A road trip from Indianapolis to Chicago can be relatively short, but it will be much more enjoyable in an RV. Along the way, you can encounter a lot of great nature spots as well as attractions like the Deep River Waterpark. Once you are in Chicago, there are plenty of museums and things to see that you will not want to miss, and don't forget to spend some time at Millennium Park. For most of this trip, you can take I-65 north, but going off of the main interstate will allow you to see more state parks along the way.
Indiana Dunes National Park
When planning your road trip itinerary from Indianapolis to Chicago, be sure to stop at Indiana Dunes National Park. The park has a beach located on Lake Michigan, so swimming and water sports are fun activities to enjoy here. It is 15,000 acres, which includes dunes, rivers, forests, prairies, and more.
This park is an excellent spot for birdwatchers because of the 350 species that can be found here. It is only about 50 miles from Chicago, so it's one of the last stops you will make during your trip. If you are on the western side of the park, you can easily see the Chicago skyline when you look across Lake Michigan.
White River State Park
Before you leave Indianapolis, you will want to stop by this Indiana state park. White River State Park is the only urban state park that you will find in Indiana. It still has trails and green spaces, and there are water features and structures throughout the park that you will want to visit. There are museums and gardens in the space as well as three areas that host concerts in the park where live music can be heard frequently. Don't miss out on the Irish Festival and the Rib America Festival that can be enjoyed here yearly.
Fort Harrison State Park
Fort Harrison State Park is another state park that you can visit before you get too far out of Indianapolis. The park is 1,700 acres, and there are plenty of jogging trails that you can explore. Fishing is also an activity that many enjoy here, and during the winter, people congregate to enjoy one of the largest sledding hills in the area. During the spring, the park is covered with wildflowers, and in the fall, the leaves are simply stunning.
Shades State Park
Shades State Park has ravines, sandstone cliffs, and plenty of greenery that you will enjoy. You can go fishing and hiking here as well. The cliffs overlook Sugar Creek, so kayakers and canoeists will also love what this park has to offer. Even though there is a creek in the park, swimming is prohibited because the water is too swift. A small cascading waterfall is exquisite, especially if viewed from the Lover's Leap observation deck.
Prophetstown State Park
If you are into bird watching, then make sure that you stop and explore Prophetstown State Park. It is ideal for birding, especially in the spring when more birds are in the park. You can also go swimming or hiking in the park if you'd like. An aquatic center in the park offers a lazy river, a tube slide, and splash zones. There is also a Native American village that you can explore to learn more about the history of the tribes from around this area.
Tippecanoe River State Park
As you travel north, the final state park on your Indianapolis to Chicago RV road trip is Tippecanoe River State Park. There are 23 miles of trails in the park that you can hike, and you can experience 14 of those miles on horseback. There is a 90-foot fire tower that serves as an observation tower that gives visitors a view of the surrounding area.
Animal lovers will be excited to visit the Indianapolis Zoo. There are programs and special exhibits to explore throughout the year, and if you are in the area near the holidays, they even celebrate Christmas at the zoo. In-water adventures with dolphins and overnight experiences are also available. Don't forget to check out the rides in the zoo.
Indiana Fear Farm
If you enjoy being scared, then the Indiana Fear Farm is a haunted attraction that is has been open every fall for 17 years. The available attractions can change from year to year, but there is a haunted hayride guaranteed to give you a thrill.
Tippecanoe Battlefield Park and Museum
This is a historic landmark that is positioned on a 96-acre park. Here, you can see an 85-foot marble monument that was built in 1908 to mark the Battle of Tippecanoe between the United States forces and the Native American forces. The museum tells the story of this battle and what happened before and after the battle of 1812.
This is an impressive ecosystem that you can hike, bike, and explore. There are kayaks, paddleboats, and canoes available that you can rent to explore the water, and for your safety, life jackets are provided. Bird watching around this lake is great because you can spot a large variety of birds such as marsh wrens, sparrows, yellow warblers, red-eyed vireos, and more.
If science is your thing, then this is a must-see stop that the entire family will enjoy. Explore the exhibits and check out the shows to help keep your mind connected with the universe. The planetarium opened in 1920, so it has been a Chicago attraction for nearly a century. Did you know that in a dark night sky, you can see 4,500 stars, but in Chicago, only about 35 are visible? You learn this and other facts in the exhibit "Chicago's Night Sky," and there are several shows that you can watch when you visit the planetarium.
One of the cities you will want to visit during your Indianapolis to Chicago road trip is Jamestown. Here, you will explore the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Museum, which was built to preserve the legacy of the actors, and has clothing, photographs, and other memorabilia from the duo. There is also a wetland preserve in the city called the Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary that has trails, educational gardens, and interactive exhibits. If you decide to stay in this town overnight, there are several campgrounds nearby that you can consider.
Lafayette has a wide array of attractions that are rich in culture and history. You can take some time to walk the Wabash Heritage Trail, a 13-mile trail positioned along the Wabash River. To see some wildlife, explore the Celery Bog Nature area in the city. This trail is full of turtles, frogs, beavers, and other animals. Wolf Park is a wolf sanctuary with howl nights that most visitors, especially kids, will enjoy.
If you decide to stay nearby for a few days, Lafayette campgrounds are plentiful, so there is sure to be one that fits your needs. Wolfe's Leisure Time Campground and Big Fish'n Campground are located right inside the city, and they offer amenities that the entire family will love.
In Valparaiso, you can visit the Chapel of Resurrection. This massive chapel has stained glass windows that look amazing as the sun hits them. The Taltree Arboretum and Gardens is an excellent place for nature lovers to visit. There are museums in the city as well as theaters and opera houses that you can enjoy. As you explore things in the city, make sure to check out local campgrounds to create a home base for a night or two. You can also find several Indiana dump stations on this route.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Indianapolis to Chicago, 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 Chicago.