If you are planning an RV adventure from Tampa to Mackinaw City, this exciting trip has been carefully planned to include an array of attractions, roadside stops, and campground options. The journey should take seven days, and it is approximately 1597 miles.
Our Tampa to Mackinaw Road trip would be a great trip for a couple, as it combines both nature and wilderness with fun and entertainment. It includes several state parks which are ideal for relaxation and outdoor recreation, as well as amusement parks, an aquarium and so much more. It would be best suited to a smaller RV, motorhome or van, with some of the campgrounds discussed being difficult to access with a larger rig. Furthermore, for some of these attractions, you will need to book in advance and details will be provided as to how you can reserve a spot.
Always check the weather forecast and driving conditions before you make your trip, pack emergency supplies and drinking water, and let someone know your itinerary- just to be on the safe side.
Located just near Grayling in Crawford Country, Michigan, Lake Margrethe State Park is our final stop before reaching Mackinaw City. Finish off the trip with some rest and relaxation in the great outdoors! The area around here is rich in parks and national forests, and there are many places to camp.
As well as dispersed camping options, there are 37 campsites across the park, but not all of these are suited to RV camping and those that are have a maximum length of 30 feet. Plus, seven of these are walk-in sites only. As well as a lakefront picnic area, there are vault toilets and drinking water available and each site is equipped with a fire ring and picnic table for your final al fresco meal.
Amongst the spectacular scenery and fascinating architecture, there is a wide array of educational and recreational opportunities to discover at the Belle Isle Park. This small island on the Detroit River is our penultimate stop, and this is a great place to stretch your legs and have some fun.
Check out the Belle Isle Aquarium, and the turtle exhibit, and don’t miss the chance to feed the deer at the Nature Centre. The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is also fascinating, and this maritime museum exhibits one of the biggest collections of model ships in the world. As well as an array of monuments and attractions, there is also a golf course, swimming beach and you can rent canoes, paddleboats, and kayaks from the Flynn Pavilion.
With the aim of being the Disneyland of the Midwest, Cedar Point is supposedly the rollercoaster capital of the world. This 364-acre amusement park is home to 70 rides, including 18 world-class roller coaster- 6 of which are over a staggering 200 feet. The Steel Vengeance Coaster is particularly notable as it broke 15 world records when it was first debuted in 2018. This is certainly not for the faint-hearted! Other big coasters include the heart-stopping Valravn, Gatekeeper and the Top Thrill Dragster, amongst so many others.
With rides to suit all ages and tastes, we advise that you get here early and make a day of it! With so many different rides and attractions, there is plenty to keep you busy for hours as well as a fantastic variety of restaurants, vendors, and stalls for meals and refreshments. It should be noted that in the summer, it can get busy which obviously means queue times will be longer. If you love coasters and do not need to stick to a strict budget, you may want to opt for the Fast Pass option.
The Mohican State Park and its adjacent State Forest are beautiful areas of wilderness in Ashland County, Ohio. If you are looking for an outdoor adventure, this is an idyllic location that is perfect for exploring. Amongst the trees and natural features, there are limitless opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, boating, mountain biking and some of the best fishing in the State.
There is also an abundance of wildlife in the area, including turtles, black rat snakes, wild turkey, raccoons, and red foxes, as well as a variety of migratory and breeding birds. As well as several developed campgrounds, dispersed camping is also permitted in some areas. While you are in the area, you may also want to check out the Ohio Statehouse, the seat of government for Ohio. Built between 1839 and 1961, this Greek-inspired building is located on Capitol Square across 10 acres. It contains a comprehensive collection of artwork and artifacts, and free guided tours are available from the Third Street Information Desk; every hour on the hour.
Rated as the best zoo in North America by USA Today readers, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is the perfect stop for any animal lover.
It was first opened in 1875, making it the fifth oldest in the US, and it is located in the Avondale neighborhood in Cincinnati. Today, it is home to one of the largest collections of wildlife in the country, with more than 17, 000 animals and over 500 different species; including the world-famous hippopotamus Fiona. Plus, the Botanical Gardens feature 3,000 varieties of plants.
As well as being able to see such an array of wildlife, kids will love riding on the Safari train, checking out the 4D theatre or even feeding a giraffe at one of their animal encounters. The zoo plays an important role in breeding and conservation programs and it is a not-for-profit organization; committed to the protection of animals from all around the world.
