Charleston to Bangor Road Trip Guide


If you're hankering to dust off the RV and hit the highway on your next great adventure, a seven-day road trip from Charleston, West Virginia to Bangor, Maine is sure to delight.

Charleston, one of the premier cities found in the state of West Virginia, rests at the meeting point of the Elk and Kanawha rivers. Among its most popular attractions is the historic State Capitol building, a distinctive property that has become synonymous with its gilt-edged domed roof. During a visit to this charming city, RV campers won't want to miss the chance to spend a day exploring the Governor's Mansion or taking a leisurely stroll through Capitol Market, an area renowned for some of the best cuisine and shopping in the city.

A city that hosts many different cultural events and annual festivals, there is lots for families to see and do during their trip to Charleston. In early spring, Charleston is home to the West Virginia Dance Festival, a competition that draws students from all across the state. Charleston also boasts of its own symphony orchestra and hosts the West Virginia International Film Festival each April and November.

Another exciting event that takes place in the city each year is the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta. This event has been held in the city each year since 1970 on Labor Day weekend. The regatta offers many different activities for families to enjoy including amusement park rides and live entertainment.

For those that love history, a trip to Charleston will not disappoint. The city is home to over 50 properties found on the National Register of Historic Places. Taking the time to meander down the main avenue found in Downtown Charleston is sure to be a thrill. There are many buildings of great historical significance there including the Security Building and the structure that once was known as the Daniel Boone Hotel.

For outdoor recreation, it's hard to beat the fun things to do in Charleston. Among the most popular places to enjoy some activity in the great outdoors include Coonskin Park, Magic Island, and Kanawha State Forest.

Traveling through the streets of Charleston in an RV is not so hard to do. However, many RV campers prefer to leave their rig at their campground or in a public lot and hitch a ride into town via bus or taxi.

Some of the best places to enjoy an RV stay in Charleston include Kanawha State Forest Campground and Rippling Waters Campground.

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Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: family

Point of Interest

Dorsey's Knob Park

Located just 154 miles from Charleston in the beautiful town of Morgantown is Dorsey's Knob Park. This incredible recreational area offers many fun things for RV campers to enjoy during their visit.

The focal point of this natural space is Sky Rock, an immense stone structure that is nearly 600 feet above the picturesque valleys and rich pine cover found on the grounds. From the pinnacle of the rock, RV campers are treated to breathtaking views of Morgantown and the surrounding region.

Dorsey's Knob Park consists of 70 acres in total and is easy to find just beside U.S. 119 which leads past Morgantown's downtown core. Though very near to a bustling metropolitan center, part of the park's charm is its quiet country air that lends itself well to reflection and relaxation.

There are many trails found throughout the grounds at Dorsey's Knob Park, making a great place to get in some hiking. Other attractions at this popular public place include a disc golf course and a playground. Picnic areas are also provided for those wishing to enjoy lunch on the grounds.

Tuckered out from a day hiking the trails at Dorsey's Knob Park? Spend the night doing some RV camping at Morgantown Campground or Sand Springs Camping Area.

Mack Trucks Historical Museum

Just 294 miles separate RV campers from their next destination: the Mack Trucks Historical Museum. For the true truck aficionado, a visit to this much-loved attraction is not to be missed.

The museum was founded in 1984 with the primary purpose of preserving the history of Mack trucks through the curation of manufacturing records, parts and services logs, early design work, and other pieces of memorabilia. Also found on the grounds for families to enjoy are several antique Mack trucks.

The Mack Trucks Company originated in 1900 by two brothers by the names of Jack and Gus. The two brothers hailed from Brooklyn, New York. Though this was their first large scale partnership, they were involved in car manufacturing seven years prior to the founding of their company. It was at this time that the brothers invested in a business known as the Falleson and Berry carriage company. in 1900, this enterprise was responsible for the production of the first vehicle to operate on its own motor.

During the year 1905, the Mack Trucks Company moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania where it would remain until 2010 when it shifted its offices to Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1922. the Mack Trucks Company was renamed Mack Trucks, Inc.

Mack Trucks has become synonymous with the Bulldog, taking this distinguished English gentleman as its mascot. The nickname was bestowed upon the business in 1917 when the UK government bought a Mack AC model to run supplies to the battle lines to keep the troops stocked with the food and equipment required. The British troops bestowed the title of Bulldog Mack upon the truck for its looks that were reminiscent of this once bull-fighting breed.
After a day of fun learning more about Mack Trucks' history, a good night's rest might just be in order. Consider an RV stay at Allentown KOA Journey or Quakerwoods Campground.

