A Minneapolis to Erie road trip is an opportunity for you and your family to explore the spectacular Great Lakes region of the country. During this RV trip, you will be exposed to a variety of different topographies, some national parks, and more than a few interesting towns and cities. A road trip like this is perfect for an RV, and as you wind your way east, you will also experience Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, so make sure to pack things like fishing gear, swimwear, and if you have a toy hauler or larger RV, your kayaks and watercraft.
Indiana Dunes National Park
The first national park that you will hit during your Minneapolis to Erie RV road trip is Indiana Dunes National Park. This park is one of the newest in the National Parks System and comprises parts of what was originally the Indiana Dunes State Park. Established as a national park in February of 2019, the park get its name from the three massive dunes found inside. These include Mount Tom, which is 192 feet; Mount Holden, which is 184 feet; and Mount Jackson, which is 176 feet. There are also multiple trails to traverse while you're here.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is Ohio’s only national park, and it stretches from Cleveland to Akron. In total, Cuyahoga Valley National Park spans over 32,000 acres, so bring some walking shoes. The park was first established as a recreational area in 1974, and today, more than 2.2 million people visit the park every year. The park is also home to sights like Brandywine Falls, the Virginia Kendall Ledges hiking trails, and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
Willow River State Park
Located in Hudson, WI, Willow River State Park is the first state park you will see on this leg of your road trip from Minneapolis to Erie. Some of the scenic locations you will see include Willow Falls, the sandy beach on the river, and the prairie remnants and nature center. Willow River State Park rests on 2,981 acres of land, and you will love the hiking and cycling opportunities in the park.
Mirror Lake State Park
Named for the lake's mirror-like surface, Mirror Lake State Park is a location to visit when you want to relax and reflect. Filled with vistas that expose the beauty of nature, you will see various animal species, rolling hills, and plenty of fish in the lake itself. You can canoe or kayak on the lake, and there are also numerous hiking trails throughout the area. There is a boat landing here, so if you're bringing your own watercraft, you can easily get your boat in the water at the park.
Lake Kegonsa State Park
Lake Kegonsa State Park is located in Stoughton, WI, and is spread out over about 5 miles of land. The lake itself is part of a four-lake chain, and while here, you can archery hunt, fish, canoe or kayak, or swim. There are also winter-only activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding that you can enjoy.
Rock Cut State Park
Despite the uniquely angular name, Rock Cut State Park is a state park with rolling plains and beautiful, green vistas. There are a variety of activities to engage in at Rock Cut State Park; you can go swimming on Pierce or Olson Lakes, observe the numerous bird species that call this area home, or simply hike the numerous trails that crisscross the park. Hunting for deer and turkeys can be done during the appropriate seasons. When the snow starts flying, you can find plenty of winter activities to consider as well.
Noah’s Ark Waterpark
The first of two water parks along the way, Noah's Ark Waterpark, provides plenty of aquatic activities for you and your family. Noah's Ark is the largest water park in the United States, so you will need a full day to really explore and check out all the rides. Attractions here include slides, lazy rivers, their Surfin' Safari, and the sheer watery drop at Flash Flood.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Rockford
If you love things like waterslides, lazy rivers, and wave pools, then Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Rockford is a nice excursion while you're making your way east. Families will love the opportunity to get wet and wild here, and there are plenty of opportunities to relax and grab a bite to eat. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor also has tube rentals so that you can easily go from one attraction to another without waiting in line for a shared intertube.
Fallen Timbers Battlefield
The location of the 1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers, Fall Timbers Battlefield, is a great opportunity to discover a bit of the martial history of the country. Throughout the battlefield, there are well-placed placards that provide details about the conflict. There is also a Fallen Timbers Monument that chronicles the lives lost during the encounter.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Found about 90 miles east of Minneapolis, the city of Eau Claire has a population of more than 65,000 people. One of the most unique features of this city is the fact that two rivers converge in the downtown section, and you can paddle down a dedicated water trail here. There are plenty of opportunities to take in the sights and the arts and history scene as you travel through town. Local foods are also quite varied, so make sure to bring your appetite as you get to know Eau Claire. If you want to have a little fun, make it a point to visit when one of the city's famous events and festivals occur.
Eau Claire campgrounds are fairly numerous in the area surrounding the Wisconsin city. There are at least two RV parks in nearby Chippewa Falls, such as Eagle Ridge Campground and O'Neil Creek Campground, and there are even more opportunities to bed down in places like Osseo. Stoney Creek in Osseo is even pet-friendly. If you need a place for your wastewater, try one of the numerous dump stations in the city.
Known as the Windy City, Chicago is a town that you shouldn't leave out of your road trip itinerary from Minneapolis to Erie. In this city of 2.71 million, you will be able to explore the shore of Lake Michigan and get to know the home of the NBA's Chicago Bulls. There are also activities like river cruises, walking tours, and several famous eateries that you will enjoy trying. Chicago is the home of the deep-dish pizza, so make sure to order one while in town.
There are a few Chicago-area campground options, including places like MWR Navy Gateways RV Campground in North Chicago and Leisure Lake Membership Resort in nearby Joliet. Chicago dump stations can be fairly easy to find as well.
Another iconic city on this road trip from Minneapolis to Erie, Cleveland is a unique place to visit that has a unique history. It was the first city to be lit by electricity, and it was also the home of Superman's creators. Today, there are a ton of things to do in Cleveland. You can visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, visit the unique Heinen grocery store, or you can check out one of the numerous festivals that happen here during the year.
Similar to Chicago, most of the RV campgrounds in the Cleveland area will be outside of the city. Fortunately, each has its own unique features, and there are several within a half-hour drive. A few examples include Thompson / Grand River Valley KOA, Woodside Lake Park, and Wa-Hoo Campground and Bar. Most of these have several sites for various RV types, and some are even pet-friendly. Before you leave the area, find an Ohio dump station where you can offload your wastewater.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Minneapolis 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 Minneapolis or Erie.