I’m a big fan of scenic byways but when my husband and I road trip, he often prefers to hop on the Interstate to reach our destination.
Whatever route can get him there the quickest appeals to him so he can get on with his vacation.
So we compromise.
We take the fastest route and I busy myself finding things to do along the way.
This post highlights some of the best stops along I-70 across the country.
Best Stops Along I-70 on a Cross-Country Trip
This is not an exclusive list and may not be what you’d typically expect to find on lists like this, but they’re the destinations and attractions that my husband and I have enjoyed.
I hope they add some fun your next road trip!
Soak up History in Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore sometimes gets a bad rap as a city, but there are some redeeming qualities to Baltimore, and it’s a great place to begin a cross-country trek across I-70.
The city is set on the Patapsco River where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay, so water is everywhere in Baltimore!
The best way to appreciate the city is from a harbor cruise; there are several to choose from.
Outside of the city, you’ll find tons of beaches and forest preserves to explore before hitting the road.
Take a Hike in Gambrill State Park, Maryland
Another scenic stop in Maryland along I-70 is Gambrill State Park.
Much of the development in the park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
Set along a ridge of the Catoctin Mountains, the park is known for stunning views from the scenic overlooks.
There are 16 miles of trails open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians.
If you are looking for a place to camp near Baltimore, Gambrill State Park has a lovely campground with tent sites, electrical sites, and four rustic camping cabins.
Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania is a Solemn and Moving Attraction
One of the most poignant stops along I-70 is the Flight 93 National Memorial.
This site honors the 40 men and women who were killed on 9/11 when they chose to take control of Flight 93 and crash it into the field, rather than allow it to be used as a weapon in Washington DC.
Today, the grounds look much different with the construction of the new memorial. My family has also visited the new memorial and it is a beautiful and somber place to reflect on those events in our American history.
I will warn you that this is not a feel good site but it is definitely scenic and serene and something that I think is important to view.
Architecture Lovers won’t want to miss Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Just a 30-minute detour off of I-70, you’ll find Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.
This iconic home was built by the famous architect in 1935, and is positioned over a waterfall, hence the name “Falling Water.”
Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open to the public for tours. It is the only Frank Lloyd Wright home that still features all of the original artwork and furniture.
Aside from visiting and touring the home to learn about Frank Lloyd Wright and his school of architecture, there is plenty of nature and waterfalls to explore in the surrounding Laurel Highlands.
Enjoy the View at Heritage Port, Wheeling, West Virginia
Between Pennsylvania and Ohio, Interstate 70 passes through a sliver of West Virginia.
Before you cross into the Great State of Ohio, you should consider a stop at Heritage Port.
This riverfront park embraces the city of Wheeling’s history as a river town, with a beautiful walkway along the river, as well as event spaces including an amphitheater.
Summertime brings travelers and locals out to enjoy the views of the Ohio River.
Take a Big Foot Seeking Hike at Salt Fork State Park in Ohio
Located just outside of Cambridge, Salt Fork State Park is a great place to stretch your legs as you drive across Ohio.
This is a gorgeous state park with a huge lake, two marinas, and eight boat launches. There are also miles of hiking trails, an 18-hole golf course, and the Stone House Museum, a 19th century home made of local stone.
This park is also a hot spot for Bigfoot fans, and there have been dozens of Bigfoot sightings in Salt Fork State Park.
If you are ready for an overnight stop, the park has a campground, cabins, and a huge resort lodge.
Our post on unique things to do in southeastern Ohio has enough in it to keep you busy in the area for several days.
Food, Culture, Attractions- Columbus, Ohio has it All!
Ohio’s capital city is the perfect stop along I-70.
In fact, if you have time, I recommend spending a full weekend in Columbus because there are so many fun things to see and do.
Columbus is just an hour away from where we live, so we’ve spent a lot of time exploring the city and we always find something new to do.
Some of my favorite things to do in Columbus include:
- The Topiary Park in Columbus
- A Lustron Home Tour
- Shopping at one of the best farmer’s markets in Ohio
- Romantic Getaways in Columbus
- Ten Things to Do in Columbus with Kids
Aviation History comes Alive in Dayton, Ohio
Dayton is another fun Ohio city that we’ve spent a lot of time exploring as a family.
Dayton has a long history with aviation as the birthplace of Orville Wright and home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
There are a lot of options for romantic getaways near Dayton Ohio, but also a lot of fun things to do as a family or friends for a girlfriend getaway.
Two years ago, I visited the Dayton area with two of my best friends from high school and we had a blast. Check out everything we did. —> Find Your Next Adventure along the Great Miami Riverway
The historic Clifton Mill is just outside of Dayton; a lovely place to visit any time of year, but also known for one of the best Christmas displays in Ohio.
Fun for all in Indianapolis, Indiana
Another capital city along I-70 is Indiana’s capital: Indianapolis.
Whether you want to take in the attractions of the city or explore the area around Indianapolis, you won’t run out of things to do.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is fantastic for kids and grown-ups alike! I visited with my 9-year old nephew and he was amazed by the dinosaur exhibit.
A visit to Hendricks County Indiana is a great way to spend a few days near Indianapolis.
The northern suburb of Carmel is one of the best romantic getaways in Indiana, with quaint lodging, shopping, and dining.
The city itself is home to the world’s largest children’s museum, an NFL football team, an NBA basketball team, and dozens of museums.
