You have two choices when going on an Elkhart to Billings road trip. Both trips start by going around Lake Michigan and passing through Chicago. After you have gone through the Wisconsin Dells, you can choose to turn west and to travel through Rochester to reach South Dakota and Wyoming's northeast corner before reaching Montana. Your other choice is to head further north and to go through Minneapolis before reaching North Dakota and Montana. If you choose the southern path, you will end up doing less driving if you want to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, and you get to visit Mt. Rushmore.
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park covers more than 15,000 acres on Lake Michigan’s southern shore near Porter, Indiana. There are over 15 miles of beaches to play on, and you can swim and fish from the beach. This park has over 50 miles of hiking trails. The Cowles Bog Trail has so much plant and animal diversity that federal officials have declared it a National Natural Landmark. The Glenwood Dunes Trail is a fantastic place to go on a trail ride.
Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park covers more than 244,000 acres near Interior, South Dakota. The 1.5-mile Notch Trail is one of the most famous hiking paths in the park because you must climb a rope ladder with log steps and walk along steep canyon walls to complete it. Another outstanding choice is to hike the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail to see the Badlands' varied landscape. Take a break while visiting this park to listen to the prairie dogs chatter at Roberts Prairie Dog Town. Bring your camera along to capture this park’s unique formations, like Saddle Pass, Yellow Mounds Overlook, and Pinnacle Overlook. Badlands Loop Road allows you to see many of this park’s best sites without getting out of your car.
Wind Cave National Park
You will want to stop at Wind Cave National Park near Hot Springs, South Dakota, on your Elkhart to Billings RV road trip to watch bison, elk, and other wildlife roaming. Take a guided tour of Wind Cave, which takes its name from the unique sound the wind makes when blowing near the cave’s entrance. This cave is one of the most complex in the world. Pay special attention to the boxwork as these thin blades of calcite intersecting each other at different angles are seen in very few other caves worldwide.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park near Moose, Wyoming, is a fantastic place to go hiking. The park is home to at least 11 glaciers. Driving along the 42-mile scenic loop road is a great way to see many of them. You may also want to go biking on this road to see the glaciers. The area near the Meadows Campground offers outstanding climbing routes for all ability levels. You can also use this park to launch a rafting trip lasting from a few hours to several days on the Snake River. Anglers can find great fly-fishing opportunities at Jenny Lake, the Snake River, and Jackson Lake.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park was the first national park established by the federal government. Hike along the trails in this park to view bison grazing in pastures and other wildlife. While many people come to this park to watch Old Faithful erupt, there are over 10,000 hydrothermal features, including hot springs, in this park.
There are several state parks along your Elkhart to Billings road trip that are worth stopping to explore!
Governor Nelson State Park
Located just 10 miles from Wisconsin’s state capital in Madison, Governor Nelson State Park sits on Lake Mendota’s shores. The 10,000-acre lake is a terrific spot to go Muskie, bass, and pike fishing. You can easily access the lake from the park’s boat ramp. You can play on the beach and hike along the 8 miles of trails at this park.
Good Earth State Park
You will not want to miss seeing the visitors center at Good Earth State Park near Sioux Falls, South Dakota. View the many exhibits related to the Native Americans who lived in this area between 1500 and 1700. Large hand-painted murals depicting life in the Blood Run region cover the walls. There is also an Indian lodge that you can walk into and see how these earliest residents lived. Follow the 6 miles of hiking trails to see fantastic scenery.
Bear Butte State Park
Take a walk across Bear Butte State Park near Sturgis, South Dakota, which contains a mountain sacred to the Lakota and Cheyenne Native American tribes. As you are walking, you may come across people worshiping by tying small bundles and fabric strips to the trees. These are part of their worship, and you should leave them in place. Take the 2-mile hike to this mountain's summit that the Lakota call Bear Butte and the Cheyenne call Noahvose. Out of respect, use your indoor voices while visiting this area. As you start your hike, watch for the herd of buffalo that live near the mountain’s base. You can also go horseback riding at this location, so be sure to include a stop here on your road trip itinerary from Elkhart to Billings.
Keyhole State Park
Keyhole State Park between Sundance and Moorcroft, Wyoming, is one of the state's largest state parks. Anglers have pulled some of the largest fish in the state from Keyhole Reservoir. Quickly launch your vessel from one of the six boat ramps. Alternatively, rent a boat or sailboat from the marina if you do not want to bring yours on your road trip from Elkhart to Billings. You can also stock up on basic supplies for your cookout and your fishing expedition at the marina’s store. You can go swimming anywhere in the lake that is not near a boat ramp or the marina, and the park has a lovely beach.
Timbavati Wildlife Park
Interact with animals at Timbavati Wildlife Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Take a ride on the Safari Railroad to see the larger animals before heading to the petting area and animal nursery, where you can feed small animals from around the world. Take a ride on a camel or a pony, and watch the elephant theater show.
Storybook Island in Rapid City, South Dakota, is a great place to immerse yourself in settings from your favorite children’s books during your Elkhart to Billings RV road trip. There are more than 100 different settings available. Take a ride on the train and the antique carousel. Bounce around inside a military jeep and Tinkerbell's castle. Theatrical performances often happen at this park that is open only in the summer and for a short time during the winter holidays.
Mt. Rushmore National Memorial
Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, located near Keystone, South Dakota, contains the 60-foot-tall heads of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. Around the Presidential Trail and at various sites near the monument, guests can attend special 30-minute or shorter programs to learn more about the presidents, tools used to make the monument, and the Native Americans who call this area home.
Campgrounds in Chicago, like Kankakee South KOA, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, and Enchanted Shores, often allow you a quiet place to escape while keeping you close to all the Windy City has to offer. Using an RV dump station in Chicago helps ensure that you are ready for the next leg of your journey, so stop at Burnidge & Paul Wolff Forest Preserve, TA-Petro Rochelle Stopping Center, or Vacationland to dump your tanks.
Rochester, Minnesota, is best known as the home to the renowned Mayo Clinic, but you can find many attractions and things to do in this friendly city. Campground options in Rochester, including Autumn Woods RV Park, Rochester/Marion KOA, and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, are perfect for camping while you explore this city. After you have enjoyed exploring this city, use Rochester RV dump stations, like Lazy D Campground & Trail Rides, Ponderosa Campground, or Hidden Meadows RV Park, before heading out again.
Rapid City, South Dakota
You will want to stop and visit Dinosaur Park, Bear Country USA, and the Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, South Dakota. There are many great campgrounds in Rapid City where you may want to stay, including Rapid City RV Park, Lake Park Campground & Cottages, and Rapid City/Black Hills KOA. There are also many RV dump stations in Rapid City, including Days of 76 Campground/Lead-Deadwood Sanitary, TA Express Hot Springs, and Cabela’s.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Elkhart to Billings, 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 Elkhart or Billings.