Minneapolis to Santa Fe Road Trip Guide


Minneapolis is one of the two cities that make up the Twin Cities in Minnesota. It is best known for a bustling art scene, amazing music including Bob Dylan and Prince, plus several incredible coffee shops. Despite popular belief, Minneapolis isn’t always frigid and snowing. Whether you live there or you’re visiting, you can experience all four seasons.

You’ll find plenty of things to do no matter what time of year that you visit. There are several popular businesses that call Minneapolis home. Some of the most notable are Target, Best Buy, US Bank, and General Mills. If you like art or museums, you’ll be able to spend time at the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul or check out the Walker Art Center near Uptown.

You can also swing by the iconic Mickey’s Diner where The Mighty Ducks was filmed or the Mill City Ruins that has a rich history! With multiple interstates running through the city, it’s still a great spot to rent a motorhome and set out on a road trip. Pack up to kids and get ready for an amazing week-long trip to Santa Fe filled with incredible stops along the way!

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

Point of Interest

Carson National Forest

Last but not least, making a pit stop at the Carson National Forest is a beautiful way to end the trip. Located just outside of Santa Fe, this national forest consumes over 1.5 million-acres and is begging to be explored. You can cast a reel in one of the streams or lakes and catch some fresh dinner or you can take out the binoculars and watch all of the birds and wildlife in the area.

If you’re visiting during the winter, you can go skiing or snowboarding in the area. This is a great place to spend time outdoors and disconnect from social media. You could bring a frisbee or football and have a wholesome game with the entire family. Be sure to clean up after yourself to help maintain the area.

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge

After you’ve made it this far, you’ve had quite the entertaining trip with stops at zoos, waterparks, and museums. Now it’s time to dial it back a little and immerse yourself in nature. With just two stops left before reaching your final destination, this will be a much-needed getaway from the busyness of the previous stops. The Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge is located in northeastern New Mexico.

It was established in 1965 and is a beautiful place to explore. There are over 350-acres of plants like wheat, corn, and alfalfa. These plants are there to provide food for several of the wild animals and birds that call this refuge their home. You can explore on foot by taking a casual walk on one of the trails in the area. Feel free to camp there for up to three days!

Long Branch Lagoon

Located within the small town of Dodge City, Kansas, Long Branch Lagoon is the perfect way to start another day on the road. It’s understandable that the driving part of road trips can be rather boring. Stopping at Long Branch Lagoon is a way to make it fun and entertaining. There you will find a kid-friendly waterpark that has multiple themed pools.

They’ll be able to slide down one of the many waterslides, take a dive off the diving boards, and even climb a rock wall! Parents can enjoy relaxing in the lazy river or kicking back in one of the several comfortable lawn chairs available. Of course, there are snacks and concessions for everyone to enjoy. This is the perfect way to tire out the kids before making your way out of Kansas and into New Mexico!

Topeka Zoo

If you didn’t get a chance to stop in Des Moines, now you’ll have the opportunity to see furry friends at the Topeka Zoo. Located in Topeka, Kansas, this zoo can be found within Gage Park, just off of Interstate 70. This is a smaller zoo but that doesn’t mean they compromise on the number of animals that are there! Within several different exhibits throughout the zoo, you’ll find over 250 animals to see.

There are mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods. The Topeka Zoo also offers plenty of education for visitors to learn something new about their favorite animals! After an exhausting day exploring, you can park the motorhome at one of the nearby campgrounds or state parks. This is a great place to get some rest before continuing on your journey.

Worlds of Fun

Located just off of I-35 South, Worlds of Fun is a great place to stop on your way to New Mexico. It’s in Kansas City and has plenty of entertaining activities for the entire family. Be sure to pack your swimsuits, so that you can ride the riptide raceway and other amazing water rides that are at Worlds of Fun. You’ll be able to choose from thrill rides, family rides, and kids rides.

Thrill rides are the large roller coasters that have a height requirement and are the fastest and most intense rides in the park. Family rides are classic fair rides like the scrambler where both adults and kids can ride together. After a long day of adrenaline rushing, you’ll be able to enjoy lunch or dinner within the park at the restaurant or one of the food stands. There are plenty of kid-friendly campgrounds around as well.

Blank Park Zoo

As you continue your journey, you’ll eventually reach the city of Des Moines in Iowa. After leaving Minnesota, it’s time to check out some animals at the Blank Park Zoo. This zoo consists of nearly 50-acres and is located on the south side of Des Moines. It isn’t far from the historic Fort Des Moines if you’re traveling with a history buff. Blank Park Zoo is a great place for both adults and children.

There are over 800 creatures that call this zoo home and there are animal feedings available for guests for several of the critters. Younger kids may enjoy the rides such as the carousel and they can even ride a camel! There are classic animals that you see at most zoos such as lions and tigers. Blank Zoo also has unique animals including penguins and rhinos as well!

Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum

Located in Owatonna, Minnesota, the Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum is a unique place to stop if you’re looking to learn something new. This venue has been around since 1885 and is more of a tourist attraction now than anything else. As you can tell by the name, this museum was originally used as a place to house the less fortunate and even provide them with schooling.

If you look back into the history of the place, some children who stayed there considered it their safe haven, while others considered it hell on Earth. You may be hesitant to take your kids there for a tour. If you are, feel free to check out the orphange’s website linked above to make sure it’s appropriate beforehand. There are plenty of areas to camp in this southern Minnesota town and you’ll be able to conveniently camp in the motorhome before continuing on to Santa Fe.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Located right outside The Walker Art Center near Uptown in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is something that both locals and tourists love to explore. This is an outdoor garden filled with several different sculptures made from artists from all over the North Star State. It consists of over 10-acres and will not only be a great way to spend time in the outdoors, but you’ll get the opportunity to see art that you won’t be able to see anywhere else.

If you plan your trip during the summer, there is often mini-golf there as well! You’ll be able to clearly see the Minneapolis skyline and it’s an amazing spot for photo opportunities, especially in front of the giant spoon and cherry sculpture. If you’ve worked up an appetite, you can go down the road and grab ice cream at Sebastian Joe’s or a cup of coffee at Spyhouse Coffee Roasters.


You’ve made it! Santa Fe is known for its incredible authentic Mexican food, an amazing art scene, and beautiful parks. Now that you’ve arrived, you can park the RV and check out the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum or check out the breathtaking Pueblo-style architecture that can be found all around the city.

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