When the lakes and falls thaw and wildlife flora and fauna wake from hibernation, camping in the Midwest is a fantastic idea for spring break.

Pack your bags, because we’re heading to the wild west! Or, at least, a tamer version of it. Discover great bodies of water, land, and forest that are of a size and scale that will never fail to awe even the most seasoned and regular visitor. Spend your seasons in these 5 must-see RV destinations in the Midwest. Most of the tourist destinations in the United States generally have an RV campground, and if you have a club membership, you can get a discount for outstanding amenities!

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

Young woman walking along dirt path of Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Glen Arbor Township, MI. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Nicole Geri

Overlooking Lake Michigan and the North and South Manitou Islands is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The campgrounds provide outdoor activities for campers of all ages and abilities. Perched atop the towering glacial moraines are large sand dunes, with views at the Sleeping Bear, Empire and Pyramid Point bluffs.

Catch the Mishe-Mokwa ferry to roam around South Manitou Island. There, you’ll find a lighthouse, cedar trees, and shipwrecks. Then, head to North Manitou for a more wilderness-focused experience.

Canoe on one of the island lakes, or hike the trails through the forest, or visit the Manitou Islands. There are endless things to do at the national lakeshore. Not to mention, a trip to the Sleeping Bear opens more opportunities for watching wildlife, climbing the sandy bluffs, and swimming in the fresh water.

Park your RV at the rustic D.H. Day Campground, which lies at the heart of Sleeping Bear Dunes near Glen Haven. Their campsites take you five minutes to Lake Michigan’s shorelines. Deep in the woods behind the glen are conifer forests, farm meadows, and glacial landscapes. There are also over 500 campgrounds to choose from on GoodSam.com.

Visitors can take advantage of the campgrounds to swim, boat, fish, and bathe in the sun along the beach. Mountain trails like the Dune Climb and the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is not too far from the grounds, either, so explore while you can!

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes. Image by Marlin Greene from Pixabay

Birders will want to get a load of this. Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River. Over most of its length, it is a wide yet shallow stream with a swampy bottom that winds across many islands. The course of the stream is often likened to a braid. Along Platte is a conserving habitat known as Audubon Rowe Sanctuary.

At a given season, Sandhill cranes and other wildlife creatures treat the surrounding area as home, making it the perfect nest for bird-watchers. They offer viewing blinds strategically placed in the Platte for viewers to watch the cranes on their river roost. Let the volunteer guides assist you with camera equipment and etiquette, such as that no noises or flashes of light are allowed.

Rowe Sanctuary also has hiking trails, a gift shop, and a visitor center, which is so artistically designed that people flock to the sanctuary for its architecture.

After a day around southern Nebraska, you can rest at the Mormon Island State Recreation Area, an RV park. It kept its original name, the origins of which are its history of being an initial winter stopover by Mormon emigrants heading west of the country.

Open year-round, this part of the Chain of Lakes in Alaska offers camping facilities like electric and water hookups, a bathhouse, and a laundromat. You can enjoy activities like boating, kayaking, fishing, picnicking, stargazing, hiking, and swimming onsite.

Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

Orange and yellow leaved trees and wooden staircase at Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby in October

Starved Rock State Park, Oglesby. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Rich Wooten

Scale up the windblown mountain crags that is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen in Illinois. Starved Rock State Park is surrounded on all sides by towering trees, whose canopies throw their shadows down at the bottom of the forest to shade the wildlife.

Popular for its bluffs, canyons, lakes, and waterfalls, the state park is one of the top 5 must-see RV destinations on anybody’s list. In the spring and after the heavy rains, visitors can explore the waterfalls that have thawed over the winter and calmed after the stormy season. The Illinois river is also safe for fishing, ice fishing, and boating, offering majestic views of the mountainside. Cross-country skiing is allowed in winter, and ice climbing is permitted by park authorities under safe conditions.

Sandstone walls molded by glacier meltdowns have built the entire topography of the canyons. Erosion has led to the formation of the striking landscape along the walls, creating a picturesque scenery. Hiking trails lead you to St. Louis, Wildcat and French Canyons.

Starved Rock Lodge is on the grounds of the state park itself, offering log cabins with original knotty pine paneling. Inside, you can make use of the amenities to cool down after a day at the canyons, resting at hotel rooms, swimming at the pool, or freshening up at the sauna. They also include a sprawling campground with over a hundred premium sites with partial and full hookups, grill pits, and open areas to pitch tents.

George Washington on Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, South Dakota. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Priscilla Gyamfi

When cruising in the Midwest, never miss an opportunity to head to the north, particularly in the Black Hills, which are known for its pines and historical sites.

Climb up to Mount Rushmore to see the four presidents in their hundred-foot tall alabaster glory, or head out to the Crazy Horse monument and snap some photos showing how wild you can get in the west, or spend a day in Old West Deadwood and Lead, two mining towns with museums, old mines, and a cemetery where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane rest side by side.

The serene beauty of the rolling hills in South Dakota is unsurmountable, and the Badlands in the vermillion plains make for a thrilling exploration. Find a thousand-herd bison in the open fields running around free.

After the excursion, rest at the nearby Custer State Park, an RV destination rich with history, nature, culture, and more. They have lodges, campgrounds, hiking trails, lakes, a theater, some museums and a church. Some activities onsite include fishing, boating, and swimming.

Dundee Amish Countryside, Ohio

Small waterfall at Dundee Falls, Ohio.

Dundee Falls, Ohio. Photo Credit: Unsplash, Randy Fath

Enjoy the Amish countryside in Dundee, Ohio. Locals and tourists alike will enjoy the delicious wine in Breitenbach Wine Cellars in the beautiful and peaceful Amish country. Taste the forty varieties of wine in their gift shop, or go on a wine tour in their vineyard. You can relax in the café eating salad, or wood-fired pastry.

The challenging hike at the Dundee Falls trail will reward you with a scenic view of the waterfalls. Although there is one at the beginning of the path, greeting you into the trail, the main one is a little farther on. Somewhat slippery and not as well-maintained, the path might lead you off. Be sure to follow the trail. The waterfall at the end has a cave that you can pass behind once you descend to the base, making for great photo sessions.

Once you’re through with your trip, you can lounge at Evergreen Park Resort, which is nine miles away from Dundee falls. Evergreen is a gated resort-style park in the rolling hills of Ohio. They offer electric and water hookup connections, sewer, cable TV and Wi-Fi access. The restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities are all bright and clean with heated tiles.

Almost as though it fits nicely in the Amish country backdrop, spending time at Evergreen feels like stepping back to simpler times. There are markets for fresh produce, restaurants with amazing food, and historic villages to visit nearby. Stores are well-stocked, the indoor pool has a retractable roof, and they have a fitness area. What more can you want?

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