On your drive from Denver to New Orleans, you'll have a never-ending good time in the exciting cities of Colorado Springs, Dallas, and Baton Rouge. Visits to a few beautiful national parks lead you on adventures through the mountainous wilderness at Rocky Mountain National Park, a sandy escape at Great Sand Dunes National Park, and down the mighty Mississippi at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. A trip to the French Quarter delights and thrills with ghostly history tours and fun on Bourbon Street with more interesting sights to explore along the way.
Including a few national parks in your road trip itinerary from Denver to New Orleans is a fantastic way to enjoy some of America's unique history and most breathtaking and naturally beautiful land.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Before you leave Denver, head to Rocky Mountain National Park for a mountainous adventure through some of Colorado's most majestic land. At this park, you'll have over 350 miles of trails to explore and 29 beautiful waterfalls to view. Popular treks lead to several must-see destinations, such as Longs Peak, Twin Sisters Peaks, Adams Falls, and Bear, Emerald, and Dream lakes. A visit to The Loch rewards you with magnificent peak views, more trails to explore, and a pristine lake. With so much lush wilderness to experience, consider extending your visit to this park for two or more days.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park in Southern Colorado is a unique stop to add to your road trip from Denver to New Orleans. These incredible sand dunes offer plenty to explore, including numerous trails to hike in a wooded forest and fun on Medano Creek. Alpine and forested trails to check out are Mosca Pass, Music Pass, and the Medano Lake Trailhead. The popular Star and High dunes are great for photo ops that give you spectacular 360-degree views of the park. Sandboarding, sand sledding, and horseback riding are also available here. It's perfect for an overnight stay as you can enjoy crystal-clear views of the heavens at this International Dark Sky Park.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Named after the famous French pirate, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana has six distinct areas to explore in and around the park. Start your exploration at the Barataria Preserve, and take a canoe or an airboat tour through swamps, bayous, marshlands, and nearly endless hardwood forests where you may also sneak a peek at a few sunbathing gators. Several dirt trails run throughout the park along with boardwalks that are perfect for viewing the local flora and fauna. More of this park's sites you'll want to see are the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery and the Acadian, Wetlands Acadian, and Prairie Acadian cultural centers for history and interpretation of the Cajun culture.
State parks are beautiful places to relax and recharge on your Denver to New Orleans RV road trip. Consider adding a couple to your itinerary for maximum rejuvenation.
Clayton Lake State Park
Clayton Lake State Park is an outdoor activity oasis located in northeastern New Mexico. A stop at this park allows you to enjoy boating, fishing, and hiking while walking in prehistoric footsteps at one of the longest dinosaur trackways in America. Because it's an internationally designated Dark Sky Park, you can marvel at the night sky at the Star Point Observatory. Camping is also available here.
Caprock Canyons State Park
On your way through the Texas Panhandle, stop at Caprock Canyons State Park for some wild bison viewing, fishing, and boating on Lake Theo. Trails in the park cover over 90 miles for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Hike the Trailway to reach Clarity Tunnel, home to a thriving bat population that you'll not want to miss.
Chicot State Park
At Chicot State Park in Louisiana, you'll explore over 6,400 acres of unique ecosystems at one of the state's oldest parks. While you're here, you can wet a hook at Lake Chicot for a chance to catch largemouth bass, crappie, and sunfish, or you can cruise down the marsh in a kayak or canoe for a real Southern bayou experience. Hiking and biking trails can be found around the lake with camping available for overnight adventures.
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Located near Colorado Springs, Cave of the Winds Mountain Park takes you on a delightful adventure deep inside the Manitou Grand Caverns. Discovery and Lantern tours of the cave vary in length and endurance with historical and geological or ghostly themes to experience. Enjoy a variety of exhilarating attractions and activities from zip lining 80 feet above the park to dropping 150 feet into Williams Canyon at nearly 100 miles per hour on the Terror-dactyl.
Positively unique, Cadillac Ranch is located west of Amarillo, Texas, and definitely deserves a look. Inspired by Texas billionaire Stanley Marsh III and built by a group of artistic hippies called The Ant Farm, this one-of-a-kind art installation pays homage to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. At the Ranch, you'll see 10 brightly spray-painted Caddies half dug into the ground forming a straight line that can be seen from the famous Route 66.
The French Quarter
Take a walk through New Orleans' decadent history at the famous French Quarter where your first stop should be any local café for some authentic French beignets. A visit to the Haunted Museum and Voodoo Pharmacy Spirits Shop sets the mood for a fun evening spent on Bourbon Street, the heart of the French Quarter. You'll have endless bars, restaurants, and historical haunts like the Old Absinthe House to explore on this 13-block stretch.
Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs is your first main-city stop on your way to New Orleans. In this sweet mountain town, you can explore the outdoors at America's Mountain, Pikes Peak, for a day of hiking and picnicking; then, head back into the city for a hearty meal at Bad Daddy's Burger Bar or the Rabbit Hole. Tours of the Miramont Castle and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum should also be on your Colorado Springs bucket list. Lovely campgrounds nearby give you a chance to enjoy more of what this fun city has to offer. You can find dump stations close to town for your convenience.
A stay in Dallas allows you to experience exciting nightlife, a thrilling amusement park at Six Flags Over Texas, and a significant day in American history all within the same city. A ride up Reunion Tower, one the city's most recognizable landmarks, treats you to incredible views of the vibrant skyline. During the day, you can walk through the Sea Life Grapevine Aquarium and the Dallas Arboretum and Gardens. No trip to Dallas would be complete without a visit to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Elm Street, and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza. If you plan to extend your stay in this city, campgrounds and dump stations can be found nearby.
Baton Rouge, LA
As you drive through Baton Rouge, spend some time exploring the rich history of the area at the Magnolia Mound Plantation, the Louisiana State University Rural Life Museum, and the Old Governor's Mansion. Take a ghostly tour of the city to learn about the South's spooky otherworldly inhabitants with several tours featuring the lore of vampires and voodoo practitioners. Hit downtown for a Southern feast of oysters, gumbo, and crawfish at Dempsey's, Poor Boy Lloyd's, and The Jambalaya Shoppe. Campgrounds near the city are great for longer stays with dump stations nearby to help you keep your RV clean.