Pleasure Beach

The 168 miles of open road will just fly by with the anticipation of spending some time at Pleasure Beach in the day ahead. Pleasure Beach is located in the town of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

In mid-June 1996, a tragic fire was responsible for the destruction of a bridge that connected mainland Connecticut to the barrier beach located on a peninsula that separates Long Island Sound from the towns of Bridgeport and Stratford. Once this occurred, families had to travel to this beautiful beach by taking a hike from a public parking facility in the town of Stratford or traveling by sea from Bridgeport.

The peninsula on which Pleasure Beach is found is divided into two with one section belonging to the town of Stratford and taking the name Long Beach West. This area was once a popular spot for many people who built cottages there. Today, they are long gone. The opposite side, located to the west, retains the name Pleasure Beach and is under the ownership of the seaside town of Bridgeport.

In 1892, Pleasure Beach was an amusement park. To reach the park, families would take ferries across a body of water known as Lewis Gut. The treasures that awaited them upon arrival included a roller coaster, a number of "try your luck" games, and a carousel. The property was bought in 1919 with the city taking over the management of the park. It continued to operate until the mid 20th century when it became a haven for drug addicts.

2009 saw the buildings on the grounds razed for safety reasons. Bridgeport was the recipient of a grant in 2010 to restore the beach to its former glory for public use. In 2014, a water taxi service was instituted to bring passengers from the mainland to the island. Today, there is a beautiful walkway that leads directly from the boat dock to the pavilion and beach. This waterfront property is surrounded by dense woods that are alive with wildlife year-round.

After a day of fun in the sun, catch up on some zzz's with an overnight stay at Seaside Park or Gentile's Campground.

Elizabeth Park Rose Garden

The next day's journey is a short one with only 58.5 miles to travel to reach Elizabeth Park Rose Garden. This beautifully landscaped space bears the distinction of being America's first municipal rose garden as well as the third-biggest of its kind in the country.

Elizabeth Park Rose Garden sits in the heart of Elizabeth Park. It was the vision of Mr. Theodore Wirth in 1903 and took a year of careful cultivation before it was ready to be unveiled to the public the following summer.

When the Rose Garden first debuted, there were 190 different kinds of roses. By the mid 20th century, the number of different blooms had risen to nearly 1,000 in total.

The main garden is known as the "square" and measures an acre in size. This plot of land is home to 132 different rose beds. Mr. Wirth's original concept was to have a central square with eight paths leading away from it. This design is still seen on the grounds today. Later, two areas known as the North and South gardens were put in place to maximize the space, bringing the total landmass to over 2.5 acres which include 475 flower beds.

The property has since grown to include 15,000 rose bushes and 800 different kinds of roses. Among the most popular blossoms are hybrid tea, floribunda, and pillar roses.

Tuckered out from a day enjoying the blooms on display at Elizabeth Park Rose Garden? Get a good night's sleep doing some RV camping at Nelson's Family Campground or Bear Creek Campground.

Wachusett Reservoir

RV campers will enjoy the short little jaunt at only 77.6 miles to Wachusett Reservoir. Wachusett Reservoir is one of three bodies of water that provides drinking water for many different towns in the region. The reservoir consists of over 65 billion gallons of water and stretches 108 miles in total. For those that enjoy meandering along the seashore, Wachusett Reservoir is home to 35 miles of white sand beach that is ripe for exploration.

Water recreational activities are restricted here since the reservoir's primary use is to supply drinking water to area residents. Fishing is permitted here for those that enjoy angling. The area is also extremely picturesque, making it a great spot for brushing up on your photography skills. Among the most popular activities here are running, walking, biking, hunting, and snowshoeing.

Families are asked to observe the rules to protect the reservoir's water supply. These include no dogs, no horses, no swimming, no littering, and no alcohol.

Tired out after spending the day strolling the coast in search of seaside treasures? Consider an RV stay at Sutton Falls Camping Area or Lake Dean Campground.

Market Square

The next leg of the journey en route to Bangor is a short one at only 76.5 miles. Portsmouth, New Hampshire's Market Square is a wonderful place for families to spend the day.

The Market Square is renowned for its unique Maritime feel, giving RV campers a true taste of the New England lifestyle. The square's charming lanes are chock full of unique artisanal shops and eateries where families can enjoy some of the crafts and cuisine that mark this area as its own special place.

