A road trip from Indianapolis to Branson will pass through the midwestern states of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. The Great Lakes are nearby to the north of your journey, and the Mississippi River runs through Missouri and St. Louis. There is much to see and do along your route, such as visiting a national park; viewing interesting preserves like caves, mountains, and rivers; and touring an educational museum. Hopefully, you will be able to add visiting these sites or riding the Mr. Freeze or Fireball rollercoasters at Six Flags St. Louis to your road trip itinerary from Indianapolis to Branson.
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park possesses the most diverse ecological habitats in Indiana. Stretching along 15 miles of the shoreline on Lake Michigan, the park has some of the highest lakeshore dunes in the world. You will also find wild lupines, prairie grasses, forests, marshes, and rivers. Indiana Dunes was originally created as a national seashore but was designated as the park system's 61st national park in 2019. You can easily explore while taking any of the 14 trail systems within the park. Fishing, boating, and hiking are popular in the spring and summer, and many people come to the park in the winter to snowshoe, ski cross-country, and ice-fish.
Gateway Arch National Park
When you ride the tram to the top of the Gateway Arch at Gateway Arch National Park, you will ascend 630 feet to the top of the tallest arch in the world. Here, above the Mississippi River in St. Louis, you can see up to 30 miles to the east and west. Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacagawea set out from here on their official journey to the Pacific Ocean. The Gateway Arch commemorates them and all the countless others who impacted this area. The park was renovated in 2018, and the new museum complex features interpretive displays of the Native Americans, pioneers, and explorers who shaped this land. There are six exhibit areas that represent 200 years of history, with an emphasis on the role of St. Louis on westward expansion.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park is the oldest national park in the U.S. and is a unique reflection of the grand heyday of natural spas. Today, the park is operated as both a working spa and as a historical and natural preserve. Buckstaff Baths is a functional bathhouse that has been in continual operation for more than a hundred years. Visitors to the park can tour eight of the original bathhouses on "Bathhouse Row," all of which were built between 1892 and 1923. You can touch the hot springs in the park, hike along 26 miles of nature trails through the forests and creeks and take in the scenic views of the Ouachita mountains.
Meramec State Park
Meramec State Park is home to the Meramec River, which flows by tall bluffs, forests, and caves. There are several waterfalls along the river, and the cave system has more than 40 documented caves. Fisher Cave is the most unique of the caves and features narrow passages with streams, large caverns, stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, columns, and more. Some of the rooms have old animal markings on the walls and floors. More than 13 miles of hiking trails afford plenty of opportunities to experience the variety of habitats, and visitors can fish, swim, and boat on the river.
Wolf Creek State Park
Wolf Creek State Park, in conjunction with the adjoining Eagle Creek State Recreation Area, contains 250 miles of the shores of Lake Shelbyville. The boat launch has four lanes to provide easy access to the lake. Swimmers will appreciate amenities like changing rooms for the beach areas, a playground for the kids, and restrooms for all. Besides all the available lake fun, there are plenty of other recreational opportunities like hiking along the seven hiking trails in the park or riding horses on the 15-mile horse trail. Winter sports enthusiasts can ride on their snowmobiles on a 16.5-mile snowmobile trail.
Table Rock State Park
Table Rock State Park is a 3,083-acre preserve that is located in Branson, MO. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the park in the 1930s, and the park still features many of the original architectural components and stonework. The highlight of the park is the State Park Marina, which is home to 650 boats and features a nautical boathouse store, boat rentals, and full marine services. The marina also offers a number of special boat tours, scuba tours with lessons, and even parasailing. When you are tired of playing on the two lakes and want to see the interior woodlands, the miles of hiking, mountain biking, and bicycle trails will take you throughout the park.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a complex with two centers connected by a skywalk. The museum contains dioramas of the presidential box at Ford's Theatre, various rooms of the White House, events from Lincoln's life and his boyhood home. The library houses maps, manuscripts, books, pictures, newspapers, and Civil War objects and papers. The Lincoln Collection on display has more than 1,500 documents signed by Lincoln.
Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City is an entertainment complex that includes a theme park, a water park, a cruise boat, and a campground. The theme park is designed with an 1880's-style and features more than 40 rides and attractions, plus a number of eateries and shops. Some of the most popular rides include Time Traveler, the world's fastest, tallest and steepest spinning rollercoaster, and Outlaw Run, a double-barrel-rolling rollercoaster. Younger riders will enjoy friendly rides like Fireman's Landing, The Frisco Silver Dollar Line Steam Train, Half Dollar Holler, and more. At the water park, ride the waves in the Surf's Up Wave Pool, play with the little ones in Coconut Cove and float down the Aloha River. For a more exciting experience, ride KaPau Plummet and fall 40 feet at a speed of 26 feet per second.
Springfield is the capital of Illinois. If you stop in Springfield on your Indianapolis to Branson RV road trip, you can visit the capital building, Lincoln's Tomb, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and the Dana-Thomas House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. You will find a quiet and peaceful setting for your RV at the Double J Campground, which is a Good Sam RV Park. There are numerous dump stations nearby for your convenience.
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is located in a region that was once the home of the "Mound Builders," a civilization that lived in the area from A.D. 700 to 1300. After European settlers arrived in North America, St. Louis became an important hub of westward expansion and exploration. While in St. Louis, you can ride thrilling rides at Six Flags St. Louis, play in the Magic House children's museum, and view the floral displays at the Jewel Box greenhouse. The St. Louis RV Park is located within easy walking distance to many attractions, and if you need a dump station for your RV, it is a simple matter to find one.
Terre Haute, Indiana
Located along the Wabash River, Terre Haute is known as "The Queen City of the Wabash." Terre Haute is home to Indiana State University and has many cultural and recreational sites within the city. The Swope Art Museum, the Terre Haute Children's Museum, Hawthorne Park, Candles Holocaust Museum, and other similar attractions are all worthwhile places to visit. Terre Haute KOA has lots of indoor and outdoor activities like swimming, community arts, and scouting programs for everyone. Terre Haute is not far from Indianapolis and is a good place to use a dump station before getting further along on your Indianapolis to Branson road trip.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Indianapolis 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 Indianapolis or Branson.