When you’re looking to take the long road trip from Pittsburgh to Nashville, you can look forward to some genuinely unique places as you travel. If you're seeking a scenic experience, you’re going to want to first go north from Pittsburgh until you reach Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio before traveling farther south. This will present you and your RVing family with two national parks and several state parks that will bring you closer to nature while providing some great memories.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a little out of the way on a drive to Nashville, but the detour you'll take to reach it is well worth it. There are over 100 waterfalls in this park near Cleveland, and there are also narrow ravines, rivers, and lush forests to explore. Brandywine Falls, the largest waterfall in the park, has a 60-foot drop to the bottom. There are also more than 125 miles of trails that you can hike as well as a river that you can go kayaking in if you’d like. There's even a scenic railroad in that park that makes for a great photo op.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Another national park that should be on your road trip itinerary from Pittsburgh to Nashville is Mammoth Cave National Park. It's the most extensive cave system in the world, and it is located right in Kentucky, which happens to be on the path to your final destination. At the park, you'll be able to see flowstone formations and tunnels that are quite extensive. Above the caves, you can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and fishing.
Raccoon Creek State Park
Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania is the first major state park that you'll come across during your Pittsburgh to Nashville RV road trip. The park is over 7,500 acres in size, and the lake alone is 100 acres, which provides plenty of opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and a range of other water activities. Along the edge of the lake, there's a beach that many take advantage of while visiting, and there are plenty of hiking trails to explore as well. There's also a wildflower reserve in the park that is home to over 700 plant species.
West Branch State Park
The next state park that you'll want to stop at is West Branch State Park in Ohio, especially if you'd like to partake in some fishing or boating. The park has a 700-foot beach that's also a great place to take a dip. The lake stretches over 2,600 acres, and there are plenty of trails surrounding the water that can be hiked or enjoyed on a bike. The park also has over 20 miles of bridle trails that you can spend a day exploring. The option to camp is available at this location, but there are only 29 full-hookup sites, so secure your space early.
Malabar Farm State Park
Malabar Farm State Park in Lucas, OH, is a stop that will allow you to get a firsthand experience of farm life in the U.S. The 900-acre farm is full of interactive displays and farm-fresh foods that you can enjoy. The park has plenty of hiking trails and fishing ponds where you can spend some time during your visit, and if you're making this trip in March, make sure that you stop in for the Maple Syrup Festival.
Deer Creek State Park
Deer Creek State Park near Columbus is a great place to stop with your family. There's a golf course on the premises, a beach to swim, and plenty of water for boating, fishing, and other activities. There's even a disc golf course with the option to rent equipment to play when you're visiting. Throughout the park, there are eight trails that range in difficulty for you to explore. In the winter, ice fishing and ice skating can also be enjoyed in the park.
Clifty Falls State Park
Along the route during your Pittsburgh to Nashville road trip, you'll pass through the southeast corner of Indiana; in this area, you'll encounter Clifty Falls State Park. Hiking through the rugged canyon along the creek is a very scenic option that you can pursue throughout the majority of the year. There's a swimming beach as well as a nature center that you can explore during your visit.
Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary
The Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary in Canfield, OH, is built on a former fish farm, so it supports aquatic animals as well as those that need a wetland habitat. There are over 225 unique species of birds that you can view in the sanctuary, especially during the migration season, which is something that bird-watchers will love to see. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars so that you can see the wildlife up close because the observation decks are about 50 feet above the ponds.
The full name of the Cincinnati Zoo is the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, so if you're into diverse plant life, this is an excellent destination during your Pittsburgh to Nashville road trip. This zoo is the second oldest in the country, so visiting will expose you to a piece of history. The zoo is almost always featuring animals giving birth, so if you want to see baby bonobos, flamingo chicks, and colobus monkeys, pay it a visit.
Louisville Mega Cavern
This cavern system is a former limestone mine and stretches for miles underneath the Watterson Expressway. In fact, the cavern actually wends its way underneath the Louisville Zoo. It’s also the site of Lights Under Louisville, which is a Christmas spectacular with lights that is held every year.
While you’re on your southerly trip, why not check out Ohio’s largest city and state capital? The city is the birthplace of national brands like Wendy’s and Big Lots, and there are beautiful places to visit during the warmer months, such as the Park of Roses. As you explore this city, you may need a dump station and a place to rest. Fortunately, there are several dump stations in and around Columbus, such as Kamp-A-Lott in nearby Bellefontaine. There are also some great Columbus campgrounds to consider as you travel as well.
Cincinnati has a unique history and is a great entertainment city to visit as well as a great place to learn about the country’s and the world’s history. While there are escape rooms and golf resorts to be found, if you want to revisit a transformative era, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center calls the city home. There’s also the Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust and Humanity Center. Cincinnati also has some great RV parks and campgrounds like FMCA, Winton Woods, and Miami Whitewater Forest Campground. These all offer plenty of spaces for RVers, and many have dump stations on-site. Many of these are bird-watching havens; you can even find great eagle sighting opportunities.
If you love barbecue, then you can’t miss out on Louisville, KY. This city also has some great breweries for those who want to take in some suds while in town. Louisville is the home of the Kentucky Derby, so if you’re a fan of horse racing, the city is something of a big deal. Nature is a pretty big deal in Louisville, and there are several parks to visit that were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. If you don't recognize the name, he's the famous designer responsible for New York City’s Central Park. When looking for a dump station, nearby Brandenburg is about 40 miles away from Louisville, and it has several options that you can use for free. Some excellent RV parks and campgrounds near Louisville include Chimney Rock RV Park and Derby Park Campground.
If you’re in search of making great memories, there are few adventures as fun as a trip from a great industrial city to one of the barbecue capitals of the world. For RVers, this is particularly true since there are great campgrounds and parks along the way that are RV-friendly. If you’re not an owner, RVshare has you covered as we rent vehicles just for this purpose. Check us out in order to get a rental in either Pittsburgh or Nashville.