Des Moines to Savannah Road Trip Guide


Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa. In fact, it might be one of the most populous cities in the nation’s heartland. It’s also a place that doesn’t fall short of visitor attractions. Since it is the state capital, you can check out landmarks like the Capitol Building or the Governor’s Mansion known as Terrace Hill (which is located down the road from the capitol). Des Moines also serves as the starting point for a road trip that spans through the nation’s central plains all the way down to a part of the Deep South where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. It might look like a boring road trip on paper, but you’ll be surprised what you can come across on a seven day trip in an RV that spans across several states and two time zones.

You’ll be visiting can’t-miss cities like St. Louis and Nashville, each with its own must-see places for you to check out as you venture east. If you are an outdoors kind of person, you’re going to love some of the national forests that you’ll be traveling through en route to Savannah.

Savannah is a coastal city that is situated near the Atlantic Ocean. It is also a place rich in history and culture. By the time your trip is over, you’ll miss that southern charm and hospitality that only Savannah can provide. You can take a walk around the downtown area or enjoy a few of the southern cuisines that you won’t get enough of.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: family

Point of Interest

Iowa State Capitol

Before leaving Des Moines, you'll probably want to tour the capitol building. You can learn about the history of Iowa and even see the Iowa General Assembly at work if they are in session. While on the capitol grounds, you can learn the history of the Hawkeye State at the nearby State Historical Museum of Iowa.

Don’t forget to rest and recharge at one of the few RV parks that are available both in the city and outside of it. If your RV is a big rig, there is no place like Griff’s Valley View RV Park & Campground. There are well over 140 spaces on the grounds themselves, so you are almost guaranteed a spot to set up your RV for the night before hitting the road the next day.

Pella, Iowa

This small Iowa town may seem like it’s off the beaten path. Plus, it may not seem like one of the most popular places to visit. But it’s a town that is rich in Dutch heritage. If Disney World reserved a spot for Holland at Epcot, Pella would be the exact replica of it. Pella is not far from Red Rock Lake. If you want to take a break and enjoy the outdoors, this is probably one of those places where you can stop and relax. You can also tour the Pella Window Factory where the Pella brand windows and doors are manufactured every single day.

In a small town like Pella, there are a few campgrounds that are set up for RVs. Most of them will be located near Red Rock Lake.

Missouri State Penitentiary

How can a prison be a point of interest? In fact, this prison is no longer being operated (and hasn’t been since 2004). However, there are plenty of people who tour it on a regular basis. Learn the history and the stories behind the near 180-year-old prison that people believe to be haunted. If you are the kind of person that loves ghost stories, you might want to take the tour. It might not be a place worth visiting unless your kids are older, but it could be hard to resist touring the prison even on a group tour. Alternatively, you can also tour the Missouri State House to learn about the history of Missouri.

Your nearest RV park that might be suitable for any sized RV is the Osage Campground Retreat. The good news: you might get to enjoy some fishing or other outdoor activities near the Osage River while you rest and relax for another day of traveling.

Mark Twain National Forest

Mark Twain was a native of Missouri. Known for stories like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, he was also fond of the outdoors as well. The entire forest covers several Missouri counties and offers all kinds of outdoor activities from hiking to boating, from walking to biking. Portions of the Ozark trail also run through some parts of the Mark Twain National Forest.

You’ll have no shortage of campgrounds that are available inside the larger coverage areas of the forest. Plenty of them will accept RVs regardless of size. After all, you’re in a national forest that gets a lot of visitors each and every year.

Gateway Arch

St. Louis is famously known for being the “Gateway To The West”. The famous Gateway Arch is one of America’s most famous landmarks that represents the east meeting the west. It is also one of the largest accessible buildings in the state of Missouri complete with its own observational deck.

The way you access the observation deck is quite interesting. You can take the stair, the elevator, or a tram that will fit up to five people at a time. Up top, you’ll be able to get a good view of the city of St. Louis and the mighty Mississippi River. The City of St. Louis is probably a place you can be able to check out for a day or two.

While you’re still here, you can set up shop in one of many RV parks that are available both inside and outside of the city. If you don’t want to go well out of the way, the St. Louis RV Park will be your best option. They have plenty of amenities that are available like wireless Internet, a swimming pool, and full hook up pull thrus. Who says you can’t find a good RV park in the city?

Shawnee National Forest

After driving through much of Illinois, you’ll come across the Shawnee National Forest. It would be a great place for you to visit if you are more of the outdoor type with all kinds of hiking, walking, hunting, and fishing at your disposal. While you are there, you might want to check out a place known as the Garden of The Gods. Fair warning of one thing: you need to be cautious when traveling the hiking trails due to some of them being located near high cliff areas. Garden of the Gods provides you with unmatchable beauty with their scenery. It might just be considered one of America’s “best-kept secrets”.

If you are looking for a place for your RV, there are plenty of campgrounds located on the national forest grounds. Most of them will handle RVs and will have plenty of space available for RVs big and small. You won’t run out of choices of where you’ll be able to settle in and relax for the night.

Grand Ol’ Opry

If you are driving through Tennessee, odds are you’ll end up in Nashville. You’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity to check out Music City. You might want to visit the Grand Ol’ Opry, the world-famous concert hall where so many country music stars and legends have performed. If you are a true country music fan, you might also want to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Nashville is also home to some awesome sites that you and your entire family might enjoy. And it’s also never in short supply of RV parks. There is a reservoir just to the east of the city where there are places where you can park your RV for the day while you are out and about touring the city. Alternatively, you can enjoy all the boating, fishing, and other recreational activities along the J. Percy Priest Reservoir.

Georgia Aquarium

As you head farther south into the state of Georgia, you probably don’t want to miss out on a visit to Atlanta. There’s plenty of places to visit including the Georgia Aquarium. The aquarium is home to well over 120,000 different marine animals. So you’re bound to find almost every sea creature known to man within the confines of this behemoth of a place. This is the perfect place to take the family to while you are visiting the state capital and largest city of Georgia. If you still have time to spend in Atlanta, you can check out the World of Coca-Cola, a museum dedicated to the popular soft drink.

If you are looking for an RV park, most of them will be located on the outskirts of Atlanta. Since you’ll be finishing up your road trip on I-75, the Atlanta South RV Park will probably be your best bet since it’s just off of the Interstate. Plus, it’s complete with a swimming pool, a rec room, and plenty of amenities that you probably won’t find anywhere else in the area.


If you can see (and smell) the ocean, you’ve made it to historic Savannah, Georgia! After driving through many states, dense forests, and memories made on the road you have reached your destination. Savannah is a city rich in history. The downtown area is a great place to walk where you can check out all of the city’s stores and restaurants. Speaking of restaurants, you don’t want to miss out on Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons Restaurant for a taste of some good ol’ fashioned southern-style food.

While there are plenty of RV parks in and around Savannah, you might want to go a little bit out of the way to nearby Tybee Island where you’ll find the River’s End Campground. You’ll be right by the beach and you’ll be able to enjoy some of the main attractions like the Tybee Island Lighthouse.

From the middle of America to the shores of Georgia, this is a trip worth remembering for you and your family.

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