Before European-American settlers arrived, the area now known as Bloomington was occupied by the Kickapoo tribe. Starting in 1822, the town grew slowly and was a hub for nearby farmers. The city gained recognition in 1854 as the location for the famous Lincoln-Douglas presidential debates. At the beginning of the 20th century, railroads and highways drove further growth. Today, Bloomington is home to almost 79,000 residents.
Located a short drive from Chicago, Bloomington gives visitors plenty to see and do during their stay. If you go to Bloomington in August, you can enjoy the festivities at the McLean County Fair. Also in August, Sample for a Cure is a craft beer event that supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For great beer, food and entertainment in September, Oktoberfest will not disappoint you. In addition, the famed Route 66 passes through Bloomington and offers roadside attractions. Other points of interest include the David Davis Mansion, the Children’s Discovery Museum, the Miller Park Zoo, Constitution Trail and Casey’s Garden Shop.
Bloomington is a short drive from the small towns of Champaign, Normal and Mackinaw. While you are in the area, you can explore Ambucs Park, Aikman Wildlife Adventure, the Wandell Sculpture Garden and Meadowbrook Park in Champaign. In Normal, you will find Waterson Towers, which are distinctive as the largest dormitories in the world. Mackinaw is known for its Mack-Ca-Fest Farm Days and its winery.
Kentuckiana Kampground is located in nearby Mackinaw and offers spacious pull-through RV sites with full hookups. Here, you can enjoy facilities for bocce, basketball and shuffleboard. The two stocked ponds are ideal for fishing. Playgrounds, an entertainment venue, a dog walk area, winter storage and bathrooms with showers are also on-site for you to enjoy during your stay. Sites with full hookups are available for $36 per night.
The Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is a 1,300-acre park near Tazewell that sits directly on the Illinois River. There are two separate campsites here that accommodate both tents and RVs. There are 70 primitive sites at Pine Campground, which is located on Spring Lake. Oak Campground is also located on the lake and has 11 sites. This is an excellent spot for RVers who want to enjoy fishing, hunting and hiking during their trip. The daily rate is $37.
Prairie Pines Campground is conveniently located in Rantoul, where you can visit several restaurants and shops. At the campground, you will find 95 RV sites with full hookups. This area, which is open between April and October, offers a playground, well-maintained grounds, restrooms with showers and a laundry facility. The nightly rate is $30, and weekly and monthly rates are available as well.
If you make the enjoyable two-hour drive to St. Louis, you can tour Gateway Arch National Park. The most recognizable attraction at this park is its famous arch, which stands 630 feet above the ground and offers spectacular river and city views from the top. The arch marks the beginning of the epic Lewis and Clark expedition and symbolizes westward expansion. At the 91-acre park, you can also tour the Old Courthouse, which is recognized for the landmark Dred Scott case. Mississippi River boat tours are also available.
Indiana Dunes National Park is located just across the state’s border with Indiana. This is a 15,000-acre natural area that spans several miles of Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Hiking, biking and horseback riding along the park’s 50 miles of scenic trails are great ways to explore the diverse landscapes in the area. These include prairies, wetlands, forests and sand dunes. Other activities available at Indiana Dunes National Park include winter sports, boating, fishing, geocaching, wildlife viewing and guided tours.
It takes a full day to drive to Isle Royale National Park from Bloomington, but the effort is worth it. This national park is located on an island in Lake Superior. The landscape is marked by rugged shores, dense forests and expansive lake views. Hiking and backpacking trails lead to the park’s notable attractions, such as the Grace Creek Overland, Suzy’s Cave and the Minong Ridge Overlook. Guided boat tours, diving, boating and paddling are also adventurous activities available at the park.
Weldon Springs State Park is relatively small, covering only 550 acres. However, it offers beautiful landscapes and year-round recreational options. The area boasts a pristine, spring-fed fishing pond with a dock and a boat launch. Bluegill, bluehead, sunfish, largemouth bass and other fish are caught here regularly. There are 2 miles of hiking trails as well as picnic tables and the Veterans Point Memorial. In the winter months, ice fishing, sledding and cross-country skiing are popular. Wildlife viewing is great year-round.
While you are in Illinois, take time to visit Big Foot Beach State Park, which is located on the pristine shores of Lake Geneva. This serene park is open for year-round fun and boasts mature shade trees and lush grasslands. Big Foot Beach State Park is the perfect spot for swimming, picnicking, canoeing, kayaking and fishing during the summer months. Its 5-mile trail system is popular for hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
Shabbona Lake State Park’s natural beauty and abundant recreational opportunities can be enjoyed by taking a short drive from Bloomington. At the park, you will find the 318-acre Shabbona Lake as well as 1,550 acres that boast wildflowers and woods. Approximately 15 acres of the park are designated as a protected nesting area for ducks and geese. During your visit to this state park, you can have fun with picnicking, hunting, wildlife viewing and hiking.
