Jacksonville to Minneapolis Road Trip Guide

Introduction

Leaving behind sunny Jacksonville for a cross-country RV camping adventure and heading northwards to Minneapolis, this seven-day road trip has been carefully planned to provide fun and entertainment.

This would be a great option for a single traveler, couples, or even a family with older children as it combines outdoor recreation and nature with the occasional day of thrills and spills, with a day at the Wild Adventure Theme Park in Valdosta at the top of the list. It also features several educational opportunities, including a stop in Springfield, Illinois, to learn more about Abraham Lincoln, as well as a visit to the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta. From iconic American landmarks and attractions to unique roadside stops, this seven-day trip promises to be the road trip of a lifetime.

For some of the attractions and campgrounds mentioned, you may need to book in advance to reserve a spot. However, others work on a first-come, first-served basis. Either way, we have included all the necessary details! So what are you waiting for? Sort out the RV or check out RV rentals, pack up your gear, and enjoy our one-of-a-kind road trip from Jacksonville, Florida, to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Details

60'
Max RV length
60'
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: any
audience: all

Point of Interest

Mirror Lake State Park

The beautiful Mirror Lake State Park is set amongst 1179-acres of forestry and alpine lakes. There are over 19 miles of developed hiking trails in the area, as well as plenty of possibilities when it comes to off-trail hiking. Whether you prefer to get back to nature and enjoy some outdoor recreation or enjoy some family fun, there is a lot to do here, including MagiQuest, the Knuckleheads Trampoline Park, and even Escape Rooms.
If you are visiting in the winter, this is also a popular park for winter sports, with the chance to hit the slopes on some of the best powder in the State. There are 151 campsites in the park, across three separate campgrounds.


Maquoketa Caves State Park

One of the most popular attractions in the state, the Maquoketa Caves State Park is home to more caves than any other state park in the country, making it a popular destination for spelunkers, hikers, or anyone else with a passion for exploring underground. There are guided tours around the caves, providing you with the opportunity to explore this subterranean sanctuary with an expert.
There is a campground on site that has 30 spacious sites, seven of which have electric and water hook-ups. There are also modern restrooms and hot showers, and reservations should be made in advance online.


The Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk

This is a bit of an unusual stop, but a must for any Trekkie who will understand the great reverence this place has and you will certainly want a photo to memorialize the occasion.

Legend (or at least Star Trek lore) has it that the captain of the Starship Enterprise will be born in Riverside, Iowa, on March 22, 2228, and the town has certainly welcomed the fictional claim. It has become a bit of a haven for fans of the TV show, with a large model of the Starship, a statue of a Star Fleet Crewman and banners along Main Street.

Located just down an alleyway in the center of town, you will find the memorial. If you are not a fan and prefer to drive on by, you could check out Iowa City or head on up to the Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area for some outdoor recreation.


Springfield, Illinois

Our next stop on the trip is a day spent exploring the capital of Illinois, Springfield. Sightseeing in this historic city is often linked to its most famous resident ever- Abraham Lincoln. There are tours around the home where he lived with his family for 17 years, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a must for any history or politics fan. Here you can discover an array of exhibits and interactive displays and there is also a holographic and special effects theatre.

If you are planning on paying your respects at the Lincoln Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery, don’t forget to rub his nose for a bit of luck for the rest of your trip.


Shawnee National Forest

This United States national forest is located on the Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois and it is the perfect stop to unwind under the cover of the forests or explore the miles upon miles of hiking trails. The local area is abundant with a unique array of trees and plants and a diverse range of animals and birds are at home here. The best time to spot the local wildlife is at dawn or dusk- don’t forget your camera and always practice caution. There are bears in this area, so if you are planning on staying the night here, be safe and remember to properly store your food.

Dispersed camping is available, or you can opt for one of the nearby campgrounds. The Coles Creek Recreation Area is on the eastern shore of the Carlyle Lake, with 119 campsites available.


