Tire pressure’s good, the tank is full, the radio is tuned to your favorite station, it’s time to hit the road. Road trips are what RVs were designed for but there are so many options on where to go. If you want a road trip that is a cross-country trip it may be time for you to take on the heart of America road trip. You’ll whiz across the central part of the United States encountering rolling hills, bright metropolis and plenty of prairies.
Let’s get an in-depth look at the Heart of America road trip including where you’ll be going, where you should stay and some ideas of what to do with your journey. For a true snapshot of what the US has to offer, there may not be a better road trip.
About the Heart of America Road Trip
This road trip clocks in at over 3,200 miles. You’ll be climbing mountains, counting rows of corn and blazing across the high desert so preparedness is key for this trip. Like those before us, we’ll be heading west on this trip on the reliable US Route 50 which crosses its way across the backbone of America. Now that you have a little idea about the trip, let’s get started.
East Terminus: Ocean City, Maryland
Not exactly Ocean City but only a handful of miles from the action at Castaways RV Resort and Campground. There are several different camping areas depending on your personal preferences from right in the action of the park to the more secluded but regardless of where you stay, all sites are equipped with full utility hookups, cable, Wi-Fi access, a picnic table, grill and fire ring.
Castaway’s received a perfect triple 10s from Good Sam so you know it has great facilities and bathhouses as well. You can play around on the pier or get discounted tickets to local attractions. There are plenty of reasons why you should stay at Castaways RV Resort and Campground.
Ocean City, Maryland can be best described as a seaside resort town like Atlantic City so it has a lot for visitors to do.
If the kids are on board they’ll likely want to stop at Trimper’s Rides and Amusement Park, Frontier Town or Jolly Roger Amusement Park. Ocean City Beach and Northside Park are always popular attractions and you can’t go wrong by just visiting the Ocean City Boardwalk to see what fun you can get yourself into. An excellent start to your Heart of America road trip.
First Stop: Washington DC
DC itself is not that great of a place for RV parks but nearby College Park has one of the closest and best in Cherry Hill Park. This is a large park, 400 sites in all and they all come with full utility hookups as well as both 30 and 50 amp for your electrical connections. Clean restrooms and clean showers keep you clean after a long drive and no worries about lines at the laundry facilities that have 19 washers and 20 dryers. You also have propane fill-up station, firewood and the park is located within walking distance to public transportation right in DC.
What to Do in Washington DC
Lovers of American history rejoice as Washington DC is your promised land. The nation’s capital is full of museums and attractions. Some of the most popular include many sites around the National Mall such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument the Reflecting Pool and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
You have a myriad of Smithsonian museums, the Newseum, the National Gallery of Art and plenty more. If museums are your thing then you may not find a better concentration of them in all America than in DC.
Second Stop: Cincinnati, Ohio
A large pastoral public park can be found right outside of downtown Cincinnati at Winton Woods Campground. There are a full 123 sites and each comes with full hookups. The bathhouse facilities are kept clean and you can use the park’s campground office, general store, snack bar and wireless internet. There are tons of fun amenities at the Winton Woods park as well such as canoeing and kayaking, golf, picnic areas, walking trails, disc golf and plenty more. You’ll be able to venture into Cincinnati itself despite all the fun right at your front door.
Your first stop in Cincinnati will be fun for all members of the family in the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
If you’re looking for more family-friendly fun you can try the American Sign Museum or Smale Riverfront Park as well. Museum and history buffs will dig the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal or the Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum. The Roebling Suspension Bridge is a marvel of engineering to look upon and if you just want to take a stroll, try the Riverwalk.
Third Stop: St. Louis, Missouri
Staying in St. Louis proper would be a nightmare for RVers but luckily you have Casino Queen RV Park nearby in East St. Louis. This park is part of Casino Queen so you’ll feel like you’re at five-star accommodations right at the park. The sites are large and pull-through, come with full utility hookups, cable and Wi-Fi access, and the park houses some outstanding bathhouse and laundry facilities. You can also use the park’s convenience store to restock on supplies and take the park’s shuttle over to the casino itself or walk to the MetroLink station for a quick trip into the heart of St. Louis.
There is plenty more to St. Louis than just the iconic Gateway Arch, loads! Some of the most popular attractions in St. Louis include the Missouri Botanical Garden, the St. Louis Zoo and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis. If you like exploring urban parks you’ll dig Grant’s Farm and its Clydesdales, Forest Park as well as City Garden. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary you can try Laumeier Sculpture Park, outdoor Broadway at the Muny or the St. Louis Science Center.
Fourth Stop: Wichita, Kansas
A downright fine site on the plains of Wichita, Kansas which is where you'll find Air Capital RV Park. You have 90 sites on concrete pads all decked out with full hookups with several amp outlets on the electrical input. On top of that, you get free Wi-Fi access as well as free cable but the amenities don’t end there. You also get clean and bright showers and laundry facilities, group use facilities, and even curbside trash pickup, a great little RV park in Air Capital.
