Peoria to Charleston Road Trip Guide


If you've been dying to hit the open road on your next RV adventure, a seven-day trip from Peoria, Illinois to Charleston, South Carolina is sure to be a treat.

Peoria is a metropolitan center found in the state ofIllinois. The city rests along the banks of the Illinois River, making it an extremely picturesque destination for RV campers to enjoy. One of the most popular attractions in this charming city is the Peoria Riverfront Museum, a facility that houses such interesting features as a planetarium, a sculpture garden, and a wide representation of fine artworks. Other beloved Peoria destinations include the Luthy Botanical Garden found in Glen Oak Park, the Peoria Zoo, and the Wildlife Prairie Park.

Downtown Peoria is quite a sight to behold on its own. At the heart of the city are two structures known as the Twin Towers. Peoria was also formerly the headquarters for Caterpillar equipment.

Peoria is home to a street known as Grandview Drive, a stretch of road called "the world's most beautiful drive" by former President Theodore Roosevelt. The route leads from Peoria proper through a suburb called Peoria Heights. The city is also home to over 9,000 acres of public parks and nature trails for families to enjoy, making it an excellent spot to do some hiking.

A city with a thriving cultural heartbeat, Peoria boasts of its own symphony orchestra that is in fact the 14th oldest in the United States. The city is also privileged to host its own ballet company and several theatre groups including the Peoria Players. But perhaps one of its most popular attractions is its Heart of Illinois Fair held annually in the town since its inception in 1949.

For families looking to enjoy some outdoor recreation during their visit, Peoria will not disappoint. The city has a wide array of state parks, national monuments, beaches, and campgrounds for RV campers to choose from during their trip.

Navigating through the streets of Peoria in an RV isn't such a chore, but many RV campers still prefer to park their rig at their campsite and take advantage of the excellent transportation system. Taxis and buses are readily available to transport campers to town for sightseeing.

Among the best places in Peoria to enjoy an overnight RV stay include the Fondulac Park Carl Spindler Campground and the Timberline Campground.

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

Point of Interest

David Davis Mansion

Just 39.9 miles from Peoria is the first stop en route to Charleston: the David Davis Mansion. Mr. Davis was a youthful attorney when in 1839 he moved to Bloomington from Massachusetts to settle there with his new wife Sarah. Though Mr. Davis' original career was as a circuit-riding attorney, he soon moved to the position of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice. He is also well known for his deep friendship with President Abraham Lincoln.

Mr. Davis' wife undertook the role of turning their home into a place where educational and cultural events regularly took place for the community to enjoy. The couple's home was decorated in the sophistication of the Victorian style and included a stately garden.

The Davis' home has been fully restored to its former glory with an emphasis placed upon the life of Judge David Davis and his role in President Lincoln's life. The facility contains a large array of pieces of art as well as memorabilia from the Davis' daily life in the home. The garden is still alive with a variety of plant life, and each of the design elements remains true to what Mrs. Davis would have planted and enjoyed during her lifetime.

For hours of operation, scheduled events, tours, and any associated fees, consult the museum's website.

If an overnight stay in Bloomington seems like a great way to end the day, consider spending the night doing some RV camping at Hickory Hill Campground or Wildwood Campground.

Orpheum Children's Science Museum

The next day's journey won't take long with only 51.2 miles separating RV campers from their next destination: the Orpheum Children's Science Museum. Nestled within the town of Champaign, this popular children's attraction offers something for every member of the family to enjoy.

The museum is housed inside the Orpheum Theatre, a building of great historical significance in the region. The theatre was slated for demolition when a concerted attempt was made to save the building from certain destruction. The facility was purchased by the city along with the lot located directly beside it. A group of concerned citizens was given permission to enter the theatre to remove the precious facade that was constructed out of aluminum and that dated back to 1967. The intent was for the building to be leveled and a parking lot to be constructed in its place.

The volunteers hired a theatre consultant to evaluate the building and whether or not it could be restored. This gentleman, a Mr. Michael Hardy, suggested the facility was well-suited to a museum for children. In 1991, the building housed on the lot beside the theatre was demolished. The theatre was cleaned and painted with plans set in place for the children's museum.

The museum's first event was held in the parking lot outside the building in 1992. This initial event was so successful it has since been repeated each year and is titled the Kids Building Fair.

Over the subsequent years, fundraising efforts occurred to restore the building to its appearance during its hay day and to prepare the space for its new role as a children's museum and science center. Today, the facility houses many hands-on exhibits and hosts demonstrations and events throughout the year for families to enjoy.

For more information about hours of operation, event schedules, and any associated fees, contact the museum's website.

Tuckered out from a day at the museum? Plan to enjoy an RV stay at Prairie Pines Campground or Rolling Hills Campground.

