Just 20 minutes outside of St. Louis, an RV rental in St. Charles feels a world away from its more chaotic sister city. While it mostly serves as a commuter community to St. Louis, St. Charles once held the distinction of being the last stop on the Mississippi River before heading into the uncharted frontier of the American West. It was here that legendary explorers Lewis and Clark began their journey with their “Corps of Discovery” to map the recently acquired Louisiana Purchase.
History aside, St. Charles has a charming downtown area filled with good shopping and a number of eateries. But if you’re looking for more of a city experience, St. Louis is right next door. The St. Louis metro area is served by the MetroLink light rail system, along with numerous buses. Unfortunately, public transportation into St. Louis ends at the Missouri River on St. Charles’ eastern edge. Your best option will probably be to park your St. Charles RV rental on the outskirts of St. Louis and then to use the MLR to get around, rather than driving your rig all over the city.
RV Parks Near St. Charles
When you book an RV in St. Charles, you may find that there aren’t many RV parks located close to St. Charles, however the ones that do exist are large and located very close to the city, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a site to park your RV rental near St. Charles, MO.
Sundermeier RV Park is the closest to downtown St. Charles and has back-in and pull-through sites with full hookups. With over 100 sites, this could be a decent place to camp with your St. Charles motorhome rental. The 370 Lakeside Park and Campground is another option, being just six minutes from town. Sites here have full hookups.
If you don’t mind staying a little farther away, Cherokee Lakes Campground near St. Paul provides a more rustic setting for campers hoping to stay closer to nature with a St. Charles camper rental. It’s also possible to camp at Pere Marquette State Park in southern Illinois, about a 45-minute drive from St. Charles. Sites are equipped with electrical hookups, and a dump station and drinking water are provided.
Exploring the City of St. Charles
St. Charles is one of the most charming towns in the midwest and well worth exploring for a few days. In the historic district, a number of restored houses and businesses line the Missouri River, and it’s also a great place to go for shopping and dining. If you’re a classic car fan, you’ll want to check out Fast Lane Classic Cars. It’s a dealership rather than a museum and the owners are accustomed to tourists coming in just to have a look around.
One of the biggest benefits to St. Charles is that its location provides easy access to the big city attractions of St. Louis. The Gateway Arch is a must-visit when you’re in the St. Louis area. It’s a symbol of America’s westward expansion and is also the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. A tram takes visitors to the top of the arch where they have fantastic views of the surrounding city. At the foot of the arch is a museum that explains the history of the arch and the people that built it. Additionally, the Old Courthouse near the base of the arch is where one of the most infamous legal decisions in American History took place - Dred Scott v. Sanford. The resulting decision proclaimed that slaves living north of the Mason-Dixon Line were not considered free, which set off a chain of events that eventually lead to the Civil War.
In addition to the arch, St. Louis has all the amenities you would expect from a mid-sized city. The Cardinals (baseball) and Blues (hockey) call St. Louis home, plus the city features a zoo, the St. Louis Art Museum (among others), and tons of great restaurants. And if you’re a beer lover, you’ll also want to check out the Budweiser Tour at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. You’ll even get a chance to meet some of the famous Clydesdale horses.
Getting Outside Near St. Charles
Many of the best attractions for nature lovers are a little bit outside of the city, so when you rent an RV near St. Charles, MO, you’ll have one of the best methods of transportation to see everything the area has to offer. One of the most popular places to get some nature time is at the Katy Trail State Park. The crushed gravel rail trail that lends its name to the park extends across the state for 240 miles, from Clinton to Machens. The shaded parkway is perfect for a stroll, but given its size, many visitors prefer to see it from a bicycle. Bikes are available for rent in the area. There are also various outfitters taking visitors on kayaking trips down the Mississippi River.