The Ultimate Southern USA Road Travel Guide • The Blonde Abroad

Southern USA road trip itinerary

The southern United States is the opposite of anywhere else you will ever go. Warm weather, warm smiles and arguably some of the best grub in the country are the foundations of this unique area. The best way to get to know the South is to hit the road!

As a note, this loose itinerary is intended to serve as a guide and you can follow it in any direction! While I was starting in New Orleans, you could definitely turn it around and start your trip to Georgia.

While I've shown some of the best moments, but I think one of the best places for a road trip is to add your own special stops on the road! I like to use Roadtrippers to plan the trip and map where the "anchor" stops are and then find fun stops in between.

This is the ultimate road trip guide in South America!

Journey to Charleston on Roadtrippers

South American roadmaps

  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Savannah, Georgia

* If you want to extend the trip, you could add it to Atlanta, Georgia and get to Alabama. It just depends on the time you have!

As you plan, make sure you see these 10 basic tips for your road trip!

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

Start your journey in New Orleans!

Since this is a long stretch, you can dismantle the car by spending a night on the road. It's a great opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle and explore more of Louisiana.

I fell in love with New Orleans when I went to Mardi Gras. While I would like to return for another Tuesday Fat, the city is just as impressive every day of the year. Once you wander around the city, you will have a sense of the intricate past and the unique culture of New Orleans!

Top things to see and do in New Orleans

    • The French Quarter is never disappointing
    • Get down and dirty on Bourbon Street or go for a luxury night on Frenchmen Street
    • Visit the oldest cathedral on the continent, St. Louis Cathedral, built in 1720
    • Visit the Carousel Bar – yes, there is a carousel in the bar!
    • Go on a ghost tour and learn about the many legends of the city

Top places to eat in New Orleans

Louisiana Bau

Bypass: Take an excursion to Bauu in Louisiana

On my trip, I took a few hours to explore the Manchac swamp with Wild Louisiana Tours! It was a wonderful experience, there was a time when I felt like I was The notebook.

You will see the ghost town of the Radok disaster that served as a corridor for historical explorers of New Orleans, as well as for Iberville, Bienville, Ponchartrain and much more!

Bypass: Learn about plantations

During my trip to the US, I was impressed by Live Oaks at the entrance to Oak Alley Plantation. I've seen a lot of photos of Oak Alley, but it was even more wonderful personally.

The plantation has appeared in many movies and music videos Interview with The Vampire, Django the Unboundand Beyoncé & # 39; s "Deja Vu" music video!

While Oak Alley is beautiful, it is extremely important to understand what plantations mean in historical context today. For an in-depth look and to think about the horrors of slavery and its lasting impact, take a trip to Whitney Plantation.

Jackson, Mississippi

Take the I-55 North from New Orleans to Jackson – 190 miles

Jackson is the capital of Mississippi and hosts a funky art scene, good bars and restaurants, and lots of live music!

Top things to see and do in Jackson

    • Spend the day exploring the locations of the Civil War and the Museum of Political Rights
    • Once you have finished your appetite, enjoy the turnips, cornflour and black eyes
    • You want a little spice Go for the local favorite Miss-Mex (ie Mississippi-Mexican fusion) for a delicious adventure
    • Top holiday day exploring the countless blues and jazz venues

Bypass: Oxford, Mississippi

This vibrant college town – the home of Ole Miss – is a fun stop between Jackson and Memphis. With the city's historic square, James Beard-awarded restaurants and deep literary roots (William Faulkner's house), that could make a great addition!

Memphis, Tennessee

Take the I-55 North from Jackson to Memphis – 210 miles

Memphis has to do with rock n ’roll and barbecue. You will never be able to eat at another barbecue after tasting a suitable Memphis-style BBQ platter. For more fun, check out the top 10 things to do in Memphis in two days.

Top things to see and do in Memphis

    • Visit the birthplace of rock music: Sun Studio
    • Watch the ducks at the Peabody Hotel
    • Head to Elvis' world-famous Graceland home
    • For a comprehensive lesson on the history of contemporary music, visit the Stax Museum of American Psychic Music.
    • Download Rendezvous for the best BBQ side in Memphis

Bypass: Visit Tennessee wineries

Take a pit stop at one of Tennessee's impressive I-40 wineries, such as Century Farm Winery or Crown Winery!

Nashville, Tennessee

Take the I-40 East from Memphis to Nashville – 210 miles

For fans of the country's music, singers and songwriters from around the world, Nashville is the ultimate destination. But Nashville is not only the music of the country, it is a lively city, it breaks out with new businesses, a dynamic food scene and cocktails and bright lights!

Top things to see and do in Nashville

    • The home of the Grand Ole Opry radio show, Ryman Auditorium is an absolute must-see and, whether you're a country fan or not, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is an exciting spot.
    • To complete your music day, take a tour of Music Row and RCA Studio B
    • One of the most impressive buildings in Nashville, the Parthenon is the only complete reproduction of the Greek Parthenon in the world in Athens, so plan some time to visit the museum and art gallery to complete your tour.
    • Take a day trip to Jack Daniel's Distillery

Top places to eat and drink in Nashville

    • Have a drink at The Patterson House
    • Enjoy a night at Pinewood Social. It is a retro style restaurant, bar and cafeteria, and features an extremely photogenic bowling alley, outdoor patio and views of the city skyline.
    • Mas Tacos Por Favor serves a range of delicious tacos that are the best in Nashville
    • Enter the "New American" dishes at Rolf & Daughter, an industrial-style restaurant with shared tables and some beautiful cocktail cocktails
    • Do you crave some Southern cookies? Go to Biscuit Love for a proper brunch full of carbs.
    • From mild to very spicy fried chicken and iconic south sides, the Hattie B chicken is where it is!

