those designed for kids to have a blast. Places like Martin Campground have free dump station usage for registered guests. If you are not staying there, there is a small fee that the campground charges.
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri, is a town that is home to some interesting history and some truly welcoming denizens. Swope Park, which can be found in town, is more than twice the size of New York City's Central Park and has some very interesting vistas to experience firsthand. In addition to this, there are over 220 parks and 29 lakes in the Kansas City metro area, so you'll have the best of both worlds: city life and wide-open spaces.
While visiting the city, consider one of the many Kansas City campgrounds that can be found in the area. Places like Worlds of Fun Village in the city and Campus RV Park in Independence both have sites for any kind of RV with full hookups. If you need a place to offload wastewater, there are also several KC-area dump stations to consider.
This Kansas City is home to more than 5,000 people and is known for its progressive agricultural community. While here, consider visiting the Prairie Museum of Art and History and the Cooper Barn, which is the largest barn in the state. Colby is the county seat of Thomas County, and the Thomas County Courthouse can be found here, which was constructed more than a century ago.
Near to Colby, you'll find a wide variety of campgrounds where you can park your RV for however long you intend to stay. Some entertainment options include Gunsmoke RV Park in Dodge City and Goodland KOA in Goodland. Both of these allow pets, and both have full hookups with 30- and 50-amp connections for RVs. When it's time to offload your gray and black water, Kansas has several dump stations.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Detroit to Denver, 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 Detroit or Denver.