Take time to tour the Lincoln Home National Historical Site, which is in Springfield and just over an hour from Bloomington. This site is home to the only private residence that Abraham Lincoln ever owned. Visitors to the site can tour the home, as well as two other historic houses. The 4-acre park is also home to a visitor center.
History buffs and train enthusiasts will want to take the two-hour and 25-minute drive to Chicago to visit Pullman National Historical Park. The park features a former planned community designed by engineer and industrialist George Pullman, who improved railroad travel with his train cars. Pullman built the community to provide housing for his employees. Today, you can explore the historic houses and other structures in the park.
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park commemorates the 1779 surrender of British troops at Fort Sackville near present-day Vincennes, IN. American Colonel George Rogers Clark led the capture of the fort, which established United States claims to the frontier, which was up to that point under British control. Visitors to the park can learn more about this important event and explore various buildings in the area.
Outdoor adventures await you at several national forests within driving distance of Bloomington. South of the town, the 289,000-acre Shawnee National Forest boasts a wide range of stunning landscapes. In addition to the forested lands, you can appreciate the grandeur of marshy wetlands, craggy ridges and large canyons. Several of the most popular destinations in the area are Jackson Falls, Bay Creek Lake, High Knob Lookout, Cedar Lake and Garden of the Gods. Miles of hiking trails wind through the Shawnee National Forest, and these trails are also suitable for backpacking and horseback riding.
North of Bloomington, the Huron-Manistee National Forest encompasses more than 540,000 acres in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. This massive area offers nature hikes, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on its Manistee River Trail. Several waterways are popular among locals and visitors for fishing and boating. You can also make the hike up Briar Hill. As the highest peak in the region, Briar Hill provides spectacular views of the forest in all directions.
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest is located a short drive from Huron-Manistee National Forest. On 1.2 million acres, it is home to several large lakes, mountain streams and a forest of hardwood trees. Deer, bear and many other species thrive in this area, so you may spot a great variety of wildlife as you hike along the forest’s miles of trails. Some of these trails are suitable for ATVing, horseback riding and mountain biking. Designated areas are open for hunting. Other fun possibilities include boating, floating, kayaking, fishing and cave touring.
In most areas, the price to rent a motorhome is around $200 a night and the price to rent a towable trailer is around $120 a night.What does RVshare Protection cover with my Bloomington, IL RV rental?
RVshare's protection plan standard package covers up to $300,000 in comprehensive and collision coverage based on the value of the RV. It also includes free 24/7 roadside assistance and free towing and tire service. For more information on RVshare insurance, click here.What do I need to know before renting an RV in Bloomington, IL?
Bloomington has freeway and highway access to make RV driving a breeze. The city also has parks and open spaces to visit. Be sure to include time in your plans to explore the McLean County Museum of History, the David Davis Mansion, or visit during the Illinois Shakespeare Festival.What are the RV rental requirements in Bloomington, IL?
There is no special license needed to rent an RV, but it never hurts to check state websites. if you are unsure about traveling there and any regulations they may have, double-checking with the state will provide some peace of mind!What are some tips for first-time RV renters in Bloomington, IL?
Renting an RV in Bloomington, IL means endless blue skies and wide open roads. With all the wide open space between destinations, make sure you have a full tank of gas and plenty of food before you hit the road. You'll find plenty of RV campgrounds with showers, laundry, and other amenities. Busy season is in the summer so book early to get your spot, or visit off-season to avoid crowds.What are the minimum age requirements for renting an RV in Bloomington, IL?
The minimum age requirement for renting an RV is 25.What is included in my Bloomington, IL RV rental?
You should find any amenities that are included with your rental in the listing details. But it never hurts to check in with the owner before you arrive at the RV or have it delivered to ensure you have everything that is needed to have a fun and enjoyable trip!Are there pet friendly RVs for rent in Bloomington, IL?
Looking for a pet friendly RV rental? Use the pet-friendly filter when searching on RVshare.com to find the perfect one for you!Can I have my Bloomington, IL RV rental delivered to a specified location?
Many owners on RVshare.com offer delivery, and will even set it up for you at the campsite. Choose the 'Delivery' filter to narrow down your search results to RVs that can be brought to your home or destination. Check the listing details for any information regarding extra fees for delivery, or ask the owner if you are unsure.Are there one way rental options from Bloomington, IL?
One way rentals can add flexibility to your trip, but there are typically costs associated with returning the RV back to the owner. Learn more about one way rental options at rvshare.com/one-way-rv-rentals.