Your Chicago to Orlando RV road trip might take a few days of driving, but you'll pass through many exciting cities. At the starting point, the "City of Big Shoulders" has many exciting attractions and delicious restaurants that beckon visitors. Once you move into Tennessee, the route will take you directly into the heart of Nashville. You can stop here to hear some country music as you visit the honky-tonks. Atlanta is another fascinating stop on your route that boasts dozens of must-see attractions. Finally, Orlando is known for its theme parks, family-friendly fun, and exciting adventures.
When you're ready to plan your road trip itinerary from Chicago to Orlando, you should think about spending a day (or two) at a national park. Several parks are not far off the route. If you need to learn more about your options, please check out our national parks guide.
Mammoth Cave National Park
You'll find Mammoth Cave National Park in the central part of Kentucky about two hours south of Louisville. With more than 400 miles of caverns, this park is home to the world's longest known cave system. Many sections are opened to the public, including the Frozen Niagara and the Rotunda areas. In Gothic Avenue, you can see that the ceiling is covered with 19th-century signatures. Visitors are not allowed to explore the caves by themselves, but you can sign up for one of the cave tours. If you don't want to go into the caverns, there are other activities in the park. Biking, hiking, fishing, and horseback riding are popular among visitors.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses over 500,000 acres of land, and it is the largest protected park in the eastern part of the United States. This park is so large that it has entrances in North Carolina and Tennessee. There are many family-friendly activities, including hiking, biking, and camping. If you want to observe some native animal life, there are plenty of chances in this park. You might see the famous bears roaming throughout the mountains and valleys. Since it is one of the largest national parks, you'll want to join the ranger-led presentations or special events. There are miles of roadways to tour the park for those who don't want to get out of the vehicle.
Biscayne National Park
Located near Miami, Biscayne National Park offers a break from the busy city life. The park, which spans 172,000 acres of land and water, is about four hours south of Orlando, but it's worth the drive. Since the park contains many shallow-water shipwrecks and coral reefs, it is a popular place for snorkelers and divers. For those who want to explore the park, you'll need to rent a boat. While on the water, you can get a closer look at the seagrass landscape, and you might even view one of the bottle-nose dolphins that swim in the waters.
On your Chicago to Orlando RV road trip, you should take some time to explore the local state parks too. With our state park guide, you can find the best places on your route.
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is one of the most well-known parks outside of Chicago. This vast park is located about 100 miles from the city and just south of the Illinois River. At this location, you can explore 13 miles of trails to see the 18 canyons. In addition to that fun, there are other recreational activities, including wildlife viewing, boating, and fishing. There is even a lodge in the park where you can spend the night.
Big Bone Lick State Park
If you want to see some bison, you'll have your chance at Big Bone Lick State Park in Boone County, Kentucky. You can view these large land mammals at any time of year. At one time, bison roamed the area as they provided food, shelter, and clothing to Native Americans and settlers in the region. Due to hunting, these animals were almost extinct. However, at Big Bone Lick State Park, you can still see herds of bison roaming the park.
Blue Spring State Park
Manatees are a protected species in Florida. However, you can get a close look at these mammals as they head to Blue Spring State Park, which is about 30 miles north of Orlando. When the waters start to cool down, the manatees will come to the springs to spend time in the warmer waters. If you visit the park after the manatees have left, you can still view other wildlife, including alligators and turtles. This is also a popular place for recreational activities such as snorkeling and paddleboarding. For those who want to stay on the ground, there are great views of the springs and manatees from the elevated boardwalk.
Anastasia State Park
Anastasia State Park is located outside of St. Augustine in northeastern Florida. You'll want to set out and explore the 1,600 acres of marshes, dunes, and beaches. This park is very popular for bird watchers, and you can find plenty of painted buntings, eagles, warblers, and roseate spoonbills in the park.
This 100-story, 1,450-foot skyscraper in Chicago was once known as the Sears Tower. When it was completed in 1973, it was the tallest building in the world. It held that title for almost 25 years. This spot is one of the most popular attractions in the Midwest as it welcomes over one million visitors per year. In 2009, the name of the tower was changed to the Willis Tower.
Located in the Chicago Loop, this park covers over 24.5 acres. You can find a wide variety of public art installations at this location. Throughout the year, there are festivals and other events that take place in this urban green space. During the holiday season, Millennium Park is home to the city's Christmas tree.
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is home to one of the longest-running radio broadcasts in U.S. history. Today, the Saturday night shows are live-streamed. The program hosts a wide range of music, including country, gospel, bluegrass, and folk. When you are in Nashville, you can still see a performance at the Opry. If you cannot get a ticket, you will want to take a tour to learn about the building's storied history.
With over 120,000 species of marine animals, the Georgia Aquarium is one of Atlanta's most popular spots. The Georgia Aquarium also helps to rehabilitate loggerhead turtles, whale sharks, and dolphins.
Walt Disney World Resort
Located just outside Orlando, the Walt Disney World Resort covers over 25,000 acres of land. In the resort complex, there are four theme parks, two water parks, 27 themed hotels, a campground, several golf courses, and an outdoor shopping area. If you are planning to visit, be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time.
On your Chicago to Orlando road trip, there are many world-class cities that you will want to visit. Along the way, you can find many campgrounds to spend the night and dump stations to stay clean and sanitary.
Nashville is the capital of Tennessee and home to Vanderbilt University. This city is also home to the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The downtown district is known for its honky-tonks with live music. When you need to find a place for the night, there are plenty of campgrounds near Nashville. Check out the Nashville North KOA if you're looking for a local dump station.
This capital of Georgia played an essential role in the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. To learn more about this history, visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. In the downtown area, you can stop by the Georgia Aquarium or Centennial Olympic Park. If you travel outside of the city, several campgrounds are available to help you recharge and relax after a busy day. Jones RV Park in nearby Norcross offers dependable dumping services.
Kissimmee is known for its close location to all the Orlando theme parks, such as Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios Orlando. Along with the theme parks, Lake Tohopekaliga offers plenty of recreational water activities, including boating and fishing. If you head down to Waterfront Park, you can explore the park from the walking trails or let your children enjoy the playgrounds. Several campgrounds in the Kissimmee/Orlando area cater to RVers looking to explore the local theme parks. For example, Camp USA offers great accommodations with a dump station available to visitors.
Before you start your road trip from Chicago to Orlando, you'll want to take a few moments to look up all the local attractions. For those ready to hit the road, we offer RV rentals in both Chicago and Orlando. With this Chicago to Orlando road trip itinerary, you don't have to worry about missing your favorite attractions.