You may want to trade your cowboy boots for hiking boots before setting off on an Austin to Seattle road trip. That way, you can go hiking in some of the outstanding national parks along the way, like Big Bend, Canyonlands, and Arches. You should also bring along a great pair of water shoes to play in the water at Lake Brownwood State Park, Brantley Lake State Park, and Willard Bay State Park. Throw a good pair of cycling shoes in your luggage as there are many exciting trails to explore as well, especially around Moab, Utah. If you love learning about Native Americans and how they lived, there are many sites on the route that you will want to visit, like Aztec Ruins National Monument. The spectacular scenery on an Austin to Seattle RV road trip will have you awestruck.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is farther west than you need to travel at the beginning of your road trip from Austin to Seattle, but it's still well worth your time. If you have never visited this national park near Big Bend, Texas, you may want to consider including a stop here on this adventure or a future one. While you can go on many scenic drives in this park, you may want to go hiking in the desert, mountains, or along the river. You can also go biking, paddling, and fishing at this national park.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Stop and see the caves with a ranger or on a self-guided tour at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, located near Carlsbad, New Mexico. This park is also a fantastic place to go hiking along the Guadalupe Ridge. Join a ranger to watch hundreds of bats fly out of the natural entrance to the cavern as the sun is setting. This park is also a great place to go stargazing.
Canyonlands National Park
Rivers divide Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah, into four different sections, and you should try to leave time to visit them all as each offers a unique experience. Consider doing the 100-mile White Rim Road from a bike or a four-wheel-drive vehicle to see some of the most stunning vistas at Canyonlands National Park. Don't miss an opportunity to hike or drive near the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone in the Needles area. Follow the short trail to the Cowboy Camp to see pictographs and learn how early cowboys lived at this location. The steep drop-offs and the slick rocks are a fantastic way to test your hiking abilities and nerves at the Maze. Find time to see the unique rock art, including full-size human figures, at Horseshoe Canyon.
Arches National Park
While you are in Moab, you will also want to spend time at Arches National Park. If you are short on time, consider visiting the Windows section first as it has the highest concentration of arches in the park. The Double Arch in this section is the tallest. Drive or bike to the Courthouse Towers area to see other extremely tall natural red sandstone structures. One sight that you will want to see is the Balanced Rock. This 3,600-pound rock seems to be perched precariously on its sandstone base as if a magician placed it there, but it is really one piece. You will find many things to do at this location, including canyoneering, biking, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and stargazing.
Lake Brownwood State Park
Lake Brownwood State Park near Brownwood, Texas, is a fun place to go fishing, Jet Skiing, and paddling. You can also swim in this lake. Hike along 6 miles of trails with many offering amazing views of the lake. This park often hosts special activities, like taking a rescue dog for a hike, going on a photo scavenger hike, and decorating for Christmas.
Brantley Lake State Park
Brantley Lake State Park near Carlsbad, New Mexico, is home to the state's southernmost lake. You can go kayaking, canoeing, boating, and fishing there. Stroll along the 2.5 miles of trails while watching for a variety of birds. You can also go horseback riding on the trails. If you have children along, they will love playing on the two playgrounds.
Willard Bay State Park
Boat, swim, water ski, and fish at Willard Bay State Park, located near Willard, Utah. A variety of boats and personal Jet Skis are available to rent. Special events frequently happen at this state park, especially around the holidays. If you make your road trip from Austin to Seattle during the winter months, make sure to go eagle watching when you visit this state park.
Bates State Park
The land that is now Bates State Park in Oregon was once the home of a lumber mill, and you can learn more about how lumbermen harvested trees and made products. Then, learn how they moved their houses to John Day when the mill closed by looking at the interpretative panels along the 3 miles of hiking trails. This park near Bates, OR, offers you a more solitary experience than many parks included on this road trip itinerary from Austin to Seattle. This park is located on the Middle Fork of the John Day River and near Bridge Creek and Clear Creek, so it is a fantastic place to go fishing.
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Learn more about the 19 pueblos in New Mexico by stopping at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Explore history at the museum, see exciting Native American dances and programs, dine on indigenous cuisine, and buy art from the art store or the vendors set up in the plaza.
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Explore a 900-year old ancestral Pueblo Great House of over 400 masonry rooms by stopping at the Aztec Ruins National Monument near Aztec, New Mexico. From May to September, join park rangers as they tell you more about this pueblo and especially its Great House. Stroll through the Heritage Garden and the Native Plants Walk to see heirloom plants and learn how the Native Americans used them.
Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
If you are looking for a backcountry hiking opportunity, consider Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve. This park near Carey, Idaho, offers numerous short hikes with interpretative signage to help you understand how the lava spewed from a volcano about 2,000 years ago still impacts this park. You can also visit many historic buildings built in 1955 or before at this park. Part of the Oregon Trail runs through this park’s northern part.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
There are many choices for campgrounds in Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you can time your trip to coincide with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Balloon View Park offers stunning views of the festival. El Rancho RV Park has been taking care of customers since the 1940s. Albuquerque Central KOA offers many family-fun activities. RV dump station options in Albuquerque include Giant service stations and Flying J travel centers.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Numerous campgrounds in Salt Lake City offer convenient access to the area’s natural attractions and the great places to see, shop, and dine in the city. Some that you may want to consider are Pony Express RV Resort & Campground, Salt Lake City KOA, and Park City RV Resort. Deer Creek State Park and Camping World offer RV dump stations in Salt Lake City.
If you want to shop, dine, and see attractions when in Boise, Idaho, consider camping at Mountain View RV Park. If you are looking to fish and play in the Boise River, think about Boise Riverside RV Park. There are many other outstanding campgrounds in Boise that you may want to investigate. RV dump stations in Boise are available at Lake Owyhee State Park and Hi Valley RV Park.
If you love to go fishing or bird-watching, Yakima Sportsman State Park may be the perfect place to camp for a night or two. On the other hand, you can find seclusion at Windy Point Campground in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. There are plenty of other great Yakima campgrounds. Many nearby Washington RV dump stations are available, including at Sun-Tide RV Park and Aubrey's RV Center.