Explore fascinating and unique destinations as you drive from the Midwest to the Southwest on your Minneapolis to Santa Fe road trip. Stops in the cities of Des Moines and Omaha take you on unexpected journeys to Zombie Burger joints and through the world's largest indoor desert at the Omaha Zoo. Just a few hours from your route is Gateway Arch National Park, an absolute must-experience place with plenty to do, see, and learn about the history of America's expansion to the Wild, Wild West.
Consider taking some extra time to check out a couple of national parks that aren't far from your route. Some of the most historic lands are just a few hours away.
Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park is a three-hour and 45-minute drive east of Kansas City and is totally worth checking out. This park is home to the iconic "Gateway to the West" Arch that's 630-feet tall and is equally 630-feet wide from the North Leg to the South Leg. While you're here, you can see St. Louis from the best vantage point at the pinnacle of the arch on the Tram Ride to the Top, and you can learn about the history of the park at the Museum at Gateway Arch underneath the towering metal structure. Riverboat cruises take you down the Mighty Mississippi for great views of the park, and there's a walking/biking path that'll transport you from the park right into downtown St. Louis.
Pecos National Historical Park
Pecos National Historical Park is a fascinating place to see and explore, and it's just 40 minutes south of Santa Fe off I-25. In this unique location, you'll have access to ancestral Pueblo sites that include an adobe-style Spanish Church with ranger-led or self-guided tours available. The Visitor's Center offers a film about the history of the area and a museum filled with Puebloan artifacts, Civil War remnants, and historical weaponry. Outdoor activities include hiking the park's few miles of trails, fishing, and spotting some of the local wildlife.
Visit some beautiful state parks on your Minneapolis to Santa Fe road trip for some good old fashioned outdoor fun.
Big Creek State Park
Iowa's Big Creek State Park is a great place to fish, hike, swim, and relax on miles of picturesque shoreline. Beachside concessions offer rentals for bikes, pontoons, sailboats, kayaks, and fishing boats, in addition to fishing tackle, bait, and snacks. You can hike or bike along a 26-mile trail that takes you from the park, past Saylorville Lake, and all the way to Des Moines. Golfing, hunting, horseback riding, and camping are available nearby, so be sure to spend at least a day or two enjoying this park.
Milford State Park
Milford State Park is home to the second-largest reservoir in Kansas, and there's a chance to possibly reel in blue catfish that weigh up to 100 pounds in the deeper waters of the res. Hiking trails weave you through prairie and woodland areas with lovely views of the reservoir. Biking, swimming, and horseback riding are also welcome activities here. You can camp the night away at any one of the park's eight campgrounds and gaze at the open night sky while sipping hot cocoa at a nearby picnic pavilion.
Cimarron Canyon State Park
On the last leg of your journey, stop at Cimarron Canyon State Park for scenic hiking trails, some world-class fly-fishing, and spectacular views of the rugged mountains that surround the park. For an even better fishing experience, you can hire a fishing guide to show you the best areas and give you tips on using the perfect tackle. Four lush campgrounds are yours to enjoy, making this park an excellent place to spend a few days.
Mall of America
A visit to the Mall of America is a must before you leave for your Minneapolis to Santa Fe RV road trip. Inside this shopping megaplex, you'll experience more than just its 520 stores. Popular attractions such as the indoor theme park Nickelodeon Universe, the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, and Moose Mountain Adventure Golf are perfect starters for an unforgettable mall adventure.
Boot Hill Museum
Boot Hill Museum takes you on a Wild West journey that features exciting gunfights, historical reenactments, the sweet singing voice of Miss Kitty, and the lively dancing of the Can-Can girls in good old Dodge City. Interactive displays tell the story of the historic spot the museum is built on. Along the outdoor mall, you can pop into the General Store for some of Grandma's homemade fudge and head to the Saloon for a tall glass of sarsaparilla.
Taos is a stop you'll definitely want to add to your road trip from Minneapolis to Santa Fe. In this vibrant ski town, you can wander down the charming streets of the Downtown Taos Historic District and enjoy the boutique-style shops and quaint cafes at Taos Plaza. Exploration of the 400-year-old area leads you to a couple of great museums where you can experience Native American culture at the Harwood Museum of Art and the Taos Historic Museums. In summer or winter, you can take a lift up Taos Ski Valley for spectacular vistas of Kachina Peak and Wheeler Peak.
Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines isn't just the site of Iowa's state capitol, it's also the location of Zombie Burger + Drink Lab, where you can grab a custom burger and wash it down with a spiked milkshake in a 70's inspired post-apocalyptic fast-food diner. Check out the Sleepy Hollow Sports Park for some primo go-karting, batting cages, laser tag, and mini-golf. A walk through the Downtown Farmer's Market and Papp John's Sculpture Park is a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with the city. You can also enjoy some excellent museums at the Salisbury House and Gardens, the State Historical Museum, and Terrace Hill. Campgrounds near Des Moines allow you to explore more of this city. You can find plenty of dump stations close to town.
With a plethora of fun and educational places to check out, Omaha is a city that never stops being great. One of the best things to do here is to go on an Omaha Craft Brewery Tour that takes you to nine of the tastiest breweries in the city. Explore the historic Dundee Neighborhood for amazing eats and shopping at the Dundee Gallery. You should also walk around The Old Market to peruse a few local flea markets and art galleries. Other things you'll want to do here include walking across the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge, soaking up some history at the Durham Museum, touring Boystown, and snacking on some fine donuts at the all-night cafe, The Donut Shop. Campgrounds in the area are perfect for extending your stay. You'll find dump stations close by for your convenience.
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City is a BBQ city that's loaded with some of the best restaurants in the country. Q39 is an up-and-comer that'll you definitely want to try; there, the BBQ sizzles and the whiskey comes with an ice cube made of meat juice. Stroll down to the jazz district on 18th and Vine to check out the American Jazz Museum, and enjoy some live music and dancing at the Blue Room and the Green Lady Lounge. At the Power & Light District, you'll have nine blocks of restaurants, bars, and live music events to explore. The Hallmark Visitor Center, where you can marvel at some of Salvador Dali's original works of art, should be at the top of your Kansas City bucket list. Some of the city's other hot spots you'll want to venture to are Worlds of Fun, Noir Arts & Oddities, Country Club Plaza, and the National World War I Museum. Some fantastic campgrounds are located in and around the city. Dump stations close by are great for keeping your RV clean while you're en route to your destination.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Minneapolis to Santa Fe, 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 Santa Fe.