5 Road Trip Stops in the South

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Considering a road trip through the American South? Then this sponsored post should help you get a feel for some of the cities you should add to your itinerary.

The South may or may not rise again but until it does, you will have to travel there to fully appreciate what that term means and the historical culture that still remains a living, breathing part of some of the most modern cities in the Southeast. You don’t need a cowboy hat, a mustache or a Trans Am to enjoy a drive through the South — just a sense of adventure. At the end of your journey through these cities along your road trip, you probably won’t be naming your son after Jefferson Davis, but you will have an appreciation for Southern culture.

5. Atlanta, GA

Bright Atlanta

Photo by Nrbelex, on Flickr

Atlanta might be one of the most “northern” cities in design, as its pre-Civil War architecture was burned to the ground by Sherman’s troops during the Civil War, and Atlanta rebuilt its city with modern structures as a center of the “New South.” A tourist destination that will give you a different taste of Atlanta is a trip to the World of Coca-Cola. It attracts over one million people a year, providing a cool look into Coke’s advertising over the years, and offering visitors the chance to taste the different sodas produced around the world. Another worthwhile stop is the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta. The Georgia Aquarium is the world’s largest aquarium, and has over 60 underwater habitats. Finally, a trip to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is a thought-provoking way to end your visit to Atlanta.

4. Savannah, GA

Savannah, GA

Photo by msprague, on Flickr

While Atlanta is a model for the “New South,” Savannah is a beautiful link to its past. Elegant old mansions, churches, historic homes and cemeteries still remain untouched, and if you stroll along the streets underneath the peach trees, you’ll swear it’s the 19th century. The Savannah Historic District is one of the largest historic districts in the nation, and the architecture of the plantation era homes and the Southern hospitality of the people who live in Savannah will make you crave a mint julep. Savannah is a port city and its bridges and Victorian District streets have a definite unique charm to them. A trip aboard a ferry boat along the Savannah River offers relaxing views of the water and this picturesque city. If you’re interested in Savannah’s darker past, consider taking a ghost tour of the city after dusk.

3. Nashville, TN


Photo by Robert S. Donovan, on Flickr

Nashville is the capital city of Tennessee and is synonymous with country music. It has earned the nickname “Music City,” and no visit to Nashville is complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry. If it takes “practice” to make it to Carnegie Hall, then it takes playing at the Grand Ole Opry to really “make it” in country music. All the legends of country music have performed in this hallowed venue, from Patsy Kline to Reba McEntire, and the Country Music Hall of Fame is also located in Nashville. Nashville also has impressive architecture — it was once known as the Athens of the South. You will understand this moniker when you approach the full-scale replica of the Parthenon that was built in Nashville in 1931. Today, the Parthenon functions as an art museum and is located in Centennial Park. You are likely to see a collection of 19th and 20th century artists at Nashville’s Parthenon, but a velvet painting of Elvis will most likely not be one of them.

2. Charleston, SC

Drayton Hall

Photo by BlackburnPhoto, on Flickr

A visit to Charleston, South Carolina, combines the best of genteel Southern charm and beautiful resort beaches on peaceful nearby islands. The historic city of Charleston is home to over 600 buildings built before the 1840s. A visit to the Charleston Museum and the Exchange and Provost Building will help transport you back to Charleston’s past. In 1790, the state legislators met at the Exchange and Provost to ratify the new state’s constitution. Don’t forget to visit the Old City Market, too, which is open 365 days a year, where you can shop along the cobblestone streets and peruse Charleston’s famous sweetgrass baskets.

1. Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC

Photo by strfsh, on Flickr

Charlotte is a city that takes its old-fashioned Southern hospitality seriously, and is a great place to end your tour through the South. Charlotte has many modern entertainment options. It is the home of the recently constructed NASCAR Hall of Fame, which is a perfect place to visit on a road trip for any racing fan. The Levine Museum of the New South brings to life post-Civil War history in an entertaining way, and they will even dress you in 19th century era clothes. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy on your visit to the Queen City.

