Lying on the banks of Illinois River, Peoria is a mid-sized city a 90-minute drive away from the state capital, Springfield. It's one of the biggest cities along the Illinois River between Chicago and St. Louis, MO, and one of the earliest European settlements in Middle America. Native Americans lived here for more than 12,000 years before the French canoed into the Illinois River in the late 17th century.
Peoria prides itself as an "All-American city," a representative of typical American tastes, thoughts, and habits. When national marketers want to test the feasibility of a product or idea, they often turn to Peoria to find out if it will play there. There's nothing typical in the beauty of Peoria's river valley though: President Theodore Roosevelt declared it the “world's most beautiful drive” when he came to visit more than a century ago. Book an RV in Peoria County today and find out if you agree.
Surprises Along the Illinois River
Various outdoor recreational opportunities await in the rolling lands and meandering creek of the 3,200-acre Jubilee College State Park 30 minutes’ away by camper rental from Peoria. Explore the park's prairies, woodland, and ravines on more than 40 miles of multi-use trails where you can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Bring your binoculars and spy more than 160 species of birds, and keep an eye out on deer, squirrels, and coyotes that roam the forests. Along the creek, you may glimpse beavers, muskrats, and minks.
Take your travel trailer rental from Peoria to Wildlife Prairie Park for regular sightings of bison, foxes, and bears. Walk the 10 miles of trails – or ride the train – to get close to 50 species of animals in protective enclosures and open spaces that take up the park's woodland, wetland, and prairies. Sink a line in the park's four lakes and haul in a catch of largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, and crappie. Rugged hiking trails and well-groomed biking trails await the physically fit. The park was once part of the Native Americans' hunting grounds, so it's well worth the visit to the museum for a look at Native American artifacts.
From Peoria, follow the Illinois River Road to reach Chautauqua National Wildlife Refuge an hour's drive away by Peoria motorhome rental. The preserve measures almost 4,500 acres and showcases a range of habitats; riparian forest, floodplain shrubs, and marshes attract a healthy population of waterfowl and other bird groups, putting it on Audubon Society's list for regionally important birding areas. Dedicated birders may want to plan their trip in winter when the lake is blanketed by hundreds of thousands of snow geese. Or rent an RV in Peoria in the spring to hear the songbirds on the black oak sand forest of the Chautauqua Nature Trail.
Where to Park Your RV
Only a few RV parks can be found within Peoria, though all of them offer full hookup sites, restrooms, and showers. In some cases, you may have to share a vacant lot overnight with a long-term mobile home resident or spend a few nights at a campground intended for long-term or seasonal residents. Alternatively, there are a few Walmart stores in Peoria, so you have an option for overnight parking in a pinch. Ask permission from the store management to ensure a pleasant stay at their parking lot.
Or take your RV rental in Peoria for a drive to Jubilee College State Park. Electrical hookups are available along with showers, flush/primitive toilets, and a trailer dump station. With its variety of ecosystems for numerous wildlife and fish species, staying at the park is an experience by itself.
Experience Peoria’s History and Scenery
You won't miss Peoria’s 2.5-mile Grandview Drive, one of the city's most defining attractions especially as the foliage changes color in autumn. Take your Peoria RV rental by owner for a spin for a commanding view of the Illinois River Valley and the many historic homes that line the drive. Along the way, consider stepping out of your RV to walk off stiff muscles in the 1.75-mile paved sidewalk trail.
Peoria boasts a clutch of historic buildings that go all the way back to the late 19th century when it was a hub of regional rail, shipping, and industry. Encompassing 17 blocks of downtown, the Warehouse Historic District contains some of the finest examples of Italianate and Colonial Revival structures in Peoria and the utilitarian styles of the period when products shipped throughout the Midwest passed through here. A few of the buildings that make up the district were once used for brewing and distillery, a tradition that continues to this day in some of the repurposed buildings.
The 9,000-acre Peoria Park District beckons with a bounty of activities for visitors of all ages, interests, and fitness levels. Nature lovers would want to visit Luthy Botanical Garden, the Forest Park Nature Center, and Peoria Zoo. Kids would love the Playhouse Museum for its variety of permanent exhibits that will allow them to ride a train, put on hard hats to build objects, or pretend sailing along the Illinois River.
Befitting its size, Peoria tempts discerning travelers with hundreds of dining options whether you’re into Mediterranean, Irish, or Middle Eastern. You’ll have lots of fine dining choices, BBQ/grill fare, and classic American eats. You’ll also find plenty of places serving authentic local cuisine as well as an abundance of produce markets and convenience stores to expand your meal options. Gas stations can be found throughout the city, so it’s well worth the search for your next favorite dish.
Peoria is not only a compelling destination by itself, but it also takes you to some of the most dazzling tourist locations in the Midwest. There’s Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. There’s also the legendary Great River Road following the mighty Mississippi. So when you book an RV rental in Peoria, IL, expect to be on the road to some of the most epic trips in the United States.
Peoria, IL is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Peoria. Outdoorsy's Peoria RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.