Columbus to Albuquerque Road Trip Guide


An RV road trip with your partner can lead to memories made that you will never forget, and starting a trip in Columbus will be the perfect way to begin your adventure. The state capital of Ohio has a lot going for it, including plenty of activities and attractions relevant to RV lovers.

Columbus is known for many things, including having one of the best municipal park systems in the United States. There are 19 parks within the metro area that total to over 24,000 acres, which means there's no shortage of outdoor fun to be had. You will also be able to enjoy some city delights such as great food, cool bars, and college sports galore since the city is home to The Ohio State University.

From Columbus, there are plenty of route options for an extended RV getaway, including heading west through the midwest of America on the legendary Route 66. Traveling route 66 is a classic American road trip, and this route will give you the chance to experience some gorgeous state parks, impressive lakes, and classic American culture.

During a road trip from Columbus to Albuquerque, the landscape will change from the greenery of Columbus to open plains and then to the harsh desert, so pack a variety of clothes before heading out on the open road. At the conclusion of your trip, you can enjoy New Mexico's most populated city where there are usually 310 days of sunshine per year. Albuquerque has some incredible Mexican food and attractions that aren't common in other large cities, so why wait? It's time to hit the road!

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

Point of Interest

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Columbus has many top-rated attractions with one of the most notable being the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Recognized as one of the top zoos in the country, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has 10,000 animals that call it home, so get ready to see a wide variety during your visit.

One of the highlights of the zoo is the bear exhibit. Located within the North American section of the zoo, here you and your partner will be able to see numerous species of bears in an up-close and personal environment that isn't the norm at the majority of zoos. If you love life under the sea you will also have to check out the Manatee Coast Boat where you can see these majestic creatures swimming about without a care in the world.

RV campgrounds are in abundance in Columbus with a camping experience available that will suit all travelers. If you are looking for luxury check out the Buckeye Lake / Columbus East KOA Holiday or if you want a quick morning getaway the Alton RV Park is located near the I-70.

Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area

Getting out and exploring is one of the best parts of an RV road trip. As you hit the road and begin your journey there are many areas you can stop into as you make your way through Ohio into Indiana and the Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area is one of the best to have some fun in the sun.

Featuring a beach, multiple hiking trails, and numerous outdoor games visiting Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area will allow you and your partner to experience one of the best lakes in Indiana before you head into Missouri. This state recreation area is operated by the Indiana Department of Resources and renowned for being expertly maintained, so you can expect a pleasant time when visiting.

Along with enjoying the multiple recreational activities that are available you can also stay the night at one of the 240 electric or 37 non-electric sites in the park campground. This means no traveling after your day out exploring the park; how good is that?

Missouri Botanical Garden

Just over 200 miles from the Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area in the city of St. Louis is a garden that will leave you awestruck. The Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the top attractions in the city, and for good reason.

Founded way back in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden's crown jewel is its herbarium. This collection of dried flowers is the second-largest in the United States behind the New York Botanical Garden collection, so anyone with an interest needs to see it to believe it. There are also 12 garden features, including marble statues and the Climatron, which is the world's first greenhouse that was a geodesic dome. Depending on what time of year you visit, there may be a festival happening you can check out too.

RV camping in St. Louis can be done very close to the city, so if you and your partner want an urban camping experience this is a great city to do this in. The St Louis RV Park is one of the best and is only five miles away from the garden.

Grand Falls

Waterfalls may not spring to mind when you think about natural attractions in the state of Missouri, but just outside of Joplin is the beautiful Grand Falls.

Recognized as the largest natural waterfall in Missouri, Grand Falls will be a welcome break after traveling on the I-44 from St. Louis all the way across to the southwestern side of the state. At the falls you can watch the water cascade down the 163-foot-wide chert ledge, throw down a picnic rug and have a date with the calming sound of the falls in the background, or just pull over and enjoy the serenity before continuing on your RV journey.

If you have been driving from St. Louis you will want to pull into a campground around the Joplin area to get some rest so consider staying at the Joplin KOA Journey which is only two and a half miles from Grand Falls.

Attending an Oklahoma City Thunder Game

Oklahoma City is the capital and most populated city in Oklahoma, and along with being the hub of all things business in the state, it is also the home of the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were moved from Seattle in 2008 and they are the only major professional sporting team in Oklahoma. Their fans are known for being super loud and intense, so attending a game when you are in town will be a whole lot of fun. NBA games run from October until mid-April and if the team does well there are also playoff games that can happen until June.

Before heading into Chesapeake Energy Arena you can grab a bite and a drink at the Bricktown Brewery which is only a block away, or the sports bar chain Texadelphia is just down the street.
After the game, you and your partner can head to the Twin Fountains RV Park

McClellan Creek National Grassland

West Oklahoma and east Texas is as flat as a tack, but that doesn't mean there aren't any gorgeous natural areas that you can enjoy during this part of your RV road trip. The McClellan Creek National Grassland is located just over 200 miles west of Oklahoma City and gives you the chance to enjoy the peace and quiet of nationally protected grasslands.

Within the McClellan Creek National Grassland, there are over 1,600 acres to explore or relax in, along with Lake McClellan where you can do some boating, fishing, or have a picnic. The grassland and lake recreation activities can be done all year round, so no matter what time of the year you are going on your road trip you can spend some time here.

Camping for the night will also be sorted when visiting the McClellan Creek National Grassland since there are 60 sites with electrical hookups for you to choose from.

Ute LakeState Park

In eastern New Mexico where water is sparse, there is an oasis known as Ute Lake State Park that will be a great place to visit to break up your drive and give you and your partner the chance to stretch your legs. The park is a little off the I-40 to the northeast, but it is well worth the extra miles.

This is a very scenic park with the main attraction being the Ute Reservoir where you can go motorboating, kayaking, canoeing, and even jet skiing until you've had your water fix. Off the reservoir, there is a fantastic network of trails where you can also do some birding and snap some pics if you are a nature photography lover.

Another benefit of visiting Ute Lake State Park is that you can set up your rig and stay the night without having to use a truck stop like the majority of travelers in the area will be doing. There are 40 campsites to choose from, all of which have electrical hookups for your convenience.

Route 66 Auto Museum

A trip along Route 66 wouldn't be complete without taking some time to view some memorabilia from days gone by that used to be commonplace along the classic highway.

The Route 66 Auto Museum is a private museum and collection in Santa Rosa that features over 30 cars that were produced between 1920 and 1960. Visiting the museum is a great way to get your Route 66 fix without having to break the bank.

All of the vehicles are either in original condition or been meticulously restored by the family-run museum staff so be prepared to be impressed! Along with the classic cars, there are also plenty of memorabilia pieces from the era that made Route 66 famous.

Santa Rosa has a handful of RV campgrounds to spend your last night on the road at, including the Santa Rosa Campground & RV Park which is the most popular place to stay in the area.


Arriving in Albuquerque at the end of your incredible RV road trip might be a little sad, but this feeling will soon be replaced by the joy of getting to explore New Mexico's largest city. Located in a high desert area, Albuquerque is a cultural hub of New Mexico with five different museums while the Old Town center is full of shops, art galleries, and restaurants.

If you are looking for a romantic activity to finish your trip on you have to go hot air ballooning. Departing early in the morning or at sunset, there are multiple companies that offer hot air balloon rides, including Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Co. where you can go on a private sunrise balloon ride that you and your partner will never forget.

For your final night in your rig, you should treat yourself and stay at The Albuquerque KOA Journey. Featuring a hot tub, WiFi, cable TV, and a mini-golf course, this campground is built for relaxation.

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