Grand Ole Opry

Founded in 1925, this legendary music hall holds the stage where some of the biggest names in music first cut their teeth. The Grand Ole Opry is nothing short of an American icon, and it is one of Nashville’s most popular attractions. There are different events and experiences all the time, just make sure you reserve your tickets online as they can quickly sell out.

You cannot tour the building, unfortunately, but if you are going to a show they do have backstage experiences available. This would be the perfect choice for just about any music fan! Whilst you are in Nashville, you should also check out the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Johnny Cash Museum.


Rock City

First opened as an attraction in 1932, Rock City is situated around six miles from Chattanooga on Lookout Mountain. These ancient rock formations are truly impressive, with phenomenal views of the spectacular scenery around it, including claims that it is possible to see seven states at once from the Lover’s Leap outlook.

This enchanting trail includes a fantastic array of trees and plants which have been individually labeled. Whereas, the Fairyland Caverns are home to larger-than-life classic fairy-tale characters painted in retro glow paints. Plus, there are bird shows scheduled throughout the day, providing the opportunity to marvel at birds of prey. Although there is no camping at Rock City, there is a great choice of free and paid campground nearby.


World of Coca Cola

Discover the history of the world’s most famous beverage company at the World of Coca Cola. This 20-acre complex is located just a few blocks away from the exact location where John Pemberton developed the original Coca Cola formula. With over 1200 artifacts, including a 1939 delivery truck from Argentina and ever-changing exhibits, there is much to see and do here; including the chance to sample over 100 different beverages from around the world. As well as a 4D movie theatre, there is also a store where you can pick up some authentic Coca Cola merchandise.

The World of Coca Cola is located adjacent to the Georgia Aquarium, which is also an excellent place to visit. This is one of the largest aquariums in the world, with the chance to get up close with beluga whales, whale sharks, dolphins, penguins, seals and hundreds of other marine species.


High Falls State Park

After all that adrenalin and excitement, you will need some time to relax and unwind, and the High Falls State Park offers an idyllic opportunity for some R&R.

Back in the 1800s, this area was an industrial town, but it became a ghost town in the 1880s after it was bypassed by a major railroad. There are lots of things to do at High Falls State Park and the adjacent forest, including boating, fishing, miniature golf, and swimming. There are also four and a half miles of developed hiking trails in the area, including the Falls Trail which is a must. Offering phenomenal views of the cascades, this is just a short hike at around 0.8 miles. These truly spectacular waterfalls are the tallest south of Atlanta and visitors can also stroll along the edge of the river and explore the remains of a power plant foundation nearby.

If you plan to spend the night under the stars at High Falls State Park, There are 97 campsites across the park for tent, trailer and of course, RV Camping, as well as six yurts and one paddle-in primitive group campsite that sleeps 25 people.


Wild Adventure Theme Park

Located in Valdosta, Georgia, a visit to the Wild Adventures Theme Park promises to start your RV road trip adventure off on a high. This wooden roller coaster park features a wide array of attractions, including eight roller coasters and rides to suit the whole family. If the weather is warm, you may also want to visit the Splash Island Park and will definitely want to check out the Swingin’ Safari.

If you would like to stay the night in this area, you could opt for one of the nearby campgrounds; with both public and private options available. The Holton Creek River Campground is just a short drive away. This is just less than eight miles from the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, and it is located in an area of outstanding national beauty.


Summary

As you arrive at your destination, you will be hopefully looking back on an epic RV adventure. There is much to do in Minneapolis and its twin city St. Paul. The latter has more of a historic feel and it is a greener area. Whereas, the city of Minneapolis itself is quite contemporary. The kids will love the Nickelodeon Universe or perhaps the Como Park Zoo to see some of their many species of rare and exotic animals.

If you are looking to spot some natural beauty, check out the Minnehaha Falls or get inspired by the many masterpieces at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Just to add one last quick tip, it can be quite cool here so bring some layers, even in summer.

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