Many historic properties are still found within the Market Square, allowing families the opportunity to explore some of the original buildings that once featured prominently in the city's life. Market Square is a particularly popular destination during its annual festival during which many events occur such as a 10 km race and live entertainment.

While in the area, there are other things that families can enjoy in the city. The 17th century Jackson House is well worth a visit as is the Moffat-Ladd House and Garden, a property that has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Portsmouth has an excellent foodie scene with some of its best restaurants including Portsmouth! Martingale Wharf, the British Beer Company, and Cafe Mediterraneo Ristoranti Italiano.

Among the best places for RV stays in Portsmouth are Wakeda Campground and Tidewater Campground.

Portland Head Lighthouse

For a truly unforgettable day, it is well worth the time to travel the 55 miles to visit the Portland Head Lighthouse. Located in Cape Elizabeth, this popular attraction is found along the coast of the much-loved Fort Williams Park.

In addition to the lighthouse itself, there is a museum found on the grounds known as the Museum at Portland Head Light. This facility is housed in what was once the living quarters for the staff of the lighthouse. It housed lighthouse keepers until 1989 after which time the lighthouse was officially decommissioned. Found within the museum are many artifacts and hands-on displays for families to enjoy.

Today, the United States Coast Guard bears the responsibility for the light and the sounding of the fog horn signals.

Bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy and some good hiking shoes as there is lots of ground to explore during a visit to this incredibly scenic property.

Tuckered out from a day of fun at Portland Head Lighthouse? Check into Wassamki Springs Campground or Saco/Old Orchard Beach KOA for an RV stay.

Old Fort Western

The last stop before reaching the final destination of Bangor is found in Augusta, Maine: Old Fort Western. This facility was established in 1754 and is now considered to be a National Historic Landmark. It is well renowned as the oldest fortified structure of wood construction in the country.

It is believed that this fort was constructed by a Boston-area company known as the Kennebec Proprietors. Their goal was to claim the land running the length of the Kennebec River that had been promised to the Pilgrims nearly one hundred years previously. This attempt at establishing a settlement was intended to help expand the boundaries of the state of Massachusetts and to allow Britain to gain further political influence.

The fort's location at the apex of the river was integral to its function as a well-guarded storehouse to provide resources for Fort Halifax, a fortress found 17 miles away. As many as four times a year, needed supplies were sent by boat from Boston to Fort Western before traveling onwards to Fort Halifax.

From 1754-1767, Fort Western was commandeered by Captain James Howard. During this time, the fort was not placed under attack; however, a private in charge of supply delivery was taken captive in 1755.

Fort Western was also used by Benedict Arnold as a staging area when he sought to form an attack against Quebec in 1775. After 1767, the fort was used primarily as a place to store the goods of residents and later as a private home.

Had a ball exploring Old Great Western? Get rested up for the last leg of the journey by enjoying an RV stay at Green Valley Campground or Augusta/Gardiner KOA Journey.


The last 134 miles will fly right by with the joy of pulling into their campground in Bangor on the minds of RV campers.

Bangor is a metropolitan area in the city of Maine. A charming place, Bangor has all of the amenities of big city life coupled with Maritime charm to win the hearts of even the most stoic traveler. Found on Main Street is an immense statue of Paul Bunyan, a monument that pays homage to Bangor's legacy as a prosperous lumber center.

The Maine Discovery Museum is a great place for families with kids to spend some time with lots of exhibits, classes, and other fun things to do. For those interested in engaging in some outdoor activities, a trip to Bangor City Forest will not disappoint, offering lots of opportunities for hiking and the viewing of wildlife indigenous to the region.

One of the most beloved events in the region is the Bangor State Fair, a festival that has been held in the city on the final Friday in July for over 150 years. Other family favorite attractions include the KahBang Music and Art Festival and the American Folk Festival.

For fans of literature, a visit to the esteemed author Stephen King's home is a must. It was built in 1858 and was formerly known as the William Arnold House. With its impressive gate of eerie spiderweb-like construction, it is a fitting home for the master of the horror genre. Bangor is also home to a number of properties and monuments that take pride of place on the National Register of Historic Places including the Thomas Hill Standpipe, the Eastern Maine Insane Hospital, and the St. John's Catholic Church.

Traveling through Bangor in an RV is a breeze. However, many families do prefer to park their rigs at their campground and take on the town courtesy of a bus or taxi.

Among the best places to enjoy an RV stay in Bangor are Pleasant Hill Campground and Cold River Campground.

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