Advertiser Disclosure

5 Great RV Trip Routes in the United States

April 6, 2018
Travel
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

RV camping is one of the most exciting and rewarding ways to explore the United States. Few modes of transport allow travelers to cover so much distance for little money while coming face-to-face with the nation’s natural treasures.

We’ve come up with five route suggestions for folks looking to hit the road and tour America’s most beautiful natural preserves.

>>MORE: Find deals and hacks on traveling smarter

California

California offers a cornucopia of natural beauty, from towering redwood forests to dusty deserts to breathtaking seascapes and shorelines. This 14-destination loop will take RV travelers across the entire state, tip-to-tip. While we start our journey just northeast of San Diego, remember, this route forms a clockwise loop. You can use any location as your starting point. We’ve highlighted some of the top nature and camping destinations across California, but feel free to improvise as there is no shortage of parks and preserves in the Golden State.

  1. Anza-Borrego State Park
  2. Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park
  3. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
  4. Big Basin Redwoods State Park
  5. Point Reyes
  6. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
  7. Klamath National Forest
  8. Shasta National Forest
  9. Lake Tahoe
  10. Grover Hot Springs
  11. Yosemite National Park
  12. John Muir Wilderness
  13. Death Valley
  14. Joshua Tree National Park

Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains stretch over 3,000 miles from New Mexico to British Columbia and offer a life’s worth of exploration opportunities. You could spend weeks at Yellowstone and Grant Teton alone. We’ve chosen just a few of the more popular destinations and suggest you set aside a hefty chunk of time for this trip. Again, the locations are ordered in clockwise loop, and you can jump in at the most convenient destination. We begin in southern Idaho.

  1. Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho
  2. Craters of the Moon Monument, Idaho
  3. National Elk Refuge, Wyo.
  4. Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.
  5. Yellowstone National Park, Mont.
  6. Glacier National Park, Mont.
  7. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Mont.
  8. Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyo.
  9. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo.
  10. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colo.
  11. Mesa Verde National Park, Colo.
  12. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colo.

Route 66

The classic American road trip, Route 66 spans from Chicago to Los Angeles. Unlike the other trips we list here, Route 66 is less a nature excursion and more a nostalgic cruise along a collection of museums, diners and roadside attractions. Route 66 has hundreds of potential stops, and we’ve chosen just a few. If you plan on taking Route 66 both away from home and back toward it, remember to leave plenty of attractions for the return trip.

  1. Chicago, Ill.
  2. Route 66 Association Hall of Fame and Museum, Ill.
  3. Lincoln’s Tomb, Ill.
  4. St. Louis, Mo.
  5. Mark Twain National Forest, Mo.
  6. Galena Mining and Historical Museum, Kan.
  7. Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum, Okla.
  8. Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Okla.
  9. Palo Duro State Park, Texas
  10. Cadillac Ranch, Texas
  11. Route 66 Auto Museum, N.M.
  12. Red Rock State Park, N.M.
  13. Petrified Forest National Park, Ariz.
  14. Meteor Crater, Ariz.
  15. The Grand Canyon, Ariz.
  16. Los Angeles

New England

An RV trip around New England offers a balanced blend of verdant forests, rocky seascapes, colonial history and gorgeous seaside towns. We start our loop in upstate New York, heading east and north into the parks of upper New England. After Acadia, head south along the coast for breathtaking ocean views. A collection of historic New England towns (Salem, Cape Cod and more) will provide a break from the greenery and a lesson in American history. Pick up the route at the location closest to you!

  1. Adirondack State Park, N.Y.
  2. Green Mountain National Forest, Vt.
  3. White Mountain National Forest, N.H.
  4. Allagash Wilderness Waterway State Park, Maine
  5. Acadia National Park, Maine
  6. Minute Man National Historic Park, Mass.
  7. Salem, Mass.
  8. Boston, Mass.
  9. Cape Cod, Mass.
  10. Jamestown, R.I.
  11. Fort Adams State Park, R.I.
  12. Mystic Seaport, Conn.
  13. Hammonasset State Park, Conn.
  14. Fort Hale Park, Conn.
  15. Ferris Lake, N.Y.

The South

The Southeastern states have plenty to offer in terms of nature, culture and relaxation. A satisfying southern RV expedition will sample forests, beaches and everything in-between. This loop starts in historic Savannah, drops down into Florida, meanders along the Southern coast and launches back east into Tennessee and Virginia. The last leg of the journey comprises a series of beaches for a proper cool down at the end of a long, arduous journey. Of course, you can start anywhere along the route and eventually end up back where you started!

  1. Savannah, Ga.
  2. Ocala National Forest, Fla.
  3. Big Cypress National Preserve, Fla.
  4. Everglades National Park, Fla.
  5. Apalachicola National Forest, Fla.
  6. Blackwater River State Park, Fla.
  7. De Soto National Forest, Fla.
  8. New Orleans, La.
  9. Kisatchie National Forest, La.
  10. Houston, Texas
  11. Sam Houston National Forest, Texas
  12. Ouachita National Forest, Ark.
  13. Ozark National Forest, Ark.
  14. Memphis, Tenn.
  15. Nashville, Tenn.
  16. Cherokee National Forest, Tenn.
  17. Chattahoochee National Forest, Ga.
  18. George Washington National Forest, Va.
  19. Virginia Beach, Va.
  20. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  21. Hilton Head, S.C.

More from NerdWallet 

Cheap things to do in any city

How to find cheap flights

The best travel credit cards