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Thread: Chicago to ?

  1. Default Chicago to ?

    I just decided to rent an RV for 7 days to roadtrip with my three kids from Chicago to I don't know, but I do know this is a trip I would love for them to remember with their Dad. Ages are 8-10 and 12. I was thinking either Kentucky Mountains or South Dakota way. What I would really like along the way is fishing, possible great small cities, swimming lake or campground, we hate waterparks! I also really need to know where to park the RV as we will most likely sleep in it each night, but I would consider stopping along the way to rent a cabin or a hotel stop, but we figured the RV roadtrip required us to stay in it each night, but we need to know where. I am a total novice and this could be a trip they remember for being a total bust, or something they'll remember forever, I prefer the latter, so ANY ideas and help would be greatly appreciated! Mom is going to a spa that week with girlfriends so it's me and the kids, but where to go? I would consider Colorado and even heading north to Canada if someone had a good plan? Can you tell I"m a novice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Get the Kids involved.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    Having an RV and spending nights in cabins or hotels kind of defeats the object. Spend your time in the RV, the Kid's will love it too ! You can't just pull up on the side of the road though. You can get 'free' nights by staying in Truck stops or Walmart parking lots with the managers permission, but I wouldn't recommend it with Kids, it wouldn't be a camping experience and they wouldn't be able to run around. You need to find campgrounds/RV parks which could cost anywhere from $15 per night in State/National parks and up to and over $50 per night in resorts. The former are usually in idylic settings with fewer ameneties where you can have a peaceful night around the campfire, nice walks etc and the latter can have swimming pools and play areas etc.

    If it's a round trip I guess you could make it to Rocky mountain NP and Colorado Springs area for 2 or 3 days with 2/2.5 days each of travelling out and back. You could perhaps head towards Great Smokey mountains and make your way up the Appalachians to Shenondoah NP. Badlands/ Rushmore Custer state park etc in SD is also a good possibilty. Best to get a good map out, sit down with the Kids and discuss it with them, let them help to decide. Involving them in the planning will get them more involved in this adventure and will make it more memorable for all of you !

    When exactly are you travelling ? At the moment I have moved your thread to 'Planning summer roadtrips' forum, a more suitable location for trip planning where you will get more views. If it isn't planned for the summer I can move it to the appropriate time of year.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-05-2012 at 04:00 PM. Reason: Moved thread to planning ection.

  3. Default

    Thank you, I believe it's the planning and the where to find a campground in each locale that I struggle with, not to mention the where to go part. I like the Smokey Mountain idea, if anyone knows of some good family swimming and fishing/campground spots along the way that would really help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I'm not familiar enough with that area to go into detail, so I will leave that to others but once you have established a route/area then it's easy enough to search for RV parks using the State park/National park or town name and checking out your options. There will be no shortage of results to choose from. I tend to stay away from the likes of KOA and look for the State and NP options, or nearby privately run RV parks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Memorable for the Right Reasons

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Whatever happens, I think your kids will remember this trip just because they're of the right age to remember things, and because they'll be with their dad for a week. I will say, though that the way to make it even more memorable is to make it about the destination and the things you do, rather than spending a large chunk of your time driving to get somewhere that you think will be more interesting. So, especially for a first trip, I'd hold off on anywhere that will take two days to drive to (and two days back) such as the Black Hills or Gulf or Atlantic Coasts. Concentrate instead on those destinations that you can get to in one day but that offer a host of 'day trips' for variety. Some examples would be the UP, setting up a base camp around say, Marquette MI. Within reach: Pictured Rocks and the Apostle Islands, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, the Soo Locks, Mackinac Island State Park, and Colonial Michilimackinac State Historical Park.

    Another possibility would be the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Kentucky within range of Mammoth Cave, the Great Smoky Mountains and Dollywood, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and the lakes of the TVA. Other places with similar characteristics that you might want to look at as possible destinations/base camps include the Ozarks, the Alleghenies of western Pennsylvania, the Niagara area (passports would be in order), or exploring the Mississippi by traveling the Great River Road.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Oak Park, Illinois, United States



    New member 1st post.

    Bronco. I am an avid camper and have a solution for you. There's a website called "reserveamerica". There you can search the entire country for campground and if you like make a reservation. It's a useful planning tool.

    As for your ideal trip, I don't know much about the south/south east. My forte has always been Colorado and the west. My recommendation there is along the Cache La Poudre River. From Sleeping Elephant to Ansel Waterous. Along the river there are many great campgrounds. If you like water, this is it.

    If you want solitude, Stunner campground will get you far away from people. You may end up being the only family around. Next, for solitude is Dinosaur National Monument. 50 miles from services.

    Looking to be "in town" or near town? Telluride town park. Free gondola rides up the mountains. A bit crowded even in winter. Has showers which is always a good thing. Next would be Leadville. You can camp just out of town at the foot of Mt. Elbert, or between Leadville and Aspen at Twin Lakes.

    Anywhere you go, you and your family will have an awesome trip.


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