Your road trip from Portland to Rochester takes you on an unforgettable journey through the great cities of Boise, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Buffalo. Some of the incredible sights you can see include Niagara Falls, the Sunken Gardens, and the Shoshone Ice Caves with more adventurous stops along the way. On your transcontinental journey, you'll also experience the wonders of Yellowstone, the pristine beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park, and the rugged wilderness of Grand Teton National Park.
Marvel at the wonder of some of America's most unique and biodiverse national parks as you traverse the country.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is a must-see on your Portland to Rochester road trip, and it's just four hours away from Twin Falls. While you're at this park, you'll have plenty of opportunities to hike, fish, camp, and view indigenous wildlife in their natural habitats. You'll also see some of the most beautiful and unusual geothermal wonders in the world at Old Faithful, the Grand Prismatic Spring, and Fountain Paint Pots.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is a stone's throw away from Yellowstone, so make sure you visit this park while you're still nearby. Fun things you'll want to do are a hike to the Grand Teton, the largest peak in the park; a raft trip on the Snake River; and a cruise down the 42-mile Scenic Loop Drive. Jackson Hole is just down the road with more to see and to explore at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Jackson's Town Square. Plan to stay for at least three to four days to get the full Yellowstone and Grand Teton experience.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is a short one-hour-and-50-minute drive south from Cheyenne and should definitely make it onto your Portland to Rochester road trip itinerary. At this park, you'll have 355 miles of hiking trails to trek and breathtaking locations to explore and to photograph at Emerald Lake, Forest Canyon Overlook, and Alberta Falls. Camping, fishing, horseback riding, and picnicking are more fantastic activities for you to enjoy.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park is a sandy oasis on the shores of Lake Michigan where you can spend a couple of days basking in the sun, swimming, hiking various nature trails, and visiting the Old Lighthouse museum for a bit of local history. Be sure to also check out the Michigan City Lighthouse, Porter Beach, and the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center for park history and information.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
At Ohio's only national park, you'll catch a glimpse of the beautiful wilderness and wildlife of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. You can hike to popular scenic destinations at Virginia Kendall Ledges, take the Ira Trailhead, snap some photos at Brandywine Falls, and hop aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Biking, kayaking, and fishing are also great ways to experience this park.
Beautiful and activity-packed state parks await on your Portland to Rochester RV road trip.
Walnut Woods State Park
Walnut Woods State Park is a peaceful place to spend a day or two camping, fishing on the serene Raccoon River, and hiking the park's two miles of wooded trails. Bird-watching is another popular activity here, and you can expect to see owls, warblers, hawks, and songbirds.
Potato Creek State Park
At Potato Creek State Park, you can hike and bike throughout the area and enjoy interesting exhibits and educational displays about the local ecology and wildlife at the Nature Center. You can also swim, fish, or boat on the lake. There's even an on-site camp store that's perfect for stocking up on a few road trip essentials.
Geneva State Park
Geneva State Park offers spectacular shoreline views of Lake Erie, quick access to The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake next door, and plenty of outdoor activities. During the day, you can hike, fish, and swim before enjoying a wine tasting and fine dining at Horizons Restaurant located in the park lodge.
Shoshone Ice Caves
Shoshone Ice Caves is Idaho's own natural wonder. It's also the state's largest cave with year-round below-freezing temperatures, so be sure to bundle up. Tours of the caves take you through what is actually a 1,000-foot-long lava tube located 100-feet below the earth's surface.
Visit the Sunken Gardens on your way through Nebraska, and enjoy the beauty of this Depression-era project for free. Here, you can walk amongst a lush variety of flowers, shrubs, and trees with trickling waterfalls and fountains as you approach the park's famous Rock Garden. If you want to leave a permanent impression on the garden, you can honor a loved one with an inscribed Paving the Path standard or foundation brick, or you can fund One Flower Forever for a fee.
Not far from your destination is Niagara Falls, one of the most majestic places on the planet. There are a number of amazing ways to experience these magical waterfalls. You can jump onto a Maid of the Mist boat cruise that takes you to the base of the falls; go on Journey Behind the Falls, where you can view them from a particularly special place; or enjoy Cave of the Winds, a series of wooden walkways located in the Niagara Gorge.
A visit to Boise's fun and most unique attractions treats you to observing the eclectic open-air artistic murals at Freak Alley Gallery, surfing on the Boise River at Boise Whitewater Park, and enjoying the local cuisine with a beer tasting at White Dog Brewing Company. You should also check out the Boise State Capitol, the Bogus Basin, and the Old Idaho Penitentiary Site. Local campgrounds offer rest, relaxation, and lovely scenery. Dump stations can be found throughout the city.
Salt Lake City
In Salt Lake City, you can explore the largest lake west of the Mississippi at the Great Salt Lake, enjoy the beautiful architecture of the Salt Lake Temple, and spend time perusing stone art at the Gilgal Sculpture Garden downtown. Take a drive up Little Cottonwood Canyon for great mountain views, and end up at two world-class ski resorts at Snowbird and Alta. In the valley, you should also check out The Leonardo and Clark Planetarium and grab a slice at the best pizza joint in Utah, The Pie Pizzeria. A stay at a nearby campground ensures that you'll be able to take in all of the sights. Many dump stations are located within local parks, but you can also find them around the city.
No visit to Chicago would be complete without an elevator ride up to the 103rd-floor observation deck at Willis Tower, the 110-story skyscraper formerly known as Sears Tower. Another fun location you'll want to visit is Navy Pier, which features rides, shops, restaurants, parks, and gardens. More places to explore in the Windy City are The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, Wrigley Field, and Buckingham Fountain. Campgrounds in the city are perfect for extending your exploration time in Chicago. Nearby dump stations make it convenient and easy for you to take care of your RV's sanitation needs.
As you near your destination, don't forget to stop in Buffalo for some thrilling times at Buffalo Riverworks, where you can zipline, enjoy live music, kayak, and get rowdy at a roller derby. You should take a tour of this city's iconic 110-year old silo elevators that are available on land or by water on the Silo Vertical Tour or on an Elevator Kayak Alley adventure. Anchor Bar is an absolute must-see experience on your Buffalo bucket list. This bar inspired restaurants to put Buffalo wings on virtually every appetizer menu in the country, so be prepared to get your hands messy with a side of bleu cheese. You'll find that most of the campgrounds in Buffalo have dump stations; however, more are located in and around town.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Portland to Rochester, 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 Portland or Rochester.
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