Boston to Rockford Road Trip Guide


For RV campers on the hunt for their next great road trip, a seven-day trek that leads from Boston, Massachusetts to Rockford, Illinois will not disappoint.

Boston, the capital city of Massachusetts, is a metropolitan city with lots to offer families during their RV vacation. A city sometimes referred to as Beantown, Boston is well-renowned for its many cultural attractions, world-class sports teams, excellent food, and unique accent. The cuisine found in this foodie haven is like no other, basing its dishes heavily on such foods as seafood, salt, and dairy.

From its very early days, Boston earned accolades from many who came to visit its sunny shores. William Tudor once proclaimed it "...the most perfect and certainly the best-regulated democracy that ever existed." He further compared it to Athens, drawing many to nickname the city the "Athens of America," a nod to the city's history as a center of high literature and the arts.

Through the 19th century, some of the world's greatest writers have lived and written in Boston. Among these famed authors include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. True book lovers will not want to miss the chance to visit Beantown's Old Corner Bookstore, the seat where these beloved authors met to discuss literature. It is also the locale where the famed The Atlantic Monthly was initially published. To carry on its rich history of literature, the Boston Public Library was also the first to offer free books to the public.

But Boston is more than just a place to enjoy great food and literary events. The city is home to one of the finest orchestras in the world: the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It is also home to the Boston Ballet, Opera Boston, and several theatre groups of excellent renown.

A city full of rich historical significance, there are many interesting sites to visit during a trip to Boston. These include such places as the Boston National Historical Park and the Freedom Trail.

Boston has many beautiful places where families can enjoy outdoor recreational activities and is home to a vast array of hiking trails, national parks, monuments, and much, much more for families to enjoy. Its harbor is one of the most beautiful in the world. Boston is also home to several world-class sports teams including the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, the Boston Bruins, and the New England Patriots.

Traveling through this metropolitan city in an RV can be a real challenge. Thankfully, families don't need to worry about this as Boston has an excellent transportation system. Simply park your RV at your campground or in one of the city's lots and hope the Go Train, a bus, or a taxi to explore the city on foot.

Among the best places to enjoy an RV stay in Boston include Boston/Cape Cod KOA Holiday or the Boston Minuteman Campground.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: family

Point of Interest

Warren Anatomical Museum

Found just outside Boston proper in the trendy metropolitan center known as Brookline is an interesting attraction known as the Warren Anatomical Museum. The museum's founder, Dr. John Collins Warren, proudly espoused the motto that it is the dead that are the teachers of the living.

As many of his colleagues would have also done, Dr. Warren amassed a collection of bodies for use in his work studying anatomy and pathology. When he retired from practicing medicine in 1847, he made the decision to donate his substantial expanse of specimens to Harvard University, a leading medical school.

Dr. Warren's collection numbered more than 15,000 pieces; however, not all of them are open for viewing by the public. The specimens selected for display can be found on the fifth floor of a building known as the Countway Library of Medicine.

There are many interesting things to be seen in the Warren Anatomical Museum including a cast of Johann Gaspar Spurzheim's skull, a task he undertook himself. Also found here is an ether inhaler that was put to use in the very first surgery to use ether gas, as well as skeletons from conjoined twins.

However, the most visited specimen in the museum by far belongs to Phineas Gage, a gentleman who endured a freak railroad accident that threw a tamping iron of 13 pounds through his head. Although he survived, Mr. Gage suffered long term emotional trauma from the injury, and it was through this accident that doctors were able to gain powerful insights into the human personality.

After an interesting day examining the specimens on display at Warren Anatomical Museum, even the good doctor might recommend a good night's sleep. Spend the night doing some RV camping at Lorraine Park Campground or Normandy Farms Campground.

New York State Capitol

Just 173 miles away from Brookline is the awe-inspiring New York State Capitol. Nestled at the pinnacle of what is known as State Street, this building has proudly housed the state's government since it was built in the late 19th century. The building remains true to the elegance and the vision of no less than five different architects. One of the most amazing facts about the Capitol building is that is was manufactured by hand and took over 32 years to complete. By the time of its completion in 1899, the building had cost the state over twenty-five million dollars.

