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  1. Default Chicago to ... ?? (5-6 days in an RV)

    Hello all,

    Here's the background - Have taken the kids camping since they have been 3 or 4. Currently they are 11, 9 and 5 (boy, girl, boy). They enjoy tent camping, hiking and exploring but also enjoy a good water or amusement park here and there. I am a school teacher and have been toying with the idea of getting a pop-up camper or RV for summer use (while the kids still are young enough to like me). So, I thought I could rent an RV this summer and give it a trial run.

    I wanted to start small and not go overboard, so I thought 5-6 days would be PLENTY of a test. All the kids travel well and get along. I am looking for suggestions for a trip out of Chicago. The time frame will likely be the days following July 4th (yeah, I know...). I think the Black Hills will likely be too far, but could do a two-day chug out there with a cool stop along the way in MN, spend 2 days and come back. Perhaps a loop down to Mammoth Caves - although my oldest seemed to balk at entering an enormous cave.

    Just looking for some ideas as this seemed like the place to go for that.

    Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Where Will Depend on What

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I would think that this is a trip that, as you note, is as much a shake down cruise as a RoadTrip. For that reason, there's going to be quite a bit of interplay between what you finally decide to get for transportation/camping and where you finally end up going. No matter what you end up with from a fairly simple pop-up to full blown RV is going to entail some getting used to so you'll want to get into your camp site each night with time to spare before nightfall so that you're not fumbling around in the dark with unfamiliar equipment.

    Another consideration is that with only six days max, you want to make the most of them and not spend most of your time cooped up in the vehicle driving rather than at a destination enjoying the outdoors. This would argue for a final destination a good bit nearer to home than two full travel days away. Ideally you'd want time to stop for an hour or two at a place along the way each day. Then if you also take a different route out and back, you'll maximize the number of different places you get to explore while minimizing the driving. Also remember that towing a pop-up or driving an RV will both result in a slower average speed than you might be used to in the family cruiser.

    Finally, your choice of rig may limit the places you can go. While they may be a home on wheels, RVs do limit places you can get to, and once at your destination, they don't make very good runabouts for checking out the neighborhood. So you'll need to keep all that in mind as you look for a destination and route(s).

    My first thoughts (given the above considerations) was not southwestern South Dakota for a number of reasons. First, it's pushing two days to get there, and even at that there's really only one route that will get you there in that timeframe: I-90. And while there are a number of great sites in the area, a large RV may not be the best vehicle for shuttling between them. Instead, I would probably look at sites in Appalachia. One possibility would be a loop trip hitting the following: Land Between the Lakes, Mammoth Cave (There are many short Ranger-led hikes into the caves, this is not spelunking!), Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, Shenandoah National Park, and a return home via Cedar Point Amusement Park.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Maybe a re-visit.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    First thought that came to my mind, why not go back to one of the places you have been tent camping, and get the family to experience the difference?

    Unfortunately that is all that comes to mind right now. Others will no doubt have other suggestions.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Or....explore Wisconsin and Minnesota. Lots to do there and lots of places to camp in an RV.

    Better decide soon, though. If you choose any resort areas on the week after the 4th of July, they could already be booked. I ran into that problem three months ago, trying to get our vacation reservations made!


    Donna

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Instead, I would probably look at sites in Appalachia. One possibility would be a loop trip hitting the following: Land Between the Lakes, Mammoth Cave (There are many short Ranger-led hikes into the caves, this is not spelunking!), Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, Shenandoah National Park, and a return home via Cedar Point Amusement Park.

    AZBuck

    This.

    This is genius. Thank you!

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