While the waterfront view in Peoria is stunning, a Peoria to Charleston road trip may be the perfect solution if you are ready for a change of scenery. As you travel through the Land of Lincoln, across the Hoosier State, through bluegrass country, and over the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, you will see some of the best scenery in the United States. Visiting national and state parks along the way provides a fantastic opportunity to explore this part of the country.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
If you want to see all that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer, consider going on a drive through this park. One option is the one-way, 11.1-mile Cades Cove Loop Road, where you can see several historic buildings, including a grist mill. Another option is the gravel Cataloochee Valley Road, which offers one of the best chances to see elk in the park. Another choice is the Newfound Gap Road, which is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail offers you the opportunity to enjoy seeing mountain streams and old-growth forests from the comfort of your RV. Finally, if you are looking for a great place to escape the crowds, then drive along the Upper Tremont Road, especially in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming or in the autumn when the leaves are changing color.
Congaree National Park
If you love to look at large trees, stop at Congaree National Park on your road trip itinerary from Peoria to Charleston. This park has the highest concentration of large trees anywhere in the U.S. You can see many of the trees from the 2.4-mile Boardwalk Loop Trail. Cedar Creek is an excellent place for canoeing and paddling fun. Ranger-led canoe trips often occur at this park for those new to the sport. This park is a fantastic place to have a picnic in the shade provided by the trees that grow so close together that the sun barely filters through.
Starved Rock State Park
Explore 18 canyons by following the 13 miles of hiking trails at Starved Rock State Park near Utica, Illinois. Head down the French Canyon Trail or Wildcat Canyon Trail to walk behind waterfalls. See stunning views of the Illinois River from the Starved Rock Outlook. If you decide to make your Peoria to Charleston RV road trip in the winter, this is an excellent place to go ice climbing.
White River State Park
Located in Indianapolis, White River State Park is an Indiana state park with a number of attractions. Check the schedule to see what entertainment is occurring at the park's amphitheater. Watch the Indianapolis Indians play ball. See the animals at the Indianapolis Zoo. A great way to get around this park is on a bike rented from Wheel Fun Rental. There are three history museums and the NCAA Hall of Champions to explore.
Fort Boonesborough State Park
Be sure to make time for some Kentucky state parks as well! See how Daniel Boone and his group of explorers did on a weekend adventure at Fort Boonesborough State Park near Richmond, Kentucky. The reconstructed fort at this state park contains 26 cabins, four blockhouses, a stockade, a blacksmith’s shop, gardens, a well, and a gunpowder magazine. Four of the cabins show you how life progressed as people became more accustomed to living at this location. See tools and furniture in each of the buildings at this fort near the Cumberland Gap. Craftspeople are on hand to show you various historical skills, including woodworking, candle-making, wool spinning, blacksmithing, and gunsmithing. There are plenty of short hikes available where you may see wild turkeys, hear woodpeckers pecking, and listen to coyotes singing their mating calls. If you love boating, then use the boat ramps to launch your vessel onto the Kentucky River. This park is also a fantastic place to go fishing or enjoy a quick game of miniature golf.
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park
Do not let the big fish get away when fishing at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park near Jamestown, Kentucky. This lake has yielded a 58.25-pound striped bass, 36.8-pound sturgeon, and a 21.8-pound walleye. Anglers regularly catch record-size trout. Away from the lake, you can play miniature golf, tennis, basketball, and other sports. If the weather does not cooperate with your outdoor activities, then head to the indoor pool. There are miles of trails where you can listen to songbirds chirping.
Frozen Head State Park
If you love to go trout fishing, then head to Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee. The state stocks Flat Top Creek with trout in the early spring. The creek may run dry in the summer. Over 50 miles of trails are available for hiking. Part of the Cumberland Trail runs through this heavily forested location. See if a tour of the Stonecipher-Kelly House is available during your visit. This house is the oldest standing building in Morgan County, and it is a prime example of an early European-style homestead. Bikers can enjoy riding to the top of the summit on the Lookout Tower Trail.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
As you step into the lobby at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, you will feel like you have stepped back into time as the life-size figures of President Lincoln and his family greet you. Explore President Lincoln’s life before and during the presidency by visiting the two galleries. Then, explore Illinois history in the Illinois Gallery. Head to the Ghost of the Library gallery to learn about the role that research libraries play in preserving history. Children will love exploring Mrs. Lincoln’s attic, where they can play dress-up in historically accurate costumes. Be sure to catch the performances in the Mr. Lincoln Theater and the Union Theater.
Step aboard the ark to see how Noah and his family might have lived during the worldwide flood. The ark is the largest timber-frame structure in the world. See sculptured animals resembling those from thousands of years ago; you'll also see live animals. Ride the ziplines over this property in Williamstown, Kentucky.
If you love amusement rides, then be sure to include Dollywood on your list of things to do on a road trip from Peoria to Charleston. In warmer weather, be sure to visit the water park. There are several venues around this location where you can see traditional crafts made and listen to bluegrass music. End your trip to this Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, location by watching the Stampede show; you'll find the choreographed stunts performed with horses mesmerizing.
Hollywood Star Cars Museum
See over 40 cars owned by celebrities or used in the entertainment industry at Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Vehicles on display include the 1966 Batmobile, Beverly Hillbillies Jalopy, Munster's Drag-u-la, and General Lee.
Three Rivers Rambler
Visit this attraction to enjoy a scenic 90-minute train ride leaving from downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, with most of the path following the Tennessee River. Unique train rides are available seasonally.
Very scenic locations, including Fort Boonesborough State Park, Chimney Rock RV Park, Three Springs Campground, and other campgrounds in Lexington, make this city a beautiful area to go camping. Making it even more convenient to go camping, there are fantastic RV dump stations in Lexington at the Kentucky Horse Park, Camping World, and Elkhorn Campground.
Terrific Indianapolis campgrounds, including Glowood Campground and RV Park, Indianapolis KOA, and Indy Lakes RV Campground, make this city a great camping destination. Before you leave, use RV dump stations in Indianapolis if needed; they are available at Flying J Travel Plazas and Ouabache (Wabash) Trails Park.
Asheville, North Carolina
Enjoy the immense beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains by camping in Asheville. There are many scenic campgrounds in Asheville, including Asheville Bear Creek RV Park, French Broad River Campground, and Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park. Empty your tanks at Asheville RV dump stations at Lake Powhatan Recreation Area, Wilson's Riverfront RV Park, and The Hitching Post Campground.
Greenville, South Carolina
There are so many great campgrounds in Greenville, including Springwood RV Park, GSP RV Park, and Scuffletown RV Park, that you may have trouble deciding where you want to camp. If you need an RV dump station in Greenville, consider Simply RV, Cunningham RV Park, or Rainbow RV Park.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Peoria 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 Peoria or Charleston.