Roadtrip with RVshare Louisville to Charleston

You'll feel like the winner of the Kentucky Derby when you take a Louisville to Charleston road trip with all the fantastic things you can do along the way. There are national parks, like the Great Smoky Mountains and Congaree, to visit, and you can see some incredible horses as you travel across Kentucky. Then, explore folk art as you travel through Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. With all there is to do on this road trip, the whole family is sure to have fun.

Louisville to Charleston Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: 9.5 hours
  • Mileage: 616 miles
  • Fun Fact: The grandson of William Clark, who was the head of the Lewis and Clark expedition, laid out Churchill Downs. The first Kentucky Derby was held there on May 17, 1875.

Nearby National Parks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park  

Riding a horse is a great way to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and several authorized vendors offer rentals if you don't want to bring your mount. Wildlife officials think there are two bears for every mile in this park, so watch for them as you ride along. In all, this park is home to more than 65 species of mammals, and over 30 species of salamanders live here as well. Visit the Mountain Farm Museum to see historic farm buildings that were moved from throughout the park to this location. There are many other activities you can pursue here, including biking, hiking, and fishing. 

Congaree National Park  

Congaree National Park near Hopkins, South Carolina, contains the largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in America’s Southeast. A great way to explore the forest is by following the boardwalk through the swampland. This national park is also a UNESCO-recognized biosphere reserve. Over 15,269 acres at this location have been declared an important sanctuary for clean air and water. Over 11,000 acres at this park have been set aside for teaching activities and recreational pursuits. You can do many things at Congaree National Park, including canoeing, fishing, and hiking.

Nearby State Parks

Fort Boonesborough State Park  

Fort Boonesborough State Park near Richmond, Kentucky, is where Daniel Boone and his men built a fort when they were exploring this area in 1775. Stroll through the fort containing 26 cabins, four blockhouses, a stockade, a blacksmith’s shop, gardens, a well, and a gunpowder magazine. Each building is filled with tools and furniture resembling those which the first settlers that Boone led through the Cumberland Gap would have used. Resident artisans perform crafts, such as woodworking, candle-making, wool spinning, blacksmithing, and gunsmithing. Hike along the paths, and you're likely to scare up a roost of wild turkeys. Launch your boat onto the Kentucky River for some paddling or fishing fun. End your visit to this state park with a game of miniature golf. 

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park  

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park is a fantastic place to reconnect with nature on the tree-lined hiking trails. Launch your boat onto Lake Cumberland for some fishing fun. This lake has yielded a 58.25-pound striper, and anglers regularly catch 30-pound ones. It's also a fantastic place to fish for smallmouth bass. Enjoy playing miniature golf, tennis, basketball, and other sports on the well-maintained sporting courts and fields. The indoor pool is a great place to work off calories you consume at the on-site restaurant. Take an early morning stroll to listen to the songbirds sing their favorite tunes as the sun comes up at this park that's located near Jamestown, Kentucky. 

Cumberland Mountain State Park  

North Carolina has some wonderful state parks as well, and you'll want to include a stop at Cumberland Mountain State Park on your Louisville to Charleston RV road trip. This location near Crossville, Tennessee, is a terrific place to go hiking with both short and long trails available. Then, cool off with a swim in the lake or the swimming pool. Anglers love testing their luck on Byrd Lake, where the crappie and bass are often biting. Many use this park to go ice fishing in the winter months. Kayaks, canoes, and fishing boats can be rented right on this lake’s shores. 

Grandfather Mountain State Park  

Be sure to stop at Grandfather Mountain State Park near Banner Elk, North Carolina, as you're journeying through the Blue Ridge Mountains on your road trip from Louisville to Charleston. Scramble up the cliffs along the hiking trails at this park for stunning views. The paths at this park are rugged, and you'll need to use the provided ropes and ladders to get up some of them. The hiking paths, which were first hiked as early as the 1750s, remain beautiful and challenging. 

Jones Gap State Park  

Be sure to stop at South Carolina's state parks as well! Kayaking enthusiasts will want to make sure that Jones Gap State Park near Marietta, South Carolina, is on their list of places to investigate. Historically, this park was home to the first trout hatchery operated by South Carolina officials, and the trout fishing remains excellent at this location. The Middle Saluda River is a fantastic place to fish and paddle. There are over 60 miles of hiking trails in this park, and everyone can find one meeting their skill level, including some that lead to waterfalls. This state park in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area offers many wilderness trails.

Along the Way

Kentucky Horse Park  

If you love horses, include a stop at the Kentucky Horse Park on your road trip itinerary from Louisville to Charleston. Time your visit to this Lexington, Kentucky, park to watch the parade in the morning or the afternoon during the warmer months to see horse breeds that you probably did not even know existed. Once the weather cools, go on the barn tour to see the animals in their stalls. Visit the American Saddlebred Museum to learn more about that breed; the Wheeler Museum to see various equestrian memorabilia related to show jumping; and the International Museum of the Horse to learn about the role that horses have played throughout history. 

Old Friends Farm  

Take a tour at Old Friends Farm near Georgetown, Kentucky, to see some of the world’s greatest thoroughbreds that are past their racing days. Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes winners are often sent to this location where they can enjoy sunning themselves in pastures. During the 90-minute tour, you'll walk across the farm and hear stories of the horses who live here. While some of the animals have been donated to the facility by loving owners, others have been mistreated and are being rehabilitated. 

Museum of Appalachia  

Stroll across the 65 acres at the Museum of the Appalachia to see 35 log cabins, barns, farm animals, churches, schools and gardens on a self-guided tour. The three museum buildings at this Smithsonian affiliate contain more than 250,000 artifacts showcasing folk art, musical instruments, baskets, quilts and Native American artifacts of the people calling South Appalachia home. Stop and eat a traditional meal in the restaurant and pick up some items in the gift shop. 

Folk Art Center  

The Folk Art Center in Asheville, North Carolina, is the oldest craft store in America. This location that was founded in 1895 showcases the work of juried vendors from across nine different states. You won't want to miss seeing the artwork covering 12 different mediums. Check the schedule to watch free craft demonstrations at this location.

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

Lexington, Kentucky  

Lexington campgrounds, like Fort Boonesborough State Park, Chimney Rock RV Park, and Three Springs Campground, offer scenic places to camp for the night. If you need a dump station, there's a great option at Kentucky Horse Park. 

Asheville, North Carolina  

There are many beautiful campgrounds in Asheville, including Asheville Bear Creek RV Park, French Broad River Campground, and Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park. There are also a few convenient Asheville RV dump stations at Lake Powhatan Recreation Area, Wilson's Riverfront RV Park, and The Hitching Post Campground. 

Greenville, South Carolina  

Springwood RV Park, GSP RV Park, and Scuffletown RV Park offer outstanding campgrounds in Greenville. Find Greenville RV dump stations at Simply RV, Cunningham RV Park, and Rainbow RV Park.

Find Adventure from Louisville to Charleston

Rent an RV

When you follow this road trip itinerary from Louisville to Charleston, 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 Louisville or Charleston.

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