Birmingham to Portland Road Trip Guide


For families looking for their next great RV adventure, a seven-day road trip from Birmingham, Alabama to Portland, Maine will not disappoint.

Birmingham is a metropolitan city located in the heart of the state of Alabama. A metropolis often referred to as "Magic City," Birmingham's many attractions draw visitors from all across the country each year. From its award-winning restaurants and world-class live entertainment to fun educational facilities like the McWane Science Center, there is lots to see and do in this wonderful town.

An area that was only settled in 1813, the region now known as Birmingham was originally comprised only of farming communities and the railroads which traversed them. In 1871, the properties were all amalgamated by the Elyton Land Company to form the city we recognize today. Over time, outlying cities were incorporated into Birmingham proper, creating tremendous growth of the city's boundaries. It is from this increase in area that the city earned its handle of the "Magic City."

The city takes its name from a sister city found in the United Kingdom. It is unique in that it is the only area on the globe where all of the crucial elements to create steel can be found in one location.

There are many unique attractions for families to enjoy during a trip to Birmingham. The Kirklin Clinic, located in downtown Birmingham, is the creation of famed architect I. M. Pei, the genius responsible for the design of such popular buildings as the National Gallery of Art's East Building and the Grand Louvre in Paris, France. A sculpture by the name of The Storyteller, the creation of Mr. Frank Fleming, was erected as a monument to the old South's tradition of sharing histories. This statue, which depicts a man with the head of a ram relating tales to his friends, has earned the name the Satanic Fountain.

Another interesting feature of the city is a replica of one of New York City's most popular tourist attractions: the Statue of Liberty. Situated just outside the city limits, a stop to pay homage to the great green lady is well worth the time and effort. Other popular attractions include the Barber Motorsports Park, the world's biggest museum dedicated to motorcycles, and Rickwood Field, the oldest baseball facility in the country.

Birmingham is not just a great place to visit for those that enjoy cultural events and history. The city is also home to a wide number of beaches, state parks, and national monuments for families looking to spend some time in the great outdoors during their trip to the region. One of the most popular places to visit is Red Mountain Park, a public recreational area which consists of 1,200 acres, making it 40 percent greater in size than Central Park in New York City.

For RV campers looking to travel through the city in their rig, they will find the Birmingham streets quite accommodating. Parking is easily accessible; be it in public lots or at RV campgrounds. The city's transit system is quite good, making it a breeze for families to take a bus or taxi into town to explore the region on foot.

When it comes to RV stays, there are lots of great campgrounds for families to choose from. Among the most popular are Oak Mountain State Park Campground and Brookside City Campground.

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Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: family

Point of Interest

Oak Mountain State Park

Before leaving Birmingham en route to Portland, it is well worth the effort to stop by Oak Mountain State Park. A public recreational area and campground, Oak Mountain originally consisted of only 940 acres but has since grown to encompass 9,940 acres of ground in total, making it the largest park of its kind in the state.

There are many activities for families to enjoy during a visit to Oak Mountain State Park. Two of the most beloved things to do at this recreational area include mountain biking and hiking. The property is home to over 50 miles of trails which vary in length and intensity and even include some which permit backcountry camping en route. The Red Trail is so popular that it has been added to the International Mountain Biking Association's grouping of what are known as EPIC rides. Also found on the grounds are a pump track and a BMX bike course.

Flipside Watersports operates on the premises and offers families the opportunity to enjoy such activities as cable skiing, boat rentals, basketball courts, an 18 hole golf course, a beach, fishing, and much, much more.

Camping is permitted on the grounds year-round.

DeSoto State Park

Just 116 miles from Birmingham is DeSoto State Park. Found at the top of the stunning Lookout Mountain, this incredible public facility is home to many beautiful waterfalls and a vast array of brilliantly hued wildflowers, making it the perfect place for capturing some photos.

The property was developed as a park in the mid 20th century with efforts made to include unique features that would last for generations to come. Located eight miles outside the town of Fort Payne, this park is both easy to locate and nestled between two cities offering the amenities of more urban life for RV campers to enjoy.

There are many outdoor recreational activities to enjoy at DeSoto Park. Whether families were looking to enjoy some kayaking, fishing, hiking, picnicking, rappelling, or something entirely different, this much-loved destination hotspot offers all of these things and much, much more.

A property of 3,502 acres in entirety, there are many amenities for families to enjoy during their visit including a restaurant, pavilions, picnic areas, a playground, a large pool, a nature center, and over 25 miles of trails to enjoy.

Camping is permitted here. Cabins, chalets, and motel rooms are available by reservation. There are also 94 sites that offer full power and water hookups that are perfect for RV use. DeSoto State Park Campground also permits primitive camping in tents on the premises.