Soldiers/Sailors Monument

It's a 126-mile journey to the next stop en route to Charleston: Soldiers/Sailors Monument. The Soldiers/Sailors Monument has become synonymous with the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana and is considered to be one of the greatest monuments in the world. It is the state's memorial to the countrymen affectionately referred to as the Hoosiers who defended their freedoms during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican Ware, the Civil War, the Frontier Wars, and the Spanish-American War.

The monument is constructed from limestone which was derived from a local quarry. It is 284 feet in total height, making it only slightly smaller than the famed Statue of Liberty. The cost of the monument's construction was $598,318.

The design was selected from a number of proposals submitted by a bevy of local architects. Seventy proposals were received in total, and a group of judges narrowed this list down to only two. The final design is attributed to a German architect by the name of Bruno Schmitz.
The monument contains artworks within its own structure as well as surrounding it. There is a gift shop housed on the premises as well as an observation tower.

Among the best places to enjoy an RV stay in Indianapolis include Raceview Family Campground and Indianapolis KOA Holiday.

Mill Race Park

Mill Race Park in Columbus, Indiana is located 44.5 miles from the Soldiers/Sailors Monument. This recreational center sits at the confluence of the rivers Flat Rock and Driftwood in the heart of Columbus.

In its earliest incarnation, Mill Race Park was situated within an area of Columbus that was marked by poverty. From the 1930s through the 1960s, the region was riddled with rats, illness, and poor housing conditions. The area was prone to regular flooding, making it ill-suited for homes. As a result, it was nicknamed "Death Valley."

During the year 1963, the city purchased the property and began work to restore the premises to a space that could be used as a public park. When it first opened to the public, the facility was named Tipton Park. It underwent a redesign in the 1980s when the park was renamed Mill Race Park.

Since wood was easy to access in the 1800s, covered bridges became extremely popular. The wooden roof served as protection for the planks of hardwood underneath, keeping them safe from succumbing to rot. Mill Race Park still has several covered bridges in use on the grounds. Today, there are only 1,000 that are still found in the country.

Mill Race Park consists of 83 acres in total. Its most popular attractions are a playground and a large observation tower. There is a walking path that forms a loop around the perimeter of the park, and there are also two lakes. The most popular activities here include fishing, basketball, picnicking, and hiking.

Tuckered out from a day exploring the grounds at Mill Race Park? Park the RV for an overnight stay at Wopkins Campground or Brown County/Nashville KOA.

Kentucky Kingdom

The 77.3 miles from Mill Race Park will fly right by with the excitement of spending the day at Kentucky Kingdom in the day ahead. Kentucky Kingdom is an amusement park in Louisville. It was formerly named Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. The property consists of 63 acres in total and includes amusement park rides and a water park known as Hurricane Bay. The park underwent some renovations and was reopened for the public to enjoy in 2014.

Kentucky Kingdom was first founded in 1987 on a plot of 10 acres of land found at the Kentucky Exposition Center. It was intended to serve as an addition to the popular Kentucky State Fair, allowing families to enjoy the same entertainment and fun found at the fair on a year-round basis. After only a single season, the park declared bankruptcy.

In late 1989, the park was bought by Ed Hart and several investors. The facility reopened for business in 1990 with new rides incorporated into the park to draw even bigger crowds. After a successful season, the park was expanded in 1992 to include Hurricane Bay and a ride that measured 150 feet in height known as the Giant Wheel. Over the next few years, more rides would be added to the facility.

In 1997, the park was once again sold; this time to a group of amusement parks known as Premier Parks who then declared the facility to be a member of the Six Flags franchise. During this time, the park became one of the most visited destinations in the state, being even more popular than the Churchill Downs.

In future years, the park would endure several changes of ownership and closures and renovations before finally reopening in its current incarnation in 2014. Today, Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay offer families some of the finest fun in the sun entertainment in the state.

For more information about the park's attractions, rides, hours of operation, and fees, consult Kentucky Kingdom's website.

Tired out from a day of fun at Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay? Spend the night doing some RV camping at Louisville North Campground or Louisville South KOA Holiday.

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary

Only 96.9 miles away from Kentucky Kingdom is Raven Run Nature Sanctuary in Lexington, Kentucky. This popular attraction consists of 734 acres. Its main mission is the preservation of the natural landscape found in the Kentucky River Palisades as well as the area's unique history.

One of the most beloved features of Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is its ten miles of trails that are the ideal spot to reconnect with nature via its incredibly scenic meadowlands, forests, and lush streams. The property still houses artifacts from the lives of previous settlers in the region. Also found on the grounds are over 600 varieties of plant life and 200 types of birds.

