There are several great places to include on a road trip itinerary from Austin to Washington, D.C. Since you're starting in Austin, why not check out the Texas State Capitol before ending in the nation's capital? You can then commence your journey to the District of Columbia by heading north on I-35 and taking I-30 E at Dallas; this is the perfect route for those who want to stop off at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. After switching to I-40 E at Little Rock, take I-81 north in Tennessee after Knoxville, and then travel on I-66 E for the last leg of the trip. Along this route, you'll encounter some spectacular national parks as well as state parks where you can fish, swim, and enjoy nature.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park is the first national park that you will encounter during this trip. The park is unique because it is located in a charming resort city, Hot Springs, AR. As for the actual hot springs, there are many that you can relax in to heal your body so that you feel rejuvenated to continue your journey. If you take the time to explore the trails at Hot Springs National Park, you will see a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. Make sure to check your calendar to see if there are any events planned in the park during your visit.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
On your Austin to Washington, D.C., RV road trip, you'll want to stop at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is an iconic park because it is one of the largest that you will find in the eastern part of the country. The park takes up over 500,000 acres in North Carolina and Tennessee, so there are plenty of things to see and do during your visit. Take the time to climb 6,643-foot Clingmans Dome, which is the highest point in the park. The Smokies are quite colorful during the fall, so a trek up here will give you an amazing picturesque view. You can find an explosion of wildflowers in the park during the spring, especially if you visit in April or May. Outdoor enthusiasts will also appreciate that Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 100 waterfalls, many of which are viewable on designated trails.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park takes up about 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. It has mountain peaks, waterfalls, forests, and rivers that you can explore. This park has more than 500 miles of trail that you can hike, bike, or explore on horseback. About 101 miles of these trails are part of the Appalachian Trail, but if you prefer to hike other parts of the park, try the Whiteoak Canyon Trail and the Old Rag Mountain Loop. They are both about 10 miles long and present some of the more strenuous treks in the area. If you visit during the summer, make sure that you take some time to enjoy the blackberries that grow in the park.
Village Creek State Park
Village Creek State Park is a park that covers 1,090 acres in Hardin County, Texas. Even before it opened in 1994, locals were enjoying its 21 miles of creek that you can paddle on or fish in. There are also 8 miles of trails that you can hike or explore on a bike. If you need to cool off before you get back to your road trip, swim in the creek.
Natchez Trace State Park
Natchez Trace State Park spans about 48,000 miles in western Tennessee. There is a large lake in the park where you can swim, fish, boat, and enjoy other water activities. Rentals are available, but there are several hiking trails that you can explore if you prefer to stay on dry land. Those who enjoy horseback riding will be pleased to know that there are 250 miles of riding trails.
Grayson Highlands State Park
Grayson Highlands State Park, which opened in 1965 as a state park, is located within the George Washington and Jefferson National Park Site in Virginia. The park has various panoramic views that you can see from the trails and the peaks in the park. There are 13 trails that you can explore in the park, and each one offers a different level of difficulty. Climbers especially love this park, which has more than 700 climbing routes. Since there are about 10 miles of river in the park, fishing and boating are also activities that you can enjoy. In the summer, guided canoe trips occur on the waters of the New River.
Garvan Woodland Gardens
Garvan Woodland Gardens is a botanical garden located within a few miles of Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. It covers about 210 acres. Walking through the flower gardens can be very relaxing. It's a great way to stretch your legs when you've been on the road for a while. Check the calendar for events that you can attend.
Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery
Belle Meade Historic Site and Winery is a mansion in Nashville with a lot of history. Visitors can enjoy games like croquet, bocce ball, and corn hole on the outdoor court. You can also take a Segway tour if you prefer. While visiting, try some of the wine that is offered. There is also a bourbon experience that you can try.
On this road trip from Austin to Washington, D.C., make sure that you stop at Dixie Caverns in Salem, Virginia. If you enjoy exploring caves, then this is a unique one that you will not want to miss. Tours occur every hour, and there is a gift shop that you can explore if you arrive early.
On your Austin to Washington, D.C., road trip, you’ll hit some interesting cities, and the first big one on the itinerary is Dallas. Dallas is home to the country’s largest arts district, so if you are a fan of performance or visual art, make sure to set some time aside. If you’re looking for a bit of old-timey fun, consider a stop at the State Fair of Texas, which has been an annual event since its inception in 1886. If you're looking for RV campgrounds near Dallas, you'll find some great options in Arlington and Grand Prairie. Some popular choices include Treetops RV Resort, Traders Village RV Park, or the Vineyards Campground and Cabins. If you plan on bringing your furry buddies, consider Dallas/Arlington KOA or Sandy Lake MH and RV Resort. Most of the campgrounds in the area have full hookups, and it’s also possible to find some with dump stations.
The name Memphis has become synonymous with barbecue, but you’ll find that this beautiful Southern city has more than just amazing cuisine. Memphis is the home of Graceland, so if you’re a fan of the King, then make sure you take time to visit his beautiful former home. If you love nature, Shelby Farms has expansive and picturesque settings to experience, and there’s a little something for every visitor. According to Billboard Magazine, Memphis is mentioned more in songs than any other city. Memphis campgrounds include options that can be found directly in the city, like Graceland RV Park and Campground, Elvis Presley Boulevard RV Park, and T.O. Fuller State Park. These all have a multitude of sites, and the city also has several dump stations.
The state capital of Tennessee, Nashville, also serves as one of country music's most famous cities. While here, feel visit the Grand Ole Opry, The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Ryman Auditorium. Famous country performers, such as Johnny Cash, have had close associations with the city, so visit it as you drive your way to D.C. There are a few campgrounds and RV parks in and around Nashville. Some options like the Grand Ole RV Resort have more than 70 sites and more than enough amenities for you to feel at home. There are as many as 33 dump stations to use in Nashville, so if you need to dump your wastewater, you’ll have options.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Austin to Washington, D.C., 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 Austin or Washington, D.C.