You’ll be driving from the Gulf of Mexico almost to the Canadian border through eight states on your New Orleans to Buffalo road trip. This will afford you the chance to visit picturesque national and state parks and also some great cities, including the capital of Ohio and the capital of country music. With a route that includes lakes, caves, fast cars, and yesteryear’s rock-and-roll hits, there’ll be something fun and memorable for everyone in your group.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
By taking a three-hour detour off Interstate 65, you'll find Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Knoxville, Tennessee. It is certainly worthy of a place on your road trip itinerary from New Orleans to Buffalo. Unbelievable scenic drives that open up to fabulous vistas, gorgeous cascading waterfalls, and the chance to spot black bears and other wildlife are some of the top park attractions. Spanning parts of both Tennessee and North Carolina, the park is covered in old-growth forest and offers miles of hiking trails, some on the actual Appalachian Trail. Don’t miss the Cades Cove valley, home to 18th- and 19th-century settlers and now the site of well-preserved historic buildings.
Mammoth Cave National Park
As you travel through Kentucky, you’ll drive by Mammoth Cave National Park near Brownsville, so be sure to stop and choose from the various cave tours the park offers. With more than 400 miles of passageways, the Mammoth Cave system is the longest in the world. If you choose to stay above ground, you'll still find plenty of things to do as there are trails for bicycles and hikers and two rivers for fishing, boating, kayaking, and canoeing.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Interstate 71 in Ohio will take you right through Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland and Akron. The 33,000-acre park is popular with hikers and those who enjoy water sports like canoeing and kayaking. Catch-and-release fishing is available, and picnic areas are bountiful. The 60-foot Brandywine Falls is the park’s most popular attraction, but other noteworthy points of interest include the Everett Covered Bridge, the Hale Farm and Village, and the Beaver Marsh.
Paul B. Johnson State Park
In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, you will find the pine forests, nature trails, and picnic pavilions of Paul B. Johnson State Park, which provides the perfect setting for a fun day. Play a round of disc golf or cool down at the splash pad. At the park’s visitor center, you can play pool or video games or just sit on the porch swing and look out over Geiger Lake. The 225-acre body of water offers opportunities for boating, water skiing, swimming, and fishing.
Rickwood Caverns State Park
When you visit Rickwood Caverns State Park in Warrior, Alabama, and tour the park’s cave, you will see underground limestone formations created by water that are 260 million years old and still growing. An especially enjoyable experience on a hot day, the caverns are a refreshing 60 degrees, and there is a park swimming pool fed by the cave’s cold waters. Picnic tables are situated in a wooded area, and there are four different hiking trails.
Presque Isle State Park
Considered by some to be the state of Pennsylvania’s seashore, Presque Isle State Park is situated along the shores of Lake Erie and features miles of sandy beaches. Enjoy a day out on the water swimming, surfing, kayaking, or fishing, or make good use of the miles of hiking and biking trails. Boat tours of Lake Erie are available, and if you’re certified, you can even go scuba diving. Make it a learning experience as well by visiting the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. Tour the Presque Isle Lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper’s home, or go bird-watching — many species of migratory birds stop at Presque Isle in both the fall and spring.
The young and the young-at-heart in your travel party will enjoy riding the Dentzel carousel in Meridian, Mississippi, on your road trip from New Orleans to Buffalo. Craftsmen at the Dentzel Carousel Company in Philadelphia made this two-row carousel by hand back in 1896, and it’s the only one of this kind still in existence. The building in which it is housed was built from a Dentzel blueprint and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Even the price for rides, 50 cents, is a throwback to another time.
Cook Museum of Natural Science
The kid-friendly Cook Museum of Natural Science is located in Decatur, Alabama, and features interactive educational activities and live-animal displays. There’s a saltwater aquarium filled with jellyfish and coral, exhibits with turtles and baby alligators, an immersive cave exhibit, and an indoor forest.
National Corvette Museum
Thrills galore await the whole family at the National Corvette Museum, where you can see exhibits of shiny Corvette models, both past and present, and get behind the wheel at the Corvette Simulator. You may be familiar with this museum, located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, from 2014 news reports of a sinkhole opening up underneath one of the buildings and swallowing several Corvettes. The museum’s staff decided to lean into this unprecedented event by organizing a Corvette Cave-In exhibit highlighting the day’s events, explaining why the 30-foot sinkhole collapsed, and detailing how they were able to rescue and restore their prized vehicles.
American Sign Museum
For an out-of-the-ordinary museum experience on your New Orleans to Buffalo RV road trip, visit this spot in Cincinnati, Ohio, that is dedicated to honoring sign craftsmanship in the U.S. from the 1870s to the 1970s. There are historic neon, wooden, and electric-bulb signs, some created for iconic brands such as Holiday Inn, Howard Johnson’s, and McDonald’s. Neonworks of Cincinnati is housed in the museum, allowing visitors to observe as they bend neon tubes to create new signs and fix existing signs.
Loveland Castle Museum
Situated in Loveland Park, Ohio, on the banks of the Little Miami River, this stone castle, also known as Chateau Laroche, was built in the 1920s by WWI veteran Harry Andrews using German, English, and French architectural styles. The castle houses a collection of swords and other period weaponry, and the structure’s design features a moat and even a dungeon. Explore the castle’s gardens, then proceed to picnic along the river’s edge and take in a ghost story or two from the knights who function as the castle’s caretakers.
A city filled with civil rights landmarks, Birmingham is rich in history, so there are learning opportunities aplenty here for any children in your travel party. They can also have fun go-karting at the Autobahn Indoor Speedway housed at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. If you’re wondering where to camp or use a dump station, Birmingham has lots of good options.
Nashville is all about music, so your list of places to see here will include tours of music studios such as Studio B, music venues like Ryman Auditorium, and music museums like the Country Music Hall of Fame. There are also museums dedicated to art, including one that’s a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, and an observatory managed by Vanderbilt University. You can camp here or just visit a dump station to ensure you keep your rig clean on your New Orleans to Buffalo RV road trip.
The home of the Kentucky Derby, Louisville is also where you can see a replica of Babe Ruth’s Louisville Slugger bat at the manufacturing plant/museum where Sluggers are made. There’s also the Muhammad Ali Center and the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum, which is located in an 1890s Victorian mansion. If you need someplace to camp or a dump station, there are many in the area.
Ohio’s capital city is also its most populous. Here, you can visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Center of Science and Industry with the kids or hit the breweries on the Columbus Ale Trail with the grown-ups. Relax at a nearby campground or use an area dump station.
Though you and your travel companions may disagree about who belongs here, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a must-see attraction in Cleveland. Its enormous collection of memorabilia includes items like John Lennon’s guitar and the suit Elvis wore for his 1968 “Comeback Special.” Tour an exact replica of the house where Ralph almost shot his eye out in the movie “A Christmas Story.” Then, get your heart rate up at Cedar Point Amusement Park, or chill out at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Spend the night at an area campground and then visit a dump station, and you’ll be ready for another day’s adventure.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from New Orleans to Buffalo, 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 New Orleans or Buffalo.