Take a road trip.

5 06 2009

Ready or not, here it comes! Summer is here, people. Though it doesn’t officially start for another 15 days, most of you in the South are already feeling the heat. While there’s not much we can do to alleviate the hot summer months, we Southerners are real good at distracting ourselves from it.


Crank up the air in the family station wagon, embrace the longer days to take advantage of the extra travel time, and head out to your favorite city for a vacation! All Southerners need a good road trip at least once per summer, or as often as you can get away. What are your favorite cities to travel to?


Here are our top ten picks for a summer road trip to get you started!


10. Alexandria, Virginia – Alexandria has a charming little Old Town downtown with lots to do. Most of the quaint shops are walkable, and when you’ve done it all, it’s just a short drive (about an hour) to both Washington, DC and Richmond, VA. Plan to go around Independence Day for an outstanding fireworks display. For the history lover!


9. New Orleans, Louisiana – Do I even need to say anything about New Orleans? We all know what trouble there is to get into in N’Orlens (gotta slur those words together, as the natives do). For the partier!


8. Athens, Georgia – I’m guessing by now you all know that I love Athens. Not only does my dear sister live there, there is tons of college life to see and participate in with UGA there. There are tons of vintage shops, restaurants, historic homes, anything you might like to do. [Bonus, the community theater, Athens Creative Theater will be doing a production of the musical classic Bye Bye Birdie July 23 – 26.] For the hipster!


7. Charlotte, North Carolina – So much to do… how do we pick? Go the Charlotte’s website to plan your perfect trip: www.charlottesgotalot.com. For the classic Southerner!


6. Nashville, Tennessee – There are so many great cities in Tennessee (Memphis, Jackson, Chattanooga), that it was hard to pick just one, but Nashville is the capital and has a lot more to offer than just country music. For the shopper, there is Opry Mills Mall. For the sports lover, take in a Nashville Sounds minor league baseball game. For the art lover, an outstanding museum, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. For the classic country experience, you’ve got to see the Grand Ole Opry. And everyone must see the Parthenon, Nashvegas’s very own full-scale reconstruction of the Greek original. For the music lover!


5. Charleston, South Carolina – History, manners, charm… what’s not to love about this great coastal town in South Carolina? It’s been featured in countless Southern films and literature. So much to do, so little blog to extol its virtues with. Go and see for yourself! For the coast lover!


4. Oxford, Mississippi – I don’t want to give away too much (look for a feature on Oxford coming from your very own road trippers, Becky and Ginger this fall!), but Oxford is known for its English roots, as you might have noticed by its name. The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as “Ole Miss,” is located in Oxford. Perhaps the most famous Southern author, William Faulkner hails from Oxford, as does the ever popular John Grisham. Pick up any of these gentlemen’s books, and you’ll see Oxford written all over them. For the preppy!


3. Mobile, Alabama – Also near the beach, for those of you who need a good sit on the sand for the summer to be considered complete. But this time, you’ll be on the Gulf Coast side. Calmer waves, family atmosphere, and more activities than you could hope to ask for. It’ll be hot, but take a reprieve on the USS Alabama, a retired Naval battleship with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. Golf a round at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, See the botanical gardens, and visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Aquarium. For the family get-away!


2. Louisville, Kentucky – Get thee to the Bluegrass State! Though the Derby excitement is over for the year, you can still visit many of the local horse farms if you call ahead. Plus, there is plenty big city excitement to have all summer long – shopping, festivals, and don’t forget to pay a visit to nearby historic Bardstown for some charm and excellent food. Hint: Make sure you order a Hot Brown sandwich while you’re there. Just don’t call it Louie-ville. It’s Luu-ville. Got it? For the horse lover!


1. … and the #1 top Southern city to visit is… YOURS! Whatever town you live in, thriving metropolitan or tiny hamlet, I bet ya there is tons to do in your very own town you haven’t taken advantage of yet. Spend some good quality time with your phonebook or the internet today, act like a tourist in your very own town and spend an afternoon in that museum you’ve been meaning to check out, take a handful of quarters, and park that car downtown to explore, eat, shop. Do your weekly grocery shopping at the leisurely pace of the local farmer’s market. Even if those creeping gas prices make you reluctant to travel, there is plenty to do in your own hometown. And the accommodations are free!




7 responses

5 06 2009

Thanks for the Dauphin Island mention. If you need photos from the Island, let me know… baxwrtr@aol.com.

Mike Baxter
Tourism Marketing Consultant for Dauphin Island, Alabama

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