Leaving behind the beaches of Miami to head to Branson, Missouri? Check out our awesome seven-day road trip for a cross-state adventure across the continental USA. This is a scenic drive that will take you through some of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, as well as some unique hidden gems along the way. Moreover, this trip provides the opportunity to get back to nature and spend your evenings RV camping at one of the many public campgrounds along the route.
This trip is approximately 1,284 miles long and driving there directly, without stopping, would take just less than 21 hours. However, that does not sound like fun and you may find your passengers getting restless, with stops in this guide carefully chosen to keep all ages happy. It should take around seven days to complete this trip, and it is estimated that the cost of gas will be just over $150, but this does depend on a multitude of factors.
It should also be noted that there is a time difference between Miami and Branson of one hour, so you may wish to change your clocks when you reach the halfway point at Camp Hill, Alabama. Driving conditions on the roads discussed here are usually quite good, but we always advise you check the forecast and any possible issues before making your trip.
Located in Saddlebrooke, the National Tiger Sanctuary is a fun and educational visitor experience that could be the perfect way to finish off your trip. The sanctuary provides a permanent residence for exotic and domestic animals, and the big cats here receive the very best of care. Currently, the sanctuary is home to an African Lion, a black leopard, and Bengali tigers and several Siberian tigers, as well as a mix-match of other animals.
There are various tours and visitor experiences, including safe distance feeding and the chance to get close to one of these big cats. The National Tiger Sanctuary is a non-profit rescue organization, with proceeds going directly to the care and upkeep of the animals.
In rolling foothills of North Arkansas, the Mammoth Spring State Park is also a National Natural Landmark. This is Arkansas’ largest spring with a flow of over 9 million gallons of water rushing over the dam. The interpretive trail is just 0.8 miles, and it takes you through the beautiful park to a lookout spot over the waters. Providing an ideal spot to stop and stretch your legs, there is lots to do here, including hiking, fishing, picnicking, a play area for children and an abandoned Fresco railroad depot and vintage caboose to explore.
Camping is unavailable at this park, but there are several campgrounds nearby that would be ideal to spend the night. If you are planning on visiting Springfield, you could stay at the Springfield/Route 66 KOA Park. This KOA park is ideal for both RV and tent camping, and it has a wide array of facilities and amenities.
Around an hour and a half from Memphis, the Lake Charles State Park spans over 645 acres and it is the perfect spot to spend the night relaxing under the starry sky. There are over 60 campsites here, some of which have water, electric and sewer hook-ups and you should reserve your spot prior via the state park website.
At Lake Charles, there is a wealth of recreational activities nearby, including first-class fishing, four hiking trails, a 3D archery range and so much more. You may also wish to take up this opportunity to check out the nearby Powhatan Historic Site. This small state park is just over nine acres, and it includes six historic buildings, such as a courthouse that was built in 1888. Located on the Black River, this small community was once the economic hub of Lawrence country and now it is a preserved museum. Regular guided tours offer the chance to learn more about the history of the area.
As you are driving through Memphis, we had to include a stop at the legendary Graceland- the famous home of the King of Rock and Roll. This mansion is located amongst a 13-acre estate, and it is the second most visited residential house in the US after the White House. With the ability to immerse yourself in the story of a boy that becomes one of the most famous singers in the world, this is the ultimate rock-and-roll stop on your road trip.
Even if you are not a big fan of Elvis, this is an experience like no other. Check out The Presley Motors auto-mobile collection including his famous pink Cadillac, his personal airplanes, and some of his most famous outfits as well as a whole host of other exhibits. Don’t forget a pen to sign the famous Graceland wall! You can save on your tickets by reserving them online before making your trip. Fans of country music may also want to take up the opportunity to visit Johnny Cash’s boyhood home whilst you are close.
Originally occupied nearly 10, 000 years ago by Paleoamericans, Dismals Canyons was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1975. This sandstone gorge in Franklin County is a geological and natural wonder, and perhaps one of Alabama’s most unique attractions. The entire trail is around a 1.5-mile hike through the deep canyons and caverns and past the picturesque waterfalls.
