Some camp trips are short weekend getaways, others are full-fledged vacations. For our family, camping trips are about the journey as much as the destination. When planning your next trip, allocate some time to stop along your route. Here are a few ideas to experience a bit of Americana through these unusual roadside attractions on your next RV camping road trip! Psst we’re compensated…see our disclosures.
RV Camping Road Trip Ideas With Unusual Roadside Attractions
Have you heard about Cadillac Ranch? It’s a public art installation about 10 miles southwest of Amarillo, Texas on the south side of Interstate 40. It is a sight to see with a row of graffiti-like painted Cadillacs that are buried halfway into the ground with their fins reaching into the sunny Texas sky. It’s one of the funkiest unusual roadside attractions worth a stop if your RV Camping Road Trip takes you to the northern part of the state. There are 14 National Parks scattered throughout the state of Texas.
Lots of kids just want to know “Are we there yet?” It’s better traveling with kids that are excited about the journey! Include them during the planning stages of your trip using books like Totally Wacky Roadside Attractions by Pamela Chanko. It’s a fun read for kids (and adults) that will give you ideas for your RV camping road trips. It is filled with unusual roadside attractions that can be found across America like an elephant-shaped museum, a giant peanut, and more!
Florida is filled with awesome natural beauty but the Coral Castle in Miami is a mysteriously man-built structure carved from over 1,100 tons of coral rock. Edward Leedskalnin was the eccentric man who individually (and secretly) built the structure in the 1900s … to this day, people have been unable to figure out how he did it! It’s one of the most beautiful unusual roadside attractions on the planet and worth a visit if your RV Camping Road Trip takes you to the southern part of the state. There are 11 National Parks to explore in the state of Florida.
You’ll find more information on the Coral Castle Museum in the 125 Wacky Roadside Attractions: See All the Weird, Wonderful, and Downright Bizarre Landmarks From Around the World! book from National Geographic Kids. It highlights the wackiest landmarks in the United States and around the world including a place to walk in real dinosaur tracks, a hotel where you sleep in an igloo, a crazy beard festival, a UFO museum, and more!
America’s Historic Route 66
Route 66 spans 2,400 miles across two-thirds of the United States. From the shores of Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean, the historic highway runs through states including Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Travelers along the Route experience farm fields, mining towns, woodlands, open plains, ranch lands, deserts, small towns and large cities but that’s not the best part … the historic buildings and iconic landmarks along the Route are what make it fun and fascinating!
Have you ever tried to find Route 66 on a modern map? It is NOT easy … in fact, it is not on most current maps even though over 80% of the original Route is still totally drivable. Using a guide like the Route 66: EZ66 GUIDE For Travelers is the solution for easy navigation with easy-to-follow detailed maps as well as exploring its attractions. The book’s author, Jerry McClanahan, is also an artist and historian who has been mapping Route 66 since his family vacations during the 1960s.
NPS’s List Of Historic Sites Along Route 66
If you were to travel along the entire path of Route 66, you would be able to visit each location on the National Park Service’s Route 66 List Of Sites. Your journey would begin in Illinois and end in California (or vice versa depending on the direction you are traveling) 😉 We have provided a link to each site so you can get more information to determine where you may want to stop along your RV camping road trip excursion.
- Grant Park, Chicago
- Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant, Chicago
- Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket, Hinsdale
- Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station, Dwight
- Standard Oil Gas Station, Odell
- Illinois State Police Office, Pontiac
- Sprague’s Super Service, Normal
- Downey Building, Atlanta
- Ariston Café, Litchfield
- Belvidere Café, Motel, and Gas Station, Litchfield
- Soulsby Service Station, Mount Olive
- Chain of Rocks Bridge, Madison
- Illinois Road Segments
Yes, I know what you are thinking! Camping For Foodies is all about sharing great recipes to cook while camping … BUT … when your RV Camping Road Trip runs along Route 66, you have to experience the food and super-cool vintage restaurants! The Route 66 Dining & Lodging Guide covers all 8 states and includes tons of photos with their objectively reviewed (no advertising is allowed) 500+ vintage properties that made the Route famous.
