Since something exciting is always happening in New York City, consider going on a road trip from Chicago to New York for your next vacation. It's easy to incorporate stops at Indiana Dunes and Cuyahoga Valley into your trip. Include some terrific stops at state parks in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York before you reach the east coast. You can hike, bike, fish, and play on the water at many of these locations. Bring your children along as they will have fun visiting some neat science attractions.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park covers more than 15,000 acres on Lake Michigan's southern shore near Porter, Indiana. This park offers many different beaches spread across its 15 miles of shoreline. Once there, you can go swimming, fly a kite or go for a sunset stroll. The 37-mile long interconnected bike trail system makes this a great place to explore on two wheels. Over 50 miles of hiking trails wind their way through oak-filled savannahs, across wetlands, and over bogs. Glenwood Dunes Trail is a great place to go horseback riding. Rangers lead over 400 walks and interpretative programs annually.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Follow the pathway of the historic Ohio & Erie Canal by stopping at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There are over 150 miles of hiking trails, with some requiring you to walk across shallow streams by stepping on rocks or walk across log bridges. The primary route through this park is a great place to go on a family bike ride. The east side of the park offers a great place to go mountain biking. The Cuyahoga River is a terrific place to go trout fishing, while this park's many small ponds offer anglers fantastic places to fish for over 65 species of fish. If you love to see wildlife, then grab a seat on the historic Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Train. Look for the unique quest boxes located throughout this park. Answer the question, collect the stamp, and sign the logbook so that others will know about your visit.
East Harbor State Park
You will want to incorporate a stop at East Harbor State Park on Lake Erie's shores into your road trip itinerary from Chicago to New York. This 1,831-acre state park near Marblehead, Ohio, offers various water-based activities, including boating, fishing, and swimming. More than 10 miles of hiking trails are available, and they run through woodlands and close to the water. You are likely to see hundreds of birds from these trails during the spring and fall migration seasons. Challenge a friend to a game of disc golf. The seven blinds on the east side of this park are so popular with duck hunters that the state holds a lottery to see who is going to get lucky enough to hunt from there.
West Branch State Park
Launch your vessel to enjoy water activities at Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir. If you did not bring your boat, then rent one at the marina at this Ravenna, Ohio, park. There are also two great swimming areas. Follow miles of trails through numerous bogs and the beech-maple woodlands. If you brought your dog along, let them explore the dog park. Work on your game on the disc golf course at this Ohio state park.
Ravensburg State Park
Ravensburg State Park, located in a gorge in the Nippenose Mountains near Jersey Shores, Pennsylvania, is a great spot to stop on a Chicago to New York road trip. You will especially love strolling through the hardwood forest at the bottom of the gorge during the fall when the trees put on their autumn colors. This park is also a delightful place to visit after spring rainfalls when you can see several waterfalls. Spring is also the time when the abundant mountain laurel is in bloom at this Pennsylvania state park. The rock-covered slopes with many oak trees offer a terrific way to escape the summertime heat. There are several picnic shelters near streams, so plan on eating a picnic lunch or grilling at this location. You may also want to consider other Pennsylvania state parks to stop at on this or future trips.
Tuscarora State Park
One of the prettiest Pennsylvania state parks is Tuscarora State Park near Barnesville. The lake where you can go swimming, boating, and fishing, sits at the bottom of the Locust Mountain, and it adds to this park's immense beauty. Rangers and volunteers often host environmental education programs at this location. Stroll along the hiking trails through old-growth hemlock and rhododendron stands, and you may see many species of prey. About 1,100 acres at this park are open seasonally to hunt deer, pheasant, turkeys, deer, and many small animals.
Hacklebarney State Park
Feel the power of the Black River and its two major tributaries as soon as you stop at Hacklebarney State Park on your Chicago to New York road trip. Go trout fishing at this park near Long Valley, New Jersey. Enjoy the views of the river from the hiking paths at the north end of this park. The trails through the uplands and wetlands are a great place to see birds, especially during migration periods. Over 600 acres of this New Jersey state park is set aside for seasonal hunting.
National Museum of the Great Lakes
Stop at the National Museum of the Great Lakes near Toledo, Ohio, to see the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum ship. When christened in 1911, this vessel was the most elegant and largest ship on the Great Lakes and soon earned many records for carrying the most cargo. In addition to climbing on this vessel for a tour, you can see many other hands-on exhibits, photographs, and artifacts telling the story of the people who have called the Great Lakes region home.
Great Lakes Science Center
Stop and see a wind turbine up close at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Then, tour the 1925 William G. Mather steamship that was instrumental in hauling the materials used to build many early Cleveland businesses. A vast array of science activities encourages young people to engage with science. One of only 11 NASA visitor centers in the United States is located here.
The Ward Beecher Planetarium
Take a break in Youngstown, Ohio, to visit The Ward Beecher Planetarium when you are cruising down the highway on your road trip from Chicago to New York. You can explore many locations in the universe in real-time at this facility on the campus of Youngtown State University. They often feature special holiday shows.
Penn’s Cave and Wildlife Park
The Penn's Cave tour is the only all-water cave tour in America. After your cave tour, explore the farm, where you can see various animals, including Texas longhorn cattle and mountain lions. You can try to find your way out of a 4,800-square-foot labyrinth and go gold mining. This location is located about six miles northeast of Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, so it is less than 23 miles off Interstate 80.
Whippany Railway Museum
Stroll through a historic village with numerous structures related to the railroad at the turn of the twentieth century by stopping at the Whippany Railway Museum. This museum often hosts unique train rides with holiday themes throughout the year, such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. This attraction is located about 22 miles northwest of Newark.
South Bend, Indiana
Many South Bend campgrounds offer easy access to Lake Michigan. If you are looking for a campground with lots of great activities for children, consider Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp Resort at Barton Lake or South Bend/Elkhart KOA. You can find South Bend RV dump stations at Twin Mills Camping Resort and Spencer Park.
The Toledo Zoo offers a lot of innovative programs, including a music series. Your children are sure to love Imagination Station. Top Toledo campground choices include Big Sandy Campground and Twin Acres Campground. Wilderness Campground and Harborview RV Resort are great choices when looking for RV dump stations in the Toledo area or consider other Ohio locations.
Youngstown is the halfway point of your Chicago to New York RV road trip. There are many great Youngstown campgrounds, including Chestnut Ridge Park & Campground, along with Chapparal Family Campground. You can find RV dump stations at Paradise Cove Campground and Paradise Lakes Family Campground.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Chicago to New York, 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 Chicago or New York.