If you’re looking to drive from Tampa Bay to just across the Mississippi River, then a Tampa to Lake Saint Louis road trip may be in your cards. Thanks to the bevy of national parks within driving distance of your route, you’ll be able to visit swamplands, shorelines, mountains, caves, and even a man-made wonder. There are also some great state parks at which you can swim with manatees, gaze at waterfalls, and tour historical buildings. Since you’ll also pass through some exciting cities full of fun tourist attractions, you’ll have no problem putting together an amazing road trip itinerary from Tampa to Lake Saint Louis.
Everglades National Park
Before you leave the Tampa area, you should consider traveling several hours away to visit a couple of Miami-area national parks. The first of these parks is Everglades National Park, which is three hours south of Tampa. America’s largest tropical wilderness is known for its exotic wildlife, compelling wetlands environment, and big size. Since this park is a million and a half acres large, there’s plenty of places to explore on foot or by boat. Bird-watching, wildlife photography, backcountry camping, and stargazing are other popular activities.
Biscayne National Park
The entrance to Biscayne National Park is four and a half hours from Tampa, but it’s only an additional 30 minutes from the Everglades. If you want to visit a quintessential Florida park, then you can’t go wrong with the gorgeous beach and world-class diving and snorkeling opportunities found here; boating, fishing, and swimming are also popular. There aren’t many trails here since the water is the main attraction, but you can still stroll along a 10-mile trail that takes you through the relatively small bit of dry land belonging to the park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Before you drive toward Nashville, you should head about two hours northeast of Chattanooga, Tennessee, to explore the wonders of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The reasons for this park’s popularity are obvious; the stunning mountain views, 800 miles of park trails, and the abundant wildlife present in the park all make for a memorable addition to anyone’s road trip from Tampa to Lake Saint Louis. Whether you want to explore this park on foot, on horseback, in your vehicle, on a bike, or in your boat, you’ll have plenty of options for a great adventure here.
Mammoth Cave National Park
The world’s longest-known cave system is less than an hour and a half from Nashville, so visiting Mammoth Cave National Park on your Tampa to Lake Saint Louis RV road trip is a no-brainer. The big attraction here is, of course, the cave system; you’ll be able to tour interesting locations like the Rotunda, Frozen Niagara, and Gothic Avenue. When you’re done exploring underground, you’ll be able to hike, bike, and ride through some of those lovely rolling hills of Kentucky.
Gateway Arch National Park
You drive right past Gateway Arch National Park as you cross the Mississippi River and head into St. Louis, so you should stop by this national park before you end your road trip from Tampa to Lake Saint Louis. The biggest attraction here is the Gateway Arch itself, which takes visitors 630 feet up for fantastic views of St. Louis and the Mississippi. There are also some historic buildings in the park; be sure to visit the Old St. Louis Courthouse, which was where the Dred Scott Case was tried.
Manatee Springs State Park
If you want to add a tropical Floridian paradise to your road trip itinerary from Tampa to Lake Saint Louis, then you should definitely swing by Manatee Springs State Park, which is roughly an hour west of Gainesville. Gorgeous springs and friendly manatees await you at this park. Between the natural springs and the Suwannee River, there are plenty of great places to go swimming, fishing, boating, and more.
High Falls State Park
Five minutes off of your route as it goes through Barnesville, Georgia, is lovely High Falls State Park. Middle Georgia’s highest waterfall awaits you here, as do other waterfalls, forests, and even a ghost town. If you want to do some fishing, kayaking, and boating, then the 650-acre High Falls Lake awaits you; a sizable pool in the park is perfect for swimming. The young and the young at heart will enjoy the park’s 18-hole mini-golf course.
South Cumberland State Park
The entrance to South Cumberland State Park is only five minutes east of Monteagle, Tennessee. It’s more than 30,000 acres large and contains 90 miles of trails, so there are plenty of great places for hiking, backcountry camping, and fishing. There are also areas in the park for visitors to play beach volleyball, horseshoes, baseball, tennis, and basketball.
Lake Barkley State Resort Park
You can easily reach Lake Barkley State Resort Park by traveling 20 minutes west of Interstate 24 as it passes through Cadiz, Kentucky. A big draw here is the 58,000-acre Lake Barkley, which is an ideal spot for boating, fishing, and water sports. If you enjoy golf, you can play a round or two on the park’s championship golf course. You can also grab a bite to eat at Windows on the Water, take a dip in the indoor pool, and spend some time at the trap range.
Fort Massac State Park
On the banks of the Ohio River and five minutes from your route as it goes through Metropolis, Illinois, is historic Fort Massac State Park. Fort Massac itself is a reconstructed 1802 fort that is sometimes home to re-enactments. Multiple trails take you along the river and through surrounding grounds. You can also fish and boat on the Ohio River.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is only two minutes off of your route as it goes through the outskirts of Gainesville, Florida. This 68-acre park is home to 24 collections of fauna from all around the world, so there’s plenty to see here. Giant Victoria water lilies, Chinese royal bamboo, and Asian snake arums are just a few of the beautiful plants you can see at these botanical gardens.
If you want to see one of Atlanta’s greatest views on your Tampa to Lake Saint Louis RV road trip, then you should take a ride on SkyView Atlanta. This gigantic Ferris wheel is located just five minutes from your route as it goes through Atlanta’s heart, so it’s easy to reach and is surrounded by other premier attractions. You’ll be able to view Centennial Park and its surrounding areas from 20 stories up while relaxing in your climate-controlled private gondola.
Just before you cross the state border into Tennessee, you should stop by Lake Winnepesaukah, which is 10 minutes west of the outskirts of Ringgold, Georgia. Lake Winnie is home to both a theme park and the SOAKya Water Park. Fabulous rides like the Cannonball Roller Coaster, Fire Ball, and Wacky Worm await you here.
Before you head too far into Nashville, you should drive seven minutes west of your route and visit the Nashville Zoo. Close to 3,000 animals representing 350 species call this Tennessee zoo home, so you’ll have a wide variety of animals to see. You’ll be able to take a ride on the Wilderness Train, enjoy some Critter Encounters, and go for a spin on the Wild Animal Carousel.
Your route takes you right past St. Louis’s premier park, so why not stop by Forest Park near the end of your road trip from Tampa to Lake Saint Louis? Forests, nature reserves, and more are contained in the 1,300 acres of this urban park. Attractions like the Saint Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the James S. McDowell Planetarium reside here.
The Florida Museum of Natural History and Butterfly Rainforest are two of Gainesville’s top attractions. When you’re not exploring these and other locations, you can rest at some lovely local RV campgrounds.
Saint Louis, Missouri
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Tampa to Lake Saint Louis, 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 Tampa or Lake Saint Louis.