During a Detroit to Gettysburg road trip, you'll get to drive through some of the best parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. This area has both natural and historical significance, and the scenery you will view on the way is ecologically varied. The trip will take about a day if you drive with minimal stops. If you have the time to stay a few days in either Toledo, Cleveland, or Pittsburgh, you will find many worthwhile sites to add to your Detroit to Gettysburg road trip itinerary. There are several national park sites and other areas of interest, so you will find no lack of places to visit.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park covers 1,500 acres south of Lake Michigan. It stretches across 15 miles of Indiana's shoreline with the Great Lake. The park was designated as a national park in 2019 after holding the status of a national lakeshore for many years. Visitors will experience a wide variety of landscapes that have earned this park the distinction of being the fourth most-diverse park in the national park system. There are more than 1,100 species of plants, hundreds of animal species, and 350-plus species of birds and waterfowl in the area. With over 50 miles of hiking trails, you can discover all the natural characteristics of Indiana Dunes National Park easily.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is close to Akron and Cleveland geographically but is far away in spirit. The park offers a retreat from the nearby urban areas with natural attractions such as the reclaimed and now pristine Cuyahoga River, the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath hiking trail, and 125 miles of additional hiking trails. You can tour the Hale Farm & Village, trek over the Everett Road Covered Bridge, view Brandywine Falls, and ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The park contains both public and private lands. While the public areas are free, many of the privately managed sites require paid fees.
Findley State Park
Located in northern Ohio, Findley State Park is a heavily forested park with a lake. The woods were planted in the 1930s with assistance from the Civilian Conservation Corps, and today the maple, red pine, black cherry, oak, beech, and white ash trees form the majority of the forested areas. In the spring, the wildflowers are numerous and beautiful, and any time of the year is a good time to catch a glimpse of raccoons, deer, raccoons, foxes, and beavers. There is a butterfly sanctuary that has specimens of the rare Duke's skipper butterfly. There are campsites that are either primitive or electric, and visitors can swim and fish in the lake.
Keystone State Park
Keystone State Park offers plenty of activities for the entire family. The park has modern cabins and tent and RV sites, and there are multiple hiking trails and one biking trail—the 2-mile Lake Side Trail that loops around the lake. Both warm water and ice fishing are popular pastimes, and in the winter you can ski cross-country, snowshoe, ice skate, and sled in the park. There is a public boat launching ramp and mooring area on the north shore of the lake by the dam.
Gifford Pinchot State Park
Gifford Pinchot State Park is a large, 2,338-acre state park that contains woods, meadows, and Pinchot Lake. Visitors will enjoy all the amenities and features such as fishing, boating, playing disc golf, hiking, and swimming. Besides all the available summer activities, visitors can also partake in the popular sports of ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating.
Toledo Museum of Art
The Toledo Museum of Art pays homage to the glass industry past of the city of Toledo while serving as a major curator of important artwork. The museum is ranked among the top 15 art museums in the U.S. and houses more than 30,000 objects inside 45 galleries. The collections feature displays from ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece; artworks from Africa and India; paintings from Old Masters like El Greco, Rembrandt, Rubens, Turner, Gainsborough, Picasso, and Matisse; and much more. The main building is a Neoclassic structure and is adjacent to the Center for Visual Arts, which was designed by Frank Gehry. The Glass Pavilion holds a large collection of glass artworks and objects and is a newer structure with curving glass panels. The complex is located in the Old West End and is surrounded by gardens, sculptures, and Victorian buildings.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
It's always fun to visit a well-designed zoo, and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is an excellent center that serves to preserve and display various groups of animals from around the world. The main buildings include the Northern Wilderness Trek; Australian Adventure; the Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building; the African Savanna; Waterfowl Lake; the RainForest; and the Asian Highlands. The entirety of the zoo consists of a 183-acre complex that holds more than 3,000 animals that represent 600 species in totality. The primates are among the largest such groupings in North America and include western lowland gorillas, orangutans, lemurs, and new world monkeys. Besides the wildlife collections, the zoo has an insectarium and a botanical garden.
The Smithsonian Institution is a vast conglomerate of several museums and galleries, most of which are located in Washington, DC. The U.S. capital is just 90 minutes south of Gettysburg, so it's worth a stop. Smithsonian museums include the American History Museum, Natural History Museum, National Gallery of Art, and the Air and Space Museum. The American History Museum is home to Julia Child's kitchen, Dorothy's ruby slippers, and the original flag that inspired the song "Star-Spangled Banner." You will find Egyptian mummies, the Hope Diamond, dinosaur bones, informative displays on whales, and more at the Natural History Museum, which has a large, rotating collection of 127 million objects. The Air and Space Museum features Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the Wright Flyer, astronaut suits, and lunar rocks, while the National Portrait Gallery is a fascinating look at historical figures through the art of portraiture. Admission is free at the Smithsonian.
Located in Maumee Bay on Lake Erie, Toledo is just down the road at the beginning of your road trip from Detroit to Gettysburg. Home to the renowned Toledo Museum of Art, this exciting city features a mix of historical, natural, and cultural centers and venues to explore. The Toledo East/Stony Ridge KOA Journey RV park has all the niceties you expect from a KOA, and you can find many options for a dump station for your RV.
Cleveland is the second-largest city in Ohio, and it has a rich and varied history in this midwestern region of the U.S. There are numerous museums, parks, and cultural venues in the city and surrounding areas, and visiting the Cleveland Botanical Garden West Side Market public market is a fun way to spend the day. The market was renovated in the early 2000s, and it features a century-old clock tower that is 137 feet tall. Before you leave, be sure to tour Millionaire's Row to view the luxury homes of Cleveland's rich residents from years ago. The Detroit Greenfield RV Park features lots of amenities for the little ones, and there are several convenient locations for dump stations if you need one before getting back on the road.
Pittsburgh is located at the junction of three rivers in Western Pennsylvania. The city was an important industrial hub in the early 20th century, and it has many museums and other centers that showcase the area's past. These venues include the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It's also fun to visit the Andy Warhol Museum. Pittsburgh is near the end of your Detroit to Gettysburg RV road trip, so you may want to find a nearby dump station. If you want to stop at a local campground, Mountain Top Campground has great scenic views and spacious sites that will accommodate most big rigs.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Detroit to Gettysburg, 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 Gettysburg.
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