Chicago Tribune: 7 Great RV Destinations in the Midwest

All too often, RV owners point their mobile homes west and don’t stop until they hit Colorado or Utah, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. Although the Midwest doesn’t have the elevation or sandstone majesty of the most famous national parks, it does offer myriad opportunities for adventure and family fun. (Plus you’ll save a bundle on gas.)

Just because these areas don’t see as many visitors as the national parks out west doesn’t mean they’re unpopular. On the contrary, several of these parks are seeing record visitors, so you should make campground reservations as soon as possible for a late-fall retreat.

Located on a peninsula just north of Green Bay, Door County boasts a whopping five state parks — PotawatomiWhitefish DunesPeninsulaNewport and Rock Island — within its 482 square miles jutting into Lake Michigan. Visitors flock to the area for fishing, kayaking, hiking, biking and more. Peninsula State Park’s Eagle Trail is one favorite hike, forcing walkers to scramble over huge boulder piles and down rugged, root-covered drops. Much of the hike features gorgeous views of the lake as well.

Best place to camp: Potawatomi State Park has more than 120 campsites, although only about 40 have electric hookups. Two paved sites for campers with disabilities also are available.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has as much natural beauty as any national park east of the Mississippi, but far fewer of the crowds that designation can bring. Most visitors come to see the namesake cliffs rising above Lake Superior, but Pictured Rocks offers so much more, including gorgeous waterfalls and breathtaking hikes.

The best way to see the namesake rock cliffs is by water. You can either book a leisurely cruise taking you past the iconic rock features or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, hook up with an outfitter such as Pictured Rocks Kayaking.

Best place to camp: Boasting an incredible location right on Lake Superior, Munising Tourist Park offers terrific value (even if there’s a bit of noise coming from the nearby highway). Splurge on a waterfront site if possible, as the sunsets are spectacular.

Referred to as Ohio’s Crown Jewel, the state’s most popular park attracts about the same number of visitors as Cuyahoga Valley National Park to the northeast. (Some folks argue that given the Hocking Hills’ abundance of gorgeous scenery and outdoor opportunities, it deserves the national park designation more.)

Hocking Hills State Park has multiple popular hiking trails, including Old Man’s Cave, which crams multiple waterfalls, sandstone cliffs and the eponymous cave into about a mile walk. It can get busy during the high season and the weekends, but you can always visit the less-crowded trails located in the bordering state forest.

Best place to camp: Hocking Hills State Park campground itself. Most of the nearly 200 sites offer electric, with a few full hookup spots available as well. Some of the hiking trails leave from the campground, so you can just park, set up and start having fun.

Read the full report by the Chicago Tribune.