Ruby Falls

The next day's leg of the journey is short at only 47.2 miles. Just a quick jaunt down the highway takes RV campers to Ruby Falls.

Ruby Falls is a unique attraction, providing visitors with the rare opportunity to explore the tallest underground waterfall in the country that permits public access. The falls were unearthed accidentally by Leo Lambert in 1928. They are located deep inside Chattanooga's popular Lookout Mountain. Mr. Lambert took the liberty of bestowing the falls with the name of his beloved wife "Ruby," a handle that has stuck to this day. Ruby Falls became a public attraction in 1929.

Each year, over 500,000 people make the trek to explore the falls with travelers coming from all across the globe. During a visit, RV campers can enjoy a walk through the cavern and an up-close examination of the falls themselves.

The views from the property are absolutely breathtaking and include such sights as the Cumberland Plateau and the Blue Heron Overlook. Also found on the grounds are the popular Village Gift Shop and the Cavern Cafe. For the truly adventurous, why not schedule a date to do some ziplining with High Point ZIP Adventure?

After a day of fun exploring Ruby Falls, a good night's rest is the perfect ending to the perfect day. Park the RV for an overnight stay at Chattanooga North/Cleveland KOA Journey or Raccoon Mountain Caverns and Campground.

Zoo Knoxville

The next 119 miles will just fly by as families anticipate their arrival at Zoo Knoxville. A popular destination for RV campers to enjoy, Zoo Knoxville offers the opportunity to interact with many different species of animals from all four corners of the globe. But the zoo is far more than simply a fun place for families to visit. Zoo Knoxville plays an important part in helping to preserve rare and endangered species both on a local and global scale.

Zoo Knoxville works in conjunction with other like-minded organizations to help develop and implement a comprehensive Species Survival Plan to ensure the continuance of endangered animals within their facility. Among the animals, these zoo' s personnel focus on saving include the bog turtle which is indigenous to the easter portion of the state as well as the native hellbender and mudpuppy salamanders.

To provide the best care for unusual species not native to the United States, the zoo staff makes frequent trips to remote areas including the Komodo Islands, Madagascar, and Indonesia to learn more about the creatures that live there and their native environments.

Tired out from a day enjoying the exhibits at the zoo? Consider an RV stay at Clinton/Knoxville North KOA Journey or Volunteer Park Family Campground.

Mill Mountain Star

After a good night's sleep, RV campers will be primed to travel the 259 miles to enjoy the attraction known as Mill Mountain Star. Mill Mountain Star, also referred to as Roanoke Star for its location in the state of Virginia, is considered to be a must-see destination when passing through the region.

The star is found at the pinnacle of Mill Mountain and provides breathtaking views of the valleys and Blue Ridge Mountain range, welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe. Each evening, the star is lit up, providing a beautiful beacon for travelers to enjoy.

Mill Mountain Star is believed to be the biggest free-standing star that was constructed by men and equipped to light up. It has earned the distinction of being a popular attraction for photographers looking to add some interesting shots to their portfolio.

Mill Mountain Star traces its roots to 1949 when it was built to play a role in a Christmas display for that year's shopping events. The star was financed by the Roanoke Merchants Association, Roy C. Kinsey of Kinsey Sign Co, and Mr. Kinsey's son who also played a role in its design and construction.

Other attractions found within the region include the Mill Mountain Zoo and the Discovery Center. There are also many trails that are well suited to hiking and biking found on the grounds. Mill Mountain Star's grounds are also well-suited to picnicking.

Tuckered out from the climb to view one of Roanoke's most cherished attractions? Why not park your rig for an overnight stay at Natural Bridge/Lexington KOA Holiday or Middle Creek Campground?

The National Civil War Museum

One of the most interesting attractions en route to Portland is found 299 miles away in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The National Civil War Museum is one of the biggest facilities across the globe that is entirely devoted to the preservation of the history of the American Civil War. This property has endeavored to cultivate a facility that relates the entire history surrounding this epic event, creating an atmosphere where the effects on the people at the time can be freely related.

A trip to this museum can be quite emotional as the reasons behind the war are examined with both the North and South's perspective carefully identified. Also included are detailed accounts of those most impacted by the events during this War including soldiers and citizens.

The National Civil War Museum highlights the tragedies of war including slavery, camp life, and period politics and their impact on wartime activities. There is a concession stand found on the grounds where families can enjoy snacks and drinks.

Enjoyed a trip through 19th-century history but needing a nap now? Plan an RV stay at Elizabethtown/Hershey KOA Holiday or Harrisburg East Campground.

Inner Harbor

81 miles from Harrisburg is the beautiful Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland. This popular attraction offers all kinds of things for RV campers to see and do during their visit. From museums to restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines, live entertainment, shopping, and much more, Inner Harbor has got it all.

