My family had a blast on an 8 day RV adventure to the Mid-Atlantic. We decided to make Pittsburgh the first stop on our itinerary because it’s a reasonable drive from Cincinnati. We also wanted an excuse to come back after falling in love with the city a few years ago. My grandfather joined our family on a 3 week vacation out West when I was a teenager, and it was a full circle experience to have my dad join our family on this multi generational vacation.
Our Roadtrip Vehicle
Our transportation for the journey was a 2017 Winnebago “Minnie Winnie” media loaner from GoRving. GoRving provides all the information you need to know on the RVing lifestyle, where you can compare RVs, find rentals, and campgrounds.
Rentals are a great way to try out the RV lifestyle and help determine what type of RV is best for your family. We really enjoyed the space available while traveling in this model.
It normally takes about 4+ hours to get to Pittsburgh from Cincinnati but we were traveling at a slower speed and stopped a few times so it look us a little longer. We were comfortable in the RV so it wasn’t an issue and my boys each had their own dedicated space to sit in the RV which led to WAY less fighting.
One of my favorite parts of the drive into Pittsburgh is when you drive through the Fort Pitt Tunnel. You see the mountains in West Virginia before you enter the tunnel and after the tunnel you are right in the heart of the Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has more bridges than Venice, Italy which makes a beautiful landscape at every angle.
What We Did
We decided to drive directly to downtown Pittsburgh first to explore before ending our day at the campground. We visited the National Aviary, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and the Duquesne Incline. We wanted to have enough time to explore Pittsburgh but also have time to get settled into the campground.
The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds with over 150 species and 500 birds. Make sure that you pick up a daily schedule on your way in so that you don’t miss any of the educational presentations that really enhance your visit. The educational sloth feeding was definitely a highlight for me. I realize that a sloth isn’t a bird, but I really like sloths.
Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Fun for all ages with lots of hands on exhibits, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a great stop for families. You can easily spend hours there creating, building, and exploring. Mister Rogers fans will also appreciate the memorabilia on display that will take you back to your childhood. There is a cafe onsite if you do want to grab a bite to eat. The museum is located a very short walk from the National Aviary.
The Duquesne Incline is a unique way to take in fantastic views of Pittsburgh. Seriously, the view is absolutely stunning at the top! The incline dates back to 1877 and is in operation now thanks to the rescue and restoration from local residents back in 1963.
We parked the RV at the lower station located at 1197 W Carson Street. You will need cash and make sure that you check the website for hours of operation and fares. There is a museum at the top of the incline that you can walk through to learn more.
RV parking can be a little tricky in downtown Pittsburgh. We were fortunate to find off street parking on W Ohio Street, a short walk from the National Aviary after a few drives around the block and a wrong turn. Do NOT venture on the side streets unless you want to increase your blood pressure. We accidentally discovered that it’s possible to drive down a narrow street if you pull in your mirrors and have someone outside of the vehicle directing the vehicle step by step. Trust me, stay on the main roads!
The Duquesne Incline had a very large lower lot that was perfect for bus and RV parking. You pay by the hour ahead of time so I would suggest calling the incline to determine the wait time to help you guesstimate how long your vehicle will be parked there. You will want to allow more time if you want to explore the neighborhood at the top of the incline or get something to eat. Another parking option could be visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium and then getting an Uber to other parts of town that you might be interested in. You can find other ideas for a visit here.
What We Ate
For lunch we made sandwiches inside the RV and for dinner we found a local Carolina style BBQ place after a quick online search. Pittsburgh BBQ company wasn’t far off of our route to the campground. You can call your orders in ahead of time but we decided to just order ours to go when we arrived. We ate our sandwiches and sides in the RV while we were in route to the campground. You know it’s really good when you totally forget to take a picture of it.
Where We Stayed
That evening we stayed at the Washington/ Pittsburgh SW KOA that is located about 40 minutes away from downtown Pittsburgh. The campground had a pool, trails, dog park, and playground. The bathhouse was located at the bottom of the hill from the campsites so I would suggest bringing a flashlight if you are prone to getting up in the middle of the night or take advantage of the bathroom in your RV.
You can find out more about GoRVing from their website.
Thanks again to GoRVing for providing our media loaner for the week and Visit Pittsburgh for providing an attractions pass. All opinions are my own.