If you are in New York and thinking of going to New Orleans, consider making a road trip out of it. You may want to include stopping at some historical attractions, like Independence Hall and Harper’s Ferry, on your road trip from New York to New Orleans. Bring your RV, or arrange to rent one so that you can stop at many excellent national and state parks. By adding fewer than 100 miles to your trip, you can stop at five memorable national parks and have fun playing at five state parks. You may also want to make a pit stop at some beautiful gardens along your route. Here is a guide that may help you plan your New York to New Orleans RV road trip.
Independence National Historical Park
You need to plan ahead to visit Independence National Historical Park as you will need timed entry tickets to many of the attractions. Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early so that you can pass through security. At this park, you can see the Liberty Bell and where the U.S. Constitution was signed. In addition to Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Center, you will want to visit the President’s House Site, Great Essentials Exhibit, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, and Carpenters’ Hall at this national historical park in Philadelphia.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
You can explore natural attractions and go on guided history tours at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park near Harpers Valley, West Virginia. You can also participate in historic trade workshops, including gardening, tin-making, and blacksmithing. This park offers over 20 miles of hiking trails ranging from short ones near the river to more challenging ones up the mountain. You can also watch and participate in living history events.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park is located just 75 miles outside Washington, D.C. You will feel like you have reconnected with your natural side when you visit this 20,000-acre park. Several vendors offer guided bike tours in the park, or you can bring your own and ride along the 105-mile Skyline Drive, which is the only public road through the park. Seventy mountain streams are available for fishing, and many of them also make a great spot to have a picnic. Over 180 miles of trails are open for horseback riding, and if you do not have your own mount, you can go on a guided trail ride. There are also over 500 miles of hiking trails.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Consider entering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on its western edge near Knoxville, Tennessee. While you can explore this park on your own, there are also several programs designed to help you better understand the park through guided tours or other activities. At the Smoky Mountains Field School, you can learn about the Native Americans who settled here, how to track bears, the park’s marine life, and much more. Other groups, including the Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountains Association, often offer guided hikes.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Stand in awe as you view the trail that the first settlers took to reach Western Kentucky at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Consider starting your visit at the Visitors Center where you can buy books, see exhibits and watch films. This park offers more than 80 miles of hiking trails.
Cheesequake State Park
Start your visit to Cheesequake State Park that is located near Matawan, New Jersey, at the nature center, where you can learn about the swamp and hardwood forest in this park. Then, head out on the hiking trails to explore them on your own. Make a stop at the Crabbing Bridge to go crabbing, and bring along your fishing pole to see what you can catch in the 6-acre Nooks Creek Lake. Play on the sandy beach, and take a swim in the lake. If there is snow on the ground, then this is a great place to go sledding.
Douthat State Park
Douthat State Park is one of the oldest state parks in Virginia. Located near Clifton Forge, this park offers a sandy beach to play on and amazing mountain scenery. Over 43 miles of trails are available for hiking, mountain bike riding, and horseback trail riding. The 50-acre lake is an excellent place to catch a trout supper. Boat rentals are available. Check the schedule to see what interpretative programs the park rangers are giving during your visit.
Red Clay State Historic Park
Near Cleveland, Tennessee, Red Clay State Historic Park was the last seat of the Cherokee national government before the Indian Removal Act of 1830. You can learn more about the history that occurred at this state park, which served as the starting point for the Trail of Tears, by seeing the exhibits at the James F. Corn Interpretative Center. Short hikes allow you to see the area’s natural beauty. There are also many nearby Tennessee state parks to explore.
Oak Mountain State Park
The 9,940-acre Oak Mountain State Park near Pelham, Alabama, is the state's largest state park. The International Mountain Biking Association has named the red trail at this park one of the epic rides in America. The park also features a pump track and a BMX course. Rent a boat or try your luck at cable skiing on a wakeboard. You can also play golf on the 18-hole golf course or go for a horseback ride at the stables. Stroll along the boardwalk that is the same level as the treetops to see some of this park’s wildlife.
Bogue Chitto State Park
The slow-moving river at Bogue Chitto State Park near Franklinton, Louisiana, is a great place to go tubing as it runs through canyons and by pebbly beaches. Kayak, canoe, and tube rentals are available from the park’s vendor. You will also find miles of dedicated trails for horses. Many people head to this park on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain to go stargazing.
Shofusa Japanese House and Gardens
The main building at Shofusa Japanese House and Gardens was built in Japan using traditional building materials and techniques. It was then shipped to the Modern Museum of Art, where it was displayed before being moved to this scenic location near Philadelphia. It is filled with large art murals. You can also visit a tea garden and other attractions on this site.
Virginia Museum of Transportation
Many of the most modern steam engines were built in Roanoke, Virginia, and you can see two of them when you visit the Virginia Museum of Transportation. You can also see 48 other exhibits showcasing the important role that the railroad played in the state’s development. You can also view the Road Collection. Most vehicles in this part of the collection focus on those used to move goods or services from the railroad to locations throughout the Greater Roanoke area. You will also want to see their aviation and model ship collections.
Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum
The first plants were placed in the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum over 200 years ago. As you stroll through this free garden, you will notice fantastic stonework. These walls and other features were constructed in the 1940s by a descendant of the first settler at this site. That settler planted an orchard and gave seeds to pioneers traveling through the area so that they could create homesteads as they move west. You can see some of the original orchards. This venue is often used for special community events, so be sure to check their calendar before visiting.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
See more than 30 gardens spread across 67.5 acres at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Some of the gardens, like the crepe myrtle and the rhododendron gardens, focus on one type of plant. Others, like the Southern Living Garden and the Japanese Garden, introduce you to one culture. You will also want to visit the Arrington Plant Adventure Zone where special exhibits encourage you to use all your senses to learn more about nature.
Longue Vue House and Gardens
Tour the Classical Revival-style mansion built in the early 1900s for Edgar Bloom Stern and his wife on the western edge of New Orleans. Then, stroll around the 8-acre estate to see the Spanish gardens, including many fountains shooting water into the air. You can explore the area on your own or take a docent-led tour.
Philadelphia is known worldwide for its cheesesteak sandwiches, so you will want to try one when traveling through this city. Philadelphia's Italian Market is one of the world's oldest outdoor markets, and you will want to leave time to visit it. The Little Red Barn Campground has been welcoming guests since the 1970s, so you may want to consider staying there or at other Philadelphia-area campgrounds. There are also many dump stations located nearby.
Roanoke, Virginia, is the largest metropolitan area in the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can find lots to do there, including visiting the many historical attractions, eating its international cuisine, and exploring its scenic beauty. You may want to consider camping in Roanoke at Dixie Caverns Campground with its cave to explore or at Peaks of Otter Campground with its beautiful lake. There are many other Roanoke campgrounds that you may want to consider. Virginia has numerous dump stations to use before you continue your road trip itinerary from New York to New Orleans, including one at the Bedford Welcome Center.
Birmingham, Alabama, is a historically significant city because of its role in the Civil Rights Movement, but it also has a funky progressive vibe that you need to explore. Consider camping in Birmingham at the gated Logan Landing RV and Cabin Resort or at the Peach Queen Campground that has been owned by four generations of the same family. You can also find many nearby Alabama RV dump stations, including at the Alabama Outdoor Recreation Center.
Going on a New York to New Orleans road trip lets you reconnect with nature, learn more about U.S. history, and build beautiful memories. Get your RV packed and hit the highway to complete your road trip from New York to New Orleans. If you do not have an RV, then rent one in New York or New Orleans.