If you plan to travel from Champaign to Sarasota, there are a few exciting stops on your trip. When you start out in Champaign, you can visit the Art Deco buildings in the downtown area. As you travel south, you will pass through Nashville, Atlanta, and Tampa. These cities are filled with world-class entertainment, fine dining, and exciting attractions. Finally, make sure to spend a few days enjoying the beaches and exploring the city of Sarasota. On this Champaign to Sarasota road trip, you will make memories to last a lifetime.
With this road trip itinerary from Champaign to Sarasota, you will have a few days to spend at a nearby national park. These locations make the perfect excuse to get off the road and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Mammoth Cave National Park
As you pass through central Kentucky, you should stop by Mammoth Cave National Park. This national park is home to the world's longest cave system. While not all the 400 miles of caves are open to the public, you can sign up for a guided tour and get the most out of your experience. These tours take you past the popular Rotunda and Frozen Niagara sections of the caverns. In the Gothic Avenue area, you will want to look up at the ceiling. Many visitors in the 19th century signed the walls of the caverns. There are other ways to enjoy your time at Mammoth Cave National Park, including hiking, biking, and horseback riding on the trails available in the area.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
If you want to explore one of the largest national parks, then plan to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This park covers over 500,000 acres of land, and it offers plenty of recreational activities, including camping, hiking, and biking. While in the park, you want to watch out for the wildlife; this region has more bears per square mile than any other spot in the state of Tennessee.
Biscayne National Park
Florida is home to three national parks, but the closest to Sarasota is Biscayne National Park. This park is about an hour from Miami, and it is a great place to reconnect with nature. You can explore over 172,000 acres of water and land. Biscayne is home to several coral reefs and shallow-water shipwrecks. It is the perfect spot to hit the water as a snorkeler or diver. The best way to explore this park is by boat, and there are day rentals available for visitors.
Along with the national parks, you should plan to visit one of the local state parks during this Champaign to Sarasota RV road trip. You can pull off the road for lunch or spend a few days exploring the wonders of these locations.
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is one of the most popular parks in Illinois. It is about 100 miles from Champaign. While you are visiting this location, you can hike on the 13 miles of trails. Along the way, there are 18 canyons just waiting for you to explore. Starved Rock is home to other recreational activities, such as boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
Big Bone Lick State Park
While in Kentucky, you can see some bison in the wild. These creatures roam the land at Big Bone Lick State Park. At one time, thousands of bison lived in this part of the state. However, hunting almost led to their extinction. Today, you can visit a small herd in their native habitat. If you want to see more of the park, several hiking trails wind through this area.
Blue Spring State Park
In Florida, there are plenty of spots to view the manatees. However, Blue Spring State Park is the best place to see these majestic underwater mammals. As the local waters start to cool down, the manatees warm up in the springs. During some years, there have been 300 manatees in the water. In addition to the manatees, there are other types of wildlife in the park, including herons, turtles, and alligators. You can even hit the water for a closer look at the springs by paddleboard or kayak. However, the best views of the park can be seen from the elevated boardwalk.
On your Champaign to Sarasota RV road trip, you should take time to visit these exciting spots.
Krannert Art Museum
This fine arts museum is located on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. You can explore over 48,000 square feet of space devoted to art. The museum specializes in pre-Columbian, Asian, and 20th-century works. In addition to the permanent collection, this museum hosts national and international exhibitions.
William M. Staerkel Planetarium
This planetarium is also located in Champaign, and it is the second-largest one in the state. It was the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere to have a Carl Zeiss M1015 optomechanical star projector installed. Throughout the year, the planetarium hosts educational programs and star viewing events. Every first Friday of the month, there is a lecture series at this location. If you love to gaze up at the night sky, this is the perfect stop for you.
Grand Ole Opry
While in Nashville, you should visit the Grand Ole Opry. This music venue is home to one of the longest-running radio broadcasts in U.S. history. Throughout the years, gospel, bluegrass, country, and folk artists have performed on the stage. You can still see musical performances at this treasured location. Some tours take you behind the scenes of this famous building.
Atlanta is filled with history, but you may be interested in visiting one of the most popular spots in town. The Georgia Aquarium is home to over 120,000 species of marine animals. This aquarium also presents special educational programs throughout the year.
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is located in Sarasota. This museum was established in 1927 as a gift to the residents of Florida. There are 10,000 objects on display in the collection, including pieces from the Cypriot period. The most prized pieces are the 16th- to 20th-century paintings, including the largest collection of works from Peter Paul Rubens.
On this Champaign to Sarasota road trip, you will travel through many exciting cities. There are several campgrounds to help you get cozy for the night. If you need to use a dump station, you will find plenty of clean and sanitary spots along the route.
Nashville is the capital of Tennessee, and it is known for its country music roots. You can visit some of these historical locations at the Grand Ole Opry or Ryman Auditorium. While you are there, spend an evening at one of the honky-tonks for some live music. When it is time to relax for the night, you can find plenty of campgrounds and dump stations near Nashville.
Atlanta is another capital city that you want to visit on your road trip from Champaign to Sarasota. This city played an essential role in the history of the United States. You can learn about the Civil Rights Movement at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. If you are in the downtown area, don't forget to visit Centennial Olympic Park or the Georgia Aquarium. For those looking to camp out, you will find several dump stations and campgrounds just outside this busy city.
Located along the Gulf Coast, Tampa is a major business center in Florida. This city is home to museums, theme parks, and historic neighborhoods. If you are up for a thrill ride, then you want to head over to Busch Gardens. In the Ybor City section, you can see the influences of the Spanish and Cuban residents. Several campgrounds are near the city, and they have options that will fit any budget. You can even find a couple of dump station options for your rig.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Champaign to Sarasota, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Champaign or Sarasota.