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Roadtrip with RVshare Chicago to Nashville

Chicago is home to some fantastic attractions and world-class dining. There are so many things to see and do that you may need a couple of days in the Second City. Once you head out of Illinois, you'll approach Indianapolis; this capital city of Indiana is filled with historic buildings and family-friendly activities. In Kentucky, you'll pass through Louisville, which is known as the capital of horse racing. Finally, when you reach Nashville, check out the music scene with some live performances. On your road trip from Chicago to Nashville, many exciting adventures are waiting for you.

Chicago to Nashville Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: It's seven hours to drive from Chicago to Nashville without stopping.
  • Mileage: It's 470 miles between the two cities.
  • Fun Fact: You'll travel on Interstate 65 for a portion of this road trip itinerary from Chicago to Nashville. I-65 is a major north-south interstate highway that connects the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Nearby National Parks

While on the road, you should think about adding some national parks to your itinerary. At RVshare, there is a national parks guide that will help you plan your visit. 

Indiana Sand Dunes National Park

For many years, Indiana Sand Dunes National Park was designated as a National Lakeshore. In 2019, that designation was modified to a national park. With the change, there is now a national park within an hour's drive from Chicago, and it is a popular spot to spend your day. At this park, you can explore over 15 miles of lakefront property on Lake Michigan. However, Indiana Sand Dunes National Park is more than a beach. You can also visit the 20 square miles of forests, prairies, and wetlands surrounding the area. This park gives you the chance to enjoy outdoor recreational opportunities such as hiking, horseback riding, and fishing. If you want to reconnect with nature, the trails are a great place to check out the park's flora and fauna. 

Mammoth Cave National Park

The world's longest cave system is located right in Kentucky. Mammoth Cave National Park features over 400 miles of caverns for you to explore. While you cannot head out exploring on your own, you can sign up for the guided tours. This cavern system has been a tourist destination for many years. When you enter Gothic Avenue, you'll see that the cave's ceiling is covered in 19th-century signatures. In addition to the caverns, you can also traverse the park's trails by horseback or foot. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

You can find one of the largest national parks in Tennessee. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 500,000 acres of land, and you'll want to take advantage of the hiking, biking and camping opportunities. There is some fascinating native wildlife that you might see in the park, including squirrels, white-tailed deer, and groundhogs. Bears are a common sight throughout the region. The park estimates that there are two bears per square mile in the Great Smokies. 

Nearby State Parks

A visit to a state park is the perfect way to detour on your Chicago to Nashville RV road trip. If you want to take a break, you should visit RVshare’s state park guide.

Starved Rock State Park

When you're in Illinois, you should take a day trip to Starved Rock State Park. This state park is located about 100 miles from Chicago, and it is a popular attraction. There are 18 canyons and over 13 miles of hiking trails in the park. Camping is another popular activity at Starved Rock. If you want to hit the water, the park is near the Illinois River, and there are many opportunities to fish or boat. 

Potato Creek State Park

This state park is only 12 miles from South Bend, Indiana, and it has plenty of outdoor activities for you to enjoy. If you love to fish or boat, you'll want to check out Worster Lake at Potato Creek State Park. Hikers should hit the trails for a little adventure. On the wooded paths, you can explore the local prairies, wetlands, and woodlands. 

Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run State Park offers some of the best views in the whole state of Indiana. The hiking trails wind past old-growth trees and fields of ferns. If you want to see the sandstone canyon, you can head over to this location on foot or take a canoe to explore by the water. Turkey Run is also home to a few native animals, including deer, beavers, and turkey vultures. 

Big Bone Lick State Park

Bison once roamed the countryside of Kentucky. These animals were essential to the Native American tribes and settlers in the area. However, the big animals were almost extinct in the state. At Big Bone Lick State Park, you can get a rare glimpse of the bison herds. In addition to the bison, the park is known for its prehistoric history. The park's giant salt lick was a favorite spot for ancient mammoths, and some of their bones have been found throughout the park. 

Henry Horton State Park

Henry Horton State Park is just an hour from Nashville, and it is populated with a diverse set of animals and plants. You can see remnants of the old bridge and mill. While you're there, you might want to book a tee time at the golf course or swim in the on-site pool. If you need to spend the night, there are RV sites that will accommodate your rig. 

Along the Way

Navy Pier

Navy Pier is one of the top tourist attractions in the Midwest, and it welcomes over two million people per year. The 3,300-foot-long pier is nestled against the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago. If you want to get a spectacular look at the city, you should take a ride on the Centennial Wheel. 

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium was the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection in the country. Along with the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium, this aquarium is located in the Museum Campus complex in Chicago. In 2005, the Shedd Aquarium was the most visited aquarium in the United States. The Shedd contains over 1,500 species of marine mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and snakes. 

Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Indianapolis is home to the world's largest children's museum, and it features over 472,900 square feet of exhibit halls. The museum is divided into three sections: the Natural World Collection, the American Collection, and the Cultural World Collection. The focus is on interactive exhibits that are designed for the entire family. 

The Johnny Cash Museum

Opened in 2013, the museum honors the life of Johnny Cash. This museum is home to the most extensive collection of Johnny Cash memorabilia and artifacts in the world, including a wall from his lake house in Hendersonville, TN. 

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

On your Chicago to Nashville road trip, you'll pass through a few major cities and state capitals. When you're ready to settle down for the night, there are plenty of campgrounds to park your rig, and you'll find many dump stations to help keep your vehicle clean and tidy. 

Lafayette

This Indiana city is filled with historical attractions that you won't want to miss. It's located in Tippecanoe County, and many people head here to check out the recreational opportunities, such as camping and hiking. If you're going to spend the night, there are a few campgrounds where you can park your RV.

Indianapolis

"Indy" is the capital of Indiana, and when you visit, you'll be treated to plenty of exciting attractions. If you're a fan of history, you'll want to check out the Indiana Statehouse. On the guided tour, you can learn about the history of the state and view artifacts that are important to all Indiana residents. With a wide selection of campgrounds in the area, you can find one to meet your needs on this trip. 

Louisville

The largest city in Kentucky sits along the Ohio River. It's well-known for its horse culture as it is home to the Kentucky Derby. If you want to learn about this event, you should head to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Baseball fans will not want to miss a chance to explore the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Once you're done with your adventures, make sure to check out the local campgrounds to spend the night. 

Find Adventure from Chicago to Nashville

Rent an RV

When you plan your Chicago to Nashville road trip itinerary, you'll want to make time to stop and see the sights and attractions. RVshare allows you to book a rental and hit the road. You can find many rentals in Chicago or Nashville. With so much to see and do, you're bound to make memories on your next vacation.

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