If the thought of taking a road trip that will last for 32 hours of net driving and that will take you over 2,100 miles across America appeals to you, then you may want to embark on a San Diego to Cincinnati road trip. On this journey, you’ll have the opportunity to stop at plenty of great national parks, state parks, and interesting tourist destinations. You’ll go through some of America’s most interesting big cities and see some of its great picturesque countrysides. If the open road is calling to you, then hitch up your trailer and get started on your road trip from San Diego to Cincinnati.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is the first national park on your road trip itinerary from San Diego to Cincinnati since it’s only slightly more than two and a half hours away from San Diego. You’ll be able to explore this awesome desert environment that’s filled with the Joshua trees that give the park its name. The park spans over 1,200 square miles, so you won’t have to worry about not having enough space to explore Joshua Tree National Park.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is only an hour and a half from Phoenix down in Tucson, so it doesn’t require much extra driving to reach. If you want to explore another national park full of distinctive desert flora and fauna, then Saguaro National Park will definitely appeal to you. Plenty of trails abound in this park, so you’ll be able to visit places like Bridal Wreath Falls, the Tanque Verde Ridge, and the Cactus Forest.
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park may sound like a place full of nothing but various shades of brown, but the reality couldn’t be further from that perception. There is plenty of brown to be seen at this park that stars the petrified trees that give it its name, but it also features some brilliant painted desert scenery and a variety of colors within the petrified wood itself. You can also view petroglyphs and other evidence of human inhabitants from long ago. Birds, bobcats, coyotes, and more all call Petrified Forest National Park home.
White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park is about three hours off your route, but the stark white sands of this gypsum-dune paradise are worth the extra effort. Hiking and horseback riding are the most popular methods of dune exploration; another enjoyable activity here is dune-sledding, which is fun for the whole family. This national park is sometimes used for weapons testing, so you should make sure the park is open to visitors before adding this to your road trip itinerary from San Diego to Cincinnati.
Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis is an urban national park that has a different flavor from most of the nation’s other parks. To say it’s not close to nature, however, would be untrue as it’s located near the banks of the Mississippi River. The park itself is an intriguing blend of human-made and natural landscapes, so you’ll get to tour this modern architectural wonder, visit some local museums and historical buildings, and watch Old Man River flow on by.
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is less than an hour outside of San Diego, so it’s one of the first stops you’ll make on your San Diego to Cincinnati RV road trip. If you want to explore the Laguna Mountains, then this is a great place to do so. More than 100 miles of trails give you ample room to hike, bike, and ride through this mountainous terrain. If you’d rather take it easy, you can find plenty of places to bird-watch and picnic as well.
Santa Rosa Lake State Park
Santa Rosa Lake State Park is close to the town of Santa Rosa in New Mexico, roughly two hours from both Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Santa Rosa Lake itself is more than 3,500 acres large, so there’s plenty of room for you to fish, boat, swim, and explore. If you’re into fishing, you should drop a line into this well-stocked lake and see if you can catch some catfish, smallmouth bass, crappie, and more.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is only half an hour south of Amarillo, Texas, but you might find yourself wondering if you’re closer to the Grand Canyon than Lubbock. Since Palo Duro Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the U.S., you’ll have no shortage of opportunities to hike all around this canyon and its rock formations. You can also climb on your bike or mount your horse if you’d rather ride.
Roman Nose State Park
Roman Nose State Park is roughly 30 minutes off your route and about an hour and a half outside of Oklahoma City. It’s named after a Cheyenne chief since the area used to be popular camping grounds for the Cheyenne and other Native American tribes. This park is popular today because of the wide variety of activities visitors can do. Hiking, biking, camping, fishing, boating, swimming, horseback riding, and even golfing are all possible here.
Turkey Run State Park
Turkey Run State Park is fairly close to the Illinois-Indiana border and is only an hour and 15 minutes from Indianapolis. One of the biggest draws of this park is the deep sandstone canyons and gorges that practically beg to be explored. Sugar Creek is also a popular attraction as it gives visitors a great venue for canoeing and fishing. If you want to go for a swim, you should check out the Olympic-size pool.
Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is one of many popular attractions located in beloved Papago Park in Phoenix. If you want to learn more about the desert flora that you have seen and will continue to see on your road trip from San Diego to Cincinnati, you should walk on trails like the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail and the Desert Discovery Loop Trail.
Sandia Peak Tramway
If you truly want to see Albuquerque, there are few better ways to do so than via the Sandia Peak Tramway. Viewing Albuquerque from 11,000 feet up in the air will give you a greater appreciation for this town and its surrounding environs.
Oklahoma City Zoo
The Oklahoma City Zoo is close to your route and is highly rated, so you should put it on your road trip itinerary from San Diego to Cincinnati. In addition to being able to view many different species of exotic animals, you’ll be able to ride camels, touch stingrays, and feed various types of creatures.
Forest Park is a large urban park complex in St. Louis. Once you’ve explored the Gateway Arch, you’ll surely be able to find something fun to do at Forest Park. A sculpture garden, a history museum, a planetarium, and an art museum are just a few attractions here.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
The Indy 500 is an iconic race, so fans of auto racing will enjoy touring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. You can view previous winning Indy 500 race cars, look at racing art and photography, and even get your picture taken in an Indy car.
Albuquerque is also the largest city in its state, so it’s no surprise that it has ample dump stations and campgrounds on hand for its visitors. Whether you’re here for the International Balloon Fiesta or you just want to sample some great New Mexican cuisine, you’ll have a great time in Albuquerque.
Oklahoma City continues the “largest city in the state” trend of this list. It also happens to be Oklahoma’s capital, so you don’t have to worry about a lack of dump stations and campgrounds. It’s home to numerous museums, parks, and sports venues, so you’ll never lack for anything to do in Oklahoma City.
St. Louis is a Mississippi River town. Plenty of dump stations and campgrounds abound because of how many people visit this city each year to catch concerts, sporting events, museum shows, and more. Other popular locations include the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Indianapolis is referred to as the Crossroads of America because of its history in transportation, so it’s an appropriate stop on your road trip from San Diego to Cincinnati. There are plenty of dump stations and campgrounds nearby.