If you want to travel from the heart of Connecticut to the southwestern part of Missouri, then a Hartford to Branson road trip may be in the cards for you. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore a variety of different national and state parks on your journey. There are some fun big cities along the route as well, so you’ll have no trouble finding some great tourist attractions to visit. No matter when you decide to take your journey, you’ll be able to easily craft an awesome road trip itinerary from Hartford to Branson.
Shenandoah National Park
If you’re willing to travel about three and a half hours south of Milton, Pennsylvania, then you’ll have the opportunity to explore the lovely Shenandoah National Park. Some of the most beautiful parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains are on display here; you can explore this park via car on Skyline Drive or on foot, horseback, or bike courtesy of the park’s hundreds of miles of trails. Rock climbing, fishing, and camping are other favorite activities here.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
You only have to travel 13 minutes north of Akron, Ohio, in order to reach Cuyahoga Valley National Park, so how could you not visit it on your road trip from Hartford to Branson? This stunning stretch of the Cuyahoga River is sandwiched between Akron and Cleveland, but urban sprawl will be the last thing on your mind as you’re taking in the wonders of the waterfalls and rivers here. Ravines, wetlands, rolling hills, forests, and more await you at this lovely park that attracts more than 2 million visitors a year.
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park
Instead of staying on Interstate 70 and heading for Illinois, you should head north on Interstate 65 so that you can explore Indiana Sand Dunes National Park. You’ll love the 15 miles of Lake Michigan lakefront you’ll be able to use for water sports and sunbathing. There are, of course, plenty of dunes to see here; you’ll also be able to experience prairies, wetlands, forests, and more.
Mammoth Cave National Park
If you travel three hours and 15 minutes south of Indianapolis, you’ll make your way to another outstanding national park: Mammoth Cave National Park. This park is home to Earth’s longest-known cave system, so you won’t have any problem finding great places to explore. Don’t discount the adventures you can have on the surface; hiking, biking, and horseback riding through some of Kentucky’s gorgeous rolling hills are also popular pastimes here.
Gateway Arch National Park
Just as St. Louis itself is known as the “Gateway to the West,” so Gateway Arch National Park is the doorway to the last portion of your Hartford to Branson RV road trip. This urban national park is only six minutes from downtown St. Louis, so you’ll get to explore this unique town on the Mississippi River once you’re finished viewing this architectural wonder. The park itself contains the Arch, the Old St. Louis Courthouse, some museums and historic buildings, and even seasonal riverboat cruises.
Harriman State Park
Right after you cross the Hudson River, you’ll want to head 40 minutes south of Newburgh, New York, to Harriman State Park. Your net driving time in New York is short, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop and explore this gorgeous state park on your road trip from Hartford to Branson. This is an excellent place to go boating and fishing thanks to the 30 separate bodies of water in the park. Those who wish to keep their feet on dry land can enjoy more than 200 miles of trails that pass through the lovely New York countryside.
Hickory Run State Park
If you want to visit a jaw-dropping boulder field on your Hartford to Branson road trip, then a visit to Hickory Run State Park, 25 minutes east of Drums, Pennsylvania, is a must. In addition to Boulder Field, the park is home to some excellent trout streams, multiple natural areas, and more than 40 miles of hiking trails. Hunting, swimming, skiing, and other activities are favorites at Hickory Run State Park.
Deer Creek State Park
Just 40 minutes southwest of Columbus, Ohio, is Deer Creek State Park. If you want to add a great boating venue to your road trip itinerary from Hartford to Branson, then Deer Creek State Park should be at the top of your list. Deer Creek Lake is perfect for boating and fishing; you’ll also enjoy the swimming beach and picnic areas. Golfers and disc golfers can play a few rounds on the park’s 18-hole traditional golf and disc golf courses.
Turkey Run State Park
Turkey Run State Park is about 40 minutes north of Brazil, Indiana. Turkey vultures, beavers, deer, and more all call the old-growth forests and deep gorges of Turkey Run State Park home. Visitors enjoy canoeing on Sugar Creek, swimming in the Olympic-size pool, and hiking on the rugged trails throughout the park. History buffs like to tour the multiple historical buildings from the 19th century in the park.
Wolf Creek State Park
Forty minutes north of Effingham, Illinois, is the lovely Wolf Creek State Park. The park’s staggering 250 miles of shoreline on Lake Shelbyville provide more space for swimming, fishing, and sunbathing than you could ever need. The lake itself is a great place to catch catfish, bass, crappie, and more. Those visiting in winter can take advantage of the snowmobile trail that’s more than 16 miles long.
Ten minutes from Southington, Connecticut, you’ll encounter Lake Compounce, one of the first stops on your road trip itinerary from Hartford to Branson. This park has been in operation for nearly 175 years, so its reputation for showing guests a good time is well-deserved. You’ll be able to visit the theme park and the water park here, so you’ll get to experience great rides like Boulder Dash and Venus Vortex.
If you travel about 45 minutes south of Fishkill, New York, you’ll get to tour Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate. Between looking at the estate’s posh interior and the scenic views of the Hudson River, you’ll be able to get a feel for how the Rockefellers lived.
Elk Country Visitor Center
Elk Country Visitor Center is roughly 40 minutes northeast of DuBois, Pennsylvania. It’s the best place to see elk in Pennsylvania in a natural setting. In addition to seeing these majestic creatures from trails and viewing areas, you’ll be able to look at educational exhibits, watch a 4-D theatrical show, and shop at the gift shop.
Seven minutes from the heart of Indianapolis is the exciting Indianapolis Zoo. They showcase many different species of animals in exhibits like Plains, Deserts, Forests, and White River Gardens. You can also take advantage of multiple animal feeds, the Endangered Species Carousel, and the shark touch pool.
About five minutes from the outskirts of Springfield, Missouri, you’ll encounter the Fantastic Caverns. If you’ve ever wanted to explore awesome caves from the comfort of a Jeep, then this is your best chance to do so. Before you head south to Branson for the end of your road trip, be sure to take in the massive columns, fragile soda straws, and crystal-clear waters of Fantastic Caverns.
Scranton has multiple great attractions like the Steamtown National Historic Site and the Electric City Aquarium & Reptile Den. There are some beautiful RV campgrounds in the area that are great places to park your trailer.
Akron is close to Cleveland and Lake Erie, but you don’t have to go that far to find fun places to visit like Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and the Akron Zoo. You won’t have any problem finding top-notch dump stations and campgrounds in this area.
While you explore the capital of Ohio, you’ll have your pick of quality dump stations and campgrounds nearby. Be sure to stop by places like Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and the Columbus Museum of Art.
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis may be famous for its Gateway Arch, but you can also visit great places like the Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis Zoo here. While you’re exploring this fascinating city on the Mississippi River, you’ll be able to use multiple dump stations and campgrounds.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Hartford to Branson, 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 Hartford or Branson .