The drive from Little Rock, AR, to Sioux Falls, SD, might take some time, but it will leave you with the freedom to explore plenty of natural beauty in the South and Midwest. After starting in the capital of Arkansas, you can move through Omaha and check out the Glore Psychiatric Museum before heading north for barbecue in Kansas City. Make time to visit the Omaha Children's Museum or to explore the Ozarks while on your journey to South Dakota.
Homestead National Park
Homestead National Historical Park in Nebraska is a great place to learn about the history of the Homestead Act. Enacted in 1862, it gave people the right to claim federally owned land in exchange for five years of residence and cultivation on the property. This act led to a major expansion westward for Americans. The park boasts 3 miles of hiking trails and both the Homestead Heritage Center and the Homestead Education Center. You can research family histories and tour the Freeman School, too.
Badlands National Park
Located 275 past Sioux Falls in western South Dakota, Badlands National Park is worth the extra travel time. The park has a long driving trail that winds its way around the South Unit as well as the White River Visitor Center, where you can pick up a map. Both the Badlands Loop Road and Sage Creek Rim Road offer impressive views of nature. There's also the Fossil Preparation Lab, where you can watch experts extract and go over the fossils found in the Badlands.
Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis is easy to reach on your way to Sioux Falls. Known as the Gateway to the West, the park is home to St. Louis's iconic Arch. You can get tickets to the top of the arch and see the entire city along with surrounding areas. The park has a tram that takes visitors all the way to the top. After your trip, take a few hours to explore the Museum at the Gateway Arch.
Lake of the Ozarks State Park
Lake of the Ozarks State Park has appeared in many film and television shows over the years. This Missouri landmark has a Visitor Center with a checklist that covers all of the birds and wild animals that you might see. Cave tours are available for adults, but there are also children's tours for younger visitors. With 13 different hiking trails, the park has adventures that are suitable for all ages.
Custer State Park
Custer State Park in South Dakota covers more than 70,000 acres in the Black Hills. You might come in November for the annual Buffalo Auction or in September for the Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival. The park offers special interactive activities in the summer and self-guided tours during all other seasons. You'll also find an onsite campground as well as rental cabins if you want a break from the road.
Good Earth State Park
Located just 10 miles from downtown Sioux Falls, Good Earth State Park is worth the side trip. The Good Earth Outdoor Concert Series features popular acts playing every week in the summer. You will find play areas for kids and paved bicycle trails for riders along with picnic tables and outdoor shelters. Make sure that you stop by the Visitors Center for a map and to learn about the history of the region.
Glore Psychiatric Museum
Though it might sound a little morbid, the Glore Psychiatric Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Missouri. Located on the former grounds of St. Joseph's State Lunatic Asylum No. 2, it began when a doctor collected items from patients. The museum also features a large collection of artwork created by former patients along with a history of the asylum and those who worked there.
Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Anyone who loves animals will want to stop off at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha. Here, thousands of animals live in habitats scattered across more than 160 acres. Some of the exhibits that you can explore include the Own Sea Lions Shore, where sea lions play, and the Lied Jungle, which features animals from African rainforests. The zoo also has a theater that shows films and a pavilion where you can get close to butterflies and other insects. If you're traveling with kids, this is a great stop for your upcoming Little Rock to Sioux Falls road trip.
Joplin History and Mineral Museum
Though many know this city for the tornado that touched down, it's also home to the amazing Joplin History and Mineral Museum. The Dorothea B. Hoover Historical Museum goes over the history of the city and the connection that it has to Bonnie and Clyde. There are also exhibits dedicated to Route 66. Also onsite is the Everett J. Ritchie Tri-State Mineral Museum, which features exhibits of the minerals found in the nearby fields.
Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
While you can easily spend a few days exploring the Ozarks, take time to visit the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, too. As one of the largest botanical gardens in the south, it features a native butterfly house and 12 gardens with different themes. Yoga in the Garden and Chefs in the Garden are special programs that let you cook and practice yoga with experts while enjoying the gardens that surround you.
Home to a little under 9,000 people, Nevada, Missouri, is one of the few towns in the country named after a different state. Though the town is fairly small, you'll still find a handful of things to do, including visiting the Bushwhacker Museum. You can then head over to the DeLaney Vineyard and Winery for a cold drink or to pick up a bottle of local wine as a souvenir.
As you head northwest from Little Rock, you'll come across Fayetteville. This city boasts the Arkansas Air and Military Museum, which houses the state's largest collection of military artifacts. Not far away is the Confederate Cemetery and Clinton House Museum. If you visit during the winter, you might plan a trip to Cedar Creek Ski Park. There are dozens of trails for visitors of all experience levels along with lessons and a large lodge. There are several handy dump stations near the ski park.
Kansas City, Missouri
When finalizing your road trip itinerary from Little Rock to Sioux Falls, make sure to add a stop at one of the local barbecue joints in Kansas City. Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que and Q39 are local favorites. Once you get your belly full, you might head over to the National WWI Museum and Memorial or tour the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The Arabia Steamboat Museum is popular with visitors who love boats.
The Omaha Freedom Festival held in the middle of June brings thousands of people to the city for live music and fun activities. You might plan your trip around the Summer Arts Festival or Jazz on the Green. Omaha offers plenty to do outside of the festival season, including the Omaha Children's Museum and the Durham Museum. The Mormon Trail Center offers a glimpse at what life was like for the Mormons who passed through the area and has maps that let you follow in their footsteps.
Joplin is not far away from the Ozarks, which has some great campgrounds where you can stay. It's also home to Grand Falls, which is the largest waterfall in Missouri. You can view the waterfall from the viewing area on Shoal Creek or the nearby bicycle trail. The city is 15 miles away from the George Washington Carver National Monument, which pays respect to the local inventor known as the Plant Doctor. If you have more time to spend in Joplin on your Little Rock to Sioux Falls RV road trip, consider visiting the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center or the Frisco Greenway Trail. You can also tour the former hideout of Bonnie and Clyde.
When you follow this road trip from Little Rock to Sioux Falls, 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 Little Rock or Sioux Falls.