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  1. Default Novice - Where to go. Seven day RV trip from Chicago

    Well, we did it. Decided to rent an RV (Aug 2 to Aug 9). Now we only have a little more thing to do. We have to decide where to go.

    We have two boys ages 8 and 10. We are leaving from the Chicago area and are tempted to head west (for some unknown reason).

    Although we have driven to many places before this is going to be our "first road trip".

    My wife and I are looking for suggestions of where to go. We want the kids to remember the trip and have fun on the road and find some neat destinations along the way.

    I hope we are not running out of time to find places to camp with the RV.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Should be fun no matter where you go!

    Welcome to the Roadtrip America forums!

    Gosh, there are numerous options for you. Just a few that spring to mind: Wisconsin Dells, the lakes in Minnesota, any of the beach areas around the nearby Great Lakes, South Dakota (Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood, Wall Drug, Corn Palace, and more), etc.

    It's easier for us to give you recommendations you give us more specifics. What are your interests? Do you want to travel a bit each day making a loop drive? Or would you rather drive someplace, park the RV, and stay in one place for a few days before returning home? Help us help you by giving us more information.

    And poke around these forums for ideas. You can use the search function to find lots of post about things to see in your general area.

  3. Default

    Judy. Thanks for the reply.

    South Dakota is one of the many places we have considered. What I think we want to do is spend a day or a little more in each of about 5 or so places and drive to the next.

    Last night, my wife suggested maybe heading south instead. We are now thinking heading to Memphis, Little Rock, Branson and St. Louis (in that order) and then find a slightly different route back, maybe via springfield IL.

    It seems easy to find things to do in St Louis, Branson and Memphis. But we are at a little loss when it comes to Little Rock and Springfield. We obviously need kid friendly activities, but at the same time would like for the kids to see some of the beauty of the open country (in between, of course). Maybe finding oddities along the way were we can stretch our legs and the kids get a little Wow!

    Does anyone know if a nice route to come back from Branson to the Chicago area? How about from Chicago to Memphis (that's a long stretch)?

    Also, does anyone know of a good site where we can find places to park the RV at nights along the way? Being new at this, we are not sure how this all works.

    Finally I'd like to say, I am truly enjoying your site. There is a lot on useful information. I am passing the word.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default South would be good, too!

    Quote Originally Posted by haulingthefamily View Post
    South Dakota is one of the many places we have considered. What I think we want to do is spend a day or a little more in each of about 5 or so places and drive to the next.
    You have 8 days with the RV, right? Are you experienced with driving an RV and doing set-up/take-down at the campsite? Remember that you will likely drive more slowly and be able to cover less ground each day when driving an RV. Add to that the set-up/take-down time. I'm thinking you might enjoy your trip more if you stay 2 nights in each location. But that's just an off-the-cuff opinion.

    Rapid City is a bit over 1000 miles and would take two days to get there, two day to get home, for four days. Leaving only 4 days to explore there. This is do-able but just wanted you to be aware of the timeframe as you make your decision.

    Last night, my wife suggested maybe heading south instead. We are now thinking heading to Memphis, Little Rock, Branson and St. Louis (in that order) and then find a slightly different route back, maybe via springfield IL.
    This would be a loop of 1400 miles which should be quite do-able as well. Your first day to Memphis would be your longest single driving day of 532 miles. I think this would make an excellent loop drive. The only downside I see is that you may be trying to cram too many different locations into your trip making it a bit more rushed than you might like.

    It seems easy to find things to do in St Louis, Branson and Memphis. But we are at a little loss when it comes to Little Rock and Springfield. We obviously need kid friendly activities, but at the same time would like for the kids to see some of the beauty of the open country (in between, of course). Maybe finding oddities along the way were we can stretch our legs and the kids get a little Wow!
    To find things to do in various locations, you could do a search for "Little Rock" in these forums and see what other posts come up. Also, you might google the chamber of commerce for the different towns as they will normally have tourism information directly on their websites or helpful links.

    I'm not finding much that seems like "kid-friendly things to do in Little Rock. Most of it seems historical, including the Clinton Presidential Library and a MacArthur Museum. Of course, if your kids enjoy history...and I think as parents it's great to expose them to history so they learn to appreciate it...then Little Rock might make a good stop for you.

    Springfield seems to lean more historical as well with many Lincoln sites like his tomb, library, home, etc.



    Does anyone know if a nice route to come back from Branson to the Chicago area? How about from Chicago to Memphis (that's a long stretch)?
    I'm not familiar enough with this area to speak to the sights along the different routes. But a look at paper maps should make logical routes jump out at you. You can also use online mapping programs like GoogleMaps, Mapquest, etc. Just don't fall for their time-to-travel estimates. They are usually very under the real travel time, especially when you're driving a slower RV.

    I'm sure someone will pop in here with experience driving in those areas to give you some personal recommendations.

    Also, does anyone know of a good site where we can find places to park the RV at nights along the way? Being new at this, we are not sure how this all works.
    Unless you boondock, you are going to need to "park" the RV in a campsite. This website will help you find government-run campsites like national, state, county, BLM, etc. Woodall's is another site you might visit and will have some privately-owned campgrounds. You can also get tips from the Chambers of Commerce in the towns you're visiting.

    Finally I'd like to say, I am truly enjoying your site. There is a lot on useful information. I am passing the word
    Thanks! :)

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