Places to visit on way from WI to Outer Banks

My family is having a “sibling reunion” at Rodanthe, NC in mid to late October.
One of my sisters (and her husband) and I are carpooling from near Menasha, WI.
Google says this is a ~19 hour drive which we may break up into 3 segments.
(a shorter segment on a Friday, and two longer segments Saturday and Sunday.)
(We will likely do it in two segments on the way back)

Anyhow, on the way there if we do it 6/7/7 hours of driving we may have a little time to make short stops.
For example, on a 2 day drive to Jackson, I stopped at Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis for about an hour. On my trip to Glacer NP I sopped at Painted Canyon (T Roosevelt NP) for about 30 min.
Anything like that on the way there? (not sure what route we are taking)


Hm, what kind of attractions appeal to you? You mentioned two outdoor attractions. Do you also enjoy museums? Restaurants?

It’d help if we knew what you’re looking for (e.g. — shopping, nature, hikes, scenery, night life, good eats, history, etc…). That said, off the top of my head and looking at the map, here are things I would want to do on that road trip:

[li]Dayton OH: USAF museum, Wright-Patterson AFB[/li][li]Indianapolis IN: Indy 500 race track and museum[/li][li]Indianapolis IN: bar, Plump’s Last Sot, in the Broad Ripple District — owned by the IRL guy who hit the winning shot (basketball movie, Hoosiers), and also…[/li][li]Milan IN: Milan ‘54 Museum (same thing, Hoosiers)[/li][li]Cincinnati OH: catch a ball game at Great American Ball Park[/li][li]Yorktown VA: Yorktown Battlefield, Museum[/li][li]Kitty Hawk NC: Wright Bros. Memorial[/li][li]Newport News VA: Newport News Victory Arch[/li][li]Jamestown VA: Jamestown Settlement[/li][li]Staunton VA: Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library[/li][li]Point Pleasant WV: Tu-Endie-Wei State Park, just to stand at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers and take it in[/li][li]West Lafayette IN: VOSS Model, scale model of solar system, at Purdue U[/ul][/li]
Just a few ideas from looking at the map.

Wait, you said October. Forget the Cincinnati baseball game. They haven’t played basebal in Cincinnati since May.

More looking for nature / scenery, though if there is an awesome place to eat I’d like to know about those (we have to eat anyway)
I hope to visit Kitty Hawk while at the Outer Banks
Baseball game: I said a SHORT stop (heh, shortstop) – something < 1 hr. Though I suppose we could do something longer after driving for the day.


I would avoid the Pittsburgh/Balto/DC/Hampton Roads route. But that’s just me.

Okay, but in Pittsburgh N9IWP can take in the view from the Grandview Overlook Park (gImages,, and then stand at the three rivers confluence point at Fort Duquesne and see the mighty rivers, Allegheny and Monongahela, join to form the Ohio River (gImages,

When my wife and I went to OBX from DC we stopped at the Mountain Lake Lodge, primary filming location of Dirty Dancing if any of you are into that sort of thing, and the Isle of Wight County Museum in Smithfield, VA, home of the world’s oldest edible ham.

Also on right on 158 on the way to the Wright Bridge is the home of the monster truck Grave Digger. There’s a store and a diner there. Worth a quick stop.

You’re going through West By God on the southern route, so plenty of nature there. Babcock State Park has an old mill and photo site. New River Gorge Bridge and Hawk’s Nest can waste an hour. There’s an exhibition coal mine in Beckley that doesn’t take too long and let’s you actually go inside an old mine riding a mantrip. Lewisburg and Fayetteville are cute little hipsterish towns you can wile away some time in.

Chillicothe Ohio has Hopewell Culture NHP which is a group of mounds built by the Hopewell Culture and worth a stop.

Norfolk has the USS Wisconsin alongside a maritime museum, so that could be cool if you’re from WI.

You’re right, Bullitt! They could take I-79 down thru WV, swing over to US 19 and go over the New River Gorge Bridge at Lansing, then down I-77 to I-40. I could live with that.

See the Incline in Pitt?

Fortunately for the OP, according to the Richard Gere documentary, Rodanthe has hurricanes that only last 6 hours. :smack:

Missed edit window:

Ninja’d on New River Gorge? Never thought I’d ever say THAT again!

If you’re a fan of The Waltons, based on the life of Earl Hamner Jr. and his family, a visit to his childhood home Schuyler, Virginia, may be worth an hour or two. It adds about a half hour of driving. There’s a museum in the former school building, and you can visit inside their house (self guided tour if I recall) and there’s a gift shop.

If you prefer natural wonders, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Cuyahoga Valley National Park (several photogenic waterfalls and bridges) add practically no driving time to the route.

You might enjoy a brief stop somewhere along the C&O canal on the Potomac River. Williamsport and Point of Rocks (both on the Maryland side) are convenient access points I’m familiar with. You can also get to the towpath from Harpers Ferry on a train/pedestrian bridge, but the parking situation in HF is not good. I’ve always wanted to visit the Paw Paw Tunnel, but haven’t made it there yet.

Don’t miss the Burial Chamber Haunted House Complex in Neenah, WI.


Friday afternoon via Chicago? That’s 3 hours of white knuckle driving right there. After the two hours to get through Milwaukee metro area and the 3 lanes are now 2 from there to the border.

You’d be doing good to get towards Indianapolis in 6 hours on day one. Starting about 30 minutes from Menasha, it took us over 8 hours to get to Terre Haute 8 weeks ago driving speed limit + 10%. There and back twice straight through with maybe 1/2 hour total for gas and stretching breaks.