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    Must-Do Adventures on I-70 From Utah to Maryland

    Are you eastbound on I-70 for your upcoming PCS? Lucky you! Starting in Utah and ending in Maryland, we’ve rounded up more than a dozen ways to spend some time exploring the country.

    Over the nearly 2,200-mile trip, you’ll find recommendations for major cities, quirky roadside attractions, must-visit restaurants, and of course, family fun at museums, zoos, and sporting events across the country.

    The Gateway Arch in St. Louis beside highwayPhoto by Tiffany Cade via Unsplash 

    When planning your cross-country adventure, don't forget to take advantage of your military benefits for freebies and discounted admission. 

    So, if Fort Meade, Maryland, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, or somewhere in the National Capital Region is your final destination, you’ll have plenty to see and do before you arrive!

    arch landmark in UtahPhoto By Tom Gainor via Unsplash

    Moab, Utah

    Arches National Park

    The red rock formations of Arches National Park are legendary among outdoor enthusiasts as well as casual tourists. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, giant balanced rocks, and soaring formations. Catch sunset or sunrise views in the park, then tour nearby Moab. You’ll find a quaint town with plenty of shopping and restaurants. If you have the time, stop at nearby Canyonlands National Park and check out the canyons and buttes carved by the Colorado River. It's a perfect final salute to the great American West before heading to the East Coast. 

    More things to do:

    • Mystic Hot Springs, Monroe: Check out the mineral hot springs, try a massage, and listen to live music at this quirky oasis in the desert. 
    • Cisco, Utah: Historic ghost town where scenes from the movies Thelma and Louise and Vanishing Point were filmed is now becoming a thriving artist enclave in the desert.  

    Denver street artworkPhoto by Pieter van de Sande via Unsplash 

    Denver, Colorado

    If you haven’t visited Denver, make sure it's on your pit stop list on your trek east. You won’t want to miss Mile High City’s restaurants, breweries, and entertainment, all with stunning Rocky Mountain views. There’s something to do and see all year long, including cultural fairs, professional sports, and a family-friendly zoo. Then, check out the Red Rocks Amphitheater to catch a show at a once-in-a-lifetime venue. 

    More things to do:

    • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Springs: If you’ve already seen Denver, make your pit stop early in Glenwood Springs for a day spent in a one-of-a-kind mountaintop amusement park. 
    • Glenwood Canyon, Glenwood Springs: For a different kind of adventure, choose from whitewater river rafting, kayaking, and canoeing on the Colorado River. And if you’re a fan of the infamous Doc Holliday, you can visit his burial site in Glenwood Springs. 

    Wamego, Kansas

    Oz Museum

    Can you really pass The Road to Oz on your way through Kansas? Even if you’re a casual Wizard of Oz fan, this is a must-see spot to relive some childhood memories. Or maybe not. Those flying monkeys were terrifying. Shop the museum store and explore more than 2,000 pieces of Oz memorabilia. 

    More things to do:

    • High Plains Museum and the Fick Fossil and History Museum: If you need to break up your ride across the Kansas plains or escape the weather, stop at one or both of these local museums. After leaving, you’ll know everything there’s to know about Kansas, from the prehistoric and pioneer days to the Native Americans who first lived on the land. 
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum: Presidential libraries are worth the stop, this one in particular because its contents are spread among the library, museum, historic home, and grave site. You can even catch a film at the visitor center. 

    barbecue and fried food on red and white checkered textilePhoto by Peter Pham via Unsplash

     Kansas City, Missouri

    Spend your time in thriving Kansas City, enjoying all the good stuff the city offers. Start with world-renowned barbecue smothered in tangy tomato and dark molasses-based sauce at any number of local restaurants. After, shop and explore the city, including cultural sites like the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum. Then, depending on your timeline, an overnight to catch a Kansas City Chiefs NFL game could be a fun stay for the whole family. 

    More things to do:

    • Saint Louis: This city holds its own against Kansas City, with plenty of options to explore. The Gateway Arch is a definite site to see (even from a distance); tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery (there’s more than just beer; meet the famous Clydesdales), and don’t forget to try St. Louis’ version of barbecue at Pappy’s Smokehouse. 