The evening is the best time to visit the Dismals Canyon, as this is when the tiny glow-worm, known as Dismalites, light up the caverns with their bioluminescence. Guided night tours are available throughout the year, but the best place to spot glow worms is in the Witches Cavern; a labyrinth of moss-covered rocks, which is just below Rainbow Falls.
Sitting atop the Double Oak Mountain, the Oak Mountain State Park is Alabama’s largest at 904 acres. This site is approximately 20 miles south of Birmingham, so this would be a great place to stay if you want to explore the city in the day but connect with nature and camp out in the country at night. As well as over 50 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, you can enjoy swimming, golf, boating, and various educational and interpretive programs.
There are 57 campsites with water, eclectic and sewer hook-ups, and 27 with just water and electric. You will need to pick your site in advance when you make a reservation online. Plus, there is also a country store on site that is ideal for picking up any last-minute supplies, snacks, and souvenirs as well as firewood for your campfire.
Located in Huntsville, Alabama, the US Space and Rocket Center is a must for any space fan, with the chance to see Apollo mission hardware, memorabilia, and even rock souvenirs from the moon. This out-of-this-world attraction is where they developed the rockets that went on the lunar mission. It is the largest space flight museum in the world, and it is home to NASA’s Official Visitor Information Center for the Marshall Space Flight Center.
Admission includes entrance to the Shuttle Park, Rocket Park and all of the indoor exhibit areas, with so much to see and do. You can even experience what a rocket launch feels like as you reach 140 ft. in 2.5 seconds on Moonshot. The brave may also want a go on the G-force accelerator which provides you with the opportunity to feel what 3Gs pushing on your body actually feels like.
When we talk about canyons, we often think about the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but in fact, Georgia has its very own. The Providence Canyon State Park is 1,003 acres of beautiful country located in Stewart County, southwest Georgia. The gullies and canyons here are actually man-made rather than being a natural phenomenon, and they are a result of the poor farming practices in the 1800s.
However, the resulting landscape is truly spectacular, with the colorful sandstone ravines, the rare plumleaf azalea and the soil’s pink and orange hues. Ten miles of hiking trails take you through the park and there are six dispersed campsites, but these are for tents only. Alternatively, RV camping is available at the nearby Florence Marina State Park. This sits at the north end of the epic Lake Walter F. George, and it is an idyllic place with excellent access to the water. There are 41 sites in the campground, and you will need to book in advance.
Next up on our Miami to Branson road trip is this one of a kind underground cavern experience at the Florida Caverns State Park. The dazzling rock formations and deep caves are certainly impressive, with guided tours of the cave provided year-round (every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). This 1319-acre park also features 38 campsites for RV and tent camping, with water and electric hook-ups available. The maximum length for your RV or trailer is 40ft, and reservations should be made in advance online. There is a wealth of recreational activities in the area, including fishing, canoeing, boating and paddling in the Chipola River.
Parts of the caves may be closed in inclement weather conditions, so if you are traveling in the winter, it is advised that you check on their website on the day. The park also suffered major damage after Hurricane Michael in 2018, and certain sections of the cavern are yet to be reopened.
The first stop on this family road trip adventure has to be Disney World. With rollercoasters, a wealth of attractions and all of your favorite characters, this would be the perfect way to begin your road trip.
Bringing fantasy to life, this world-class attraction promises to be fun for the whole family. We advise you to get here early to spend the whole day exploring the various parks.
However, if a visit to the happiest place on earth is not quite what you are looking for, why not check out the Bok Tower Gardens? The beautifully landscaped gardens and 1930s mansions are truly spectacular, with some even suggesting that this building is America’s very own ‘Taj Mahal’. Welcoming more than 23 million visitors since it was first opened in 1929; this is a great place to stretch your legs if the queues at Disney are not up your street.
As you arrive at your destination, hopefully, you will look back on this trip with fond memories. Branson has a population of just over 10,000 and it was named after Rueben Branson who was a postmaster here back in the 19th century. Situated up in the Ozark Mountains, the area is particularly famous for its fabulous collection of entertainment theatres, including Dolly Parton’s Stampede. You may also want to check out Silver Dollar City, a wooden rollercoaster park that promises to be fun for the whole family.