Tucson to Grand Isle National Park Road Trip Guide


Start out from Tucson, Arizona, on a grand, cross country adventure of 1453 miles to the Grand Isle State Park in Louisiana. Take Interstate 10 east through El Paso, San Antonio, and Houston, Texas, to Lafayette, Louisiana, then take Route 90 south to exit 251, followed by Route 1, to Grand Isle State Park.

Tucson is a beautiful city, situated in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Explore the nearby desert landscapes, unique ecosystems, geological formations, and magnificent cacti in nearby wilderness areas and state parks. Learn about the desert vegetation in the area at the Tohono Chul and Tucson Botanical Gardens and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Families will find age-appropriate exhibits at the Children's Museum, Tucson Sense of Place, which has interactive displays, a mini canyon, and a giant cactus. The desert makes a great place to discover the heavens with dark skies in vast wilderness areas that are untainted by light noise from civilization. Local observatories and night sky viewing areas are an excellent way to discover the celestial wonders. Take in historical sites and museums which are plentiful in the city of Tucson and surrounding areas. During your Tucson stay you can also enjoy shopping and dining opportunities. Explore the heart of Tucson by streetcar from the 3.9-mile SunLink Tucson Streetcar, and step off your ride to explore shops and restaurants in the downtown area.

RVers can camp at Catalina State Park where campground loops accommodate large RVs and provide electric and water hookups. Want to stay closer to the action? Camp at Tucson Lazydays KOA which has amenities like a pool and space and facilities for large RV units.

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Road trip length: 7+ days
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audience: friends

Point of Interest

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros-Tucson Rodeo

While you are staying in the western city of Tucson, what could be more appropriate than a truly western event like a rodeo? La Fiesta de los Vaqueros: Tucson Rodeo, takes place in February when Tucson temperatures are a little more moderate for outdoor activities.

This great winter rodeo is the largest outdoor winter rodeo in the US. Watch some of the most talented pro rodeo athletes in the world compete in events like bull riding, tie-down roping, bareback riding, barrel racing, and steer wrestling. There is also a huge western marketplace with exclusive homemade products and a fun barn dance that closes out the event. Check out the event website for details on this year's dates, tickets, and schedule.

There is no camping on site, but RVers can stay at nearby RV sites in Tucson or the Catalina State Park Campground, about 20 miles from the rodeo grounds. Leave your holiday trailer at a local campground and proceed to the rodeo grounds using a passenger vehicle or public transportation.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

A 45-minute drive off Interstate 10, northeast of El Paso, on Route 62, travelers will find a beautiful historic state park with RV camping at Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site. The access route is wide and well-paved, and accessible for large RV units and tow vehicles. Very large units may want to obtain a campsite near the entrance of the campground to avoid narrow winding roads in the campground interior.

The park is situated in the rolling rock basins of western Texas. There are miles of hiking trails winding across the wilderness area to trek on and observe the geological formations and wildlife. Be sure to take a camera to capture the park's beauty.

Rock climbing is another exciting activity in the park with many climbing surfaces to scale. An interpretive center located in an old ranch house provides great information on the park's features, and you can schedule interpretive tours here. There is a small campground here which has 13 sites, including ten with electric hookups, and two with water hookups. Restrooms and a dump station are available on site. Reserve your site online prior to your trip to ensure you get the spot you require.

Paisano Pete

As you pass through the town of Fort Stockton, Texas, on Interstate 10, be sure to stop at an offbeat roadside attraction, the second biggest roadrunner in the world! Paisano Pete has been a fixture in this western Texas town since 1980. Pete stands at 11 feet tall, and 22 feet long, and is a fiberglass statue situated in the town center, across from the visitors center. Paisano Pete is the most photographed resident of the town and a great place for a group photo with this feathered friend. The statue is located at a busy intersection so you might want to park your RV at the visitor center, or a local campground, and proceed to the attraction.

Much smaller, but more active real roadrunners, are a common sight in the wilderness regions in the area, and you may spot resident roadrunners as you travel down the highway. There are numerous RV parks for RV camping in Fort Stockton, or you can travel north of the city to the Monahans Sandhills State Park and camp at the Willow Draw Campground. The Willow Draw Campground has 26 campsites with electric and water hookups. There are bathrooms, showers, and a dump station nearby, and some sites that can accommodate units up to 65 feet in size. Most sites accommodate RVs from 35 feet to 50 feet.

San Antonio Riverwalk

As you pass through San Antonio, Texas, leave your RV at one of the numerous RV parks in the city, including the San Antonio KOA, which is just north of Interstate 10. This way, you can explore the city’s one of a kind Riverwalk.

The San Antonio Riverwalk is a series of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River. The walkway area is situated one story beneath street level and is lined with bars, restaurants, shops, artwork, and historic mansions. The Riverwalk is a pedestrian street, so you won't have to contend with traffic, and loops under bridges, providing views of the beautiful river and natural areas along the waterway.

