Your Guide to the Northern US Road Trip

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About the Northern US Road Trip

Seattle, Washington
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Like the settlers and pioneers before us, we will move east to west on this road trip. Your starting point will be the lovely town of Augusta, Maine while the great northwestern city of Seattle, Washington will be your endpoint. The route hangs in the northern US going through New England, a touch of southern Canada, the upper Midwest, big sky country and terminating in the Pacific Northwest. Your main route will be US Highway 2, otherwise known as the Great Northern road, which spans over 2,500 miles.​

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First Stop: Augusta, Maine

USA, Maine, Augusta, Old Fort Western, oldest wooden fort in the USA
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A great home base with plenty of amenities and activities welcomes you at the Augusta/Gardiner KOA. Like many KOAs, there are several site types to choose from but even the most basic of sites comes outfitted with water and electric hookups and most coming with full utility hookups. You’ll get bright and clean bathhouses on top of several other practical amenities such as group pavilions, propane refills, dog park and café. There are also fun amenities at this KOA like mini golf, fishing, disc golf, playground and nature trails. A good park with plenty to do. 

What to Do in Augusta

One of America’s most popular National Parks is located just a couple hours away at Acadia National Park. Acadia is an excellent park for that old salt feeling and is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Try a hike to Cadillac Mountain for an excellent view or you can take the scenic Park Loop Road. While you’re there you should visit the charming Bar Harbor to catch a boat tour of the area. Augusta itself is great for museum lovers with the Maine State Museum, Old Fort Western, and the Children’s Discovery Museum. If you want a place to relax outside near the RV park, try the Pine Tree State Arboretum. 

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Second Stop: Montpelier, Vt.

Montpelier, Vermont in autumn
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 Williamstown and Limehurst Lake Campground are just a touch south of Montpelier but close enough for all the fun. This is a lovely New England campground with amenities and facilities to boot. The sites come with full utility hookups so all your creature comforts are covered and there are plenty of bathhouses to help keep you squeaky clean. This would be considered a full-service campground as Limehurst Lake also contains a country store, snack bar, Wi-Fi, dog park and rentals on top of all that. You’ll feel like you’re out in the gorgeous New England countryside right at your site. 

What to Do in Montpelier

Montpelier is an excellent place to explore the rugged landscape of New England. Within a two-hour drive, you can visit both the Green Mountains of Vermont as well as the White Mountains of New Hampshire. These areas are great for hiking, mountaineering, or just nature watching. Within Montpelier itself, you have a few options as well. History buffs will dig the old time charm of the Vermont Historical Society Museum and the Vermont State House. Other points of interest include Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks for that famous Vermont maple syrup, the Lost Nation theater for some neat performances or North Branch Vineyards for some wine tasting. 

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Third Stop: Toronto, Canada

Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, Royal Ontario Musem, Toronto, Ontario
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 A great little RV park that’s natural but right outside the urban heart of Toronto. Glen Rouge Campground comes with electric and water utilities but, unfortunately, does lack sewer connections but there is a dump station within park boundaries. You have your other basic amenities including bathhouses, restrooms as well as fire pits for smores. The park is also located within walking distance to Toronto transit to move you into the heart of the city. Another bonus is that the park is located within the sprawling Rouge urban park so though you’re right next to the city, you might as well be several miles into the relatively pristine landscape.  

What to Do in Toronto 

For starters, you have the park you’re staying at. Rouge Park is an experimental urban park with beaches, farms, hiking and plenty of wildlife right at your doorstep. Once you’ve been satisfied with exploring Rouge Park you can head into the heart of Toronto. For more urban parks you can try High or Toronto Island Park but if you’re looking for some indoor adventure you’ll be safe at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the Hockey Hall of Fame or the Royal Museum of Toronto. Of course, no visit to Toronto is complete without checking out the iconic CN Tower. If you’re unsure of what exactly to do, get hooked up with a local sightseeing tour. 

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05 of 10

Fourth Stop: Mackinaw City, Mich.

100 year old houses, jetty in background.
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Another KOA to get you right on the action of the fun that Mackinac Island has to offer. The Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island KOA offers multiple site types with full utility connections as well as cable TV connections. The laundry, bathhouse, ​and restrooms facilities are modern, clean and open 24/7 so if you’re a late night launderer, you’re set. On top of the basic amenities, you’ll get a convenience store, game room, playground and more. 

What to Do in Mackinaw City

Michigan is a bit underrated when it comes to outdoor beauty but you will see the Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island give you plenty to do. Mackinaw City has many famous lighthouses and great shoreline activities but for the real fun, you need to venture over the impressive Mackinac Bridge into Mackinac Island. On the island, you can explore the beautiful shorts and neat geological formations found at Mackinac Island State Park and Arch Rock, definitely try to get a kayak or canoe to check out these areas on top of pristine Lake Huron waters. On top of this, you also have many ferries that give great tours of the island. 

