Detroit to Bismarck Road Trip Guide


Start an RV road trip in Detroit, Michigan, and travel 1115 miles past Lake Michigan in Illinois, though Wisconsin and Minnesota, to Bismarck, North Dakota, and experience great camping and interesting activities. Take Interstate 96, Highway 14, Interstate 94, and Interstate 90, west to Chicago. From Chicago, Illinois continue on Interstate 90 north and west, through Minneapolis to your destination in Bismarck.

Before leaving Detroit, take in events like Detroit Lions Tailgating or visit Detroit attractions. Belle Isle Park is a fantastic park situated on the Detroit River that has an aquarium, conservatory, museum, nature center, giant slide, and a swim beach as well as plenty of fun recreational activities. You can also visit Fort Wayne which dates back to 1840, and take a tour of the old military barracks, dry moat, and tunnel. Motor enthusiasts should stop at the Henry Ford Museum which displays exhibits highlighting Henry Ford's achievements and other technological and industrial American inventions, including the first steam locomotive from 1829.

While staying in the Detroit area, excellent RV camping can be found at the Proud Lake State Recreation Area. The campground here has over 100 RV sites with electric hookups and large parking pads. Activities in the park include swimming, hiking, boating, and fishing on the 4700-acre oak-forested landscape, with its open meadows and colorful wildflowers.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 3-5 days
Recommend rig: trailer
audience: all

Point of Interest

Movement Detroit

Staying in the Detroit region during the Memorial Day weekend? Be sure to get Tickets for the Movement Detroit music festival held on its riverside location at the Hart plaza. The event is an exciting annual electronic music festival. Detroit is the birthplace of the Techno music style and the event, which showcases electronic music culture, is known for its incredible world-class performer line-ups. Started in 2006, it is one of the longest-running dance festivals in the world.

Get out and listen to the great music and dance the night away. There is also plenty of delicious food on-site from food vendors, shopping, and nearby parties to attend. There is no onsite camping and parking for large RVs is not practical, as the event is held in a central urban area. Leave your RV at a local RV park or at one of the state parks out of town and proceed to the event using public transportation or a passenger vehicle.

Indiana Dunes State Park Campground

Skirting along Lake Michigan on Interstate 94, you will find great camping at Indiana Dunes State Park. This beautiful park contains 1530 acres of natural area and three miles of lakeshore. The park is named for the sand dunes, some of which are 200 feet high, along the lakeshore, which are great for sunbathing, trekking, and fun. You can even see the Chicago skyline in the distance, across the lake, on a clear day from the dunes.

Enjoy the cool refreshing waters of Lake Michigan; there is a designated swim area at the Beach Pavillion, where there is also a food kiosk and gift shop. The Indiana Dunes Campground takes online reservations and unreserved sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The campground has direct access to the dunes and the beach.

There are 140 campsites with 50 amp electric hook-ups that accommodate RVs up to 55 feet in length. Amenities at the campground include an RV dump station, water supply, camp store, comfort stations, restrooms, showerhouses, and playgrounds. This campground is open year-round, although not all facilities are available in the offseason.

Navy Pier

As you're passing through Chicago, you will find no shortage of activities and sites to visit. Looking for some food and fun? Visit the Navy Pier where you can attend special events throughout the year, dine at pier restaurants, shop, take a cruise, or ride the rides and play carnival games. The pier dates back to 1916 and was reopened in 1995 as an entertainment and recreation district that now attracts 180 million visitors annually.

Take in the views from the Centennial Wheel, a giant Ferris wheel that offers amazing views of Chicago and the lake. Or have fun on the climbing wall, carousel, and the Pepsi Wave Swinger. Navy Pier is also home to an IMAX theatre, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and the Chicago Children’s Museum. While on-site you will enjoy public art and exhibitions.

The pier is especially known for its plethora of dining establishments; there are even food tours of the pier dining establishments, or you can take a special dining cruise. Daytime sightseeing cruises initiating at the pier are also popular. Shop-a-holics will be delighted with the eclectic collection of shops, with one of a kind collectibles, apparel, and souvenirs. During the summer months, fireworks displays over the lake occur on Wednesdays and Saturdays and are the perfect cap to a day discovering the sights and sounds at Navy Pier.

James J Hill House

As you pass through St. Paul, Minnesota, on Interstate 94, stop at the James J. Hill House and explore Minnesota's version of Downton Abbey! This 36000 square foot mansion was built by railroad magnate James J. Hill, as a personal residence for his family and servants. Between May and September, the house is open for self-guided tours on Sundays, and you can stroll through the house at your leisure, taking your time to linger in your favorite rooms in this palatial, historic home. Guided tours are available Wednesday through Sunday between January and November, and guides can fill you in on the details of this impressive house and what life was like for the Hill family at the end of the 19th century.

Peruse the house's massive scale, stone walls, architectural details and mechanical systems from the Gilded Age that operated in the house. There are 13 bathrooms, 22 fireplaces, 16 chandeliers, a two-story art gallery with skylight, and a 100-foot long reception hall. Special events are held throughout the year, so be sure to check out their schedule.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

Arriving in Bismarck, North Dakota, you will find convenient campsites, beautiful wilderness, and fascinating historic sites at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. During the summer you can hike, fish, and picnic at the park, on the banks of the Missouri River. During the off-season, enjoy winter activities and take in the historic sites at the park. The remnants of a Mandan Indian settlement can be explored at the On-A-Slant Mandan Village where the ground slopes to the river, and 90 earthen mounds remain. These mounds were built by Mandan Women, as they provided well-insulated habitations that were cool in summer and warm in the winter. The rebuilt village here is based on observations from intrepid explorers Lewis and Clark in 1806.

Visit the Custer House, where a reproduction structure of Custer’s last home, prior to his ill-fated final expedition at Little Bighorn, is situated. You can take a guided or self-guided tour, and there's even a trolley from the campground to the Custer House/Cavalry Post area on the southside of the park. The Calvary Post site has reproduced barracks, granary, stable, and commissary. You can get snacks and historical books at the commissary and even pick up a cup of coffee.

There are two campgrounds, a north and south campground, that are only about 1000 feet apart. The campgrounds have 95 sites with electric hookups and water lines. Most sites are pull-through sites and accommodate larger RVs. The campground has restrooms, showerhouses, an RV dump station, kids play area, amphitheater and picnic areas with lots of trees and grassy spaces.


Arriving in Bismarck, North Dakota, enjoy RV camping with plenty of amenities at the Bismarck KOA Journey. Visit attractions in Bismarck like the Dakota Zoo, Superslide Amusement Park, or the Buckstop Junction Historic Town with preserved historical buildings. Visit Sertoma Park and Keelboat Park which are situated on the river and spend a day picnicking and partaking in recreational activities by the riverside. Bismarck also has lots of great restaurants and shopping malls, and lively entertainment venues to enjoy.

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