The road trip from Chicago to Phoenix will normally take two days to accomplish and will route you through six states. A voyage of this many miles has the potential to be epic if you can add some side excursions to your road trip itinerary from Chicago to Phoenix. You will be able to see a wide variety of biomes, such as lakes, wetlands, mountains, low- and high-altitude forests, deserts, plains, and prairies. There are a number of natural and historical sites to see, and there are several large urban cities that lie directly on your route. You will pass through St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, and Albuquerque, and your starting and ending cities of Chicago and Phoenix are each remarkable destinations.
There are multiple national parks that are nearby your Chicago to Phoenix road trip. Of these, Indiana Sand Dunes National Park and Grand Canyon National Park are two worthy contenders for your time. Indiana Sand Dunes National Park is located by Chicago in Chesterton, IN, near the beginning of your trip, and Grand Canyon National Park is just a couple of hours from the city of Holbrook, AZ, which is near the end of your route.
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park is located on the southern side of Lake Michigan and runs along 15 miles of shoreline. The park is named for the tall dunes that reach upward of 200 feet in height, and the park also contains diverse ecosystems of bogs, rivers, beaches, marshes, prairies, and forests. The park allows access to all the normal boating, fishing, and swimming activities on Lake Michigan, and there are more than 50 miles of hiking trails inside this 22,000-acre park. As you walk along the trails, you will have many opportunities to see the various types of wildlife and birds within the park. History has a place here as well, and you will enjoy visiting the national landmarks.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is the one national park that everyone should visit if given the chance. The Grand Canyon is an amazing natural wonder that is more than 1 mile deep and 18 miles wide at some points. The park contains 277 miles of the Colorado River, which runs through the bottom of the canyon. While in the park, you can access the canyon via the South Rim, Havasupai Falls, and the North Rim. There are a multitude of trails that run along the rims and down into the interiors. Note that some of the trails may require advance requests. The park has camping sites, and there are choices of lodging available.
Your trip travels through six states, and there are many, many state parks that are all along your route. If you are planning on stopping at any on your journey, you are sure to find one that is convenient and offers you exactly what you are looking for. The following parks are all great places to spend some time off the road.
Meramec State Park
Meramec State Park is a few miles southwest of St. Louis, MO. The park has more than 40 caves, and you will also see waterfalls, woods, and the Meramec River. There are more than 13 miles of nature trails, and visitors will enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming on the river. Fisher Cave is a popular attraction that contains narrow passages that lead into huge rooms of calcite deposits that can reach heights of 30 feet.
Lake Thunderbird State Park
Lake Thunderbird State Park, near Norman, OK, is a great park that has plenty of fun activities for your family to enjoy. There are two marinas, two beaches, and nine boat ramps. There are also playgrounds, lots of picnic shelters, and an archery range. It's fun to explore the Discovery Cove Nature Center, and there are nature and mountain biking trails throughout the park. There are 4 miles of equestrian trails with obstacles. If you are a hunting enthusiast, then you will want to visit the public hunting areas, which offer both deer archery and wildlife hunting.
Bluewater Lake State Park
Bluewater Lake State Park is located close to the Zuni Mountains and Grants, New Mexico. You will love seeing the beautiful pinon and juniper trees that are all around Bluewater Lake. While visiting the park, you will be able to watch for birds, ride horses, and hike along the many nature trails. You can also enjoy water activities in the lake.
Homolovi State Park
Homolovi State Park serves to preserve the history of the Hopi people and has a focus on the late migration period from the 1200s through the 1300s. Archeologists conduct research on the site, located near Winslow, Arizona, and the general public can access many of the areas in the park as well. There are several hiking trails, a visitor center, and a museum. There are pullouts where you can observe the wildlife from this 4,000-acre park that reaches elevations of 4,900 feet.
On any trip of this length, there are sure to be many attractions you have been wanting to see when you had a chance. These are just some of the places you may want to visit.
Navy Pier in downtown Chicago is 3,300 feet long and juts out into Lake Michigan. The total area is more than 50 acres of parks, shops, gardens, restaurants, attractions, and exhibits. It is rated as a top attraction and is one of the most visited sites in Chicago. The Centennial Wheel is the heart of the pier and rises nearly 200 feet into the air, offering spectacular views of the city and Lake Michigan.
The Gateway Arch
The intrepid explorers of the western United States are commemorated with the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the starting point of the famous westward exploration of Lewis and Clark's journey to the Pacific Ocean. The Gateway Arch is 630 feet high, is the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and is the tallest arch in the world. Visitors can ascend to a viewing platform inside the Arch and view the surrounding park and the Mississippi River.
Gloss Mountain State Park
Gloss Mountain State Park in Oklahoma contains the Gloss Mountains, which are often called the "Glass Mountains" because of their high selenite content that has a high, glassy sheen. This park is for day-use only and offers visitors the opportunity to hike the Cathedral Mountain Trail. While on this popular trail, visitors will see a wonderful view of the mesa, the valley, and the majestic vista of Lone Peak Mountain.
There are plenty of opportunities to stop and take a break at any one of these major cities along your journey. Each of these cities has ample resources and amenities, and you can choose to just grab a bite to eat and then hit the road again or take more time to see all the sights. If you opt to stay for a longer period of time on a Chicago to Phoenix RV road trip, there are many campgrounds where you can stay. You also have many options for finding a convenient dump station for your RV.
St. Louis is the first major city you will pass through on your Chicago to Phoenix road trip. St. Louis is rich with history and is known for being a jumping-off place for the pioneers headed west. The city is located on the banks of the Mississippi River and contains the famous Gateway Arch, which is dedicated to the memory of Lewis and Clark and all other western settlers. If you want to stay at a convenient RV park, then St. Louis RV Park is an RV park in downtown St. Louis, and there are plenty of dump stations around as well.
The city of Tulsa is a fun place to visit because of the diverse nature of activities you can find there. The Arkansas River runs alongside the city, and there are also several lakes in the area. The city is known for its art deco buildings, and the Philcade and Philtower buildings are interesting landmarks to visit. Also, the food and shopping choices are top-notch. Canyon Creek RV Park is located about 10 minutes from downtown Tulsa and offers travelers a quiet respite from the road. Since Tulsa is Oklahoma's second-largest city, it is also easy to find dump stations.
Amarillo is in the western Panhandle of the state of Texas and is a prime destination for many tourists. It is next to Palo Duro Canyon State Park and the Cadillac Ranch and is located on the historic Route 66. Visitors will enjoy exploring both inside and outside the city, and the Route 66 Historic Downtown district of Amarillo offers quite a selection of boutique shopping and varied dining experiences. Palo Duro Rim RV Campground is the place to stay when you want to explore nearby Palo Duro Canyon.
Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico and enjoys a dry desert climate. It was originally founded as a Spanish colony in 1706 and now is a mix of modern urban amenities and historic adobe buildings. You can find many Native American crafts, and there are several cultural sites that showcase the area's history. If you would like to stay a few days and rest, then El Rancho RV Park has all the peacefulness and comfortable amenities you need, including a dump station.