Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois are your playground when you embark on an RV road trip from Wichita to Chicago. With a total drive time of under 12 hours, including all stops, this weekend road trip will take you through state capitals, iconic monuments, and historical landmarks.
Once the fastest growing city in the United States due to its cattle industry, Wichita is sometimes called the city on the plains for its wide-open spaces. Wyatt Earp served as a policeman here, and Billy the Kid's mother was a resident.
The birthplace of Pizza Hut and White Castle, two exciting museums are waiting for you in Wichita. Tour the world's marvels through time at the Museum of World Treasures. For a more interactive experience, head to the Cowtown Museum that uses actors to recreate life in Wichita during the late 1800s. Plant lovers should check out Wichita Gardens, a botanical garden with a butterfly area.
The ideal times to do an RV road trip from Wichita to Chicago are in the spring, summer, and fall. The temperatures are moderate in spring and fall and quite hot in the summer. In the winter, snow and poor road conditions occur frequently.
RV parks are scattered throughout the outskirts of the city, including the Wellington KOA Holiday.
The obvious first stop on your RV road trip from Wichita to Chicago is the Kansas State Capitol Building in Topeka. In about two hours, you'll be standing in front of the majestic structure snapping tons of pictures.
Also called the Kansas Statehouse, the main feature of the building is its dome. At over 300 feet high, don't miss the opportunity to take the tour to the top. It's one of the few Capitol Buildings that allow this. As long as you aren't afraid of heights, you'll enjoy the views over the building and the murals on the rotunda close to the top.
After exploring the building itself, head outside to the 20 acres of gardens showcasing memorials and statues like a replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Parking for RVs and campers can't be done in the building's underground parking. Head instead to the Kansas Judicial Center lot, less than five minutes away on foot.
As you pass through the major city of St. Louis, stop at the iconic Gateway Arch. A symbol of westward expansion, the stainless steel memorial sits close to the Mississippi River and the Illinois border.
Get your photos from the outside and then venture inside to the museum where exhibits cover over 200 years of history. Once you've learned it all, soar to above the city and take the four-minute minute tram ride to the top of the monument. Spend as long as you need gazing out up to 30 miles in every direction.
Once you leave the arch itself you can tour the Old Courthouse that helped to shape the civil rights movement in the US. If you feel like getting on the water, you can take a riverboat tour for some of the best Arch and St. Louis views and photo opportunities. It only takes an hour, so you can be back on the road in no time.
Parking, especially for large RVs, can be troublesome for visitors to the Gateway Arch as it has no dedicated parking. Parking is done in the surrounding city blocks where RV-friendly options fill up quickly.
Your route through Springfield, the capital city of Illinois, would not be complete without a visit to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. The Greek Revival home, where Lincoln lived between 1844 and 1861, before his presidency, is restored to its former glory. The National Historic Site also includes the four-block district around the landmark. Within the district, there are two additional restored homes open to the public.
The home is the only one ever owned by Abraham Lincoln and was donated to the state by his son in 1887. The only conditions for the donation are that the home remains in good repair and that entry is free. So far, the state has definitely honored their commitment.
The house is open to tours, and due to its popularity, visitors must obtain tickets at the visitor center for their allotted time prior to entry. The house has 12 rooms spread over two floors with furnishings.
Before you hit up your final destination, enjoy an invigorating hike along the Illinois Constitutional Trail. The trail runs more than 45 miles. Before you hit up your final destination, enjoy an invigorating hike along the Illinois Constitutional Trail. The trail runs more than 45 miles along an old railway line between the towns of Bloomington and Normal. Yes, you read right, the town is called Normal. The jokes just write themselves.
This popular trail is used for hiking, biking, inline skating, and skiing in the winter. The surface is paved and relatively flat, so it's suitable for visitors of most activity levels. Don't let the fact that the area was once used by the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad fool you. The paths are tree-lined and quiet. A perfect spot to stretch your legs.
While you're on the trail, don't miss the Camelback Bridge. It's on the Normal side and listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. Parking is available in multiple areas adjacent to the trail in both Normal and Bloomington.
No one needs an excuse to visit Chicago, but it's the perfect endpoint to your RV road trip from Wichita. With everything the city on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan has to offer, it's no surprise that it's one of the most populated cities in the country.
Passionate about sports? Chicago has baseball, hockey, basketball, and football teams. If you're lucky enough to get tickets to one, why not take in a game? Get a taste of adventure kayaking the Chicago Riverwalk and get a slice of deep-dish pizza. Spend the evening at Navy Pier and take in stunning city views from the Ferris wheel.
Now that you've soared to new heights, toured world-class museums, and experienced history-rich state capitals, you'll be planning your next RV road trip in no time.