Get ready to trade the swamps and humidity of Louisiana for the stunning and expansive deserts of the Southwest when you take a road trip from Baton Rouge to Grand Canyon National Park. While the destination is one of the most stunning American landmarks, the beautiful vistas along the way mean you don't want to sprint to the finish line. A significant portion of the trip will bring you through Texas where you'll encounter Dallas, a massive metropolis that serves up some of the best barbecue and Mexican food in the country and is home to an impressive arts district. Amarillo may be significantly smaller, but it's home to natural wonders like the Palo Duro Canyon and a small but passionate art scene. Just don't get too caught up in the Longhorn State because you'll also be passing through New Mexico, and the Land of Enchantment is home to some truly incredible national parks. Sites like White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns might understandably tempt you into taking a detour on your Baton Rouge to Grand Canyon National Park RV road trip.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park doesn't get a lot of visitors compared to other national parks, but it consists of some of the most beautifully rugged forest in the United States. Split into three different regions, Big Bend promises a variety of hiking trails for any proficiency level and hot springs for relaxing after a long, dusty hike.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in Texas, but the other top four entries for that record are also located in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The rocky and almost alien landscape here is a mountainous extension of Big Bend to the south. You'll have the opportunity to veer into this somewhat remote national park just before passing from Texas into New Mexico, but it's also conveniently located just 30 minutes from Carlsbad Caverns.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is home to 119 identified caves, and it's hard to believe they were made by nature. Self-guided tours are available, but rangers can provide you with an exhaustive history of how these stunning structures were formed. The massive chamber known as the Big Room is by far the biggest attraction, so get there early if you want some space.
Saguaro National Park
You can tell you are in Saguaro National Park thanks to the uniquely shaped cacti that can only be found in the Sonoran Desert. Also, since Saguaro is on the outskirts of Tucson, it's not as remote as some other options. The park is home to some great hiking trails, but be sure to be prepared for the desert heat if you're visiting during the summer, and bring plenty of water.
Petrified Forest National Park
Even if Petrified Forest National Park weren't on the way to the Grand Canyon, it would be a worthy inclusion for your Baton Rouge to Grand Canyon National Park road trip itinerary. The unique petrified wood casts beautiful rainbow striations that reflect its age and history, and those stunning formations give way to the awe-inspiring color formations of the Painted Desert as well.
Abilene State Park
Located just outside of the friendly Texas town of Abilene, this state park is most well-known for its swimming pool dating back to the 1930s — a popular way for the locals to beat the dry Texas heat. Lake Abilene might not be as common a choice for swimming, but it's a great option for fishing and kayaking.
Bluewater Lake State Park
If you're looking for a dip in the water after you cross the New Mexico border, you'll find it at Bluewater Lake State Park. Nestled in the Zuni Mountains, fishing and boating are offered all year long. In fact, Bluewater Lake is regularly stocked with trout, salmon, and catfish to ensure its value as a fishing site.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Reroute your Baton Rouge to Grand Canyon National Park road trip just a little south of Amarillo, and you can see Palo Duro Canyon. The long and lonely canyons can be properly enjoyed with a ride through the park, but there are plenty of hiking trails as well. Palo Duro is an especially popular stopping place for RV campers.
Chicot State Park
The lively swamps of Chicot State Park couldn't be more different than the deserts on the latter part of a road trip from Baton Rouge to Grand Canyon National Park. Fishing is available without a license, and it's easy to book a tour of the swamps. The on-site botanical gardens are a must for anyone parking here.
Sumner Lake State Park
Fifty developed campsites offer plenty of space to spread out and enjoy New Mexico's beautiful Sumner Lake State Park. The lake itself draws in everyone from water skiers to anglers. Walleye, bass, and salmon can all be found in Lake Sumner's waters.
Barringer Meteor Crater
This massive crater was created a staggering 50,000 years ago when a piece of space debris collided with the Earth and caused massive and far-reaching climate changes. The impact would be enough to level a modern city. The view is stunning, and you can learn more about the history at the adjoining Discovery Center.
International UFO Museum and Research Center
The International UFO Museum and Research Center offers an exhaustive look at the potential of extraterrestrial contact with Earth. Located in the heart of Roswell, it also houses an extensive library in addition to the museum.
Wupatki National Monument
This national monument offers a fascinating look at how people survived in the Chihuahua Desert before the time of modern conveniences — or any conveniences at all. Many of the ruins here were occupied in the 11th century in the wake of a volcanic explosion, but remains have been found dating back all the way to roughly 500 B.C.
This unique piece of modern art consists of 10 Cadillacs from the middle of the 20th century that have been painted and half-buried in the desert. The distinctive tail designs of each car track the history of its design and form the basis for a compelling piece of avant-garde sculpture.
Dallas is one of the most critical transport hubs in the United States, so there is both plenty to do and plenty of campsites and dump stations in and around the city. It is both a beacon for culture in Texas thanks to the Dallas Museum of Art and a great place to explore nature thanks to the arboretum and botanical garden inside the city.
Amarillo's sleepy vibes and slower pace make it an obvious place for retirement, but it also has a quirky and eccentric art community that is worth seeing first-hand. And since Amarillo is considered the gateway to Palo Duro Canyon, it is abundant with both dump stations and campsites.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The city of Albuquerque wears its history on its sleeve — whether that's in the form of the charming Spanish colonial buildings of Old Downtown or the prominent mission of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. But the best way to see the city is from Sandia Peak. Fortunately, you can reach the top without having to hike by just hopping on the tram. Campgrounds are especially populous near Sandia Peak, but you will find facilities of varying price ranges all over Albuquerque. Before you continue on your journey, take the opportunity to clean your RV's waste tanks at one of the dump stations in the area.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Baton Rouge to Grand Canyon National Park, 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 Baton Rouge or Grand Canyon National Park.