Among the most popular things to do during a visit to Inner Harbor is a cruise on the 65-foot vessel known as the BIG RED BOAT. There are several different options for families to choose from including a 45-minute cruise which features interesting narration about the region and its history, the 90 minute "Key Bridge Cruise" reserved for Friday nights, and even the Saturday evening "City Lights Cruise," a journey which encompasses 60 minutes.

The National Aquarium is another must-visit destination found along the Inner Harbor. Found within this interesting space is a wide array of aquatic life some of which includes sharks, dolphins, rays, and even tropical fish. There are over 17,000 sea creatures housed within the aquarium's grounds. RV campers can enjoy such unusual activities as meandering through a rain forest, viewing educational films in the 4D theater, and exploring the Living Seashore touchpool.

Climb the World Trade Center tower to enjoy incredible views of Baltimore from the observation deck named the "Top of the World" which is found on the 27th floor of the building.

With so many things to do see and do at Inner Harbor, RV campers might want to extend their stay. For a great place to enjoy an extended RV stay, consider doing some camping at Hollofield Area Campground or Washington D.C./Capitol KOA Holiday.

Empire State Building

194 miles from Baltimore's Inner Harbor is one of the most iconic places in the country: the Empire State Building. A property that is considered to be one of the best-renowned landmarks in the world, a trip to this monument is not to be missed. Families wishing to enjoy a day exploring the building should park their RV in a public lot outside the city and take the subway, a taxi, or bus to directly to the grounds as there is no RV parking found on site.

There are many things to see during a visit to the Empire State Building. RV campers will enjoy a trip along the world-famous Observation Deck, drinking in the sights of the city below.

But the decor in the building alone is breathtaking to behold. Designed in the art deco style, the interior contains incredible murals as well as an exhibit entitled Dare to Dream.

The Empire State Building is 103 stories in total height and is found on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. This monumental undertaking completed construction after one year and 45 days of intense labor and took in excess of seven million hours to complete.

One of the most interesting facts about the Empire State Building is the kisses stolen at the top of the tower which are known to elicit sparks due to the heavy static electricity that lingers in the air.

This property has been featured in many popular films including An Affair to Remember, Sleepless in Seattle, and Elf.

After a day enjoying the sights and sounds in New York City, a good night's sleep might be just what the doctor ordered. Plan an RV stay at Battle Row Campground or Nickerson Beach Campground.

East Rock Park

The 83.7 miles to East Rock Park will fly by with anticipation of reconnecting with nature hanging in the air. A trip to East Rock travels through deep woods and dirt trails which rise in steep elevation until the town of New Haven is glimpsed at the pinnacle. This incredible recreational area offers breathtaking views of the nearby Long Island Sound, providing a restful place to relax and unwind in the beauty and stillness of nature.

To reach the peak of East Rock, RV campers can hike, bike, or drive. From the top, RV campers will be treated to the opportunity to enjoy the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, one of the most well-renowned statues in the state which can be seen from any location within the city. This landmark is 112 feet in height and traces its roots to 1887. Its purpose is to pay homage to New Haven residents who gave their lives in the following wars: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War. It is illuminated at night.

The most popular way to reach East Rock is through climbing the historic Giant Steps Trail, an experience that is not to be missed.

Had a ball hiking the grounds at East Rock Park? Why not catch a few Z's during an RV stay at West Rock Ridge State Park or Branch Brook Campground?


The final leg of the journey to Portland is 233 miles. RV campers will be thrilled to finally pull into their intended destination to park their rig and enjoy an extended stay.

Portland, a metropolitan city in Maine, rests on a peninsula that juts into the scenic Casco Bay. One of the most popular attractions found here is the Old Port, a waterfront property that is still home to wharves and old warehouses that now sport funky and eclectic shops, restaurants, and cafes.

For RV campers looking to explore more of the city, it is well worth the effort to make the trek to the Western Promenade, a public recreational facility that sits at the pinnacle of a scenic bluff. The views glimpsed from the top of the bluff are stunning and include glimpses of the area's rivers and incredible mountains.

No trip to Portland would be complete without a stop by the city's West End where Victorian charm is the name of the game. Here, families can enjoy a trip through the Victorian Mansion Museum.

Portland is a city of great charm. From its cobblestone-lined walkways to its incredibly picturesque harbor, this town exudes relaxation and good old-fashioned Maritime hospitality.

Traveling through Portland in an RV is easy enough to do, but RV campers can also park their rig at their campground and take a taxi or bus into town.

Among the best places to enjoy RV stays while in Portland are Wassamki Springs Campground, Saco/Old Orchard Beach KOA, and Hid'N Pines Family Campground.

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