For RV travelers looking for a short but adventurous road trip, the road less traveled from Tulsa to Springfield is the road to take. The main route between these two large cities is on Interstate 44, and it runs through various tiny towns packed full of local history. For those wanting a lengthier Tulsa to Springfield RV road trip, there are national parks nearby that you can get to in under five hours. Campers who enjoy recreational activities outside can rejoice, though, because many small and large state parks are located even closer to the main route in both Oklahoma and Missouri, all with opportunities for hiking, biking, and swimming or boating readily available. RV travelers with children or larger families can get excited, too, because tons of local spots geared toward kids are around every corner, including a national favorite aquarium and a wide, but short, waterfall.
Gateway Arch National Park
A must-see on any RVers bucket list is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, located inside of the Gateway Arch National Park. The arch is known as the "Gateway to the West" since it was built in the mid-1900s to represent the expansion of pioneers in the western United States in the 1800s. Along with the Gateway Arch, this national park also includes a museum, riverboat cruises, and the historic Old Courthouse of St. Louis that are available for visiting. St. Louis is approximately three hours and 20 minutes from Springfield, though, so be sure to plan an overnight stay near the city if you intend to see the national park.
Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park
Full of historic culture, the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park was actually first a settlement of French-Canadian pioneers in the mid-1700s. It was the first European settlement of any kind in Missouri, and today, it is commemorated with nationally recognized historic buildings and gardens. Park rangers offer regular tours of the town and Q&A sessions for all visitors, making it a great opportunity to learn about the beginnings of Missouri's impressive history. Ste. Genevieve is also about three and a half hours away from Springfield, so RVers who want to check it out can plan an extra day in their trip to visit.
Hot Springs National Park
At a little over four and a half hours from Tulsa or Springfield, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is an extra day to add to your road trip, but the vast beauty of the park makes the excursion worth it. What makes this national park so unique are its nine historic bathhouses from the early 1900s and its thermal springs found along nature trails available for visitation. This park is also famous for its birding and photography opportunities, and camping sites are offered in the park itself year-round.
Keystone State Park
Located on Keystone Lake, right outside of Tulsa, Keystone State Park has great opportunities for camping, water sports, fishing, hiking, and biking. There are multiple boat ramps and access sites within the park for visitors who wish to bring along their own boats, or there is a marina that rents out boats during the warm seasons. The area is great for families, too, as there are multiple playgrounds and recreation areas scattered throughout the large park.
Grand Lake State Park
Grand Lake State Park is a huge Oklahoma park that is situated on and around Grand Lake, right on the route from Tulsa to Springfield. The park itself is broken up into six separate areas with their own services offered, and camping for RVs is offered in the Bernice, Cherokee, Honey Creek, Spavinaw, and Twin Bridges areas. All areas offer electric hookups, and some select few offer pull-through sites and higher 50-amp electric hookups. Most areas offer places for fishing, hiking, and boating, too.
Big Sugar Creek State Park
Another state park along the way that offers a place to camp and relax is Big Sugar Creek State Park in Missouri. This park is unique in that it preserves rare Missouri vegetation along trails open for walking and biking during all seasons. The park also surrounds beautiful Big Sugar Creek, which is home to wildlife like armadillos and over 136 species of birds.
Prairie State Park
A park encompassing over 4,000 acres of grass and prairie lands, Prairie State Park is a Missouri park located right on the border of Oklahoma. The area offers opportunities for camping and recreation, as well as visits to nature centers with exhibits and interpretive programs. What sets this state park apart is the fact that it preserves the less than 1% of grasslands left in Missouri — a grassland full of rare wildflowers and wild bison herds.
Philbrook Museum of Art
The Philbrook Museum of Art is full of art galleries on the land of Oklahoma oil pioneer Waite Phillips in Tulsa. The museum itself is nestled inside a beautifully decorated villa that is surrounded by extensive flower gardens. Events and programs aimed toward families and children are hosted daily, and the museum is open for viewing at your own pace from Wednesdays to Sundays with extended hours on Fridays.
Adding to your Tulsa to Springfield road trip itinerary is Joplin, Missouri's Grand Falls, a natural waterfall that measures 163 feet across. The falls itself is only 12 feet down, but that doesn't make it any less spectacular to see. In fact, it is the largest continuously running waterfall in the state of Missouri. Swimming is allowed in the river and surrounding creeks at this family-friendly site.
Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium
Voted America's Best Aquarium in 2021, the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield is a perfect visit to top off your road trip. Featuring extensive exhibits that are tailored to adults as well as kids, it is no wonder that it has won many Americans' hearts. The museum focuses on education and wildlife, and tours are offered daily for visitors.
Home to two big museums, the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum and Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Claremore is a town full of culture and history. Along your Tulsa to Springfield road trip, you will find that this city also hosts a number of bike and hiking trails as well as playgrounds and waterside parks. This small Oklahoma town is a great place to make a pit stop as it is full of RV dump stations where you can empty your tanks and fill them up with fresh water for the remainder of your trip. A couple of campgrounds are nearby as well, just in case you need more time to rest on your road trip from Tulsa to Springfield.
Baxter Springs, Kansas
A short distance off I-44 sits Baxter Springs in Kansas, a great place to visit if you are interested in the history of Route 66. In the area of this small town sits Rainbow Bridge, a classically designed bridge, and a visitor's center with a small Route 66-themed museum and local historians. Nearby are some of Kansas's own convenient dump stations and campgrounds, too.
Along historic Route 66 sits Joplin, a large city full of its own museums and parks. A few landmarks also reside here, such as the Joplin Union Depot, an old railroad station from the early 1900s, and a painted rainbow tree downtown, making it a great place to spend an extra night. As for recreation, trails line the city, most of which weave through and around continuously flowing waterfalls, and the Joplin Museum Complex houses exhibits focused on the infamous robbers Bonnie and Clyde, who were known to hide in the city during the era of America’s Great Depression. Joplin is also home to many RV-friendly campgrounds and dump stations, making it a perfect place to spend all your extra time.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Tulsa to Springfield, 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 Tulsa or Springfield.