The on-site nature center is home to several fountains that contain drinking water. However, it is important to note that there are none to be found on the hiking trails themselves. With this in mind, it is recommended that RV campers carry ample drinking water with them.

To access the facility, RV campers are asked to park in the on-site lot and sign-in at the kiosk in the Nature Center. This facility is easy to locate as it marks the entrance to the trail network. Also found within this building are several exhibits and hands-on learning opportunities. Pamphlets can be found that detail important information about the flora, fauna, and history of the region. Bathrooms for public use are also found here.

Thinking catching up on some zzz's might be just what the doctor ordered? Why not spend the night doing some RV camping at Kentucky Horsepark Campground or Elkhorn Campground?


One hundred and sixty-seven miles of highway leads RV campers to a truly unique destination: Sunsphere. A facility constructed in 1982 for the World's Fair, this structure is now a permanent fixture in the Knoxville skyline. Though several properties were built for that year's World Fair, only two still remain: Sunsphere and the Amphitheatre. Found on the fourth floor of this iconic building is an incredible observatory from which RV campers can view a unique collection of photos of the city as well as a wide array of valuable information. The observation deck offers 360-degree views and is available to the public seven days a week at no cost.

Sunsphere is 266 feet in total height and contains 26 stories in total. The building contains glass panels on its outside that are generously dusted with 24 karat gold particles.

Following the 1982 World's Fair, the building was closed. During this time, the building largely remained empty. In 1999, the Observation Deck was once again opened to the public but had to be closed when the space could be repurposed for something more practical.

2007 saw the Sunsphere completely renovated to restore it to its original glory. It has been open for public use since this date.

After a great day enjoying the incredible views of Knoxville, it's a wonderful idea to kick back and relax with an RV stay at one of the area campgrounds. Two of the most popular spots to do some RV camping in Knoxville include Volunteer Park Family Campground and Clinton/Knoxville North KOA Journey.


A truly unique experience awaits RV campers at Asheville's Biltmore House. This property was built in 1895 as a chateau for millionaire George Vanderbilt. The mansion contains 250 rooms in total.

The Biltmore has been restored to its former glory and remains as awe-inspiring today as it was when the building was completed over 100 years ago. Visitors to the property can enjoy self-guided tours of the home's interior as well as strolling through the grounds meandering through the gardens.

The Biltmore House has been declared the largest estate in the United States today. It is true to the elegance and style of the French Renaissance period and sits in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountain range.

Of the 250 rooms contained in the mansion, 35 are bedrooms, and 43 are bathrooms. The home also boasts 65 fireplaces.

Biltmore House rests on a property of 8,000 acres in total. Much of the land is dense forest, and there are many trails that are ideal for exploring. Biltmore is also home to a very popular winery. The facility also offers shopping, dining, and extremely luxurious hotel accommodations.

For more information about hours of operation, amenities, and fees, consult the Biltmore's website.

For a great place for an RV stay, book a reservation at Lake Powhatan Recreation Area and Campground or French Broad River Campground.


The final leg of the journey to Charleston is 263 miles. It's a lengthy drive, but it won't seem so long with the excitement of an extended RV stay in your final destination only a few hours away.

Charleston is an important port city found in the state of South Carolina. This metropolitan center was first settled in 1670. Today, its cobblestone streets remain and horse-drawn carriages are seen in the streets, paying homage to days of old. Antebellum-style homes line the streets and are most commonly seen in the popular French Quarter and Battery regions of the city.

Among the most frequented places in Charleston are the Battery promenade and Waterfront Park, both properties which offer incredible views of the charming Charleston harbor. Fort Sumter, a military fortress that figured prominently in the Civil War is located directly across the body of water.

Charleston is an eclectic mix of culture which includes influences from the Southern United States, England, France, and even Western Africa. The downtown core which is located on a peninsula is alive with a diverse scene of cuisine, music, and fashion.

There are several different annual events held in Charleston. One of the most popular is an event known as the Spoleto Festival USA, a 17-day art exhibition that was developed by Gian Carlo Menotti. This unique festival showcases many different art mediums and often totals more than 100 live performances before its culmination.

Other popular attractions include the Historic Charleston Foundations' Festival of Houses and Gardens, the Charleston Antiques Show, the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, and the Charleston Marathon. Charleston is also home to a thriving foodie culture and hosts an annual food and wine festival.

For outdoor recreation, Charleston cannot be beat. Families will discover a whole world of fun things just waiting to be discovered including state parks, national monuments, beaches, and campgrounds.

Traveling through Charleston in an RV can be challenging. Park your rig at your campground and follow the locals' lead by taking a taxi, tram, or bus into town to do some exploring on foot.

Among the best places for an RV stay in Charleston are Oak Plantation Campground or Lake Aire Campground.

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