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Fifth Stop: Duluth, Minn.

Ship Canal in fog, Canal Park, Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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Fond du Lanc Campground is an outstanding park in the midst of all your Duluth adventures. There are a few different site types but many sites come with full utility hookups as well as a personal fire pit, picnic table and access to the boat launch if you’re hauling watercraft. You get your standard showers and bathrooms in addition to use of the campground’s fishing pier, playground, dump station, boat slips and other amenities. Just the right place to start your time in Duluth. 

What to Do in Duluth

Duluth, Minnesota has long been heralded as an outdoors person's paradise and a look at activities shows why. For starters, you should try the Downtown Lakewalk or Canal Park to get familiar with your surroundings before you venture off into other lovely areas such as Park Point or Spirit Mountain. If museums or history are more of your thing you can try out the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center or the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. You can also take guided hiking and biking tours around the area and to finish up, hop in your ride to take a drive on the North Shore Scenic Drive. 

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Sixth Stop: Medora, N.D.

Sunrise in the badlands, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, United States of America
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A friendly city-run park that has all the amenities and features you need for a fun North Dakota experience. Medora Campground is close to all the action in Medora itself as well as close to other local attractions. There are several types of RV sites available depending on your personal preference but Medora can accommodate big rigs and you can full utility hookups if you wish. The campground also comes with shower and bath facilities, a dump station, playground,​ and camp store. All nestled in a scenic site on the banks of the Little Missouri River. 

What to Do in Medora 

Speaking of that local area, there is a lot of fun around. In the Medora area, you can check out the Old Town Hall Theater for Teddy Roosevelt reenactments, ride a horse around the local landscape, go see the live Medora Musical or pay your respects for cattle rustlers at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Also, make sure your clubs are packed as Medora is loaded with golf courses along the landscape. The crown jewel of the area is found at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There are plenty of draw dropping points of interest such as Peaceful Valley, Painted Canyon Overlook, and Buckhorn Trail. The preferred mode of transport around the park is by horse but if you prefer foot, you should definitely try the Petrified Forest Loop where you can glimpse remains of the ancient forest. 

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Seventh Stop: West Glacier, Mont.

Kayaking on Bowman Lake in autumn, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
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Another KOA campground on this trip but the West Glacier KOA might be the best of all. Again, a choice of site types depending on personal preference but you can get a deluxe site with plenty of room, private patio, outfitted with full hookups and satellite ready. Highly rated laundry, shower and bathroom facilities. A pavilion lodge is home to a pool table, TV,​ and fireplace or you can relax in the hot tub, game room or heated pool. On top of these amenities, you also have planned activities, an ice cream shop and help for planning your adventure in the local area. 

What to Do in West Glacier

You’re in West Glacier so of course you are going to have to visit Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park is true northern wilderness so don’t expect to be entertained by new age attractions. The majority of good times here will be spent on the trail where you can hike to areas of interest like Lake McDonald, Logan Pass, and Grinnell Glacier. If scenic drives are your thing, Going-to-the-Sun Road might be one of the best in the entire country. West Glacier is also known for white water rafting so if you’re feeling a little extreme, get with a local rafting company.

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Eighth Stop: Seattle

USA, Washington State, Belt of venus in Seattle
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You won’t actually be staying in Seattle but in the nearby town of Bothell. The short drive is worth it because Lake Pleasant is as the name implies, a pleasant RV park. You have pull-through sites outfitted with full utility hookups as well as lakeside views. The park also has good marks from Good Sam Club on facilities, bathrooms and more. The lake is available for fishing to give the kids something to do and this park rounds out its facilities with walking trails, a playground,​ and laundry facilities. While there is no camp store on site, there is a grocery store and RV wash facility right across the street.

Things to Do in Seattle 

You’ve likely heard of Seattle so you’ll know it’s a big city with lots to do. Many of the popular touristy attractions can be found along the Puget Sound such as Pike Place Market, Sky View Observatory and the Museum of Flight. You must check out the incredibly unique Chiluly Garden and Glass as well as give a visit to the wildlife along the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. There are many great urban parks around the area to check out and no trip to Seattle would be complete without a visit to the Space Needle. If you don’t want your road trip to end just jet out to nearby Olympic National Park.  

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When to Go on the Northern US Road Trip

Pike Place Market at Christmastime, Seattle, Washington, USA
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This should come as no surprise to you but the northern US states can be quite chilly during parts of the year, making this an excellent summer road trip for more pleasant weather conditions. If you do want to avoid the bulk of the crowds you can try the earlier or later parts of the season such as early June or late August but this road trip will likely provide you with plenty of company at your destinations during the peak season.

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