Wichita may not be a world travel destination but there’s still plenty of fun things to do. If you want the sun on your face you should visit Sedgwick County Zoo, Botanica – the Wichita Gardens or the Old Cowtown Museum. If you want something a little more unique we suggest the Great Plains Nature Center, Exploration Place (good for kids) or the Museum of World Treasures. You also can’t beat just taking a nice stroll around Old Town Wichita as well.
Fifth Stop: Pueblo, Colorado
Most KOAs are accommodating to RVers but this one, in particular, may be one of the nicest KOAs in the US let alone Colorado. Like most KOAs, the Pueblo South/Colorado City KOA is one that has varied RV sites depending on your style, if you want a simple water/electric, you got it if you want a deluxe site with patio, cable and full hookups, you have that as well. You’ll get sparkling clean restroom and shower facilities along with group pavilions, camp store, fitness center and a snack bar. If you like fun right at the park you also have mini-golf, pools, playground and more. An all-around great place to stay.
Pueblo still has a bit of a western feel which should please your inner cowboy. Attractions that you should try right off the bat include the historic Riverwalk, Rosemount Museum, and Pueblo Zoo. For the real action, you’ll need to take advantage of Pueblo’s natural resources with areas like Lake Pueblo, San Isabel National Forest, and the Wet Mountains. It is also much worth it to take a two-hour drive to stop in at Great Sand Dunes National Park which contains the tallest sand dunes in North America, you can even “sandboard” down them!
Sixth Stop: Provo, Utah
Another KOA on your road trip to welcome you from the long road. At the Springville/Provo KOA, you'll find many RV site types but all come with full utility hookups, level asphalt pads, and available cable hookups. You'll find a clean bathroom, shower and laundry facilities make sure you stay spick and span and there are more amenities and facilities such as playgrounds, group use facilities and a community fire pit. You’ll be where the mountains meet the valleys at this RV park.
What to Do in Provo
Provo, Utah is an outdoors-minded community so there will be plenty done in this lovely area of Utah. Some of the more popular outdoor attractions include Bridal Veil Falls, Provo Canyon, and the Provo River Parkway Trail. If the kids are tired of hiking you can please them by trying out Seven Peaks Resort Water Park, the BYU Museum of Paleontology, Provo Beach or the Monte L. Bean Science Museum. Utah Lake State Park is also a popular area to take a picnic or day trip to check out the local flora and fauna. Provo is just an ideal place to hang around on a slow summer’s day.
Seventh Stop: Reno, Nevada
A lovely setting for your stay in Reno can be found at Bordertown Casino RV Resort. There are 50 spacious pull-through sites decked out with full utility hookups so you can crank the AC during those warm Reno afternoons and picnic table to relax. This park definitely concentrates on cleanliness so you can ditch the sandals when using their bathrooms, showers or laundry facilities. Of course staying at an RV resort as part of a casino means you get several other amenities like a nearby gas station, eateries and the casino itself.
Reno, Nevada calls itself the “Biggest Little City in the World,” and while it may not be Las Vegas, there’s still plenty of fun to go around. Like Las Vegas, Reno is known for the fun nightlife of the casinos with Peppermill, Casino at the Eldorado and Casino at Silver Legacy Resort being some of the most popular but there are ample choices all around, it just depends on which one you like. Reno also has other attractions such as the National Automobile Museum, the Truckee River Walk, and the Mt. Rose Ski Resort.
Pit Stop: Lake Tahoe for some of the water fun in deep blue waters and a jaunt around the lovely Lake Tahoe State Park.
West Terminus: San Francisco, California
The San Francisco RV Resort has already been featured in our top five best RV parks for California and it has not gone downhill since then. The park overlooks the Pacific Ocean so you get great views right out of your doorstep. You get not only views but amenities as well. 188 RV sites come with full utility hookups and you also have access to the park’s great shower and restroom facilities. On top of the basics, you get a swimming pool, playground group-use areas, hot tub, laundry facilities and more. A great park to finish up your Heart of America road trip.
San Francisco is a city that has plenty of cultures and plenty to do, it just depends on your personal preferences. If you want to be near the bay you’ll have at the infamous Alcatraz Island, the groundbreaking Golden Gate Bridge or Pier 39. If you want to explore San Francisco’s local parks you should have a go at Twin Peaks, Lands End or Golden Gate Park. Some other attractions that may not be as famous but are still great include the Exploratorium, the California Academy of Sciences of the Walt Disney Family Museum. If you get overwhelmed with all the choices you can join up on a city tour.
When to Go On the Heart of America Road Trip
Most of these areas have rather pleasant weather even at the height of summer but the pleasant weather will also bring swarms of crowds to several of these destinations. For a combination of nice weather and fewer crowds, you should try to get a jump on this road trip in May or let the summer unfold elsewhere and try this trip during September. That way you can have your cake and eat it too.
The Heart of America takes you through the vast spoils of America from coast to coast and thus will likely have a stop that becomes someone’s “favorite.” There’s only one way to find out what your favorite destination is on the Heart of America road trip is, and that’s by trying it out yourself.