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the Parthenon is at the center of Centennial Park. An exact replica of the Greek landmark, it was built to honor Nashville’s nickname- the ‘Athens of the South.’ This full-scale model of the Greek monument is currently an Art museum, and it is home to 63 paintings by American artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. The Parthenon has also been featured in several films, including Robert Altman’s 1975 film Nashville, as well as the more recent Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief. This is also a great location to explore Nashville, a city that is world-famous for its country music and hospitality. If you wanted to spend the night here, you could camp at one of the many campgrounds that form part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some of the campsites here have to be reserved, but others are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. However, it should be noted this is primitive camping only with basic facilities and no electrical or water hook-up.
Next up on our Tampa to Mackinaw City road trip is a stop at Rock City in Georgia. This impressive rock formation, located on Lookout Mountain, offers spectacular views of the surrounding scenery. From Lovers Leap, it even is alleged that you can spot seven states at once. It's not clear how much weight there is to such claims, but maybe you could see how many you can count! Children will love exploring the fairy caverns, which have been painted with characters from traditional fairy tales using retro glow paints.
Although there is no camping at Rock City directly, there is a wide selection of campgrounds nearby which would be ideal for your RV adventure. If you would like to spend the night near Charlotte, there are plenty of RV campgrounds to choose from, including the Statesville/I77 KOA which has all the amenities you could require. For those planning to visit Chattanooga, a trip to Ruby Falls is a must. This striking underground waterfall is breathtaking and it is one of the most photographed spots in the State.
The Georgia Aquarium is arguably one of the best aquariums in the world, as well as being one of the biggest. It is home to whale sharks, beluga whales, penguins, sea lions and a whole host of marine life. The Aquarium has programs, talks and encounters throughout the day, including the chance to get up close to sea lions, dolphins and sea otters. You can even swim with some of the animals for an extra fee, but this does need to be reserved in advance.
Just across from the Georgia Aquarium is the World of Coca Cola, which also promises to be fun for the whole family. You could easily do both in one day, and still probably have time to explore the city before settling down for the night.
The next stop on the journey is the High Falls State Park, a stunning area of wilderness that is situated just north west of Macon in Butts County. This is arguably the tallest waterfall south of Atlanta, and the tumbling cascades of the Towaliga River are both powerful and picturesque.
The Falls Trail is a must, which is only a short hike at less than a mile, and the History Falls Trail is also popular. Suitable for beginners, this is just over two miles and it will take you through the ruins of the Old Mill House and Powerhouse. Plus, at the end of the trail, you will see some of the best views of the Falls from the opposite side. There is also a swimming pool which is open in the summer, but swimming is not permitted in the Falls as the water is too powerful.
Other outdoor recreation opportunities in the area include boat rental and ramps, geocaching, and World-class fishing for both hybrid and white bass. A ParkPass is required for all vehicles, and this is valid for a day’s access to all of Georgia’s state parks.
The Manatee Springs State Park is our first stop on the trip, and it is located around six miles west of Chiefland. The Park is named after the Manatee Springs, which are responsible for discharging millions of gallons of water each and every day.
This picturesque spring provides a source of life for the abundance of wildlife in the area, including hundreds of bird species. However, you will need to visit in the winter if you are looking to spot the Manatees that have given their name to the spring. Whereas, a visit in the summer provides the chance to cool off and have a swim in the crystal clear waters, with scuba diving and snorkeling also being popular.
The Park also has canoe and kayak rentals available, and there are miles of hiking trails and plenty of Instagrammable photo opportunities throughout. The Manatee Springs State Park includes an 82-site campground, and each site has both electric and water hookups.
'The Island' - 2015 Forest River Tracer Triple Slide Bunkhouse
'Mary' - 2016 Gulf Stream Amerilite Bunkhouse
As you complete your journey at Mackinaw City, hopefully, you will be ending a trip that has created memories that will last a lifetime. However, you will probably have had enough R&R to approach your destination with vigor. There are lots of things to do in the ‘Crossroads of the Great Lakes’, including visiting any one of the three National Historic sites, getting out into the great outdoors or checking out the nightly laser show. Enjoy your stay!