4 Great Stops on a Southern Road Trip
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing summer vacation along the beach or a more rugged vacation outdoors, the South offers plenty of options. From blues music to pristine beaches, it’s a region that offers entertainment for the whole family. As you start making vacation plans, consider these stops on a Southern road trip.
The Great River Road – Mississippi
Following the course of the Mississippi River, the Great River Road starts far north in Minnesota and ends at the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. There are countless stop you could make along the way, including attractions in Mississippi where you’ll find yourself immersed in the history, culture and traditions of the area. Make a stop at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola to learn not just about the life and career of the renown musician, but also about the roots of the blues and how it spread throughout the nation.
You may also want to consider stopping at Vicksburg National Military Park. a significant Confederate stronghold where John C. Pemberton surrendered, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River during the Civil War. History buffs will also love the U.S.S. Cairo Museum, which displays a recovered Union gunboat from the Civil War and a number of artifacts that were on board.
Finish your journey through Mississippi at the Rosemont Plantation near Woodville. Once home to Jefferson Davis and five generations of the family, Rosemont is now open for tours.
Overseas Highway – Florida
If you’d like to spend some near the ocean this summer, consider taking the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys. Also called “The Highway That Goes to the Sea,” this southernmost stretch of U.S. Route 1 goes from Miami to Key West, says TripSavvy. You can make the trip in just a few hours, but there are a number of attractions along the way that may be worth a stop.
For instance, the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center in Tavernier is home to more than 40 different species of birds that have been rescued and rehabilitated. Walk along the center’s boardwalk to admire the wild life and great view of the bay. If you want an even better view of the ocean, consider going to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. There, you can see Florida’s coral reef during a glass-bottom boat tour, or you can get a close-up view of the sea life by snorkeling or scuba diving.
You may also want to visit the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key where you can spend a day with the center’s family of dolphins, sea lions and tropical birds. Watch educational presentations, let the kids run through the sprayground or experience one of the center’s “hands-on” sessions.
James River along Route 5 – Virginia
As the state capital of Virginia, Richmond shares a deep connection with our nation’s roots. The Virginia Tourism Corporation notes the city’s early days as a small colonial town and that Richmond was where Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give Me Liberty” speech at St. John’s Church.
Next, hop on U.S. Route 5 and follow it along the James River to discover attractions such as the Virginia State Capitol, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson, and the Tuckahoe Plantation, Jefferson’s childhood home. If you want to get out and stretch your legs, enjoy some time and the views on the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail that runs along the Route 5 corridor between Richmond and Williamsburg.
Central Texas Getaway – Texas
From the beauty of rolling hills covered in wildflowers to the hustle and bustle of Austin, Central Texas has a lot to offer. Start your trip in Hill Country, where TravelTexas.com says you can view more than 5,000 different kinds of wildflowers. Or head to San Marcos, where you can explore Spring Lake by glass-bottom boat, kayak or stand-up paddle board or hike the trails at Spring Lake Natural Area. Or, you can take a walking tour of Fredricksburg’s historic district, which showcases the rich history of the town originally founded in 1846 by German settlers. Don’t forget to head over the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin one evening, where on summer nights you can see the world’s largest urban bat colony. And, while you’re making your way around Texas, make sure you stop to get a taste of some famous Texas-style barbecue.
Whether one of these regions is your destination or you’re just passing through, Southern states offer a number attractions you can visit during a road trip. From learning more about the nation’s history to having some fun in the sun, a few stops along the way may make your summer vacation even more memorable.
Originally posted on May 3, 2011.