- Meramec River U.S. 66 Bridge, Eureka
- Big Chief Restaurant, Wildwood
- Red Cedar Inn, Pacific
- Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba
- Pulaski County Courthouse, Waynesville
- Gillioz Theatre, Springfield
- Rock Fountain Court, Springfield
- 66 Drive-In, Carthage
Our regular camping weekends usually consist of dispersed camping in National Forests but road trips are a whole different story. If your planned route takes you through more populated areas, you will probably be staying at RV parks or campgrounds. I like having a directory like the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide: RV Travel Guide And Campground Directory for pre-planning as well as inside our tow vehicle during our travels. This particular guide has listings for over 12,500 locations across the United States and Canada. The rating system includes evaluations by consultants completed in person during the past 12 months for privately owned parks.
- Kansas Route 66 Historic District-East Galena, Galena
- Brush Creek Bridge, Riverton
- Brush Creek Bridge, Cherokee County
- Baxter Springs Independent Oil and Gas, Baxter Springs
Vintage signs are hot! They have the ability to transport you back in time almost instantly! The Route 66 Roadside Signs and Advertisements book has beautiful photos that highlight the history of commercial signage along Route 66 as well as anecdotes and history about the signs that decorated the roadway. Some of the iconic signs in the book include the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, New Mexico, the Munger Moss in Lebanon, Missouri, the U-Drop Inn at Shamrock, Texas, and the El Vado in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is a totally fun addition for Route 66 RV camping road trips!
- Coleman Theatre, Miami
- Miami Marathon Oil Company Service Station, Miami
- Chelsea Motel, Chelsea
- Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park, Foyil
- Circle Theater, Tulsa
- Vickery Phillips 66 Station, Tulsa
- 11th Street Arkansas River Bridge, Tulsa
- Bridge #18 at Rock Creek, Sapulpa
- Rock Café, Stroud
- Seaba Station, Warwick
- Chandler Armory, Chandler
- Threatt Filling Station, Luther
- Arcadia Round Barn, Arcadia
- Milk Bottle Grocery, Oklahoma City
- Avant’s Cities and Jacksons Conoco Service Stations, Oklahoma City
- Avant’s Cities and Jacksons Conoco Service Stations, El Reno
- Provine Service Station, El Reno
- Provine Service Station, Hydro
- McLain Rogers Park, Clinton
- Beckham County Courthouse, Clinton
- Beckham County Courthouse, Sayre
- West Winds Motel, Erick
- Oklahoma Road Segments
Depending on the length of your road trip and how many consecutive hours you will be driving, you may want to keep the kids busy with games and books. This Roadside Attractions Coloring Book: Weird And Wacky Landmarks From Across The USA! will keep the roadside attraction theme going as the kids color their way through the attractions along America’s most famous routes and highways. This coloring book explores the Elvis mansion in Tennessee, Georgia’s giant peanut, the Golden Driller in Oklahoma, the Cadillac Ranch in Texas and more!
- Route 66 Bridge over the Chicago, Rock Island, and Gulf Railroad, Shamrock
- Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café, Shamrock
- McLean Commercial Historic District, McLean
- Route 66 , SH 207 to Interstate 40, Conway
- Ranchotel, Amarillo
- Glenrio Historic District, Amarillo
- Glenrio Historic District, Vega
- Glenrio Historic District, Glenrio
Route 66 has changed dramatically from its opening in 1926 and its removal from the U.S. highway system in 1985. The Illustrated Route 66 Historical Atlas is a state-by-state fully illustrated atlas which spotlights the shifting alignments, historic sites, and current points of interest along the historic roadway. The atlas includes 500 of the Mother Road’s most significant sites like Lincoln’s home and presidential library, locations of infamous crimes and disasters, parks, military-specific sites including Civil War battlefields, film-related sites and more.
- Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari
- Richardson Store, Montoya
- Park Lake Historic District, Santa Rosa
- Pueblo of Santo Domingo (Kewa Pueblo), Santo Domingo
- Santo Domingo Trading Post, Santo Domingo Pueblo
- Luna Lodge, Albuquerque
- Tewa Motor Lodge, Albuquerque
- De Anza Motor Lodge, Albuquerque
- Nob Hill Shopping Center, Albuquerque
- Pig and Calf Lunch, Albuquerque
- Cottage Bakery, Albuquerque
- Jones Motor Company, Albuquerque
- Barelas-South Fourth Street Historic District, Albuquerque
- KiMo Theater, Albuquerque
- Maisel’s Indian Trading Post, Albuquerque
- New Mexico Madonna of the Trail, Albuquerque
- El Vado Auto Court Motel, Albuquerque
- Rio Puerco Bridge, Rio Puerco
- Pueblo of Laguna, Laguna
- Acoma Curio Shop, San Fidel
- Bowlin’s Old Crater Trading Post, Bluewater
- Roy T. Herman’s Garage and Service Station, Thoreau
- Fort Wingate Historic District, Fort Wingate
- El Rancho Hotel, Gallup
- New Mexico Road Segments
Our regular camping weekends don’t give us enough time to enjoy our National Parks but on longer super-extended weekends or road trips … you can’t keep us away! We did a week-long RV camping road trip to the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce National Parks. It is soooooooooo helpful to plan trips like that using a book like Your Guide To The National Parks: The Complete Guide To All 59 National Parks … I like having everything organized in one place. This book has step-by-step itineraries, kid-friendly activities, and most popular ranger programs along with photographs, maps, and hiking tables.
- Querino Canyon Bridge, Houck
- Painted Desert Inn, Petrified Forest National Park
- Wigwam Village Motel #6, Holbrook
- La Posada Historic District, Winslow
- Walnut Canyon Bridge, Winona
- Railroad Addition Historic District and Boundary Increase, Flagstaff
- Seligman Historic District, Seligman
- Peach Springs Trading Post, Peach Springs
- Schoolhouse at Truxton Canyon Trading School, Valentine
- Kingman Commercial Historic District, Kingman
- Durlin Hotel, Oatman
- Old Trails Bridge, Topock
- Arizona Road Segments
One of the best parts about a road trip is the memories that last a lifetime! Make sure you take lots of pictures. I also recommend you take a few minutes at each destination to jot down your memories in a journal. In addition to capturing thoughtful reflections, the Adventures My Road Trip Journal also has writing prompts for more practical information like: departure location, destination, route, sights/memorable events, stops, where you stayed and ate. Each page also includes space for odometer readings and gas prices. All of which is helpful if you want to repeat the itinerary yourself or share it with a friend.
- El Garces, Needles
- Harvey House Railroad Depot, Barstow
- Wigwam Village #7, San Bernardino
- Aztec Hotel, Monrovia
- Foothill Boulevard Milestone, Pasadena
- Howard Motor Company Building, Pasadena
- Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena
- Bekins Storage Co., Pasadena
- Rialto Theatre, South Pasadena
- Arroyo Seco Parkway, Los Angeles
- Broadway Theater and Commercial District, Los Angeles
Check Out These Posts For A Few More Helpful Tips Before You Go…
Before heading out on your RV camping road trip, make sure you have the proper tools. We have a FREE printable tool kit checklist in our RV Tool Kit Checklist post!
If you are new to RV camping, make sure you check out our RVing Tips For Beginners: Enjoying The Maiden Journey post which has a FREE printable packing checklist!
RV camping is filled with totally awesome people. On the rare occasion you find a bad apple, you want to be prepared. Check out our A Secure Campsite Protects Valuables From Theft post for easy tips to stay secure!
Is your RV camping road trip taking you somewhere buggy? No worries! Check out our How To Keep Bugs Away While Camping post. You’ll be laughing at those critters!
Keep your family safe and your trip full of fun and smiles! Our Camping Safety Tips For Families post has great info to help your entire camping clan stay safe and sound!
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