Head from your southern starting point of New Orleans, Louisiana, to the northern US city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a 1222 mile trip with interesting historical discovery and excellent RV camping sites along the way.
Your starting point in New Orleans is full of fascinating attractions. Take a stroll through the French Quarter, down Bourbon Street, to visit live entertainment venues, bars, pubs, and restaurants with local Cajun and Creole cuisine, and amazing seafood, a specialty in the region. Enjoy a streetcar ride, which is a charming way to explore the city. There are four streetcar lines from the downtown area that extend to the French Quarter and other interesting New Orleans neighborhoods. Admire the unique architecture of the historic neighborhoods including the gorgeous Garden District. Historic buildings, churches, cemeteries, and homes abound in the city, as well as museums and beautiful parks. Venture just outside the city to explore swamps and plantations. New Orleans is full of interesting cultural sites, entertainment, and ambiance. Visit during events like Mardi Gras or music festivals, to make your visit to this city especially memorable. RV campers will find RV camping in the city at New Orleans KOA.
To start out your northward road trip, take Interstate 55 to St Louis, Missouri, then take Highways 61, 218, and 18, to Interstate 35 north to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Jazz music lovers visit the Big Easy should be sure to coordinate their stay with the Satchmo Summerfest which is held annually, at the beginning of August at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. This music festival celebrates jazz music, especially by paying tribute to jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong, and the date of the festival is scheduled to coincide closely with Louis’ birthday.
The jazz festival has several live music stages and vehicles. When you're not enjoying the live performances, check out the New Orleans Jazz Museum and learn about the history of jazz music. Tickets can be purchased on site. There is no parking for RVs vehicles, at the venues; however, nearby parking areas accommodate passenger vehicles, and you can use public transportation to the site. Leave your RV at an out-of-town state park campsite or RV parks within the city limits. There are plenty of food vendors and dining opportunities nearby to accommodate visitors. Be sure to sample some local Creole or Cajun cuisine while attending the jazz festival.
On your trip north, one of the first urban centers you will pass through is Jackson, Mississippi. The city was once ground zero for the National Civil Rights Movement, and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum located here captures the local history and accomplishments of the movement, with eight galleries focusing on the years 1945 to 1976.
The galleries encircle a central space where the exhibit “This Little Light of Mine” is situated. The central space features a sculpture that glows brighter along with music which swells as museum visitors gather about. Galleries like “The Mississippi Freedom Struggle” provide introductory information, and set the context for the movement. The “Mississippi in Black and White” gallery shares stories of the lives of freed African Americans after the civil war as they established communities in the region between 1865 and 1941, while a “Closed Society” gallery explores the years of 1941 to 1960 which outlines how Black Mississippians contributed to the World Wars, and set the stage for the civil rights movement.
More galleries provide detailed displays and exhibits from the Civil Rights movement that took place between 1960 and 1970, and a final gallery outlines next steps and future initiatives. RV campers visiting the Civil Rights Museum will find camping at nearby National and State parks just outside of Jackson.
While passing through, or staying near Jackson, Mississippi, head a few miles east of the city to take in the Bienville National Forest and its pristine wilderness and RV campgrounds. The park contains 170000 acres of natural terrain, with hundreds of miles of hiking trails winding through pine forests. The forest harbors rare bird species native to this area of Mississippi, as well as numerous streams, lakes, and ponds, that are popular for fishing activities. Some of the larger lakes are great for watersports.
RV campers will find many small campgrounds as well as some larger campgrounds. The Marathon Lake campground accepts reservations and has a lakeside setting with many amenities. There are 34 sites here, many of which have water and electric hookups for RVs. There is also a boat ramp, swimming area, and hiking trailheads at the campground. The Roosevelt State Park Campground has access to boating, fishing, and hiking activities with 109 campsites. All sites have full hookups and the campground has restrooms with flush toilets, showerhouses, and RV dump stations. Many sites are right on the water, and this campground also has a boat launch and swimming area, and sites which are available for reservation. The national forest is accessible, and internal roads accommodate RVs and tow vehicles.
Further north, on your RV road trip, pass through “Bluff City”, famous for its rock and soul music. Memphis gets its nickname from the several hilly bluffs surrounding the city and is known for its vibrant music scene. The Memphis Rock N Soul Museum tells the story of the city's roots and music scene through interactive media. Exhibits focus on the influences of Beale Street and Sun Records, and the impact the Civil Rights Movement had on the region's music industry during the 1960s and 70s.
