If traveling nearly 2,000 miles across the country from a city that’s roughly 45 minutes from the Big Apple to the rustic beauty of Montana’s largest city sounds like your idea of a good time, then a Livingston, NJ, to Billings, MT, road trip may be right for you. There are plenty of great national and state parks along the way, and you’ll have no problem finding fun tourist attractions and interesting cities to explore. Once your bags are packed and your trailer’s hitched, you’ll be ready to embark on your road trip from Livingston, NJ, to Billings, MT.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Interstate 80 cuts right through the heart of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, so you don’t even have to leave your route to visit this lovely national park. One hundred waterfalls and the Cuyahoga River provide plenty of water features in the park, and 125 miles of trails take visitors through ravines, forests, wetlands, and more. Some popular activities here are bird-watching, golfing, kayaking, canoeing, and horseback riding.
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park
Indiana Sand Dunes National Park has only been a national park since early 2019. The big attraction here is the 15 miles of lakefront on the shores of Lake Michigan, but there are also plenty of inland trails suitable for hiking, riding, and biking. You can take advantage of everything from a short, wheelchair-accessible trail through the dunes to a strenuous hike through Cowles Bog.
Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park in South Dakota is well-known for its inhospitable environment and iconic alien landscape. There are many excellent trails here, but one big draw of the park is its freewheeling nature in terms of exploration. You can go wherever you want within reason here, so this is an amazing place to go in search of rugged adventure. Hiking and backcountry camping are immensely popular here as is stargazing because of the park's remote location and dark skies. You might expect the Badlands to be barren and lifeless, but that couldn’t be further from the truth as many hardy species—including bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs—make their home here.
Wind Cave National Park
Not too far to the west of Badlands is Wind Cave National Park, which is named for its large cave that seems to breathe with pressure changes. It’s the sixth-longest cave in the world, and it’s known for its calcite structures called boxworks. There’s also plenty to explore aboveground. More than 28,000 acres form a wildlife sanctuary that includes America’s largest natural mixed-grass prairie. Bison, elk, coyotes, cougars, bobcats, and numerous other types of wildlife live here.
Yellowstone National Park
Just because you’ve technically reached the end of your Livingston, NJ, to Billings, MT, RV road trip doesn’t mean that you can’t visit an awesome national park. Yellowstone National Park is only two and a half hours away from Billings, so how could you resist stopping by this iconic destination? Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, and other jaw-dropping features continue to delight millions of visitors every year. Nowhere else on Earth has more geysers or hot springs, so you’ll be able to get your fill of geothermal wonders at Yellowstone National Park.
Bald Eagle State Park
Bald Eagle State Park is close to Interstate 80 and Penn State University. It’s located on the Foster Joseph Sayers Reservoir and Bald Eagle Creek, so there’s plenty of room for fishing, swimming, and boating. You can hike on 11 miles of trails; nearly 5,000 acres of land are available for hunting deer, turkey, squirrels, and more. Winter visitors often enjoy using the trails for cross-country skiing.
Maumee Bay State Park
Maumee Bay State Park is just outside of Toledo and is close to the Ohio-Michigan border. This is a great place for swimming and boating since the park includes a stretch of the Lake Erie shore as well as a nearly 60-acre inland lake. You can play a round or two of golf on the park’s 18-hole golf course and then hike on the park’s multiple trails. If you’re looking for a place with paved, easy trails, Maumee Bay State Park has them.
Mirror Lake State Park
Close to Interstate 90 and Wisconsin Dells is Mirror Lake State Park. Its main attraction, of course, is Mirror Lake, which is gorgeously placid and highly reflective. A boat ramp provides easy access to the lake, and a 200-foot beach is ideal for swimming. Nearly 30 miles of trails are used by bikers and hikers in the warmer months and snowshoers and skiers in the winter season.
Blue Mounds State Park
Blue Mounds State Park is near the Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa borders. Since it’s practically right off Interstate 90, it’s a logical addition to your road trip itinerary from Livingston, NJ, to Billings, MT. It’s named for the Sioux quartzite bedrock formations found within its borders, but its biggest draw is the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd that calls the park home. Hiking, biking, bird-watching, and rock climbing are some of the most popular activities at Blue Mounds State Park.
Bear Butte State Park
Bear Butte State Park is just outside of Sturgis, South Dakota, so it’s one of the last attractions you’ll encounter as you prepare to enter the final state on your road trip from Livingston, NJ, to Billings, MT. It’s named after Bear Butte, which is an impressive igneous rock formation that is an important landmark and religious site for many Native Americans. Anyone, however, can enjoy the peaceful serenity of Bear Butte and Bear Butte Lake.
Penn State University
Penn State University’s main campus is located in State College, Pennsylvania, which is just south of your route. This lovely campus has multiple historic buildings and interesting museums that you can visit. Some places you may want to stop by are Old Main, the Palmer Museum of Art, and the Penn State Creamery. If you’re into college football and you happen to be passing through during the season, you may want to take in a game at Beaver Stadium.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is just to the northwest of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, so it’s conveniently close to your route. There are multiple Cleveland Metroparks in the area, but the zoo is a popular one that has sections like African Savannah, Australian Adventure, Wilderness Trek, and African Elephant Crossing. There are also multiple gift shops at which you can purchase souvenirs.
Notre Dame University
If stopping by Penn State University left you wanting to explore another lovely historical campus, then Notre Dame University definitely fits the bill. Interstate 90 takes you close to South Bend, Indiana, so you should definitely add Notre Dame to your road trip itinerary from Livingston, NJ, to Billings, MT. You’ll be able to explore popular places like the Golden Dome, the Basilica, and the Grotto. If football is in season, you’ll be able to visit Notre Dame Stadium and see Touchdown Jesus in person.
If you want to visit a place known as “Chicago’s Front Yard,” then you need to add Grant Park to your Livingston, NJ, to Billings, MT, road trip. Attractions like Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, and Museum Campus make this one of the most popular places to go in Chicago. Other fun areas to visit here are Maggie Daley Park and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Little Bighorn Battlefield
An hour outside of Billings, you’ll pass by Little Bighorn Battlefield, which is the famous site of Custer’s Last Stand. At this national monument, you can visit a museum that has exhibits about the battle and its fighters. There are monuments dedicated to the various soldiers and Native Americans who fought here and trails that take you to various notable locations.
Cleveland is one of the biggest cities you’ll pass through on your Livingston, NJ, to Billings, MT, RV road trip, so there are plenty of dump stations and campgrounds nearby. It’s on the shores of Lake Erie, so there are several lakeside attractions like Edgewater Park Beach and Gordon Park.
Toledo is a fairly large city on the banks of the Maumee River that’s close to the Ohio-Michigan border. Multiple nice campgrounds are in the area, and attractions include the Toledo Museum of Art and the Toledo Zoo.
You could spend days on end exploring Chicago; fortunately, there are plenty of dump stations and campgrounds for your convenience should you do so. Places to visit include Lincoln Park Zoo, Wrigley Field, and North Avenue Beach.
Madison is Wisconsin’s capital, so there’s much to do there. You may want to stop by the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Henry Vilas Zoo, and the University of Wisconsin. There are a number of remarkable glacial formations in the Madison area in addition to dump stations and campgrounds.
Rapid City, SD
You won’t want to leave Rapid City rapidly, so you can take advantage of dump stations and campgrounds while you explore the area. Some fun attractions include Dinosaur Park, Skyline Wilderness Park, and Reptile Gardens.