Attractions along the “Walk” include the Arneson River Theatre, Marriage Island, Hemisfair Park, San Antonio Museum of Art. If you're here during the spring, you may be able to take in the Fiesta San Antonio’s River Parade which features flowery “floats", floating down the river.

Sam Houston National Forest

Continuing on your RV road trip, though Houston,Texas, RVers will find an amazing 150 000 acre park north of the city at Sam Houston National Forest. The park is less than an hour north of the city on Interstate 69, and large and small RVs alike can get to campgrounds here with good access routes. The National Forest has over 100 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, cycling, ATVing, and horseback riding. The park is also dotted with lakes where you can partake in boating and fishing activities. Don't forget to ensure you follow fishing regulations and have appropriate permits if you plan on fishing during your stay.

Reservation camping is available at Cagle Recreation Area Campground and the Double Lake Recreation Area. The Cagle Recreation Area Campground is located on Lake Conroe and has 48 sites. Campsites with electric, water, and sewer hookups are available. There are flush toilets and hot showers. Fishing and boating facilities are located at this campground.

The Double Lake Campground has 65 sites on the shores of Double Lake. Most sites have water and electric hookups for RVs and there are some sites with sewer hookups. Restrooms with flush toilets and potable drinking water supplies are located onsite. If you've brought your bikes, you will enjoy the 21-mile mountain biking trail that is accessible from this campground and fishing and boating facilities on the lake. There are also first-come, first-serve campsites at Stubblefield Lake Campground, there are no hookups, but there are showerhouses, restrooms, and drinking water facilities.

Space Center Houston

Whether you camp near Houston, or just opt to pass through, consider a stop at the Space Center Houston, a science and space learning center, and the official visitor center of NASA Johnson Space Centre, home of Mission Control and an astronaut training facility. The Space Centre attracts one million visitors a year to its 250 000 square foot complex.

There are over 400 space artifacts housed here, with permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as live shows and theatres. View actual flown spacecraft: there are three here, Mercury 9 from 1963, Gemini 5 from 1965, and the Apollo 17 Command Module from 1971. You can also see a Lunar Module test vehicle as well as rocks brought back from moon expeditions. You can even touch the Lunar Touchstone, one of only eight moon rocks available to the public for handling.

Investigate training modules used in the space program, and view the world's only space shuttle replica. There is an open-air tram tour and a Mission Mars exhibit which highlights future plans for expeditions to the planet Mars. For more details go to Space Centre Houston for current exhibits, tickets and hours.

McGees Swamp Tours

Your route takes you south to Lafayette, Louisiana, on Interstate 10, then south on Route 90. However, if you head just a little farther down Interstate 10, east of Lafayette, and take the exit off Interstate 10 through Henderson, the staging area for McGees Swamp Tours is just south of Interstate 10. The swamp tours allow you to investigate the mysterious Atchafalaya Swamp on specialized guided swamp and airboat tours.

The tours are not just entertaining, they are educational and eco-sensitive. Native Cajun tour guides point out the local wildlife and relate personal experiences living on houseboats and surviving in the swamp. Glide on the water though moss-draped cypress trees, view rare wildlife like egrets, and resident alligators. There are a variety of tours, most of which take about 90 minutes.

Camp at the Lake Fausse Pointe State Park which can be accessed to the south, and offers RV camping with 10 premium sites that have full hookups, and 40 more sites with water and electric hookups.

Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum

Houma, Louisiana is located just south of Route 90, before you turn south on Route 1 to your destination, and has numerous private RV park campgrounds with amenities for RV camping.

While passing through, or staying in the Houma area, take in the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum which outlines the history, and modern-day activities of the region's water transportation and seafood harvest industries, as well as other local endeavors such as hunting and mining operations in the areas wetlands and coastal region. The museum preserves the stories and culture of the area's inhabitants which are uniquely shaped by the wetland environment in which they live and work.

The museum provides educational exhibits and a picturesque location with a back porch view over the bayou and bayou side park. Displays and interactive exhibits outline the industry's traditions and stories of the region's unique water-based culture. A local Cajun band performs on Tuesday evenings.


Your destination is the Grand Isle State Park, a Louisiana park with excellent recreational and relaxation opportunities. The park has two miles of natural beach on the eastern end of Grand Isle. The island harbors a diverse variety of animals and plants, both above and below the shoreline. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are perfect for surfing and swimming, which are popular activities at the park all year round.

The waters teem with marine life including fish, crabs, and jellyfish, and the coastal areas provide excellent habitat for native birds like plovers, terns, and brown pelicans. Enjoy hiking and wildlife watching on three miles of trails. During your stay, you can also view the ruins of the 200-year-old Fort Livingston from the observation tower at the park. RV campers will find 49 RV campsites here and be serenaded by the sounds of waves hitting the beach nearby. The campground has water and electric hookups for RVs and a general store.

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