In several spots, the Capitol building's walls measure a thickness of four to five feet. At the time of construction, the facility was lit through candlelight alone, and there were no modern systems in place for heating or ventilation. Since the building took such a long time to complete, there were many advancements in both heating and electricity, allowing the Capitol to be equipped with both power and heat.

Only ten years after construction was completed, the ceiling fell into structural disrepair, necessitating additional work to the facility. In 1911, the building was also affected by a fire. Today, the Capitol is undergoing restoration work to return it to its former glory.

Tired out from a day enjoying New York State Capitol? Enjoy a rest in your RV at Thompson's Lake State Park Campground or Frosty Acres Campground.

The Stanley Theatre

The next leg of the journey en route to Rockford is a short one at only 89.8 miles. The Stanley Theatre is located in Utica, New York. The facility was originally intended to be a glamorous theatre for movies. It welcomed its first audience in 1928. The theatre was immense in size, offering 2,963 seats in total.

The Stanley Theatre was built in a record-breaking 13 months. It was the vision of much-loved architect Mr. Thomas Lamb. Mr. Lamb had earned himself a reputation as one of the most innovative designers of cinematic theatres in the 1900s. Among the other buildings attributed to his genius are New York City's Capitol Theatre and the Fox Theatre in San Francisco. Today, only three of Mr. Lamb's theatres still remains and all are found in New York state. The Stanley is one of them.

The Stanley Theatre largely plays host to Utica residents with a love for Broadway. However, it is also a popular concert venue with many artists such as REO Speedwagon, Martina McBride, Tony Bennett, and Jerry Seinfeld all having played there.

The beautiful Stanley Theatre still bears its original Baroque decor and has now been included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tuckered out from a day full of movie magic? Consider an RV stay at Herkimer Diamond KOA Resort or Kayuta Lake Campground.

The Buffalo Zoo

Buffalo Zoo is located 281 miles from Utica's Stanley Theatre. The zoo first opened its doors in 1870 when a well-renowned furrier known as Mr. Jacob E. Bergtold gave a gift of two deer to the city. At the time, the deer occupied residence at the popular Delaware Park. After five years had passed and more animals joined the deer, it was decided to construct a building to house them all safely. Over the subsequent 15 years, more animals would join the zoo including sheep, bison, and elk.

Buffalo Zoo had earned the distinction of being the third oldest zoo in the country. A popular spot, this recreational facility sees more than 400,000 visitors per year. The zoo takes second place only to Niagara Fallas the most popular attraction in the western portion of the state.

Buffalo Zoo still sits in Delaware Park and has grown to encompass 23.5 acres of land. Today, this property is home to a large number of animals that are both wild and exotic as well as over 320 different types of vegetation.

The zoo quarters have been carefully created to allow maximum freedom for the animals. The exhibits contain such items as trees, streams, and pools to help simulate the animal's natural home environments.

Had a ball at the zoo, now need to catch up on some zzz's? Check into Niagara Falls/Grand Island KOA Holiday or Niagara Falls North/Lewiston KOA Journey to enjoy an RV stay.

Walnut Beach Park

With a beach adventure in the day ahead, the 149 miles to Walnut Beach Park will just fly right by. Walnut Beach Park has lots to offer families on the hunt for a day of fun in the sun.

Walnut Beach Park is well-renowned for its scenic sunsets, strolls along the coast, vast array of wildlife, and abundance of water sports fun, making it a place that has something every member of the family can enjoy. Nestled along the shores of Lake Erie, this much-loved park contains one of the most cherished beaches in all of the state.

The beach has a seemingly endless coastline, making it an excellent spot to do some beachcombing or for simply taking a stroll. Also found along the beach is a concession stand where families can beat the heat and enjoy a snack or two.

This park has plenty of parking, making it easy for families to safely leave their rig for the day. The beach itself is comprised of a total of 28 acres. Among the amenities found here include a wildlife preserve, a playground, beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, picnic areas, and a skate park. Swimming is a family favorite activity at this beloved beach. The shoreline is also an excellent place for collecting sea glass.

Tuckered out from a day of sand and surf? Spend the night doing some RV camping at Village Green Campground or Willow Lake Campground.

A Christmas Story House and Museum

For a truly iconic attraction, RV campers will not want to miss the chance to visit the Christmas Story House and Museum. Located just 65.7 miles from Walnut Beach Park, the drive is a short one to get to this classic movie set.