Take a Break in Terre Haute, Indiana
Another fun Indiana destination along I-70 is the college town of Terre Haute, Indiana.
As the home of Indiana State University, Terre Haute is a great place to check out. Like many college towns, you’ll find several campus museums and lots of great food at a good price.
If you enjoy checking out historic cemeteries, Highland Lawn Cemetery dates back to 1884 and features a beautiful bell tower.
Terre Haute is also home to several beautiful parks, including Hawthorn Park, Deming Park, and the Dobbs Park Nature Center.
Find the World’s Biggest Everything in Casey, Illinois
As you know, I love roadside attractions, and there are plenty of roadside attractions along Interstate 70.
One of the best is a whole town full of roadside attractions.
Casey Illinois is home to several Guinness World Record-breaking items that are the largest of their kind.
The first time I visited there was only the giant wind chime and it’s grown to include a massive rocking chair, knitting needles, a birdcage, a mailbox, and a giant pencil, among other things.
Several years ago, I took a road trip to Branson with my mom and dad and we stopped in Casey. I think it was their favorite stop. They couldn’t get over all the “big” things.
We love how this little Central Illinois town has gotten creative and given travelers a reason to get off the Interstate and spend a few hours in town.
You Can’t miss the Giant Cross at the Crossroads in Effingham, Illinois
You can’t miss this roadside attraction where I-70 meets I-57 in Central Illinois near Effingham.
The Cross at the Crossroads is almost 200 feet tall and is illuminated at night in case you’re not driving by in the daylight hours.
Around the cross are ten stations where you can press a button to hear the Ten Commandments, and there’s also a Visitor’s Center where you can learn more about this monument.
The Gateway Arch Welcomes You to St. Louis, Missouri
From Illinois, I-70 crosses the Mississippi River and enters Missouri at St. Louis.
St. Louis is a great city to visit, large enough that there are plenty of things to do, but not so large that it’s intimidating.
Of course, the Gateway Arch is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the country, so you can’t pass up a chance to visit the Gateway Arch.
In St. Louis, you can also check out a Major League Baseball game, or take a tour of the Budweiser Brewery.
Even if you don’t like beer, you get to see the Budweiser Clydesdales!
The Charming St. Charles Historic District in Missouri Awaits
After I-70 crosses the Missouri River, you arrive in the town of St. Charles.
In stark contrast to the bustling city of St. Louis, St. Charles is a historic Colonial river town where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
St. Charles was founded in 1769 and was the first capital of Missouri.
Today, you’ll find dozens of shops and restaurants along Main Street, and the Frenchtown neighborhood is home to nearly 60 German and French Colonial buildings.
You’ll Find History Aplenty in Abilene, Kansas
Abilene is one of the last stops before you enter the Great Plains of Kansas from the east.
It is a major hub for grain and other agriculture and is a primary shipping point for livestock.
For travelers passing through, Abilene warrants a stop at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.
President Eisenhower was born and raised here and is now buried here in a Meditation Garden.
Presidential libraries are always a great place to visit, as you can learn so much more by touring a place than just reading about it in history books.
Don’t miss the Seelye Mansion, named one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas for the stunning architecture and let me know how it was. My husand and I have tried to visit twice now and both times we’ve passed Abilene at the wrong time of day.
The Greyhound Hall of Fame is another fun stop.
Check out the Stunning Views at Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colorado
After a long drive across Kansas and Eastern Colorado, you’ll start to see the Rocky Mountains off in the distance.
After passing through the busy traffic of Denver, you’ll start to climb up into those mountains. The air will get cooler and you’ll want to stop for photos every five minutes.
A good first stop is at the Red Rocks Amphitheater. If there’s a concert scheduled, it’s a fantastic place for live music. If not, it offers great views and you can also go see dinosaur tracks just down the road!
A Hiker’s Paradise at Hanging Falls, Colorado
Another great stop right off of I-70 is Hanging Falls in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. It’s a short but steep hike to a beautiful waterfall and lake.
Due to the popularity of this hike, you do need to register online ahead of time and get a permit. This helps keeps the crowds down.
At certain times of the year, you may also be shuttled to the trailhead as there’s very little parking at the trailhead.
Not up for a hike? Keep going on I-70 and stop for a soak at Glenwood Hot Springs, one of the best hot springs in the United States!
Take a Detour through Colorado National Monument, Fruita, Colorado
Just before you leave Colorado, take a slight detour to see the Colorado National Monument.
You’ll immediately wonder why this isn’t a National Park! It’s only 31 square miles, so it’s easy to drive through and see the highlights in a day.
There’s a 23-mile scenic drive through the park, and you’ll want to stop and take lots of pictures.
If you have time for a longer detour, check out Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It’s one of the least-visited parks in the nation, and is stunning to see in person!
Wrap up your Road Trip at Arches National Park, Utah
From one of the least-visited parts of Colorado to one of the most-visited National Parks in Utah, you can’t pass through Utah on I-70 without stopping at Arches National Park near Moab.
See the iconic Delicate Arch, which you’ll also see on many Utah license plates.
Take a ranger-guided hike into the Fiery Furnace, or set up camp at the Devil’s Garden campground, which will give you first access to the trailheads in the morning.
Arches is a very popular park, so come early because the scenic viewpoints and parking lots fill up quickly!
Utah is stunning. While you’re there you may opt to take a ride on America’s most scenic road.
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