     Check out our other cross-country itineraries to make the most of a long drive.


    Vandalia, Illinois

    Kaskaskia Dragon

    If you need gas and more road snacks, a fire-breathing dragon in the middle of the country might make the trip more interesting. All it takes is a dollar and a token to light up the sky from this dragon roadside attraction. 

    race car and fence at race trackPhoto by Levi Olmstead via Unsplash

    Indianapolis, Indiana

    Visit Indy, as they say, and find a great way to spend a night on the way east. Sports enthusiasts love the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the NCAA Champions Hall of Fame. The children’s museum has its own fan club, and true foodies will love exploring the up-and-coming gastro scene, so they can say, “they ate there when.” If you prefer to take your break outside and enjoy the view and fresh air, White River State Park and Cataract Falls (check out the picturesque covered bridge) are nearby.

    More things to do: 

    Model T Museum: This is where history and car buffs meet to revel in American innovation. You’ll explore vintage cars, car-related exhibits, and memorabilia.

    Columbus Ohio view of bridge and high-rise buildings at daytimePhoto by Oz Seyrek via Unsplash

     Columbus, Ohio

        Pencil in a few hours or overnight in Columbus. The capital city has the amenities you might expect, a worthwhile zoo, shopping, and dining, but the city’s history shines in the scenic German Village south of downtown. You can explore the neighborhood district set in a 19th-century town, with replica architecture, vintage shops, and renovated cottages. 

    More things to do:

        • The John & Annie Glenn Historic Site: This stop could be one of your family's favorite if they’re a U.S. military and history lover. You’ll tour the home of the astronaut and his wife’s house before he sped into space. 

    Wheeling, West Virginia

    Good Zoo

    How about a zoo stop in the mountains? You can add an overnight stay too at the attached resort. The Good Zoo at Oglebay Resort is a 30-acre zoo with more than 50 animals and fun-for-all train rides.

    Mill Run, Pennsylvania

    Fallingwater 

    No authentic design or architecture aficionado can drive this far on I-70 and pass the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Fallingwater. Take the time for the guided tour to admire the views inside and out of the home adequately. You’ll also enjoy the historical exhibits and unique perspectives of the structure. Then, do yourself a favor and tour another one of his homes nearby, Kentuck Knob. If you’re really into Frank Lloyd’s work, you should visit his historic home Pope-Leighey House, near Fort Belvoir, Virginia, after you’ve reached your final destination.

    More things to do:

    The Coffee Pot: Need a legit coffee break? Then, nothing less than a coffee pot-shaped building will do. Well, you’ll actually have to stop for coffee somewhere nearby because this building doesn’t serve coffee and snacks like it used to when it opened in 1927.

    Harbor in Baltimore MarylandPhoto by David Adorno via Unsplash

    Baltimore, Maryland

    Celebrate the end of I-70 with all the activities B’more has to offer. Start with a fantastic crab dinner at the Rusty Scupper and stay to take in an MLB game at historic Camden Yards. If the weather is foul or it's the off season, no problem! The National Aquarium and Port Discovery Children’s Museum are near downtown. The family will also love the Inner Harbor, a walkable district with dining, shopping, and ship site-seeing. No kids in tow? Hit the American Visionary Museum and the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. In the mood for authentic Italian food? You won’t want to miss the city’s Little Italy. 

    More things to do:

    Frederick: Before reaching Baltimore, you’ll drive past Frederick, a town where rich history (Civil War museums, antique shopping) and modern excursions (martini bars and lively galleries) meet. You can easily spend a day wandering charming streets. 

    Driving more than 2,000 miles is an exhausting adventure. Hopefully, the military will ask you only once to make the drive, so plan ahead and choose your pit stops and overnights carefully. There’s a lot of Americana to appreciate while driving west to east over I-70. 

    Travel ahead? Learn about military discounts, destinations, Space-A info, and more in our free guide below!

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    Must-Do Adventures on I-70 from Utah to Maryland

    Dawn M. Smith

    Author

    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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