3 Southern US Road Trips for Your Summer Vacation

Everyone loves a good road trip — but where’s the best place to go?

The American South offers some of the best road tripping anywhere. It boasts a rich culture, tasty cuisine, active music scene, and natural beauty in a land where opportunities for adventure and relaxation abound. Do you need a route suggestion for your highway sojourn? Check out these three options.

Nashville – Atlanta – New Orleans

Image via Flickr by Discover the world.

This 720-mile road trip is perfect for music lovers who want to simmer in the creative juices of this trifecta of musical meccas. Nashville — home of the Grand Ole Opry — is to country-western music what Hollywood is to cinema. Atlanta is the home of hip-hop, R&B, and gospel, while New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz.

Aside from the many live entertainment venues, don’t forget to visit a museum or two in Nashville. There’s a lot to see and do in Atlanta as well. Basing yourself in the scenic College Park area gives you easy access to the entire Atlanta metro area via Interstate 285, and you’ll also find shopping and dining opportunities close at hand. As for nightlife, make sure to check out Atlanta’s concerts and live music events calendar.

Mardi Gras isn’t year-round, but even in the off season on a Wednesday at 2 a.m., you’ll easily find live music and people dancing to it. If the French Quarter isn’t your scene, take a cab over to Frenchmen Street.

New Orleans – Houston – Shreveport
Foodies will especially appreciate the amazing food on this 586-mile route. If you thought you had good eats in New Orleans, just try some of the out-of-the-way restaurants you’ll find along Interstate 10 on your way to Houston, like La Truffe Sauvage in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Don’t miss Space Center Houston, the visitor center at NASA’s astronaut training and flight control complex. For fine dining, try the Historic District where you can savor nouvelle cuisine surrounded by 19th-century architecture.

Shreveport offers casinos and nightclubs that rival Las Vegas in a more intimate, genteel city with a wetter climate. Take a scenic break from the glitter and action with a walk on the Red River boardwalk.

Atlanta – Savannah – Charleston
History buffs will particularly enjoy this 355-miles journey, and everyone will love the eye-popping natural beauty.

Atlanta was nearly obliterated by fire in 1864, but it still offers many sites worth visiting, like Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthplace, the Roswell Historic District, and the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield.

Treat yourselves to a stop at a rustic peach stand on the way to Savannah, where you can feed body and soul on superior cuisine and live music at the Olde Pink House. In Charleston, you can visit a dizzying array of historical sites, especially if you’re interested in the Civil War: Fort Sumter is only the beginning.

With arguably the best music, best food, richest history, and friendliest people in the nation, the American South is a road tripper’s paradise.