Top photography spots in Nashville

    • Three Brothers Café – cool black and white pattern with walls
    • 12th Avenue South – I believe in the fresco of Nashville
    • Madewell Wall – Looks beautiful, Musical city
    • The Gulch – "What Lifts You" Wings of colorful murals

* There are so many murals around town and cool spots – go on a treasure hunt to find them.

Brevard Court Street on Charlotte North Carolina Road

Charlotte, North Carolina

Take the I-40 East from Nashville to Charlotte – 400 miles

This is a half day drive, so leave early and make the most of your day trip!

Charlotte is mostly a business and banking city, but it consists of beautiful, historic neighborhoods, wonderful museums and wonderful seaside restaurants!

Top things to see and do in Charlotte

    • Visit the New South Levine Museum and NASCAR Hall of Fame
    • Refresh yourself on the 29,000-square-foot Splash Planet planet – this extremely fun indoor water park is the perfect place to swim in a steam afternoon
    • See Charlotte's past at the Carolinas Air Museum
    • Go for some gold at the Reed Gold Mine

Charleston, South Carolina

Take the I-77 South from Charlotte to Charleston – 211 miles

With its time in the 70's of winter, Charleston is the perfect place for beach lovers! It's a picturesque town, but there's a lot to do.

Top things to see and do in Charleston

    • Get around and rent a bike to cross the famous Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
    • Don't miss Angel Oak Park – one of the most notable sites in South Carolina – you'll find a huge 1,500-year-old oak, which is a real spectacle.
    • The first places to stay in Charleston are Wentworth Mansion, anywhere on King Street or Restoration Hotel (offer spa services in the room)
    • Rainbow Row is a series of thirteen colorful historic houses and is the largest complex of Georgian houses with rows in the United States. It is best to go here in the morning when there are fewer people and soft lighting.
    • Mosey through the Waterfront Park – a beautiful eight-acre park along the Cooper River.
    • Shopping in the city center in Charleston is a must – even if you're walking (although you could easily spend the whole day here). Founded in 1790, this historic market spans four blocks.
    • Want to explore a truly southern garden that meets the swamp? Go to Cypress Gardens for the 80 acres bald waltz made of cypress / tupelo, surrounded by paths of boat and foot.
    • If you make this trip in the spring, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is full of azaleas!
    • Not to be confused with the above, it is worth visiting Magnolia Cemetary.
    • Take a tour of the history of the Gilded Age Calhoun mansion

Top places to eat and drink in Charleston

    • Grab cocktails at Vendue Rooftop Bar
    • You absolutely have to dine at Husk Restaurant (book much earlier!)
    • Visit Callie’s Biscuit for some of the most delicious award-winning cookies, delicious tea sandwiches, oatmeal and local dishes
    • FIG dinner is great – an upgraded classic south
    • Dinner, or at least, cocktail at 5church (located in a former church, the interior is extremely cool!)

Bypass: Folly Beach

Bring your bikini and living room to the sun in Carolina at Folly Beach during the best year. Just south of Charleston, you'll find the Folly Beach Pier, which stretches over 1,000 feet in the ocean. Center Street is full of the cutest surf shops and you'll find tons of souvenirs.

Bypass: Stop at Beaufort

Walk or drive here. The Beaufort River wraps around this area and served as the site for many scenes from Forrest Gump and The Great Cold. It's halfway between Savannah and Charleston and it would be a great stop for lunch.

How wonderful is Forsyth Park?

Savannah, Georgia

Take US-17 South and I-95 South from Charleston to Savannah – 108 miles

Known for its well-kept parks, historic architecture tones, cobbled squares and oak tones covered with Spanish moss, Savannah is a picturesque stop.

Top things to see and do in Savannah

    • Head to Tybee Island for a beach atmosphere (about 20 minutes from Savannah). There are tons of history here and a cute pier and kiosk.
    • The historic Wormsloe Plantation site is a must-see. Try to get there just before it opens to take pictures without children or cars.
    • Exploring River Street is an absolute necessity. A combination of new buildings and old warehouses, there are tons of shops, galleries, restaurants and pubs in this part of the Savannah & # 39; s Waterfront.
    • Forsyth Park is a large city park in the historic district of Savannah. If you are there on a summer Saturday, there is usually a large market for farmers!
    • Savannah is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the US, go on a ghost tour or haunted banner!
    • The City Market is an open-air market dating back to 1700
    • Get ready to find so many goodies at The Paris Market – a charming boutique with an exquisite range of antiques, household and jewelry.

Top places to eat and drink in Savannah

    • Leopold ice cream at Broughton St.
    • Enjoy breakfast and coffee at The Collins Quarter on Bull Street
    • B. Matthews Eatery – for classic and new American food, this charming bistro in an updated vintage space is a transition
    • Vic 's on the River for dinner – located in a 19th century warehouse, you can't beat the food or the cool interior.
    • Although very expensive, dinner at the famous Olde Pink House is a key part of Savannah.
    • Wilkes – Family business since 1943, this busy dinner serves plenty of southern breakfast and meals at shared tables.
    • For a cool, dark and comfortable atmosphere – go to Mata Hari speakeasy. Caution: you must have a key to enter! And
    • Jen & # 39; s and Friends is an amazing martini bar with tons of martini flavors (seriously! From Bananas Foster to birthday cake)
    • The The Peregrin Rooftop Bar features great cocktails and great views of the city

And there you have it, guys! My ultimate guide to a road trip to South America! What parts would you add to this list? Are there hidden gems? I would love to hear it in the comments below!