The museum has audiovisual programs in seven galleries and over 100 songs recorded in the Memphis area spanning the time period between the 1930 and 1970s. The museum is located in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, at the plaza of the FedExForum, Memphis’ sports and entertainment complex, at the corner of Beale Street and B.B. King Avenue. Galleries display the history and influence of small independent recording studios such as Sun Records, soul music unique to the area and culture, and the accomplishments and performances of local recording artists and production pioneers that shaped the music of the region.
As you approach St Louis, Missouri, which is ripe with tourist attractions to explore, such as the Gateway Arch, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Saint Louis Zoo, and many interesting museums, take a side trip 60 miles east of Interstate 55 from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to the Shawnee National Forest, Oak Point Campground, for some excellent camping on Lake Glendale. This campground makes a lovely spot to stay while discovering the region.
The campground has 93 RV sites, 34 of which have electric hookups. The campground can be busy during the peak season, but reservations are available to ensure an appropriate spot, and units up to 50 feet can be accommodated. The campground is well forested, with tall pine trees that provide plenty of shade and privacy to campers. Amenities include drinking water supplies, flush toilets, and showerhouses. Enjoy hiking on the numerous trails that lead in and out of the campground, and around the lake. There is also a boat lunch and swim beach near the RV sites to facilitate enjoyment of the beautiful lake.
The campground has excellent access roads and RV units can easily get to and around the campground. The Shawnee National Forest is 289000 acres and has large forested and wetland areas, with high ground providing excellent overlooks and sightseeing points. Most of the larger park is also accessible for RVs, although there are some narrow and dirt surfaced roads in the remoter areas.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa is home to a unique and thriving Czech and Bohemian Village neighborhood. Stroll the neighborhood and take in the culture and architecture of the area. Be sure to visit the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library where local second and third-generation descendants of Czech immigrants have gathered cultural artifacts, heritage items, and art for display. The museum features permanent exhibits, traveling and temporary displays, and events throughout the year.
The museum’s permanent exhibits include the 1800s Sleger Immigrant Home, a one and a half story house that was the home of the Sleger family from the 1890s to 1984, housing five generations of the family, that originally emigrated from Bohemia to the U.S. Other permanent exhibits show examples of Czech and Slovak culture and art with interactive displays featuring puppets, music, and art. Visitors can tour a replica of a steamer ship that brought immigrants to the US and learn about how these immigrants found freedom in America.
Just west of Interstate 35, on the final stretch to Minnneapolis, RV campers will find Clear Lake and the Clear Lake State Park. The lake has a 55-acre state park and an RV accessible campground. The lake is one of the best places for fishing in northern Iowa, and is stocked with walleye, northern pike, yellow bass, crappies, and catfish.
Soak in the sun on the 900 square foot sandy beach, play in the sand, or wade and swim in the lake. There is also a playground, horseshoe pit, and volleyball court for more fun activities. The lake is surrounded by a lovely forest with walking and hiking trails. The Clear Lake Campground has 180 RV sites, 161 of which have water and electric hookups, and eight that have full hookups. It's a short distance to services like groceries and fuel in the neighboring town of Clear Lake, Iowa. Roads to, and in the park and campground, are paved and accessible for RVs and tow vehicles, and sites accommodate large units up to 109 feet in length.
The campground has amenities like restrooms, showers, and a dump station and this campground is open year-round, with sites being on a first-come, first-serve basis during the offseason and reservations available during the peak season. During the winter snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and other winter activities are available.
At your destination city in Minneapolis, Minnesota, head out to the city suburb of Bloomington, for some serious shopping and fun. The Mall of America is the largest shopping mall in the U.S. by floor space. Enjoy the many shops, food outlets, bars, entertainment venues, and attractions in the mall. The Nickelodeon Universe amusement park features thrill rides and roller coasters and is the largest indoor amusement park in the U.S.
Other attractions at the mall include Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium where visitors can participate in scuba diving and snorkeling, a mini-golf course, and the Crayola Experience. In addition to the numerous stores and restaurants, there are also movie theaters and a comedy house. The mall has plenty of parking, but spots for large RV units and tow trailers are limited, and visitors to the mall are advised to leave their RVs at nearby RV campgrounds or state park campgrounds.
Your destination is the “Twin City” of Minneapolis, Minnesota. While staying in Minneapolis, RV campers can stay at Minneapolis Northwest KOA or Minneapolis Southwest KOA in the city or out of town at Willow River State Park campgrounds. During your stay, visit the U.S.’s largest shopping mall, attend events at Elko Speedway and Drive In Theatre south of the city, or take in a Minnesota Vikings game.
The very beautiful Minnehaha Park is a city park designed by a renowned landscape architect in 1883 and is a popular destination today, with historic sites, walking trails, and a beautiful creek, with, of course, a waterfall. Enjoy museums and art centers while in Minneapolis, and beautiful parks on the banks of the rivers and lakes in and around the city.