Filmed in 1983, A Christmas Story has become a family tradition in most homes. The home that was prominently featured in the movie has been carefully restored to maintain its appearance from the film. Found across the street from the house is a museum filled with movie memorabilia.

The house was chosen for its unique style that was reminiscent of the typical home in the 1940s, thus making it well-suited to a period piece. The once unremarkable home has now become the subject of great fascination for families all around the world. It is easily one of the most recognizable homes in pop culture today. It remains adorned with Christmas decorations year-round and proudly displays the "great" award in its window for all to see and enjoy.

The home's current owner earned a living making lamps similar to the one featured in the film. Through this hobby pursuit, he was able to earn enough money to buy the house from the studio.

Tours of the property occur daily. For more information about tour schedules, hours of operation, and associated fees, consult the museum's website.

Among the best places for RV stays in Cleveland include Streetsboro/Cleveland SE KOA Holiday and American Wilderness Campground.

Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes

The next day's journey is a bit of a hike at 254 miles: Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in South Bend, Indiana. This popular shrine was built to resemble the original found in France where it is believed the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette on 18 different occasions during the year 1858. The Indiana shrine is only 1/7th the size of the original.

Father Edward Sorin traveled to visit the French shrine several times throughout his lifetime. During one trip, he determined that he would create something similar when back in the United States. In 1896, Father Sorin received a generous donation of money from a Rev. Thomas Carroll, one of his former students. It is with this money that he was able to construct the shrine, making use of heavy rocks found within the region. Each boulder weight in excess of two tons.

For the purpose of authenticity, a small stone from the original shrine was placed to the right beneath the stone structure of the Virgin Mary. Today, the shrine welcomes visitors from all around the world looking to enjoy some restful moments of peace and serenity.

Among the best places to enjoy an RV stay in South Bend are South Bend/Elkhart KOA Journey and Maple Ridge Campground.

Navy Pier

Ninety-six miles from South Bend is Chicago's Navy Pier. Navy Pier proudly hosts one of the most frequented attractions in the Windy City: the Centennial Wheel, a ride that offers awe-inspiring views of the city. The Ferris wheel rises to a height of almost 200 feet. The gondolas are temperature-controlled, allowing visitors to enjoy this popular ride year-round.

Navy Pier was built in 1916. It runs as far as Lake Michigan, and though it is most visited during the summer, it is well worth visiting any time of year.

Pier Park is the location for many much-loved amusement park rides including the Centennial Wheel, the Pepsi Wave Swinger, an antique carousel, and much more. For the thrillseekers in the family, why not try the 4D virtual reality adventure that takes RV campers through the streets of Chicago in a futuristic era. It's a great opportunity to experience sci-fi at its finest.

Other things to do at Navy Pier include the city's funhouse maze, a facility that consists of over 4,000 feet in total and that is chock full of mazes, tunnels, and other fun games.

During the summer months, biweekly fireworks' shows are held at Navy Pier from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

After a great day exploring Navy Pier, catch up your beauty sleep with an RV stay at William W. Powers State Recreation Area or Chicago Northwest KOA Holiday.


The last leg of the journey is only 86.5 miles; a short trek that connects RV campers with their final destination of Rockford.

Rockford, a metropolitan center located in the northern portion of the state of Illinois, is a treasure trove of opportunity when it comes to fun things for families to do. Among the most popular attractions is the Burpee Museum of Natural History, a facility that includes many unique and interesting dinosaur facts and displays. For those with an interest in learning more about Victorian-style architecture, a visit to Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum will not disappoint. The museum was prominently featured on an episode of the popular TV show Ghost Hunters in the past.

For families looking to reconnect with the great outdoors, why not stop by the stunning Anderson Japanese Gardens or spend the day enjoying the many trails found at Rock Cut State Park?

Rockford earns high marks from families that prefer spending time enjoying outdoor pursuits. Among the most popular activities here include hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and hunting. The city is home to many beautiful public parks, national monuments, beaches, and campgrounds for families to enjoy.

Traveling through the streets of Rockford in an RV is easy enough to do. However, many RV campers prefer the peace of mind that comes from leaving their rig at their campground and using public transport to enjoy the town on foot.

Among the best places to enjoy an RV stay in Rockford are Blackhawk Valley Campground and Sugar Shores Camping Resort.

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