Going on a Detroit to Tampa road trip can be a great way to explore the Eastern United States. You will want to visit the dunes at Indiana Dunes National Park, explore history at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and see wildlife at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You may also want to extend your trip by about three hours to visit the Everglades National Park. There is plenty of things to do at state parks along the way, like finding fossils at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, hiking at General Coffee State Park, and feeding animals at Dudley Farm Historic State Park. There are many incredible cities to explore, like Louisville and Atlanta, and campgrounds to stay in on a road trip from Detroit to Tampa.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Start your Detroit to Tampa RV road trip by heading west to explore Indiana Dunes National Park near Chesterton, Indiana. There is plenty of fun to be had at this park along Lake Michigan's southern shore. You will want to take the Diana Dunes Dare while visiting this park. The dare starts at the West Beach Parking Lot and heads across the dunes. See Chicago's skyline from this path. Then, listen to the distant water pounding against the shore as you watch for birds in the jack pine trees. Finish by walking across the beach to the bathhouse, where you are encouraged to post a selfie that you took somewhere along the path. You will also want to explore the Dune Succession Story hike to learn how the dunes have changed over time.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Next, head east on your road trip from Detroit to Tampa to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Brecksville, Ohio. Put on your hiking boots to follow the Towpath Trail along the historic Ohio & Erie Canal's path. You can almost hear the mules pulling their heavy loads up this 87-mile path between 1827 and 1913 as you hike along. If you are not a hiker, this trail is also an excellent place for a bike or horse ride. The Cuyahoga River is a fantastic place for a kayaking adventure.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The first entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on your road trip from Detroit to Tampa from the north is the Sugarlands entrance. This entrance is the most touristy and busiest. Consider skipping the crowds hustling their way into the park and use the Wears Valley entrance near Pigeon Forge. This beautiful entrance takes you across an old-stone bridge before you arrive at Mudflats Bottom Picnic Area. This entrance road connects with Little River Gorge Road, so you can easily reach other areas of the park, including the Cades Cove area, which contains the most historic buildings in the park. Clingmans Dome, which is the highest point in the park, and Newfound Gap, which is the lowest drivable pass in the mountains, are also easy to reach from this entrance. By using this entrance and getting an early start, you can easily beat the crowds to your favorite destinations.
Everglades National Park
There is no need to go clear south to the main entrance to Everglades National Park if you want to extend your road trip itinerary from Detroit to Tampa. Instead, head south about three hours and enter the park at the Everglade City entrance. Take the Ten Thousand Islands boat tour to see the mangrove islands or rent a kayak and explore them independently. If time is pushing you, then consider visiting the park's towers so that you can see as much of the park as possible. The 65-foot-tall Shark Valley Observatory Tower is a great place to see this area of the park. Underneath, stroll along the path to see large alligators that often congregate there. Then, head farther south to the Pahayokee Overlook to walk along the raised boardwalk to the observation platform to see the river of grass. End your visit at the Shark Valley Visitors Center by taking the tram to see even more of this park.
E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park
Regardless of your interests, you can probably find a place to enjoy them at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park on the outskirts of Louisville. There is an orienteering course with 10 obstacles to find. You may also want to practice your archery skills on the range. Ride your dirt bike on a National BMX Grand Championship course or fly your model airplane. You can also take a hike while watching for birds.
General Coffee State Park
Stop and explore the historic farm buildings at General Coffee State Park near Nicholls, Georgia. Bring your bike as this wiregrass park is a fantastic place to ride. There are four miles of hiking trails to explore. You may also want to go on a paddling adventure. This park is also a great place to go fishing.
Dudley Farm Historic State Park
Stop in Newberry, Florida, to explore the Dudley Farm Historic State Park. Participate in daily farm chores on this late 1800s farm. There is water to be pumped, chickens to be fed, and other farm chores that need accomplishing. Activities vary throughout the year. You can also choose to sit on the farmhouse's front porch and rock away your worries.
Step onto a full-size replica of Noah's Ark at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. See animals that Noah might have loaded at the Ararat Ridge Zoo. Take a zipline tour of this beautiful area. There is a family-friendly playground designed for everyone. Be a virtual reality time traveler and watch Noah build the ark. This venue often hosts special workshops and concerts.
Kentucky Horse Park
Tour the two museums at the Kentucky Horse Park to learn more about horses from around the world. Then, watch the daily parade of breeds if the weather is nice. Otherwise, head to the barns, where you can see many familiar and rare species from around the world. Head to the paddock to go on a trail ride.
Chestatee Wildlife Preserve & Zoo
Interact with animals that do not usually call the Dahlonega, Georgia, area home, like white tigers, Bengal tigers, zebras, and caribou. Go on a private encounter with one of the zookeepers to help feed the animals. You can also take selfies with many of the animals.
Cincinnati, Ohio, is a fantastic city where you can visit the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Newport Aquarium, and the Cincinnati Art Museum. There are terrific Cincinnati campgrounds, including Wilton Woods Campground, where you can go on a hiking and paddling adventure. Other options include Steamboat Bend Campground, where you can go fishing, and East Fork State Park, where you can go hunting in season. Use Cincinnati RV dump stations at General Butler State Resort Park, Kincaid Lake State Park, or Big Bone Lick State Park.
Art, adventure, and nature can all be found in Knoxville, Tennessee. Consider visiting the Knoxville Zoo and taking a ride on the Star of Knoxville Riverboat. There are many terrific Knoxville campgrounds. Water lovers will want to consider staying at Soaring Eagle Campground, where you can rent canoes, swim, and fish. Another fantastic choice is Raccoon Valley RV Park, with its nearby nature trails and a dog run. Find Knoxville RV dump stations at Melton Hill Dam Campground, Clinton / Knoxville North KOA, or Southlake RV Park.
Atlanta is a bustling city with lots to do. Consider visiting the spacious Georgia Aquarium, learning about Cokes from around the world at Coca-Cola World, and shopping at the farmers market at Piedmont Park. Terrific Atlanta campground choices are abundant. Piedmont Wildlife Refuge is very near Scenic Mountain RV Park. Consider Atlanta South RV Park with its spacious playground if you have children. If you love a quiet campground, consider Sweetwater Creek RV Park. There are great Atlanta RV dump stations at Jones RV Park, Cabela's, and Pilot Flying J Travel Center.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Detroit to Tampa, 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 Tampa.