Roadtrip with RVshare Indianapolis to Bismarck

Explore America’s heartland by going on an Indianapolis to Bismarck road trip. Be sure to stop at Indiana Sand Dunes National Park. Then, as you travel across Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, you will want to stop at several state parks before reaching North Dakota. There are many things to see and to do along the way, like seeing hundreds of stained-glass windows in one location, exploring science, and learning why Spam needs a museum. Extend the end of your Indianapolis to Bismarck RV road trip about two hours so that you can visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 

Indianapolis to Bismarck Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: 15.5 hours
  • Mileage: 1,020 miles
  • Fun Fact: North Dakota is the number-one producer of honey in the United States.

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Nearby National Parks

Indiana Sand Dunes National Park  

Indiana Sand Dunes National Park near Porter, Indiana, offers terrific outdoor adventures throughout the year. Springtime is a great time to go for a hike to see fields of wildflowers. Over 50 miles of hiking trails lead around Lake Michigan and over dunes as well as through wetlands, prairies, and oak savannahs. Summer is the perfect time for building sandcastles on the beach. It is also a great time to take advantage of the steelhead run by fishing in the Little Calumet River. Late September and early October are perfect times for bike rides to see beautiful fall foliage. Leave yourself time to enjoy it all by staying in the campground that is open from April 1 to October 30. 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park  

Instead of stopping in Bismarck, extend your trip about 135 miles so that you can visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. This national park is divided into three units. The best place to start is in the Medora, North Dakota, area by seeing the Maltese Cross Ranch log cabin moved to this site from nearby. It was initially built in 1883. Then, see the prairie dog town before visiting the Painted Canyon Visitors Center with its magnificent Badlands view. Next, head northwest a little way to visit the Elkhorn Ranch that Theodore Roosevelt started as a farming operation after his mother and his wife died on the same day. Finally, head to the north end of the park to drive on the scenic byway.

Nearby State Parks

Kankakee River State Park  

Kankakee River State Park runs for 11 miles on either side of the Kankakee River. This location, a short distance northwest of Kankakee, Illinois, is an ideal spot to go fishing. It is also a popular spot with canoers who love to test their skills in the naturally channeled river. Seasonally, this is an ideal spot to go bow hunting for deer, waterfowl, and upland game. 

Governor Nelson State Park  

The 10,000-acre Lake Mendota is the centerpiece of Governor Nelson State Park. The lake’s sandy beach is a fantastic spot to play in the sand and to swim. Pets even get a dedicated swimming area. Follow the Woodland Trail to see the effigy mounds. If you have young children along, they are sure to love the playgrounds at this park near Waunakee, Wisconsin. 

Lake Wissota State Park  

Be sure to include a stop at Lake Wissota State Park on your Indianapolis to Bismarck RV road trip. This park near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, is a fantastic place to play on the beach and go swimming. You will see motorboats, kayaks, and canoes on the 6,300-acre lake during the summer months. Additionally, many people come here to go water skiing. There are many miles of mixed-use trails, and this is a great point to access the paved 20-mile Old Abe Trail that runs from this park to Brunet Island State Park near Cornell, Wisconsin. 

Buffalo River State Park  

Stop and see the native prairie landscape at Buffalo River State Park near Glyndon, Minnesota. The best way to explore the tallgrass prairie is by hiking the Prairie View Trail. This location is an excellent area to observe some of the 200 species of birds and 40 species of mammals. In the spring, you can often see over 250 species of wildflowers blooming. Sucker, river redhorse, and goldeye are often biting, so head down the Picnic Area Trail with your rod to fish in the Buffalo River. Seasonally, the swimming pool with its beach is a great place to cool off. 

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park  

You will come away with a deeper understanding of the Mandan Native American tribe when you visit Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Explore the recreated earth lodges at On-a-Slant Village. Visitors have easy access to the Missouri and Heart Rivers at this state park, which is the oldest in North Dakota. This location near Mandan, North Dakota, is also a fantastic place to hike or bike on the 19 miles of trails. 

Along the Way

Halim Time & Glass Museum  

See over 1,000 clocks ranging from tall case clocks to pocket watches from around the world at the Halim Time & Glass Museum. See over 30 stained-glass windows from the American School of Stained Glass, including ones made by Tiffany, when you include this stop on your road trip itinerary from Indianapolis to Bismarck. Learn more about the many types of pieces that Louis Comfort Tiffany made by seeing the unique gallery dedicated to his works. This museum’s café is also a great spot to see Thomas Dietrich's artwork about life in Wisconsin’s small towns during the 20th century. 

Science Museum of Minnesota  

Be sure to leave time on your Indianapolis to Bismarck RV road trip to stop at the Science Museum of Minnesota. At this museum in Saint Paul, you can conduct science experiments, see dinosaur fossils, and explore ecology. 

Spam Museum  

Drop south from Minneapolis about 90 minutes to visit the Spam Museum in Austin. See recipes from 144 countries that Hormel Foods Corporation collected while making Spam in this community. At this free museum, you can also see Spam advertising spanning several decades and learn about the over 14 varieties of Spam that the company has made or currently makes. 

Bonanzaville USA  

Be sure to include a stop on your road trip itinerary from Indianapolis to Bismarck to stop at Bonanzaville USA, in West Fargo, North Dakota. The free museum is open all year, and it is designed to help you learn about early farming and the small communities in the Red River Valley. Traveling exhibits help you understand more about various periods, including the Woman’s Suffrage movement and World War II. The Pioneer Village is open seasonally, and it contains many buildings, such as a general store and a blacksmith, that were moved to this area from throughout the valley and arranged to look like a village. Special events happen here frequently.

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Chicago, Illinois  

Chicago, Illinois, offers many amazing things to do, including taking in a Chicago Cubs or a Chicago Bears game. There are many great campgrounds in Chicago, including Kankakee South KOA, which is located an hour south of the Windy City, and Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground in Milford, where you can watch outdoor movies, do art projects, or go on a hayride. RV dump stations in Chicago can be found at Burnidge & Paul Wolff Forest Preserve, TA-Petro Rochelle Stopping Center, and Vacationland. 

Madison, Wisconsin  

Madison is a fun city to explore on its 200 miles of hiking trails, or you can spend a day playing at one of its lakes. Madison campground options include Stoney Creek RV Resort, where you can go swimming, play miniature golf, or take a miniature train ride. Alternatively, consider staying at Fox Hill RV Park & Campground, where you can play in the pool or the foam pits. Find Madison RV dump stations at Blue Mound State Park, Hickory Hills Family Campground, or Camping World. 

Minneapolis, Minnesota  

Play on the Mississippi River, explore history, and drink some craft beer when you stop in Minneapolis. Think about relaxing in nature by camping in Minneapolis at Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve or Bunker Hills Campground when looking at Minneapolis campgrounds. Minneapolis RV dump stations are available at Holiday Station RV Dump Station, Hastings Public Works, or the Super 8 Motel. 

Fargo, North Dakota  

Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota, and the town uses the slogan “North of Normal.” You will want to explore this city, whose population is one of the youngest in the country while staying in a Fargo campground, like Lindenwood Campground near the city’s downtown area or Governors’ RV Park and Campground, which has an indoor water park. When looking for RV dump stations in Fargo, consider Red River Valley Fair Campground, Red River Valley Fair Campground, or Buffalo River State Park.

Find Adventure from Indianapolis to Bismarck

Find your One-Way Rental

When you follow this road trip itinerary from Indianapolis to Bismarck, 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 Indianapolis or Bismarck.