A road trip from Indianapolis to Erie will take most of the day as you travel north through Indiana and east through Ohio and Pennsylvania along Lake Erie. You will have the opportunity to see a varied landscape of prairies, rivers, forests, and of course, the lake. There are several national and state parks in this region, and the large cities of Toledo and Cleveland offer a variety of fun activities, dining options, and shopping. The Cuyahoga Valley was an important geographical location and economic force in the region, especially after several canals were built to connect this area to the Erie Canal in order to access the trade route into New York City from Buffalo.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park is a large preserve that runs alongside the southern shores of Lake Michigan for a distance of 15 miles. The park has a varied ecology of sand dunes, prairies, woods, rivers, wetlands, and beaches. Visitors can use the more than 50 miles of hiking trails to explore the dunes that rise to almost 200 feet in rows of ridges and valleys. Indiana Dunes is noted for the number of bird species that have been observed in the park; in fact, more than 350 species have been cataloged. These include migratory birds, waterfowl, and native bird species. Besides the natural significance of the national park, there are also over 60 historic buildings that include the Bailly Homestead, which is a National Historic Landmark.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park runs beside the Cuyahoga River from Akron to Ohio. Visitors to the national park can hike along a restored section of the Ohio and Erie Canal towpath, view the impressive Brandywine Falls, and tour the Canal Exploration Center. Taking a train ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is a fun activity that you will want to include on your Indianapolis to Erie road trip itinerary. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a combination of publicly and privately managed areas, and some private sites may have associated fees.
Mary Jane Thurston State Park
The Maumee River is known for its excellent stream fishing and scenic views. When you add Mary Jane Thurston State Park to your Indianapolis to Erie RV road trip, you will have ample opportunities to fish, boat, and paddle on the river. Besides all the water fun, there are several hiking trails, including the Grand Rapids Towpath Trail, which follows a section of the old Miami and Erie Canal. You can trap wild game and also hunt for waterfowl on designated shoreline areas. Part of the property is available for archery hunting only. There is also an archery range with static and 3-D targets that are located on the east side of the day-use area. The targets are 10, 20, 30, and 40 yards, and you must bring your own equipment with field tips only and no broadheads.
Findley State Park
Home to dense forests and a man-made lake, Findley State Park used to be a state forest. Originally known as Findley Forest, the area was planted with help from the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s; it is populated with white and red pine, maple, white ash, wild black cherry, beech, and oak. You can enjoy the variety of wildflowers and maybe catch a glimpse of the resident foxes, deer, raccoons, and beavers when you put this park on your road trip itinerary from Indianapolis to Erie. The Duke's skipper butterfly is a rare species that resides in the butterfly sanctuary.
Fort Harrison State Park
Fort Harrison State Park offers loads of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy in all seasons. Winter is especially fun when sliding down one of the biggest sledding hills in the local region. In the summer, you can take a paddling trip on Fall Creek, a waterway that runs along the northern portion of Fort Harrison. The spring brings the wildflowers into bloom, and the fall is a vibrant display of autumn foliage. There are walking trails, picnic areas, and fishing access on Fall Creek. History buffs will enjoy touring the Museum of 20th Century Warfare, which features displays on the lives of the soldiers of the historic Fort Harrison.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a 183-acre zoo that houses more than 3,000 animals from 600 species. The zoo has several distinct areas: Australian Adventure; the Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building; Northern Wilderness Trek; African Savanna; Waterfowl Lake; the RainForest; and Asian Highlands. The primate group is the largest zoo collection in North America and includes western lowland gorillas, new world monkeys, orangutans, and lemurs. Some are in the permanent RainForest exhibit, but most reside in the Primate, Cat & Aquatics Building. The zoo complex also has a botanical garden and an insectarium.
Toledo Museum of Art
The Toledo Museum of Art is located in the historic Old West End district of Toledo. The museum has more than 30,000 items on display throughout 45 galleries on 4.5 acres of floor space. The museum was founded in 1901 and was moved to a Greek revival building in 1912; over the decades, it has undergone many expansions and renovations. The museum has a fine collection of Rubens and Rembrandt paintings as well as a large display of glassworks.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a conservatory that combines horticulture, art displays, and educational programs. The complex is located on 40 acres in the eastern portion of Franklin Park, and it contains the 1895 John F. Wolfe Palm House, botanical gardens, a children's garden, and 83,000 square feet of glasshouses. One of the botanical gardens features a large collection of Dale Chihuly glass artwork. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Community Garden Campus contains a rose pavilion, a berry house, an apiary, and 40 community garden plots for the public's use free of charge.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Located in northeastern Indiana, Fort Wayne lies on the first leg of your road trip from Indianapolis to Erie. Fort Wayne is home to many natural attractions and cultural venues and buildings. During your visit to the city, you can stop by The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, and the 1860 Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which contains 19th-century stained glass. The shady Bluffton/Fort Wayne South KOA has a playground, walking trails, and planned activities. You may want to utilize one of the convenient dump stations before getting too far down the road.
Toledo is on the western shores of Lake Erie, and it is a great place to stop and visit for those who enjoy art and history museums. The Toledo Museum of Art has both modern and Renaissance works of art, and you will definitely enjoy viewing the extensive collection of glassworks that come from Toledo's glass production past. The family will have fun exploring in The Imagination Station, a children's museum on the banks of the Maumee River, and the Toledo Zoo features both animal exhibits and an aquarium to explore. The Toledo East/Stony Ridge KOA Journey has all the niceties that you expect from a KOA, and you will have no trouble finding a nearby dump station to use before you continue on your journey.
As you travel along your Indianapolis to Erie road trip, you will pass through the city of Cleveland. This is about two-thirds of the way on your route, and spending some time here will give you a needed respite before arriving in Erie. While in Cleveland, you can tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, visit one of the nine historic theaters in the Playhouse Square Center, and stroll around the Lake View Cemetery where the graves of James Garfield and John Rockefeller lie. Willow Lake Park is conveniently close to the city, and you will enjoy the comfortable amenities. There are several dump stations nearby for your use.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Indianapolis to Erie, 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 to Erie.