There were 13 original colonies on the Atlantic Coast of North America that banded together to rebel against the oppressive policies of the British in 1776 and become the initial states of the union. Your road trip from Jacksonville to Portland originates and ends in the only two states on the East Coast that were not among those original members. Your journey is a fantastic voyage that travels through space and time to revisit the United States' history. Seldom does a family or individual get the chance to experience so many significant national and state parks that preserve lands just as they were when discovered in such quick order. As you pass from community to community on this journey, you witness the differences in culture and social structure that make up the strained fabric of the world’s leading democracy. Stopping at the museums, restaurants, and shops that every town and city provides gives you a perspective on the strength of a nation based on individual rights, individual freedoms, and individual choices.
Congaree National Park
You reach picturesque Savannah, GA, 140 miles into your Jacksonville to Portland road trip. After visiting the town to see the impressive architecture, detour due north 150 miles to visit Congaree National Park. The park is an inland swamp located on the slow-moving Congaree River where cypress trees dip their toes into brackish water, alligators roam beneath the surface, and migratory birds decorate the scene with their colorful plumes. It is a splendid example of nature’s architectural design, which, compared to the flourish found in Savannah, makes a signatory statement worthy of preservation as a national park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
From Congaree National Park, journey 150 miles to Fayetteville, NC, to get back on your road trip itinerary from Jacksonville to Portland. At Fayetteville, you are over 390 miles into your journey if you were to take the direct route. Fayetteville is the ideal place to turn west and travel 312 miles across the piedmont area to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 500,000-acre park is the most visited national park in the country. Approaching the impressive line of hills that turn into mountains, you can see why. When the veil of fog drifts away, the visuals grow more impressive with each mile. Wildlife and wildflowers share prominence in this park. The series of ridges and deep valleys provide a backdrop for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. When traveling through this park, visitors can only imagine what the first explorers experienced walking through this pathless wilderness to see what lay on the other side. It is a testament to human endurance and persistence under grueling conditions.
Shenandoah National Park
Washington, D.C., is 710 miles into your road trip from Jacksonville to Portland. In Washington, detour 79 miles west to visit Shenandoah National Park. A stunning example of nature’s architecture, this park covers over 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Impressive valleys carved by rushing rivers, high ridges, and mountainsides covered in deciduous and evergreen trees make an impressive panorama when hikers reach overlooks carved into hillsides or perched on top of rocky outcrops.
Acadia National Park
At the end of your Jacksonville to Portland road trip sits Acadia National Park. Portland is the gateway to this wonderful park that climbs out of the sea and into the mountainous terrain beyond. The only evidence of human presence lies in the 158 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of carriage roads, and 16 stone bridges. The park includes seven peaks more than 1,000 feet in elevation, hundreds of deep valleys and fishing streams, and long ridges on which hikers find incredible views in all directions.
Skidaway Island State Park
On the coast near Savannah, GA, Skidaway Island State Park is a fantastic example of how a balance is achievable between nature and urban life. Migratory birds and wildlife appear oblivious to nearby Savannah. The park consists of a series of marshy islands where farming is impossible. Georgia chose to label the area as a state park to take advantage of an austere and serene environment that soothes the soul.
Bear Creek Lake State Park
Richmond, VA, is 600 miles into your Jacksonville to Portland RV road trip — halfway through your journey. When you reach Richmond, it is a perfect time to detour 30 miles west to visit one of the best state parks in the area. Bear Creek Lake State Park is close to several significant historical locations, including the Wilderness where Civil War battles raged repeatedly and Appomattox, VA, where the conflict ended. Stopping here to visit those historical sites gives you a comfortable place to stay overnight. Miles of hiking trails and a 40-acre lake provide plenty of activity options if you wish to remain inside the park for a day or two.
Bradbury Mountain State Park
There is nowhere better to camp at the end of your road trip from Jacksonville to Portland than at Bradbury Mountain State Park. From here, you can easily venture into Acadia National Park in the mornings and return for a comfortable evening and night in your RV. Hiking trails, like the path to the summit of Bradbury Mountain, provide incredible views of the surrounding area.
Airborne and Special Operations Museum
When you reach Fayetteville, you find the Airborne and Special Operations Museum commemorating those who served in these specialized units from WWII through the present day. In the museum, you find life-sized statues and dioramas depicting uniforms and equipment used by these troops from 1940 through the wars in the Middle East. In front of the museum is the iconic statue of “Iron Mike,” a typical airborne soldier of WWII.
Delaware Museum of Natural History
As you pass through Wilmington, DE, you are 818 miles into your road trip from Jacksonville to Portland. Stop in the city to visit the Delaware Museum of Natural History. Inside, you find exhibits geared toward families with children, including displays of dinosaur fossils, Native American clothing and pottery, original colonist tools, and weapons from the American Revolution. The museum is less crowded than the more famous museums like the Smithsonian and offers a user-friendly approach that guests love.
Lowell National Historic Park
Lowell — the fourth largest city in Massachusetts — is home to Lowell National Historic Park. This park reflects the importance of the industrial era in the development of the nation. The park focuses on the production of cotton and fabrics that boosted the economy of the country. Visitors get access to a cotton mill and fabric production center still operating utilizing the tools of the early 20th century.
Savannah is one of the most picturesque cities in the country. Visitors come to this city to see the incredible architecture that is so reminiscent of the pre-Civil War South. The restaurants are just as unique as the architecture. Stopping in this town is a wonderful experience for tourists. To provide for RV visitors, the city offers multiple dump stations and campgrounds.
Philadelphia is 850 miles into your road trip from Jacksonville to Portland. Its location along your route makes it the perfect city to stop and take a breath while visiting the incredible array of shops, restaurants, museums, and points of interest. Visitors are amazed at how many dump stations are available in the city, and there is no lack of campgrounds where you can rest for an evening or for a week.
New York, New York
New York, the “Big Apple,” is a favorite spot to visit. It has more points to see than any other large urban area on your road trip itinerary from Jacksonville to Portland. Whether you prefer to take in the skyscrapers of Manhattan or visit Long Island to see the sights, this city offers a diverse collection of attractions. While you are here, take advantage of the numerous dump stations the city offers and the campgrounds dispersed throughout the area.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Jacksonville to Portland, 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 Jacksonville or Portland.