If you are planning a road trip to view the history in the “Old South” and the modern vibe of the “New South”, be sure to visit RentACarNow.com. They search all major car rentals (Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, Alamo and more) with a single click.

Have you ever roadtripped through the South? If so, what other cities would you add to this list?


This post was submitted by a third party.


  • I’m so glad you posted this! My husband may be muted to southern USA later next year and we will definitely take advantage of the geographical position to explore… I feel this post is going to come in handy!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Awesome! I haven’t actually traveled much in the South myself (with the exception of Florida, and a bit of Georgia), but I’d love to do a road trip like this someday! The history of cities like this are really interesting to me.

  • Gray says:

    This is a great list, but it is not complete until New Orleans is on it! :-) I also think I would make Birmingham, Alabama a stop, because of its prominent role in the history of civil rights in this country.
    Gray recently posted..Would You Like to Interview a Tourism Industry CEO?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, Gray! New Orleans is high on my list of cities to visit. And I actually have family in Birmingham, so I should probably get down there one of these days, too!

  • Jessica says:

    We’re planning a road trip throughout the whole US starting in January. Glad to see that most of these cities are already on our itinerary. =) Thanks for sharing!
    Jessica recently posted..Life Abroad (again…)

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Good to hear! And U.S. road trip are so much fun. I just did a 3-week one out West this past summer, and it was great!

  • Considering I was born and raised there, yes indeed! I was born and raised in South Carolina so I have been to all of these! :)

    One of my favorite places not listed is Asheville, NC.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Weekend travel reading – when to travel solo, an Alaska cruise, haggis, and more

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Out of all these cities, I’ve actually only been to Savannah! I clearly really need to travel some more in the South.

      Thanks for the suggestion of Asheville! I’ll have to keep that in mind.

  • The American South has always fascinated me, I didn’t get the chance to travel around it much while I was living in Miami.

    I’d love to go back there and spend some time in places like Atlanta – especially given my major interest of African American Civil Rights.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      If you’re interested in the American Civil Rights movement, there’s no better place to learn about it than the South!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Great Ideas. I’ve been wanting to go to Nashville for a while. Now I’m even more excited to check it out!
    Elizabeth recently posted..Battambang’s Bamboo Train

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I hope you get to visit soon! Out of the cities on this list, I think I’d most like to visit Charleston. And then re-visit Savannah, because I loved that city!

  • Savannah is very high on my list! I have visited the south a bit and love it every time I go.
    Debbie Beardsley recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday-Lautersee

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Savannah is a city that really sticks out in my memory. I was only there for about 12 hours one hot summer day, but I loved it. We took a ghost tour around dusk, and actually learned a lot about the city’s history. I’d really like to go back someday.

  • Meggie says:

    I’d definitely second New Orleans, but I’m a bit biased since I’m from Louisiana. I also recently visited Memphis and was blown away by how awesome it was (my quick guide here). The food was AMAZING. I’m planning my own southern road trip next spring, so thanks for the tips!
    Meggie recently posted..Interview: Volunteering in Ghana

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I think you either love Southern food or hate it. (Though, really, what’s not to love?? We don’t need to live to 70 anyway, right? Haha.) Have a great time on your Southern road trip next year! That sounds awesome.

  • Nanette says:

    I think I would add Charleston, SC, to the list. The city has a lot of history, not to mention beautiful architecture. When I was there, my favorite place to visit was definitely the plantation.
    Nanette recently posted..Maine beaches done right

  • Suzanne says:

    Just came back from a trip to Nashville which was really cool, got to stay at the Gaylord OpryLand which is a city in itself. Music everywhere! Really loved Charleston~ the tours, the FOOD, Isle of Palms, Sullivans Island. Lots of parks and places to sit and relax and soak in the beautiful architecture and southern style. Ravenell bridge one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Really liked this article. Savannah is deff on my list and now I will add Charlotte- maybe its not just a flight plan layover stop :-)

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